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Teacher: Casey Bain who teaches at Marble Elementary in East Lansing, MI. Casey Bain can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Football Unit Tailgate Party

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To celebrate learning at the end of a football unit, invite parents to their child's Physical Education class, and to make a community connection.

Suggested Grade Level: K-6

Materials Needed: Table(s) for tailgate food, supplies for football stations/games, notes to inform families of the event prior to the event, motivating football theme songs/music to play during the event.

Football Unit Tailgate Party

To culminate a football unit for 2nd-4th graders in a special way, plan a "Tailgate Party" where parents are invited to attend their child's P.E. class, bring a healthy snack to share, and observe/participate with their child in various football activities.

The gym will be set up for each class to participate in several football stations, a table set up along one wall for food, and music playing in the background. Students will demonstrate for their parents (who are invited to participate along with their child) the different skills they have learned in the football unit. Some stations could be: 1) Students model the proper stance, grip, and throw of a football at a target on the wall. 2) Students demonstrate the correct way to punt the football through a teacher-created goalpost. 3) Student pairs demonstrate proper throwing and catching form. 4) Agility drill with a ladder or spot markers or hula hoops on the floor where students carry the football properly and move through the hoops. 5) Students teach their parents the football vocabulary they have learned at the bulletin board/word wall station.

After the students and their guests have participated in the stations, they can be invited to eat a small snack and socialize with other families.

To make the event even more special, we live in a college town and will have some football players visit, throw and catch with the kids, sign autographs. If this is not an option, try getting some of the local high school football players visit. Elementary students will enjoy interacting with "real" football players.


Rather than a station format for the event, each activity or the main activities or games learned during the unit could be modeled as parents view on the sidelines, one activity at a time.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Inform parents well in advance of the event. Send home a sign-up sheet for food, and due to time constraints, ask that food be provided in individual bags (such as snack-sized ziploc bags of baby carrots, pretzels, etc.) That would make it easier to "grab and go." Ask for parent volunteers to help with organizing the food for their child's class, as well as some to arrive a few minutes early and for clean-up help after. Invite the principal, staff members who do not have a classroom that might be able to stop by, and even other important school personnel (superintendent, board members, etc). You may try inviting the media to cover the event, since newspapers are often looking to showcase good things happening in schools.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Make activities accessible for these students by having various starting places/targets, using smaller, softer footballs, or a large beach ball football if needed in order for students to be able to catch it.

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Posted on PEC: 11/21/2010 and has received 64 votes.

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OH my gosh finally I found one good idea that I totally love! A great way to involve family meanwhile Promoting your awesome PE program.

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