Next unit: Spring Fitnessgram
April is the start of the STEM Track & Field season and in physical education classes, students had the opportunity to try their hand on several of the various Track & Field events. Students learned specifics related to sprinting events, throwing events, long jumping, distance running, and how to run a relay race. Physical skills were tested as each student was able to see where their best performance was and how the various events that could be a part of a track & field meet are run. Several students discovered that they were quite good at certain activities and decided to be a part of this year's STEM track & field team. Overall, student performances were great and all students found out something about their physical abilities through this individual performance activity.
Next unit: Spring Fitnessgram
The month of March found students in physical education being introduced to the target sport of Archery. New to STEM Saratoga students learned the proper way to stand, load (nock) arrows, draw back a compound bow, aim and shoot at a target. For many students this was a new skill and for others it became a test of their accuracy when shooting at a target. Students were engaged shooting a series of arrows at the target and learning how to score points based on how close to the bullseye they could come.
Next Units in April will be Team Handball, Floor Hockey and Track & Field.
Our afterschool activities finds Spring as the startup for our interscholastic Track & Field season. Practices begin April 9th from 3-4 pm with a brief meeting following the first practice to provide interested parents with season information and team specifics. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved and find an activity that suits a student's skill sets.
The month of February found students in physical education classes learning the net/wall game of volleyball. Students were taught how to serve, forearm pass (bump), overhead pass (set), spike and block. After learning and practicing the skills students were taught the basic rules of volleyball while engaged in games where they were allowed to practice teamwork, fundamental strategies, and demonstrate good sportsmanship. It was incredible to see students advance in their skill level as they learned to play this lifetime sport.
Afterschool activities allowed students to apply their learned volleyball skills in a competitive situation as STEM Saratoga ran its annual intramural volleyball tournament. The competition was extreme as students implemented team strategies and put into practice the skills developed during PE classes. Overall the competition was some of the best seen at STEM in years and students had a lot of fun.
The month of March will present a Training camp on Tuesday's and Thursday's to set up for our Track & Field team. Students are welcome to come and get an intense workout to help prepare them for the upcoming season. Track & Field practices begins April 9th with a parent informational meeting following the first practice - our first interscholastic meet is April 24th.
Units coming up in March: Archery
The month of January has students developing their basketball skills. Students worked on basic fundamentals of the game of basketball to prepare them to play on a recreational, pick-up, or competitive level. Skills developed included: Dribbling under control, passing, shooting, man to man defense, offensive positions and the fundamental rules of the game (violations and fouls).
Students were allowed to engage at the level they felt most comfortable at by choosing a recreational game, semi-competitive competition, and a competitive live-action game. We concluded the unit with a final written reflection on both the previous month's challenge course and the basics of basketball.
To apply the basketball principles, several afterschool options were made available including an all school lightning tournament and later in conjunction with our Am Heart Association Kids Heart Challenge the annual Staff vs Student basketball game. Overall, the unit was fun and gave students a great opportunity to learn basketball at a level that will be meaningful for them.
Next Units: Mid year Pacer Test followed by Volleyball
Afterschool Activities: Starting in February, we will begin our afterschool volleyball games. Students can organize their own team of 6 and play against other teams from 3-4 Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning February 5th. It is a good opportunity to develop your skills and have some fun with your friends.
Badminton was the activity in Physical Education for the Month of December. Students learned the fundamentals of racket sports in this fast paced game. Each student worked to play doubles understanding the skills, scoring, fitness components and competitive nature of this fun and engaging game. The unit concluded with students having the opportunity to engage in an all school badminton doubles tournament where they could show off their talents in a competitive situation. All who participated had a great time and were able to apply what was learned.
Prior to our holiday break, students worked through a challenge course set up in the gymnasium. Teams worked together to analyze, consult, collaborate, and decide how to collectively move through a series of tough obstacles using balance, coordination, and flexibility to weave their way through the challenges as a team. Many teams were able to go far through the obstacles without error but in the end students learned honesty, integrity, teamwork, and the sense of accomplishment in their adventures.
With the new year students will work on basketball skills and have the opportunity to compete in an all school Lightning Tournament - students should listen for information regarding dates times and opportunities.
November was a month that saw physical education students designing and working a personalized physical fitness program. Classes worked through a "Health Club" set up which consisted of 12 individual stations including spin bikes, kettle bells, bosu balls, dumb bell weights, resistance bands, medicine balls, plyometric boxes, agility ladders, heavy ropes, stability balls, weighted fitness bars, TRX training straps, jump ropes and an elliptical trainer. Students were to choose a specific exercise at each station designed to meet their own personal fitness goals and track progress as they worked through the circuit. The goal is to develop an understanding of how to set up an individualized workout program that meets the students personal needs by learning how to use a variety of different types of fitness equipment which could be available at a health club facility. A targeted abdominal workout to build core muscular strength was made available to challenge students to test their fitness level and a yoga workout gave them the opportunity to develop flexibility. Overall, students performed well while understanding how to design a workout for themselves.
In afterschool activities, students participated in the site based Elks club "Hoop Shoot" competition. Winners in each age group will have the opportunity to advance to the regional competition to be held December 8th at Hillcrest Elementary. The month of December will allow students to compete in the all school Badminton tournament on the Thursday the 13th from 3-4:30 pm.
Next PE unit: Badminton
Physical Education Students completed their unit on the Fitnessgram and started a new unit on Soccer Skills. Students demonstrated their ability to dribble a ball with their feet, pass, trap, and even shoot on a goal. All students continually through play developed balance, coordination, agility, some cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, and flexibility as they attempted to apply their skills in a game situation.
The unusually wet and cold weather limited our ability to play outdoors during the month, but some very competitive games were held indoors where many were surprised at their understanding of the game, skills and abilities during play. Teamwork, offensive and defensive strategies and an attitude of good sportsmanship led to many days of enjoyable activity along with the understanding of how to work together to contribute in an effort to help their team win.
The unit concluded with the tracking of activity time for one week in the month of October, a test of student understanding of the game of soccer, and a personal reflection of what was learned, how they performed, and where this learning might be helpful in the future.
Next unit: Personal Fitness.
On a secondary note, the 2018 Cross Country season ended on October 11th with a race at the Waukesha EXPO grounds. Even though the temperature was cold, the runners put forth their best effort to show Waukesha the heart and perseverance of the runners at STEM. It was a great season and we want to thank all parents for their efforts at watching their children run at the meets and picking them up from practices. Our next interscholastic team begins in Spring where the STEM Track & Field team will once again try to do their best in multiple events throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
In the meantime - keep your ears open for upcoming afterschool activities to be a part of through the winter months.
With the start of the new year, students were challenged when performing a series of fitness tests commonly referred to as the Cooper Institute's Fitnessgram battery of Health-related Fitness tests. The tests measure Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Flexibility, Cardiovascular Endurance, and awareness of current Body Composition. Understanding these characteristics of fitness helps students understand their level of physical fitness at the start of the academic year. Test results create a common benchmark or starting point toward student self-awareness of physical fitness and provides an opportunity to set personal goals for improvement during the year.
Daily warm-up exercises target each specific test and help to advance student skill along with preparing them for daily physical activity. PE units focus on fundamental skills that every physically literate person should possess and challenge students to learn more about the importance of physical activity and overall well being. It is also a great way to socially interact, work with others, and learn to be a part of a team. Students conclude this unit with a personal reflection which helps them identify goals for the year. Next Unit: Team Soccer.
On another note, the STEM Cross Country Season began the first week of September. The 53 athletes from STEM represented our school well at several of the season meets. It has been a great opportunity to see how students from STEM measure up to other students from other school as well as those at different Waukesha middle schools. Overall, our team has been "running away" with fun this season and working hard to improve their times with every meet. The season concludes on October 10th at the Waukesha Expo Grounds where the 2018 STEM runners will have the opportunity to show what they can do.
Activities to come: Dodgeball tournament, Hoop Shoot Competition, Badminton Tournament, Lightning (Knock out) Tounament, and the annual Student vs Staff Basketball game. Listen for the announcements and be sure to join the fun.
The month of April found Physical Education students engaged in several team activities. First we began with team handball where students worked together collectively as a team to try to score on an opponent while playing in this extremely cardiovascular activity. Students developed strategies to move a ball toward a goal passing and catching and using team strategies to defeat their opponents.
Team handball was followed by floor hockey where similar team strategies were used as teams worked to control a puck with a floor hockey stick passing and trapping while moving toward an opponents goal. Team work and puck control is the key as students had several competitive games. This unit built coordination, agility, balance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and the ability to work together.as a team to compete against classmates. Overall, both units saw the development of collaboration and cooperation to achieve a common goal.
We began a dance unit to teach footwork, rhythmic movement, and build balance and coordination. Line dances worked to improve the use of rhythmic patterns to music and concluded with the basics of partner dancing in a basic pattern. Students learned proper etiquette for dance and were able to exercise in the process.
We are currently in a pickleball unit. Using racket/paddle skills to score points students are working to learn the rules of pickleball.
On the athletic side, STEM's Track & Field season has begun and students have been practicing to prepare for a series of meets coming up in May. The late snow resulted in a cancelled meet, but all students are ready and anxious to compete and with a large number of meets scheduled, we will soon be underway.
Next Unit: Spring Fitnessgram Testing
The month of March found Physical Education students developing motor and coordination skills through a Team Handball and Floor Hockey Unit. Through these great team activities students enhanced their cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, and flexibility.
Team Handball helps students learn to work together as a member of a team and strategize how to move the ball quickly and effectively in an attempt to score against the opponents goalie. Games were extremely fast pace and students worked hard throughout the entire class period, many students said that this game was one of their favorites of the year.
From Team Handball classes transitioned into Floor Hockey, now using an implement, such as a hockey stick, to control an object and working again as a team to score against an opponent. Similar to team handball in terms of offensive and defensive strategies, but the challenge of working with a hockey stick taxed students fine motor skills as they attempted to dribble, pass, and shoot at the goal all under control. Overall, students engaged in collaborative teamwork, cooperation, skill development, vigorous exercise and lots of fun.
Afterschool activiites held a track & field training camp to give students an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming track season which will start April 9th. We had a great turnout and we are looking forward to a very promising season.
Next Unit: Dance / Track & Field Skills
I am an active individual who loves sports and the outdoor life. Hobbies include hiking, biking, roller blading, kayaking, camping, backpacking, cross country and downhill skiing. My wife and I enjoy traveling and specifically visiting our great national parks.