Ring Second-Graders Use All Skills To Become Olympians
Ring Elementary School second grade teachers Allen Thomas, Carrie Davenport, Andrea Norene and Chris Collins recently worked as a team to create a Ring Olympics. Second-graders learn about Ancient Greece and where and how the Olympics began through an English Language Arts unit. Students spent a great deal of time writing paragraphs focusing on the main idea and coming up with three details on a given topic, as well as incorporating transition words and proper punctuation. The students also learned that the origin of the Olympic games is Ancient Greece and that they were played to honor the twelve Greek Gods.
To wrap-up the unit, the second grade team thought that creating something “outside the box” that was engaging for students would be both fun and educational and link directly to their Listening and Learning Unit in Greek Civilizations. The Ring “Olympics” consisted of four games around different curriculum skills (math, physical education, science and health), which each teacher created:
Team Towers. Mrs. Davenport’s game used mathematical thinking and reasoning to solve various riddles and complete challenges using Solo cups. Each contest challenged teamwork and mental toughness all of which are things that Olympic athletes who compete in team sports need.
Limbo. In Ms. Norene’s game, students used body kinetics to maneuver themselves under an affixed object. This game showed students that Olympic athletes must be strong, flexible, and have great body control.
Fencing. Mr. Thomas’ game taught students that there is more involved in a fencing battle than just swinging a sword, rather students understand that in a given battle the athlete must utilize both brain and brawn in order to defeat their opponent using reflexes and reaction time.
Feats of Strength. In Mr. Collins’ event students competed in a contest of muscle strength and endurance by lifting and holding weighted objects for durations of time. The purpose of this game was to understand that all great strongmen and strongwomen who compete in the Olympics don’t just have incredible muscle size but also muscle endurance.
“The Olympics are team-created and give students real-world learning,” said Mr. Thomas. “It also offers students additional opportunities to connect new learning with what they know, and are interested in, and provides more ways for students to learn and demonstrate their skills and understanding. Activities like this highlight students’ strengths and helps build confidence, as there are many different ways that students learn and can show what they have learned. It also encourages students to become personally invested in their work since they are given the privilege and responsibility of making choices about what and how they learn and demonstrate their learning. They just have a lot of fun doing hands-on activities like the Olympic Games.”