Once Upon a PE Lesson

INSTANT ACTIVITIES: watch the magic happen!

An Instant Activity (IA) is an activity that helps to get “…classes off to a quick, dynamic, and fun start” (Markross, 1998). IAs can be activities from past lessons, free play with equipment that has and will be used, and skill games in different fitness components that relate to the concept and are a way to encourage student engagement.

“I love it when we come and play right away, I always get changed quicker when I see we have a game at the start” -Avery, G6


Grade 3 Net Games

Grade 3 is learning about net games. These activities including badminton and table tennis are extremely popular and students dash into the LS gym with eyed, smiley faces, excited hands, and fast feet. The last thing students want to do is sit down. Students are desperate to PLAY! 

The use of IA means there is no need to slow this enthusiasm. A range of equipment for badminton, table tennis, and volleyball is available for students, and through setting clear routines and expectations, students know they can take equipment and practice object control or serving either independently or with a partner. This instant activity not only keeps students engaged and enthusiastic but also allows teachers to quickly assess student interests, partnerships, and skill levels.

“I like being able to play straight away and have fun at the start of class. Afterward, I can listen to the teacher better” – Eric, G3.


Grade 5

Similarly, Grade 5 students, when introduced to invasion games, had access to sport-specific equipment like footballs, basketballs, and rugby balls. This hands-on practice of passing and creating game challenges not only captivated students but also provided teachers with valuable insights into student preferences, collaborations, and skill development, fostering a dynamic and student-centered learning environment.


Grade 6

Grade 6 has utilized IAs during our Fitness Units, by starting the lesson which the previous lessons fitness test students know what to do and can quickly join in re-testing their vertical jump for muscular power or their 20m sprint for speed. They also used IAs when completing their Rhythmic Gymnastics Unit at the start of the year, where equipment that would be using that lesson is available and students have time to explore and free play with this to encourage creativity.

“I always chose the ribbon to play with at the start of the lesson because I love the colors”Lucia, G6.


Student choice increases motivation and activity, with IAs at the start of the lesson which encourage choice and creative thinking we allow the students to build their skills in the sports we are engaging in. At HIS we encourage this development of our students as inquirers, communicators, and caring- IAs help them develop these skills. They choose the equipment and how to use it, they communicate with others to create self-led games and share, and they show caring by including others. These IAs offer students the chance to build through their activities and interactions.

If you’ve already started storytelling, please get in touch and let me know how it is going. Here are some steps you may like to take to help you prepare if you’ve not had a chance to implement it yet.

Girls were not influenced by any stereotypes and they saw a confident, active female role model who showed them that girls could be active, strong and competitive.I had fulfilled one of my roles as a PE teacher by simply being myself.

PE teacher Rachel Ford explains how she approached moving country and curriculum, and why she’s now an IB convert