Promoting the Use of Similar Movement Concepts

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you are a PE teacher, then you want your students to be able to practice and perform the same skills in a variety of contexts. This lesson discusses what you can do to promote the use of similar movement concepts.

Understanding Similar Movement Concepts

Samantha has been teaching PE at the elementary level for three years, and she loves watching her students gain facility with exercise and movement.

This year, Samantha's goal is to really help her students with their motor development, learning to control their muscles and use their bodies with flexibility and strength.

One concept Samantha is interested in is that of similar movements, or motions that are like other motions, but not identical. She finds that when she can help a student understand what goes into one movement, she can use these skills to help the same child understand how to complete a similar movement.

Samantha starts thinking about the strategies she can use in her teaching to promote similar movement concepts.

Locomotor Movement Concepts

First, Samantha starts thinking about locomotor movements, those that take a person's body from one place to the next. Locomotor movements include skipping, running, and walking.

Samantha asks her students to walk slowly around the gym, to music. Then, she asks them to change their walk to a run, and she speeds up the music she is playing. She sits her students down for motor-task analysis, in which they articulate the muscles they feel moving when they walk, run or skip. Samantha also uses the following strategies:

  • Asking students to use and analyze the same movement in two different games, like running in both soccer and relay races
  • Having students perform several different locomotor movements, assessing which one takes them the furthest in the shortest period of time
  • Having students move progressively more quickly and then more slowly around the gym
  • Asking students to do the same locomotor movements with their legs, but with their arms in different positions
  • Timing students as they complete the same locomotor movements from one week to the next
  • Blindfolding one student at a time and asking other students to instruct them on what locomotor movements to do.

Nonlocomotor Movement Concepts

Samantha also thinks it is important for her students to attend to similarities among nonlocomotor movements, those in which their bodies stay in one place, but they still move. These include twisting, bending, and stretching, among other things.

Samantha finds that activities like yoga and other stretching exercises are helpful when it comes to helping students attend to similarities among different nonlocomotor movements. She also uses the following tasks:

  • Asking students to twist one part of their body while keeping the rest of their body still
  • Asking students to twist or bend while also moving in a locomotor way
  • Having students imitate the nonlocomotor movements of someone on a screen or in front of them, without talking
  • Having students perform nonlocomotor movements in response to verbal directions
  • Asking students to analyze the nonlocomotor movements they are doing in the context of a sport or game, like bending over to pick up a ball
  • Having students point out on a diagram of a human body which muscle groups they are using for a particular task

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