Name/Title: "Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving"

Academic content: Language Arts and Health Education

Purpose of Event: To practice the locomotor skills of jumping and leaping, the body management skills of forward rolls and moving on scooters, and the object control skill of striking an object with a short-handled implement. This activity integrates physical education with two other curricular areas: language arts (listening comprehension) and health (nutrition.)

Prerequisites: Understanding of how to perform a forward roll, how to jump, how to leap, and how to strike an object with a short-handled implement. Read the story "Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving" by Dav Pilkey.

Suggested Grade Level: K-2

Materials Needed: Cones, 2 long ropes, incline mat, beach balls (to represent turkeys), lollipop paddles or foam hands, food pyramid chart, plastic food. Extra items may be used as props to represent the route for the field trip, for example, paper trees, leaves, road signs, etc.

Physical activity: Locomotor skills and object control skills.

Description of Idea

Read the book “Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.” (A brief synopsis: This story is about a group of children who go on a field trip with their teacher to a turkey farm. They discover that the farmer intends to butcher the turkeys for the feast, so the children help the turkeys escape.)

Tell students that they will be able to review the story that was just read, as they move through the stations practicing various motor skills. Demonstrate what is to be done at each station. Have the students line up at the first station, and when the first student has a good start on the scooter (about 1/3 of the way through the “field trip,”) start the next student. Remind students not to crowd each other at each station, and to wait for the person in front of them to finish before they go on to the next station. After students go through the course once, you will be able to see if adjustments need to be made, such as making the field trip shorter or longer, adding to the number of leaps across the river, shortening or lengthening the distance between the “turkey pen” and the “bus.” The goal is to have all students actively participating, not standing around waiting in line.

Station 1: “Field Trip”- Equipment and set up: Scooter and cones. Place cones in a windy path. Use other materials for decorating the path to make it look like an autumn field trip in a school bus. Directions: Students will move around various obstacles on the scooters.

Station 2: “Over the River” – Equipment and set up: Two long ropes. Place the ropes on the floor, close together at one end and gradually spreading apart to a greater distance at the other end. This gives the students the opportunity to jump or leap over the amount of space that they are comfortable with. Directions: Students will jump or leap from one side of the “river” to the other, 4-5 times.

Station 3: “Down the Hill”- Equipment and set up: Incline mat. If an incline (wedge) mat is unavailable, use a regular mat, with folded mats stacked underneath to form an incline. Directions: Students will roll down the “hill,” pretending to be Farmer Mack Nuggett and the teacher, fetching water for the children.

Station 4: “Turkey Escape!”- Equipment and set up: Beach balls, foam hands or lollipop handles, 2 goals (ie., floor hockey goals) set up opposite each other. Directions: Students will roll the beach balls (turkeys) using the foam hands or lollipop paddles, starting at one goal (the turkey pen) and moving them to the other goal (the school bus.)

Station 5: “Turkey Feast”- Equipment and set up: Obtain an assortment of plastic food, including items from each food group. Check with the Kindergarten or Early Childhood classrooms to see if you can borrow items. You could also cut out pictures from magazines or draw items on paper. Lay a big poster of the Food Pyramid on the floor. Have a container holding the food items. Directions: Students will place the food items from a container to the correct category space on the food pyramid. Each student should place 3-4 items, then move to the next station. When the container of items is depleted, instruct students to clear the pyramid and start over.

Huddle: Five minutes before class is over, gather the students together to discuss the food pyramid. Ask for examples of food items that were placed in each of the groups. Talk about the importance of including food from all the food groups in our diet, for example, “five-a-day” for fruits and vegetables.

Assessment Ideas:

Use an observation checklist to offer feedback to the students on the following skills: jumping, leaping, forward roll, and striking.

Submitted by Richard Lynerd who teaches at Fruitland Primary School in Fruitland, MD. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 3/8/2004.
Visit S&S Discount for all your physical education equipment and supplies!