We started class with warm up exercises moving our bodies in various forms : “as big as we can be” and “as small as we can be”. The kids then shared shapes they can make with their bodies, then we worked with with simple black and white stick figure card prompts. The Quarks explored about 8 different shape cards together as a group then did some partner work on their own, unprompted. 

Warm up continued with:

  • Laying down in the grass in starfish form for a 60 second calming break / reset before moving onto the next activity.
  • We then talked about the word “bridge” and it’s dual grammatical functions – noun and verb.
  • Parts of speech were introduced using Montessori Grammar symbols; a Red Sphere for Verbs (action/balls moving) and a Black Pyramid for Nouns (strong visual presence + reference to a person, place, or thing). The kids were drawn to these objects –  Lots of fun unplanned silly play to bring everyone together!

The group viewed printed examples of bridges — a Suspension Bridge in Peru, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and an ancient Medieval Bridge from England.

The Quarks completed additional warm-up partner work exploring ways bridges work to connect two points using tension or pressure. 

  • First, we explored “suspension” and created a long line holding hands gently tugging on one another to feel the tension of what a suspension bridge feels like. 
  • In exploring “pressure” the group gently pushed on one another to experience what a stone bridge feels like. Introduced the term “keystone” for the person in the middle.

The majority of class was spent playing a cooperative teamwork game – “Cross the River“. The goal of the game was for all Quarks to cross an imaginary river using 5 “stepping stones” (agility dots – Thanks Sam!!) and 2 corded jump ropes. Starting point was a “river bank” (aerobic stepper – Thanks Kathy!!) which they crowded upon and practiced close body proximity courtesy and balance. (A few students chose to sit out or create other roles for themselves, which was excellent problem solving)

The first person crossing could only cross if the remaining team mates on the bank passed forward stones or ropes. The last person to cross was responsible for collecting the leftover stones and passing them to the front. The group worked to reach the final destination; an “island” with a volunteer “palm tree” that continued to “float away” (via continental drift) with each interval of the game. Perils such as tumultuous winds and sharks increased difficulty for the final level. “Cross the River” was successfully played 3 times before class ended, and I think the group had fun overall and did some excellent work together.

Physical Education Skills practiced include personal body awareness, shape naming practice,  finding one’s own “personal bubble”, awareness of others, balance, non-linear thinking, communication / teamwork, sequential planning and execution. 

Weekly Summary: Bodies and bridges / teamwork exercises – Quarks – Gym