Having the gym taken for other school activities can be STRESSFUL! It seems to always come at a time where things are moving along well in the gym and bam(!) you can’t use it for a day or so. Some of my most stressful times as a teacher have been trying to figure out what in the world to do on those days where I don’t get to teach in my normal environment. In a perfect world I am able to use my outdoor space instead of having to go in a classroom, but there is always rain, non conducive temperatures, or maybe just the absence of a useable outdoor space.
I hope throughout this blog I will be able to give you some ideas of what you can do if this happens to you! Keep in mind I teach high school age kids, so what I do may vary widely from what you feel like you can do.
Sometimes you lose your teaching space for more than 1 day, honestly, I find that to be easier than a day here or there. At least then, I can use that time to really focus on some health units. Below are ideas for things you can do in a few days if you have that time away from the gym…
- CPR/First Aid- we use studentcpr.com and it is easy to use and understand. It is about an hour and a half of videos about CPR and First Aid with a post test afterwards. The fun part is the students get an emailed CPR card after they pass the test! Our school also has a few CPR dummies that we use for a hands on portion. Sometimes our nurses come in and do it for me, but most of the time I lead it. I have also had the local Fire Department come out and speak at the beginning of this unit to talk about the importance of CPR/First Aid. It is a great hook and gets them invested in really paying attention. I also spend a lot of time making sure students know where the life saving equipment is in our school so I created a first aid scavenger hunt for this mini unit so students can search the school and find the AED/First Aid Kits/First Responders etc. (If you are interested it is here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/First-Aid-Scavenger-Hunt-7644532)
- Nutrition- depending on how long you have you will need to decide how in depth you are going to go into nutrition.
- Macronutrients- I created a mini project specifically for this! Students create a choice board collage for one of the macronutrients. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Macronutrient-Choice-Board-7616775
- Pre/Post exercise nutrition
- How to read a nutrition label
- Healthy Meal Planning
- Anatomy- Introduce the skeleton and have them learn the names of the bones and/or muscles. One of my favorite activities is to have them build a giant skeleton and label it!
But what do you do when you have one random day without the gym? You don’t have enough time for a whole unit…so what do you do?
- Tackle one health related issue
- Social Media Issues
- Self Esteem and Bullying
- Healthy Relationships
- Motivation- Intrinsic/Extrinsic
- Stress Management
- Mental Health
- The list could be so much longer. Take one of your health topics and use your day away from the gym as productive time to tackle of one these issues.
- Easy plug and play activities
- Name Workout
- Pick a Card Fitness
- Pick Your Path Fitness
- Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
- These games are discussed on my blog here: https://elliottsactiveacademy.com/classroom-activities/ and could easily be modified to be done inside a classroom.
Sometimes you walk into school and your gym is taken with no warning…and those days you may just want to watch a movie. I get it, that’s real life! Here are some of my favorites (again I teach high schoolers) that can inspire great conversation post movie.
- A Mile In His Shoes (Amazon Prime) Rated PG
- The Perfect Game (Amazon Prime) Rated PG
- Invincible (Disney+ or Amazon Prime) Rated PG
- McFarland USA (Amazon Prime) 13+
- The Rookie (Disney+) Rated G
- Just Eat It! Documentary about food waste (YouTube, Hulu)
- Glory Road (Disney+) Rated PG but some language
- Everybody Walk, The Walking Revolution Documentary (YouTube) – only 30 mins and a great way to get students talking about how they can be more active
- No Excuses Documentary (https://www.pecentral.org/mediacenter/video_noexcusesfilm.html)
- Miracle (Disney+) Rated PG
I surveyed some teachers and asked them what they do when they lose their gym, here were there answers:
- Cardio Drumming- I could never do this because our building is small and the other teachers would not love us making a huge amount of noise, but I LOVE THIS IDEA.
- Chess and other board games
- Fitness Videos- this is great if they give you the cafeteria or other big area, maybe not as much in a classroom. Fitnessblender on YouTube is a fantastic resource for easy to use fitness videos.
- Fitness Jenga
- Tabletop Games- there are so many options (table basketball, shuffleboard, bowling, etc) out there if you have a budget for them!
- Yoga/Mindfulness Activities
The best way to plan for a day out of the gym…GO ON A FIELD TRIP! This only works if you know a good bit ahead of time, but makes the day fun! Again I teach high schoolers so going off school grounds is a little easier than if you teach younger kids. Here are some field trip ideas:
- Mini Golf
- Local Park
- Grocery Store- sounds crazy but its more fun than you think! I do this field trip every year during my nutrition unit and they use the grocery store to go on a nutrition label scavenger hunt (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Nutrition-Label-Scavenger-Hunt-7382485)
- Ice Skating
- Local Health Club- if you contact them they may can do a special fitness class for you
- VIRTUAL Field Trip
Losing the gym can be a headache, but there are so many ways to get students moving inside a classroom or cafeteria. The biggest thing to remember is to make sure that the activity or topic you choose is still productive and fits within your standards. The students won’t be happy about losing a day of fun in the gym, but if you keep your enthusiasm and make sure to have some fun when you are displaced, they will too!