A relaxed student learns better. A relaxed teacher teaches better.
- Carla Tantillo, Founder of Mindful Practices
I had the privilege of attending Carla Tantillo’s Mindful Practices session during the 2014 CEC conference in Philadelphia. A couple of the activities Carla presented inspired me to create an activity for my PE class. Using the ideas of combining yoga and movement and Carla’s laminated yoga cards, I designed a group of fitness stations for my students.
Carla’s yoga cards (below) are organized into three different categories; Energize, Concentrate and Relax. I chose 15 different poses (five from each category) and placed them around the gym in five different stations. Each station being made of three different poses covering all of the categories. Starting with a pose from the Energize category, the students would hold the pose for 45 seconds. Then they would move on to the Concentrate category and hold for 45 more seconds and finally the Relax category and hold for another 45 seconds.
After the students have finished up holding all three poses from each of the categories, I ask them to perform a lap around the gym. However, this lap is not just a simple walk or jog (although these movements are also incorporated). As the students are performing their lap, I call out various movements for them to perform. For example I will have them start with high knees, then after a few steps I ask them to switch to butt kickers. After a few steps of butt kickers I ask them to switch to a movement I call Frankenstein. Frankensteins are straight legged walks trying to touch your toe with your opposite hand. Next I ask them to walk back to where they started from and then rotate to the next station.
The students then repeat the process for the next station, once again with a lap after all three poses. I try to incorporate different movements each time. This time I would use basketball slides, carioca (which is also called the “Grapevine” step in dancing circles or so I am told) skips, hops etc. I try to change up the movements and make it fun for the students.
After each student has completed all of the stations I have them do a kind of musical chairs, where they are told to perform one more lap given various movements during the lap. When I say stop they must go to the nearest station and perform the pose on the card that they are closest to. They hold for 45 seconds and then we repeat the process if time permits.
My students have greatly enjoyed these stations, and I have had very good PE periods using these stations. I have to say thank you to Carla for being the inspiration behind this all.
- Teacher Tip Provided by Josh Wigen, Physical Education Teacher at Riverside Youth Correctional Facility in Boulder, MT
About this Teacher’s Tip: Carla Tantillo recently spoke at the 2014 CEC conference in Philadelphia where Josh Wigen, Physical Education Teacher at Riverside Youth Correctional Facility in Boulder, MT was in attendance. Carla's talk inspired Mr. Wigen to create his own PE activity for his students. We we're thrilled to hear of the success of Josh’s Fitness Station Activity and are very grateful to have the opportunity to share the activity on our website. If you’ve created programs inspired by our Yoga materials, reach out, we would love to hear from you and share your activities with our community.
For more wellness classroom management tips and techniques, pick up a copy of Mindful Practices' book Cooling Down Your Classroom. The easy-to-implement book provides proven yoga and wellness strategies to improve classroom management and academic achievement including the yoga poses and techniques used here in this teacher tip!