I am also somewhat of an equipment snob! If I had my way, every item of equipment I own would be in rainbow colors. Not only do I find it visually pleasing and motivating, I also feel it adds structure to the class.
The Dilemma- This is my second year at Southdown Primary. For those of you that team-teach, you will understand that in the beginning it’s like being thrown into a fixed marriage. You have to figure out how to live with your work spouse. Compromise is the key. Thankfully, after two years I think we are really starting to find our groove. We don’t agree on everything but we respect each other and find a way to make it work.
So here’s the thing. We have very limited space for the equipment that I love and cherish. And, just like at my home, I have no use for things that serve no purpose. For example, I have no patience for a ceramic rabbit but I am okay with a candle or a vase. Thus my battle over the one hundred and forty plastic soup containers my co-worker has collected that are taking up room that could be occupied by my precious, store bought, and colorful equipment! I moaned and groaned until I succeeded on having them moved to the very back of the hidden compartment under the stage in the gym.
Until….field day. We designed a mural for field day to represent Curious George Feeds the Animals. We needed to find a lot of Frisbees to use as food for the animals. Thus, the tops to the soup containers were excavated from the catacombs and decorated as bananas. Begrudgingly, I had to admit, Sportime and Gopher could not have supplied a better alternative.
After field day we started track and field. We were having a spectacular unit when Mother Nature hit us with a forecast of 5 days of rain! Our gym is too small to run a meaningful track unit indoors. With only 8 mats to teach jumping with, we decided on combining the field event long jump with the beginning of our golf unit- putting. We set up 8 standing broad jump stations and 8 putting stations.
When I dug through the equipment, I was dismayed to find we only had 5 irons and no putting greens! Field hockey sticks made the perfect putters, but what to do for holes? You guessed it! Soup cups!
These plastic, colorless, bane of my existence, cups were the most fun, exciting and creative piece of equipment we have used since the noodle! Groups of 2-4 students took turns creating the equivalent of a miniature golf hole. Each student took a turn trying to putt into the design and then the design was changed to create the next hole. Students kept score: 1 stroke for a hole in one, 2 strokes if it hit the structure and 3 strokes if it missed entirely. Every student was engaged in authentic math calculations, hole creation or putting. If we had manicured commercially produced putting greens there would have been students waiting without purpose. Not a single behavior issue all week. Brilliant!!!
Soooooooooooo! Into my equipment “Hall of Fame” and out of the useless junk dungeon go the “Sweet and Sour Soup Plastic Containers!”
(I wish they came in colors!)