Friday I had both the 5-6 class and our 7-8 group for Wake-Up PE first thing in the morning.
The previous day, I had introduced the 5-6 class to the fantastically named fartlek, a Swedish form of exercise in which one alternates aerobic and anaerobic exercise--a fancy way of saying you speed up and slow down. We tried it over at County Farm Park in its simplest form: people walk in a straight line of pairs; the last pair in the line sprints to the front.
Earlier still, I had introduced the 7-8 class to less naughtily named parkour, a French for of exercise in which one creates obstacle courses, using found objects as barriers--a fancy way of saying you jump over things. We concentrated on playground parkour, where the students climbed on monkey bars, balance-walked around the rim of the gaga court, skipped over boulders, and jumped over fallen logs.
Friday's class was a combination of these activities. In nine mixed groups of three, the students created nine parkour events, building a course on the playground. Then each group contributed one member to a fresh group of nine, which learned and then ran the course. Meanwhile, the other eighteen students ran a fartlek around the school building, before forming a high-fiving Gauntlet of Congratulation to welcome the nine parkour runners. Then the groups rotated.
I liked this exercise for its creativity, flexibility, agility--you can do it anywhere--and reliability on the kids' efforts. Also, they were all breathing hard when we were done.