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Teacher: Kory McMahon who teaches at Mott Road Elementary in Fayetteville, NY. Kory McMahon can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Students as Teachers

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To allow students the opportunity to create and teach their own games. This unit is a great way to improve personal responsibility and address New York State Physical Education Standard 2 (creating a safe and healthy environment) and Standard 3 (utilizing personal and community resources).

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: Pinnies, gator balls, dice, hoops.

Students as Teachers

Every year I have the students in grades 1-4 teach their own games to the rest of the class. On the first day of the unit, I explain what is expected of the students, and then teach a variety of games that use only the equipment the students will be able to use. I take extra time to break down the different components of the games (rules, safety, playing area, etc.), and how easy it would be for them to make up new games just by changing some of those aspects. I also talk to the students about the importance of being good listeners and polite because it takes a lot of courage to teach an entire class of their peers.

Students can teach by themselves, with a partner, or in a group of three. They can only use the limited amount of equipment provided. This keeps the games somewhat simple in nature. Their game can not be one we have already played during the school year, or one that is unsafe (such as dodge ball). Students must name their new game, develop easy-to-understand rules, and be able to explain those rules to the rest of class. They have to be prepared to answer any questions, handle discipline issues, mention any safety considerations, and get the students ready to play (picking partners or teams, taggers, etc.). I have the third and fourth grade students write their game on a piece of paper.

After playing a group’s game for a few minutes, I stop the game and the class meets to discuss what they liked about the game. At the end of each class, I ask all the different “teachers” that day what was fun or difficult about teaching. We then discuss all the benefits from being physically active. Over the course of the unit, I make sure all the students get a chance to teach or help teach a game.

In today’s world, adults make most of the decisions for children. An activity such as this provides a great way for students to think critically and creatively on their own or with friends. Hopefully this will empower my students to be physically active on their own free time and develop games to play that are safe in fun in their own personal environments.


1. Limit the amount of equipment used.
2. Change the equipment being used.
3. Change the environment (outside vs. inside)

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

1. Question students about how a teacher would react to situations (i.e. interruptions, off-task behavior).
2. In closing, discuss characteristics of "good" games (i.e. no elimination, physically demanding) and the benefits of those types of games over other less-active games.

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Posted on PEC: 5/27/2007 and has received 55 votes.

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