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Name of Activity:
Field Day To Do List and Planning
Purpose of Activity:To showcase all of the steps to successfully planning a field day. This list makes sure you don't forget anything.
Suggested Grade Level:K-12
Description of Idea
Field Day To-Do List
1. Decide on a Theme
2. Plan activities
a) Figure out how many activities you need per session by counting the number of classes in your school. We always have a morning session and an afternoon session. The older kids generally go in the morning and the younger ones in the afternoon. Divide the classes as equally as possible. It’s easier to separate complete grade levels between sessions but not always possible. I always have the oldest grade level help run the activities. We have four 5th grade classes and I will be using about half the students to help me run Field Day (4 students per station). So that means I will only need to plan for two 5th grade classes to be attending the Field Day events like the rest of the school.
b) Remember to include a break station (popsicles, orange slices, or something)
c) Plan one extra activity than you have groups. This gives your kids who are running the events a much-needed break during the session.
3. Map your activities around your school and set up your rotation to go in an obvious direction. Number each of your activities so you can easily keep track of events, materials, and mapping.
4. Write station descriptions and materials lists for each activity. Take note of what you need to procure well in advance so you have time for shipping, etc. Create a donation document for the teachers in your school! I had most of my extra items donated by teachers (balloons, buckets, sponges, squirt bottles, etc) and it helped me immensely!!
5. Create master rotation schedule. I have found that 12 minutes at each station is enough to keep kids moving and engaged without getting bored and not so short that they don't have time to complete the activity. Do NOT try to create a passing period between stations. It never works. The kids running the stations are never forthright enough to make classes wait until their break is over so they start when the next class comes anyway.
6. Talk with oldest grade level in the school about having them volunteer to run the stations. Work hand in hand with their teachers. I have found that 4 students per station is best. It allows one or two to take a quick bathroom break without losing supervision over the activity.
a) Allow any student to volunteer but, work with teachers to decide on those who will benefit from the experience, who will be more helpful than not, pair each person with at least one friend.
b) Make groups of four, although you may adjust as needed.
c) Create detailed descriptions of each event and give them to each of your volunteers. Have on it a description of their station, station number, names of each person in their group, materials needed for their station, and station location. Do NOT hand out schedules until the morning of Field Day.
d) If possible, hold a training session with your volunteers during the couple of days before field day. I took 20 minutes with each group, showing them how to set up their activity and run it. Make sure each student understands their activity and is able to run it fairly well.
7. Create individual schedules for each teacher showing location, station name, and times. Also create schedules for each individual station so they know which teacher is coming when and what time they have breaks.
8. Take time during a faculty meeting (preferably the meeting before Field Day) to hand out schedules, maps, and a letter which gives the how-tos of Field Day. Include that teachers are not to rotate until they hear the air horn, that they are not to come down to their first event until they are told to do so over the intercom, and that they are to be helpful in keeping their students under control. Our 5th graders are willingly volunteering to do this. They are kids. They will need help getting the students to behave and listening to their directions, especially their peer groups! Also, remember to be sure the teachers do NOT use their own watches and clocks. You need to be in charge of signaling the rotation. Finally, remind the teachers that there will be NO OUTSIDE RECESS on the day of Field Day. We will also have students go directly into the school when they arrive in the morning. This allows us to set up our activities outside before school and leave everything up during lunch without equipment getting messed with.
9. I have always gotten lunch for my field day volunteers. I typically order pizza for them as a gift from me. That will need to be ordered at least 24 hours prior to your desired pick up time. Organize someone to go pick it up for you on the day of field day. I usually ask another specialty teacher since they don’t have classes that week. I always let them have pizza with me in the gym in between stations. Remember that you need to offer healthy alternatives and milk to keep in line with the Wellness Policy. Get popsicles, coolers, and ice. If you need a special spigot for the outdoor water faucets, you will need to get your hands on that as well.
10. On the day before Field Day, stage all your equipment in the gym. Organize the equipment by station so that it is easily seen and can be taken by your volunteers the next morning when they arrive to set up their activity.
11. On the morning of Field Day, your volunteers should be in the gym about an hour before the first session begins. This gives them time to set their event up and it gives me time to go around and make sure things are set up properly and ready to go. As your volunteers come, get them their things and send them off to their locations. Make sure every activity is ready to go 15 minutes before the first class comes.
12. During Field day:
a) 5 minutes before the first station begins, announce over the PA system that classes in the morning session may head down to their first event.
b) Monitor the time. Blow the air horn when each rotation time has finished.
c) Observe each activity. Find out if things are going well. If they need anything.
13. During the lunch break, volunteers may set up their station so it is ready for the first rotation of the afternoon session. There will be no outside recess so there is no reason to believe that the equipment will be messed with. Volunteers can come into the gym and eat some pizza and relax for a while. They will need it!!
14. Start afternoon session the same way as the morning with an announcement over the PA system 5 minutes before the first activity begins.
15. At the end of the day, have all the kids bring their equipment into the gym so we can organize it and put it away. Be sure to pick up any trash that is lurking on the grounds. When the bell rings, they are free to go.
Take this great online course on PE Central called Making Your Field Day Shine: How to Plan and Execute a Field Day That Rocks! with instructor Charles Silberman.
See all kinds of Field Day ideas (including free ebooks) and information here
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