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Teacher: Minni Ackerman who teaches at Anna C. Scott School in Leonia, NJ. Minni Ackerman can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Gym Buddies

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To instill a sense of cooperation and responsibility in the upper class students simutaneously creating a sense of accomplishment for the younger students.

Materials Needed: Set up stations around the gym: Jump Rope, Basketball, Bowling, Various balls for throw and catch, (materials will vary depending on what the teacher wants to accomplish that week).

Gym Buddies

Most children meet twice a week for physical education. Try to create a third meeting for phyical education class to introduce the concept of gym buddies.

Discuss the concept with both sets of teachers to facilitate the activity. Explain to the upper class students their role as both teacher and helper. Let the younger students know what is expected of them prior to the class.

Prekindergarten, kindergarten and first grade classes are teamed up with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes. The classes are combined together in the gym. The teacher will pick the gym buddy and watch during the class to see if the pair might work well together.

Have a group warm-up prior to breaking up into gym buddies to give both sets of students time to acclimate. When introducing the students to each other make sure they know each others names and maybe an interesting fact about each other.

Prior to students arrival set up 4-5 stations of simple activities(each station should be no more than 4 minutes in length of time). Bowling, shooting baskets, exercises, hula hoop, throwing and catching, kicking, etc. Make sure they are appropriate activities for the age level. Explain to the classes the signal for movement, which way they will rotate with their gym buddy, and demonstrate each station. During the demonstration phase of the class give hints and tips to the older students to help facilite their jobs. Play upbeat music during the class. Walk around and check to see if the gym buddy matches are paired up happily. If not, move students around until you have created a good match.

Speak to each class afterwards to get feedback as to which activities were successful. If the students had a problem with their gym buddy, jot that down and change the pair in your next gym buddy session.

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Posted on PEC: 2/13/2003 and has received 65 votes.

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