The Hall of Shame

13 Feb

We have all heard of them; the games that have no place in the gymnasium. They are the games that every physical educator has fallen to at least once or twice when their plans fall through. They are the games from our past that make us shudder when we hear their names mentioned and that still make us wary about entering the gymnasium today. They are also the games that are to be discouraged from using in our classes in the future. But what if these games could be modified so that we could use them appropriately with our students?

The Hall of Shame is an article about these feared games that we use in our physical education classes. The articles are quite old (from 1992 and 1994) but a lot of the facts still remain true. These games vary from dodgeball, red rover, kick ball and even tag. The article states that the games have “a lack of emphasis on teaching motor skills and lifetime physical fitness skills” as well as “the potential to embarrass a student in front of the rest of the class”. This reminded me of all the horror stories I have heard of students getting smacked straight in the face during dodgeball and ending up with a bloody nose. There are also the times I remember in my own experience where the outfielders in kickball would sit picking dandelions because no one could kick that far. This article makes some good points, but it also makes me question if we can still use these games to our advantage rather than to our disadvantge.

In my KIN class last semester, we tackled this topic. We mostly focused on dodgeball. Our proffessor told us that yes, the original dodgeball is useless to use in physical education. With a few minor adjustments, however, these games can be used successfully. One example is using the opportunity to recieve a phyical acitivty such as push ups or jumping jacks instead of elimination. Also, cones can be used as targets to be knocked over instead of the balls being thrown at people. These are just minor adjustments that can be used to re-invent the whole game to a more fun, accepting and skillful game.

Here is a PDF I found with multiple dodgeball variations, some good and some not so good. I challenge you as educators to not delete these games totally from your plans, but rather modify them so that they can be useful. What games did you not like in school? What are some ways you could modify this game to make it more enjoyable for your students?

2 Responses to “The Hall of Shame”

  1. sarahforaie February 14, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    Nice post Brenna! I’ll admit I only scanned the PDF so if I think of some of the same adaptations, I apologise. The first thing that came to my mind when thinking how to adapt dodgeball was how about we use a softer ball? In my high school they would put boys against girls (worst idea ever) and once they gave us basketballs and said don’t throw them too hard. Well as you can imagine giving a 15 year old boy a ball and saying don’t throw it at the girls too hard didn’t end too well. I remember dodge ball being all about ‘every man for himself’, nobody helped their classmates out. An easy adaption would be to make it more of a team effort. The game we played on the first night in the gym with Brian this semester (I have forgotten the name of the game) was effective as we worked together as a team and there were two sides and we had to help get our whole team over to the other side. I just googled ‘adaptations for dodg ball’ and came across a pretty awful one in my opinion. The teacher divides students into groups of 5/6 and they stand in a circle, one student stands in the middle and the rest of the circle throw, kick, or bounce the ball at the middle student and then they switch places. I am just amazed how that would be any better than regular dodgeball. I would definitely use the game we played with Brian at the beginning of the semester which incorporated two teams but tagging players instead of throwing a ball at them. However I don’t think I would use dodgeball in my classroom.

    • Brenna Moser February 23, 2013 at 2:01 am #

      Thanks for reading Sarah (and for your honesty)! I cannot believe that your teacher gave you BASKETBALLS to play dodgeball with! That is an absolutely terrible idea! The concept of throwing foam balls at people is bad enough (especially with young kids) but encouraging students to throw basketballs at eachother is something I just cannot comprehend. I agree that the version of dodgeball that Brian taught us the first night was great as it encouraged tagging rather than throwing balls and it also encouraged team work. This is a great start to invasion games with younger people. I also loved when we played Pig at GYM nights.

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