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Kinesthetic Learning is used in this lesson to build Reading Comprehension through Kickball


Language Arts, P.E. & Health  


3, 4, 5  

Title – Kickball Comprehension
By – Kristy Hingtgen
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Physical Education
Grade Level – 3-5 

Kickball Comprehension:
Kristy Hingtgen
Schofield Middle School – Las Vegas, NV

          Reading comprehension lessons can become somewhat monotonous, and trying to find engaging lessons is somewhat difficult. I decided to integrate my love of softball into an interactive lesson, which the students enjoy and are able to get out of the classroom environment.
          Once the lesson was explained in detail and we did a “dry run” in the classroom, (using an overhead of the field and instructions – done on Inspiration), our time out on the field was enjoyable and successful!

Materials needed:
* Class List
* Lap boards or a hard writing surface
* Markers
* Pencils
* Construction paper
* Lists of comprehension questions in plastic sheet covers: Style, setting, mood, plot, and character
* Kickball
* 3 bases and a home plate
* Activity sheet for 1st base
* Activity sheet of “final projects” for home plate
* 3 boxes and 3 folders to hold things in at the locations

          This is an interdisciplinary lesson, (physical education and reading). It involves the kinesthetic learner whom we frequently overlook during academic subjects.

* TSW (The student will) employ his/her knowledge of text structure, including description, sequencing, compare/contrast, cause/effect, and problem/solution to construct meaning from a reading selection.
(CCSD 1.7)
* TSW analyze the influence of setting on characters and on how the problem or conflict is resolved. (CCSD 3.3)

* Effective questioning techniques are used to develop thinking skills. (CCSD Element of Quality 2)

* Arrange the location/discuss your lesson with the P.E. department. This could be done in the gym if it is available, or on a field that has short grass. If you are going to use an actual baseball field which has the “red dirt”, make sure to tell the students to wear old shoes/clothes. The red dirt does stain!

* I highly recommend making a diagram of the field and what the students do at each location. I did one using Inspiration. It turned out great and allowed the students a visual.

Day One:
          The first thing you need to do is thoroughly discuss the activity. Explain the general concept using a sample playing field on the overhead or the board. Explain what all of the positions on a field are called, and what the runners and fielders will be doing at each location. Explain that this needs to move quickly, so don’t spend a lot of time on the activities. They need to jot something down and when we are back in the classroom they will refine these projects.
          Discuss where the two teams will be standing while waiting to field or kick. If you have more than 10 students per team, rotate after every kicker, that way everyone gets to participate. Go over the rotation of the fielders. I have them rotate in at catcher to pitcher – 1st – 2nd – short stop – 3rd – left field – left center – right center – right field and then they rotate out.
          Make the students orally repeat the rotation order – several times! This will save you time on the field when they are able to do it quickly and efficiently.
          Take your class list and split it into two teams. Take the first ten names on Team One and give them a position. Use the class list for Team Two’s kicking order.
          Spend the rest of the period answering questions and reviewing the book.

Now off to the field! Day Two:
          Items needed at each location and directions:
          Catcher: A list of comprehension questions relating to Characters.
The catcher will ask the kicker a question to answer before they can kick.
          Pitcher: Kickball
          1st base: A box with a quick activity sheet, a folder, and a pencil. (The one I used had 3 questions discussing “hurdles” and how the character and the student overcome them. They only answered one and will complete the rest when they return to first base again). Have them place their work in the folder.
          2nd base: When the runner reaches 2nd base they must tell the 2nd baseman a critical thinking response. “I am alike/different than the main character… If I was the main character I would have solved the problem by… Something like this happened to me when… The lesson that can be learned from this book is…”
          3rd base: A box with white paper and a pencil. Here the runner quickly sketches out their favorite part of the story, and then puts the paper in the folder.
          Left field: A list of “style” questions. If the left fielder catches a ball in the air, they ask the kicker a question.
          Left center: A list of “setting” questions. If the left center fielder catches a ball in the air, they ask the kicker a question.
          Right center: A list of “mood” questions. If the right center fielder catches a ball in the air, they ask the kicker a question.
          Right field: A list of “plot” questions. If the right fielder catches a ball in the air, they ask the kicker a question.
          Home plate: A box with construction paper, pencils, and markers. Here the students select a “Book project” from a list and complete as much of it as they can before they are up to kick again. (Put in folder).

* Quickly rotate field positions when a play has stopped, and the runners are completing the activities at their base.

* The ball is pitched only after the catcher has asked the question, and any players on 1st or 3rd are finished with their activity.

* The runner may continue to run! The activity at the base/s will be skipped in reward for their great kick!

* 3 outs – keep track of runs.

* Personal management rules: Positive comments only – we are here for a reading activity not the Olympics! LEARN and HAVE FUN!

Day Three:
          The students will spend Day Three refining the activities they completed the day before. This includes the activity sheet from 1st base, drawing from 3rd base, and the project at home plate. I also had the students write a short answer for one question from each category: style, setting, mood, plot, character, and critical thinking.
          Final work was hung in the hallway and the classroom, and the students simply say, “When can we do this again?!”

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