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Written by Mark Manross
Instant activities are designed to get physical education classes off to a quick, dynamic, and fun start. This is in contrast to how we typically see physical education classes beginning. Usually, the teacher either talks to students about what is going to happen for the day, and/or roll call is taken. In both instances students are sometimes sitting for lengthy periods of time--which is what they usually have been doing for most of the school day already. The last thing students want to do when they get to physical education class is sit. They come to class ready to move! This is where instant activities become valuable.
Instant activities take advantage of students' desire to move when they get to PE class. Students either arrive at the class and quickly read about the activity they are going to perform, or teachers may meet them at the door and explain what they are to do. Upon completion of the activity, the students are rejuventated, and more likely ready to listen to the teachers instructions.
IA's typically last for approximately five minutes and are usually made up of an activity or activities which raises students' heart rates. Some IA's are tag games, others are skill practice from previous lessons, and some IA's extend to last the entire class period. Instant activities allow for not only student engagement in a fun and appropriate activity, but they often allow a teacher to assess students' progress in a skill or activity. Many teachers also find this a perfect time to take roll call or fill out student-related paperwork which must be completed during the course of the physical education period.
It is a misconception that every lesson need to start with an Instant Activity. On many ocassions it is important to start the day with a sit down discussion or take roll. In addition, not every IA is always going to be one that raises the students heart rate. Sometimes it is appropriate to do an activity that is quiet in nature so as to settle students down (i.e., kids coming from recess or lunch). As it is in many instances, it is up to the discretion of the teacher to make the choice of whether or not to use an IA and as to what type they want to use.
Written by Mark Manross who is the Executive Editor at PE Central. Thanks for contributing to PE Central!