Ryan Cherry » Weekly Updates- Decatur PE

Weekly Updates- Decatur PE

April 8-12, 2024

Primary students wrapped up their jump rope units showing great improvement from the beginning to the end of the unit. They continued to work on learning new tricks while refining their basic skills throughout the unit. Many students started without being able to complete any jumps to where they can complete multiple turns of the rope in a row without a mistake.


Intermediate students took assessments this week to demonstrate their improvement in jump rope from the beginning of the unit til now. They also began working on creating their own jump rope routines.


Jr. High students took their rugby rules assessment and continued working on their rugby skills through a set build up games including monkey in the middle and ultimate end ball. Next week students will play several days of flag rugby and work on their line outs.


We wrapped up our March Madness school tournament for grades 4-8th and Harrison Machemer won the Women’s NCAA Tournament bracket and Troy Gonzalez won the Men’s NCAA tournament bracket for our school. Check out the photo with them and their trophies


April 1-5, 2024

Primary students this week continued on in their jump rope unit working on improving the number of consecutive jumps they can do.  It was so exciting to students who had been working really hard to get better at jump rope finally have it click where they could do multiple jumps in a row.  So proud of the hard work our students are putting in!


Intermediate students worked on their jump rope unit by working on learning new intermediate level tricks, testing themselves on the basic level tricks they already learned and improving the number of jumps they can do. Next week students will do the endurance challenge.


Jr High students continued their rugby unit by playing a series of rugby build up games and learning about the line out part of the game. Students played games like monkey in the middle, partner score, and rugby tag. Students are using flags instead of being tackled. They learned about different plays to run out of a line out and how to throw a line out pass. Next week students will take their assessment on the rules of rugby and play flag rugby.


March 18-22, 2024

Primary students continued with their jump rope unit working on accomplishing a single bounce jump while also trying backwards jumps and double bounce jumps.


Intermediate students competed in the jump rope endurance challenge to see if they could join the 1 minute, 2 minute and 3 minute clubs for students who could jump continuously for that length of time without a mistake. Students will get multiple chances for this challenge throughout the unit for students to have something to work towards. Later in the week students played Hungry Hippos with a myriad of balls and soft objects, scooters where teams tried to collect the most points.


Jr. High Students began their rugby unit by watching part of a Rugby championship match between Australia and South Africa. Students made observations and shared their noticings and wonderings from the clip. Students completed a pre unit assessment on their understanding of several skills and rules. Later they practiced their pendulum passes and pop passes.

March 11-15, 2024

Primary students continued in their jump rope unit by working through a series of stations from learning basic jump rope tricks to box jumps. We continue to review best practices for keeping everyone safe throughout our jump rope unit so that students are remembering to look out for those around them while they jump and as they move through the gym while others are jumping.


Intermediate students were introduced to basic tricks with their ropes and practiced them. They also worked on completing a self assessment to see where they are at to start the unit and then will compare that to where they end the unit later on. Students celebrated Pi Day with races around finding the first 7 digits of Pi using uno cards and a relay format. Check out the photos in my posts section.


Jr. High Students worked on their team building unit playing kickball with a giant recess ball and used different strategies to adapt to some new rules for the field. Students also took on the Pi Challenge of trying to find the first 7-15 digits of Pi for their team from a set of uno cards on the other side of the gym.


March 4-8, 2024

Primary students started a jump rope unit where they saw a short clip of one of the best jump ropers in the world, Adrienn Banhegyi, to give students a sense of how far they could go with jump rope. We also discussed how hard work and perseverance were important parts of Adrienn’s success. Students started the unit with jumping over a stationary rope to practice the footwork in some of the basic tricks to help ease students into jumping rope. Later in the week we worked on a team building activity called Cross the River. Students worked in teams to try to solve the problem of getting across the river that was radioactive due to a nearby nuclear power plant. They couldn’t touch the floor except by stepping on a set number of poly spots and yoga mat available to their team. They planned together how to get across the river and maneuver the given equipment. Please check out the photos in my posts section.


Intermediate students worked on finishing their class basketball tournaments where students called their own fouls and worked together to solve disagreements about rules or plays. Students also participated in the Cross the River activity but used less equipment to be able to overcome the challenge. After they attempted this activity the first time, we debriefed together to consider how the first phase went and what things they might change on a second attempt. Later students tried the activity again with the learning they gleaned from the first trial. At the end of the activity, the classes discussed how their group’s communication and collaboration was and how an activity like this is similar to some of the challenges of life. They did a great job engaging and reflecting honestly on the activity.


Jr. High students worked on several fitness workouts throughout the week. Later in the week they engaged in several team building games called Cross the River and Reverse Centipede.  In Cross the River teams had to use 2 fewer poly spots than people on their team to get across the gym from one side to the other. In Reverse centipede students had to hold up a mat with their feet and move the mat across the gym without letting it touch the ground. Groups were timed to see who could make it across in the least amount of time.


February 26-March 1, 2024

Primary students continued in their basketball unit playing a series of ball handling activities including Drivers test Balance Ball and Walk the dog.  Walk the Dog requires students to use their finger pads with the basketball on the floor and pretend their ball is a dog that they are walking and they need to manipulate their ball in different directions and shapes. Students also took their physical dribbling assessment based on the SHAPE standards for physical education.


Intermediate students continued in their basketball unit with more games in their round robin tournament and completed their dribbling assessment where they performed dribbling skills while moving through a series of cones. Feel free to ask your child about how their team did in the basketball class.


Jr. High students continued in their basketball unit by playing with a team of peers in a round robin tournament.  Students were introduced to the assessment course and given opportunities to test their skills ahead of time and know what they need to work on to improve their rating. Later in the week some teams played round robin games while others completed their dribbling assessment.  We wrapped up the week with a fitness day.


February 20-23, 2024

Primary students continued in their basketball unit working on ball handling and passing through drills, stations and a game called 5 alive where teams of 4-5 players work together to string together 5 passes in a row while also dribbling and moving through the designated area. It helps students to understand and practice moving to open space which is a vital component of many team sports.


Intermediate students started their basketball round robin tournament.  Students played 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 depending on the space available in the gym at various parts of the day. They worked on how they could be good teammates and work on sharing the ball. We discussed as a class what we can do when there are disagreements over rules, fouls etc.


Jr. High Students picked teams for their round robin tournament and were introduced to the dribbling assessment that they would be completing later on in the unit.  Teams started their round robin games this week and there were a lot of excited faces to be playing. Later in the week we focused on setting screens to help create more space on the court in the tournament.


February 12-16, 2024

Primary students worked on different dribbling skills in a series of stations like partner chest pass/bounce pass, bean bag dribble (balancing while dribbling) and hot spots (shooting at various spots around the basket). Later in the week we played dribble knockout and Pac Man dribbling. On Thursday primary students had the amazing opportunity to watch in the gym a live Chinese New Year Performance complete with twirling dragon flags.  The kids loved trying out these flags after the presentation. Check out the photos in my posts section. 


Intermediate students continued on with their basketball unit working through a series of basketball skill stations like bounce and chest passes, shooting layups and dribbling challenges. Later in the week students played a game called 5 alive where they work with a team of 3-4 other players where they can dribble or pass but need to get 5 consecutive passes (bounce or chest passes) in a row to score a point within a small designated area. Check out the pictures in my posts section.


Jr. high students continued working on skills in their basketball unit through 1 vs 1 dribbling and defense drills, a shooting game where each time tries to make 5 layups, 5 free throw and one 3 pointer before the other team, and a game called challengers which is kind of like free throw knockout or lightning but with the winner staying at the free throw line to take on a new challenger.


February 5-9, 2024

Primary students continued with their basketball unit working on creating their own basketball dribbling trick and playing bubble breakers. Later in the week students played dribble knockout, builders and bulldozers, and pac man dribbling. Students are focusing on getting more than one consecutive dribble in a row.


Intermediate students continued their basketball unit working on dribbling stations. Later in the week students played sideline basketball where the classes are split into 2 teams and 3 players are on the court at a time and each of the teams are on one side line.  Students can pass to their 2 teammates or to their team along the sideline.  The 3 players rotate every several minutes so everyone gets a chance on the court and on the sideline. This game emphasizes using strategy to utilize your teammates along the sideline to create additional space in the game.


Jr. High students continued on in their basketball unit with several dribbling skills relays and a corner to corner game where students worked with their teammates to cut and pass without dribbling.  Corner to corner focuses on moving to open space so that can be transferred to playing in real basketball games where the tendency is over dribble. Later in the week students played the Kareem Abdul Jabbar game and POKE (Pass or Keep Evading) to get away from the defenders.


January 29-Feb 2, 2024

This week K-2 students continued with their basketball unit focusing on various ball handling skills.  The kindergarten class worked on an integrated math unit where we brainstormed the types of things we could graph from PE class like our favorite hula hoop color, favorite exercise, favorite food group, etc. Students then broke into groups and created data collection sheets for their peers to fill in. They circulated around to each group adding their data to each data collection sheet. Then students created graphs to show their results and we analyzed the results together. Check out the pictures in my posts section!


Intermediate students started their basketball unit reviewing the dribbling cues that were learned in previous years and began working on fine tuning their dribbling skills. They played different dribbling games like dribble stoppers or dribble knockout to provide some structure and meaning to their dribbling. Later in the week I introduced proper shooting form and students got chances to work on their form against the wall. I focus on these fundamentals so they can learn them correctly early and not have to reinvent their shooting form to adjust to higher levels of basketball. It is easy for students to pick up some poor fundamentals at a young age as they try to shoot for farther distances than is age appropriate.


Jr High students began their basketball unit working on advanced dribbling skills. Students reviewed passing cues for proper chest and bounce passes.  They got a chance to practice these skills and played a game to facilitate that called all star passing. They wrapped up the week with a written assessment looking at their understanding of proper shooting technique.


January 22-26, 2024

This week students in the primary grades started their basketball unit learning about the amazing ball handlers on the Harlem Globetrotters.  Students worked on their ball handling skills focusing on using their fingertips, having their eyes up and keeping their dribble waist high. They are not at a mastery level of these skills but introducing them for further development. We also played several games like bubble breakers to practice our dribbling skills.


Intermediate students continued in their volleyball unit with their end of unit tournament and bumping assessment. I am emphasizing that students create a secure platform for bumping. Consider asking your student about “rock in a blanket” or “pancake pancake sausage sausage.”


Jr. High students continued their volleybal unit through practicing their skills in a volleyball round robin tournament. They practiced sportsmanship and utilized strategic play to help their team advance. Students also demonstrated their skills with underhand serving a volleyball.




January 16-19, 2024

This week was a short week due to the holiday and cold day on Tuesday.  Students in Jr. High participated in a round robin volleyball tournament focusing on communicating, and applying their bumping, setting and serving skills. They also completed their underhand serve assessment. Next week students will start their basketball unit. 

Students in the intermediate grades continued their volleyball tournament with emphasis on learning the game and practicing the basic skills as well as how to compete respectfully. They also were assessed on their bumping skills using the cues we learned in class.

Primary students worked on stations to help them practice striking and volleying a balloon. Students had a lot of fun with their peers as they traveled from station to station doing activities like netball, air ball and volleyball with a balloon. Check out the action in my posts section. At the end of the week 2nd graders started their new basketball unit by watching a short clip from the Harlem Globetrotters and then practicing various dribbling skills through following the leader’s actions.


Our 7th and 8th grader basketball teams kicked off their winter season with strong victories against Clinton and Brennamen respectively.  The girls team won 22-4 and the boys team claimed a 24-7 victory.  It was great to see the results of the work the students and coaches have invested.  Way to go Dolphins! Please consider coming out to Senn High School next week and 12 pm and 1pm to support the teams.


January 8-12, 2024

This week Intermediate and Jr. High students wrapped up their volleyball units as they started their volleyball tournaments. Students began being assessed on their bumping skill in the intermediate grades and their underhand serve in the Jr. High grades. They have also been working on problem solving as disagreements arise in their tournament game play.  We work on compromising and communicating to find solutions. Check out some of the game play in my posts section!

Primary students worked on striking a balloon in various forms and engaged in stations to help them improve their skills. Students showed great flexibility in working from their classroom on Thursday due to the STEM fair in the gym. It was a great opportunity to discuss how we are a community and sometimes we need to make sacrifices for each other so that others can get a valuable experience like the STEM fair.


Dec 18-21, 2023

This week students in the primary grades were assessed on their ability to strike a balloon using a paddle.

We wrapped up the week with some fun holiday stations that included elf fitness training exercises, snowball toss with the Grinch, a holiday line dance and “keepy uppy”. 


Intermediate students kept working on their bumping and setting skills reviewing the cues for each of these skills. They also completed their volleyball rules assessment. Later in the week students participated in some small sided volleyball games and students were given feedback on their underhand serves.


Jr. High students continued working on their volleyball unit applying their understanding of volleyball rules in exhibition matches. They practiced and got feedback on their underhand serves. They also participated in their end of quarter incentive.


Dec 11-15, 2023

This week was the winter show so we got creative and moved our classes all over the building- thanks to Ms Schmittle for letting us use the music space.  Primary students worked on their striking and volleying skills with both their hands and a paddle. They also engaged in a high intensity interval training workout. 

Intermediate students reviewed the rules for volleyball, watched a portion of an Olympic volleyball game and followed the leader on a workout video. Later in the week they played a build up to volleyball game called Newcomb where students can throw the ball over the net and it needs to be caught by the other team or the person closest to the ball hitting the ground is out. 

Jr.High students played a game called volleyball battleship where they practiced underhand serving while trying to land their serve in their opponent’s hula hoop on the other side of the net. Later in the week they had exhibition volleyball matches.


Dec 4-8, 2023

This week primary students are working on a striking and volleying unit where they work with balloons and foam balls to help scaffold them towards playing volleyball in future years.  They are playing games like Air Ball and Net Ball and working with their peers to volley the balloon back and forth. Intermediate students are working on their volleyball unit with continued practice of bumping and setting volleyballs.  I introduced students to the underhand serve and they practiced serving while their peers gave them feedback about the serving cues we have learned in class. Jr. High students continued on their volleyball unit working on their setting form in the game sit and set. Later in the week students worked on bumping and setting while moving quickly to the ball in a game called pass and go. Check out the activities in my posts section.


November 27-Dec 1, 2023

This week in PE students started their respective units related to volleyball. Our youngest students work on striking and volleying using balloons and foam balls to build their skills before introducing a volleyball in older grades. Primary students played games like musical balloon bop, bullseye and airball to practice striking an object. Technique gets added as students progress to different age levels and abilities. Check out their work in my posts section video.  Intermediate students used foam balls and volleyballs and were shown how to bump and set the ball.  Students practiced these 2 skills through games like pass and set circles and bump and set 4-square.

The Jr High students worked on their bumping and setting skills as well working to fine tune their ball striking and technique. We consistently reviewed what are the cues for the bumping and setting a volleyball so they have the cognitive element down before I am expecting them to do the physical portion. They practiced their skills through games like Hula Hoop Volleyball and Set Ball.


A special shout out to our 5th/6th grade Boys soccer and Girls Volleyball teams because they both won network Championships for Decatur. Congrats to all our fall sports athletes for their hard work and dedication!


November 13-17, 2023

Primary students worked on their teamwork skills and following directions while playing different parachute games like color center and igloo. We had so much fun! Check out the photos in my posts section.  Students also completed a catching assessment.  The intermediate students finished their handball tournaments focusing on sportsmanship and creating space. Check out   The Jr. High students also completed their handball tournaments. We discussed different strategy elements like using the pivot foot, the give and go and using fakes to help create space. This is a constant theme that overlaps into nearly every competition that we do. 


Please consider coming out tomorrow morning to support our girls 5th/6th volleyball and boys 5th/6th soccer teams as they compete for the network 2 championship! Boys play at 9 am at Winnemac Park (north end) and girls play at 10 am at Senn High School.  Go Dolphins!


November 6-10, 2023

This week the primary students continued to work on their throwing skills in the context of various games. Kindergarteners practiced catching objects of different sizes and weights.  One of the games they played was “free the prisoners” with a dragon, castle and moat! Kids really loved it. Later students completed a catching assessment. 

The intermediate grade students completed an overhand throwing cues assessment based on what we have learned in class about overhand throws in this unit. They also started their handball tournament.

Jr. High students watched part of an Olympic Women’s handball match to better understand the game and strategy and later started their handball tournament. 


October 30-November 3, 2023

This week students in the primary grades continued working on their underhand throwing skills at various stations around the gym. Students also played several throwing and catching tag games. The first graders engaged in a tag game that helped them practice moving at different speeds around a playing area. They were assessed in their underhand throwing skills.

The intermediate students played several games to let them continue to work on their overhand throws including Boom City. Check out the video of these games in my posts section.

The Jr. High students continued in their throwing and catching unit building towards playing a handball tournament. They played a game where they had to make a series of passes to their teammates to go over the endline of the playing area and catch a ball on one of the polyspots to score a point. This focuses on the passing and teamwork component of handball. The Jr. High Students had lots of fun with their Oktoberfest competition playing some awesome games like ring toss with a person as the post! At the end of the week, students started their handball games as an exhibition.



October 23-27, 2023

We had a short week due to Parent teacher conferences and a School Improvement Day. Students in primary grades continued to work to refine their underhand throwing skills and were introduced to the cues for the overhand throw.  In the intermediate grades, we worked on utilizing our overhand throwing skills in a game called Monster ball where there is a large ball in the middle of a square and students are split into 2 teams and they work to throw smaller dodgeballs at the “Monster Ball” to move it towards the opponents side. Each time it goes out of the area the opposite team gets a point. In the Jr. High students are building towards a team handball tournament by playing related games like Prairie Dog Pick Off that incorporates concepts of team handball to prepare them for playing handball. Please consider coming out this weekend to support our 5th/6th grade boys soccer and girls volleyball teams playing games at 9 am at Winnemac Park (Soccer) and Senn HS (volleyball)!


October 16-20, 2023

In the primary grades we continued to work on our underhand throwing through stations where students practiced the skill in various ways from bucket toss to bocce ball. Students were assessed on their underhand throwing skills based on the SHAPE national standards. They practiced these skills in a great game called Cleanest Yard where students need to throw dodgeballs that represent “trash” in their yard over an imaginary wall in the center of the gym using their underhand and overhand throwing skills. Whatever side is the cleanest at the end of 5 minutes is crowned the Cleanest Yard. 

In the intermediate grades, we completed a throwing assessment for overhand throws and incorporated different activities to practice those skills in stations like bucket slam. Students also watched part of an Olympic Handball Match to observe how the game is played and the unique rules.

In Jr. High students worked on their overhand throwing assessment focusing on form and accuracy to a target. They were also introduced to a noodle and hula hoop game called Prairie Dog Pickoff that requires collaboration and strategy to create colonies and compete to be the last colony standing.


We wrapped up the week with our amazing Jogathon!  Thanks to all the parent volunteers who helped make this a great event!  We had great weather and so countless smiles from our kids. Please check out the posts section for a video from Jogathon.

October 9-13, 2023

This week students in the primary grades worked on throwing stations for underhand throws and completed an assessment about locomotor and non locomotor movements that we learned about the previous week. We wrapped up the week with the game Fire and Ice with an added variation to incorporate underhand throws using bean bags. Check out the video in my posts section.


The intermediate grades worked on overhand throws by reviewing our cues of “Side, Upper Case L, Step, Twist and Throw” and utilized these skills in the game Win the Pin where they had to use overhand throws to knock down bowling pins to bring back to their side of the playing area. Later in the week students ran a timed mile around our turf field to have a baseline of their endurance and stamina. We will run it again later in the year. 


The Jr.. High students continued on their throwing and catching unit through working with partners to practice throwing and catching while providing feedback to each other. Students also ran a timed mile to set a baseline to compare to later in the year. They wrapped up the week playing a game called Hula Hut Throw Down where students get hula hoops for throwing dodgeballs into a target and then work to build as many hula huts as possible in the time frame given while the other team tries to knock down their hula huts.  It is really a blast! Check out the video in my posts section.



October 2-6, 2023

This week students finished up their soccer tournaments and started the throwing and catching unit with a game called Win the Pin where students needed to use overhand or underhand throws to knock over bowling pins and then run them back to their side of the playing area. The team with the most pins standing at the end of the time limit won the match. In our soccer tournaments we are focusing on being great teammates and exhibiting good sportsmanship with their opponents. Students in primary grades continued working on locomotor skills like walking, jogging, hoping, leaping, jumping, sliding, galloping and skipping. They reviewed the cues for performing each activity and then practiced them through a series of tag games. Be sure to ask your kindergartener for the jingle and motions for locomotor. You can also check out a video this weeks’ activities in my posts section


Good luck to our boys 7th/8th grade soccer team and girls 7th/8th grade volleyball teams at their network tournaments on Saturday!


September 25-29, 2023

This week students continued in their soccer unit and took a kicking assessment in the primary grades and a passing assessment in the upper grades. Students participated in stations around the gym or our turf field on several days practicing various soccer skills.  Students started their soccer tournaments in the 3rd-8th grades and we discussed seven critical characteristics of being a good teammate- humility, unselfishness, relentless effort, trustworthiness, being accountable and willing to improve, and optimism. Students worked on completing an exit ticket about these different characteristics. Primary students also were introduced to various locomotor skills and reviewed the difference between locomotor and non locomotor skills. Check out the video in my posts section about the locomotor skills and tournament games.


September 18-22, 2023

This week students continued in their soccer unit focusing on kicking skills in the primary grades. Students in the intermediate grades played Soccer Spot Shot to practice their shooting and passing skills and also began playing friendly small soccer games with 4-5 players on each side. The Jr. High students started their soccer friendly games and next week will have a tournament. Check out the video of some of the games in my posts section. Students also participated in a fitness day where they practiced different aerobic exercises and learned about the benefits of cardio activity.


We will continue our fall sports season tomorrow with Girls Volleyball and Boys Soccer Games. The Volleyball team is at Senn HS at 9 am  and the Soccer Team is at Winnemac Park on the north end at 9 am. Next week, our Cross Country teams will have a meet at Montrose Beach with races startings at 4:45. Hope you can make it out to support our teams!


September 11-15, 2023
Physical Education

This week students continued in their soccer unit focusing on dribbling and passing. Students had their first assessment on meeting each of their grade specific SHAPE standards for dribbling. We began drafting teams for our soccer games and our tournament next week.


Our Fall Sports programs started this week with practices for Girls Volleyball, Boys Soccer and Boys/Girls Cross Country.  We also had our parents fall sports orientation meeting on Thursday September 14, 2023. If you were unable to attend, you can reach out to me for the recording and the slide deck is available on my webpage.


September 5-8, 2023

Physical Education

This week students began our soccer unit focusing on dribbling and ball control. Students in the primary grades K-2 worked on trapping the ball and walking while carefully touching the ball with the inside part of their feet.  The intermediate students worked on controlling their dribbling through “Meg Challenge” where they needed to dribble the ball through the legs of multiple classmates spread out over the playing area. The middle school students worked on more advanced dribbling such as changing directions and speed. Students wrapped up their week by playing sideline soccer. Check out the video in my posts section.


August 28-Sept 1, 2023

Physical Education

Students continued different team building activities this week as one of my main focuses in PE is winning and losing with class.  Students engaged in a cone flipping activity (think the popular bottle flipping activity so many kids love doing). Students compete with a series of new partners trying to see who can land the cone first.  Then both parties high five, fist pump or shake hands and say good game when they are done and they move on to a new partner. Practicing these skills in a low stakes environment helps students build up the skill set to be good sports when stakes are raised. Check the video of the cone flipping in my posts section.


August 21-25, 2023

Physical Education

In PE this week students worked on various team building activities as well as setting expectations and reviewing procedures to help students be successful in a movement space. In the primary grades and intermediate grades, we learned a new freeze tag game called Everyone’s It frozen tag that has a series of levels that added complexity and new problem solving dilemmas.  The Jr. High students worked through a series of challenges connected to hula hoops called Hula Hut Relays.  They did a great job showing sportsmanship and collaborating with one another. Check out my posts section for a video of their work on the Hula Hut Relays.  


For parents in grades 5-8, please be on the lookout for registration and waiver forms for Fall sports. We will be offering Boys and Girls Cross Country, Girls Volleyball and Boys Soccer. If you have any questions, please contact me via email at [email protected]