Shira CatlinField School Physical Education Teacher Shira Catlin


Our main curriculum centers around movement. We reinforce and further develop the moving skills of walking, running, skipping, galloping, sliding, jumping, hopping and leaping. We introduce and review manipulative and sports skills such as throwing, catching, striking, bouncing,  kicking and rolling. These skills are developed through practice with a partner and then applied in small and large group games.  Specific units of gymnastics, rhythms/dance and jump rope round out our curriculum. Each class session also has a specific fitness section when we work on cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and flexibility.

While we are educating the physical body, we are also working on social and emotional skills. Our published list includes kindness, honesty, respect, integrity, responsibility and control. We discuss how these behaviors come up in class situations every week. Students are expected to work cooperatively with a partner, and as a reliable and supportive teammate in a small or large group activity.


 Units of Instruction
 Cooperative Game Soccer, Field Hockey, FitnessGram Fitness tests,Badminton, Jump Rope, Basketball, Floor Hockey, Rhythms and Dance, Gymnastics, Track and Field,Base games


We started the year with units of cooperative games and then kicking/soccer skills. We just finished up our Fall fitness testing. We use the FitnessGram test to help students evaluate their own fitness level. At the Field School, we test muscular strength and endurance with the push-up and curl-up tests, and cardio-vascular endurance with the pacer test. These tests, will be repeated in the spring to track progress, and are also done at the Middle School and High School.


In November, we played badminton for several weeks. Students were introduced to the underhand serve, overhead shots, delicate drop shots and high, clearing shots. We did focused practice on a specific shot each day, and then tested our skills against different opponents. At times, students were allowed to decide between a friendly rally or a competitive match with their opponents. Throughout the unit, they played singles, doubles and king/queen of the court, changing opponents frequently in each class. 

Badminton is a very user-friendly racket sport that allows for multiple-shot rallies, even for beginners. Students can experience success right away, and learn to keep the birdie in play with their hitting partner. It’s a great child and family activity to do over the summer, in the park or backyard!


Near the end of the badminton unit we started to introduce different jump rope styles. We warmed up with jump rope and then played badminton for the second half of class. During the winter concert week we were doing jump rope full time as we shared our space with the music department.

Short jump rope was first on the agenda as we worked on one and two touch, and then added more complex tricks such as backwards, one foot, double-unders, double side-swings and cross-overs. Other styles that we covered were partner tricks, long jump rope, Chinese jump rope and helicopter. Many students enjoyed them all but most had a definite favorite. Jumping rope is a great fitness activity and a traditional play activity in many cultures. You can jump alone or with friends, and incorporate challenges or jumping rhymes to add to the fun. Think about including some jump rope activities in your play or fitness routines!

February Cross Country Skiing

Each year, the fifth graders take a trip to the Weston Ski Track, with their Physical Education teachers, for a morning of cross country skiing.  The snow conditions were questionable after some warm weather in February but with some cold nights just before our trip, the facility was able to make snow and the conditions were much improved. 

Each day, two homerooms met in the gym to review procedures, expectations and skills. After a short bus ride to the facility (In other seasons known as the Leo J. Martin Golf Course) students got their rented cross country ski boots on, stashed away their snack and shoes, picked up skis and poles and headed out to the staging area.

After a short skills demonstration and assessment, they were off in groups to ski the trails.                                 

We met to check-in and have snack an hour later. Then it was back onto the trails for the last hour, before returning our gear and getting ready for the bus ride back.

Cross country skiing is a great aerobic activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Experiencing different terrain and skiing with friends and family makes it a fun winter activity that is great for your health and fitness. With some March snow and cold temperatures approaching you might want to try cross-country skiing at the Weston Ski Track!


Gymnastics were also on the schedule for March. The primary attributes we focus on are balance, strength and flexibility, all while demonstrating control of our bodies during stationary and moving skills. Students have been working on springboard, tumbling/floor exercise, balance beam, and parallel bar skills and sequences.

During the first week of April each student performed a floor exercise/tumbling routine that they designed and practiced. Some chose to perform alone while others have worked in groups of two, three or four. Each routine included a minimum of seven skills, with at least one balance, one rotation, one locomotor movement and one jump.

Ask your student about their routine, or if they can show you how to do the ‘monkey roll’!

Rhythms and Dance

After floor hockey,  we started our rhythms and dance unit. The first week involved mostly line dances, with old time selections such as the Electric Slide and more current ones such as the Cupid Shuffle and Cha Cha slide. Subsequent lessons always included some dances to warm-up before beginning work on our playground ball routines. Students worked in small groups to design, practice and perform a short playground ball routine. Everyone did a great job collaborating, and there were spectacular skills and creativity on display!