Marilyn Denning's Lesson Plans,Games and Tips
Marilyn Denning


NEW PFA STYLE LESSON PLAN - "Cones Up, Cones Down"


Marilyn’s PFA Motivational Awards Program
Awards at each grade level for the top scorers in each fitness category. Students always want to know what the current best score is so they can try to beat it.

6,7,8 Minute Running Club
To be eligible students need to run their mile in 8.59 or less to be in the 8 min. club, 7.:59 or less, 6:59 or less, etc.; either their pre or post test score can count. At the end of the 6 minute club members are awarded a gold medal, 7 minute club silver medals, 8 minute club bronze metals.

Most Improved
A Most Improved Award is given to the 3 most improved people at each grade level. I figure an improvement score for each child. The score is computed as follows:

  • 1 pt for each sit - up over their pre-test score
  • 1 pt for each pull-up over their pre-test score
  • 1 pt for each vault over their pre-test score
  • 1 pt for each 10 seconds they lower their mile score
  • 1 pt for each horizontal ladder pass over their pre-test score
  • 1 pt for each additional step on the step test


PFA Cones Up, Cones Down
Grades 2-6
Equipment needed: 40-60 cones (can vary in size)

Set up:
Divide the class into two teams. I team is the "up", the other is "down". In an area near the Project Fit course, give one half of the cones to the "up" team and one half to the "down" team. The "up" team scatters their cones in the area standing up. The "down" team scatters their cones in the same area but "down" (turned on their side). Half of each team will start in the cone area, the other half at the project fit area.

The students in the cone area--if they are on the up team they run to set up 5 cones that are down. The students on the down team run to turn over 5 cones that are up. After 5 they must run to project fit equipment and complete a predetermined number of reps on a piece of equipment and may return to the cone area.

  • The students in the project fit area - Students here will do a predetermined number of reps at a station then move to a cone area,
  • If you want to make it competitive, at the end of the playing time count the number of cones up or down to see which team wins.
  • The cones up, cones down may also be played in the gym as a cardiovascular game.
  • Another option is to tell the kids they must go to a different station each time they return to the Project Fit area.

Marilyn’s Tips, Hints & Observations

  1. Most of the lessons I use I have "borrowed" from other teachers, gotten from books, or at conventions and workshops. I look for fitness components in the new lessons. Then I try to change or adapt if I don't think the students get a good enough workout. For example, "elimination games" can be made more active by having perimeter activities that the students do while they normally would be out. After a certain number of reps, the student can rejoin the game, thus making it a continuous activity.
  2. Whenever possible, use music. Music can be used as a cue to "go" and "stop". I use classical music where it is appropriate and then mention who the composer was.
  3. "It never hurts to ask." Whenever I have needed equipment, help, support, etc. from administrators, staff or PTO I just ask. If you explain what you need and why, how will it benefit the students, and how it will help the students meet state standards, people are more likely to say "yes". Putting in writing is a big plus and making a personal presentation also helps.
  4. Help each child to see where they have strengths and what areas need improvement. Quick, easy assessments help students see where they are. They love to beat their scores.
  5. Develop an "I can" atmosphere that is non-threatening. Let your students know that you realize everyone is different, some people are faster than others, some are stronger, but what matters is that you work hard to improve.
  6. Always evaluate lessons--how can I make this one lesson work better for my students in our gym?
  7. Develop a motivational rewards program. It doesn't have to be elaborate. It gives the students a goal to achieve, something to work for.
  8. Have sharing sessions with other PE teachers in your district. Bring and demonstrate a lesson.
  9. In the past I have written short articles for the monthly newsletter on topics related to fitness, what we are teaching in the gym, how families can have active fun together.
In summary, the students' love to try and beat their own scores. I have always tried to create an atmosphere in the gym where all students feel comfortable to move, try, make mistakes and keep trying. I stress respecting everyone so they can work hard to improve. We discuss as a class at the beginning of the year how we are going to work together, respect one another and improve ourselves.

The staff here at Highland has been an integral part of making PFA succeed. Everyone learned how the equipment was to be used safely. We have a rotation schedule which changes daily so each grade level gets to use the area during lunch recess (year round). So many students wanted to be on the equipment at the same time and we had a safety issue.

Last spring while doing post testing with the students and seeing how excited they were about their improvement and how hard they worked, I felt some recognition was in order. While working on their scores to report for post testing, I developed an awards program. At the end of the school year funds are usually depleted, but I explained the idea to the PTO and they came up with the money to fund the awards. The awards were given out at our end of the year recognition and were a big hit. This fall I could hear the students talking about how they are going to win a certain award, or ask after running their mile, "does that put me in the 7 minute club?" It is very rewarding to see students so excited and motivated. I really do feel that since Highland has become a part of PFA that I really do make a difference.

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