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Small-Sided Games in PE: Maximizing Play and MVPA

Many PE teachers struggle to involve each student during class and escalate everyone’s level of movement. Jessica Shawley, a teacher herself, understands these challenges and shares how small-sided games have helped her maximize play in PE. 

What are small-sided games?

Small-sided games create smaller teams within a smaller space. Precise goals can be incorporated into these teams. One team can focus on proving a complete throw, while a more advanced team throws complete tosses but focuses on scoring points. This allows each player to increase skills at a personal pace. Smaller teams encourage more participation from each student.

How can you achieve small-sided games?

Small-sided games can be formed by dividing your class into smaller teams. Shawley likes to mix diverse ability levels to create teams, strengthening their skill to synergize. She also mentions the advantage of splitting into competitive teams and recreational teams. This can help students advance their skills at their own pace.  Shawley also utilizes the sidelines during a game to decrease the amount of students standing around, involving everyone in movement. Kids on the sidelines intently watching the players and absorb lessons from the game. They can throw passes back into the court that land out-of-bounds, keeping them engaged in the action. When students switch positions, they have to tell Shawley one thing they learned from the game.

Technology can also incorporate learning and movement into the sidelines. Games can be recorded on an iPad, offering students the chance to visualize their improvement and strategize for their next play. Students can keep track of their MVPA with the use of a pedometer. This can help teachers and students create and reach goals together.  

Why should small-sided games be implemented in PE class?
Small-sided games help kids improve their skills before they have to play a large game. There is plenty of inclusion in small-sided games. Having smaller teams asks for more participation and involvement from each player. Through participating, students enhance their tactile skills and create goals for the next game.

You can watch the full Webinar Small-Sided Games in PE: Maximizing Play & MVPA on our website!

Webinar Presenter: Jessica Shawley was the 2012 National NASPE Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year. She is a National Board (NBPTS) certified Physical Education Specialist and received a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Idaho. Shawley focuses on teaching various activities that offer meaningful connections to their lives.

About Instructor

Jessica Shawley

5 Professional Developments

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Professional Development Includes

  • 1 Webinar
  • Professional Development Certificate