In PE, we just finished our unit on gymnastics. At the beginning of the unit, we practiced individual skills, like cartwheels, and vault tricks, but at the end we had an assignment where we had to make up a routine. We worked in small groups, and I was with Helen, Charlotte and Aruna. In the routine, we had to include several things, like one type of roll each, three different things on the vault and some group balances. When we did our actual performance last week though, Aruna was sick, so we had to do the final filming without her. Here is our video:
In our routine, the skills we used on the mat were forward, backward, and log rolls, cartwheels and roundoffs, group balances, and I did a back walkover. On the vault we did several different things too: there was the twist, the knee-tuck, the simple star-jump, and the flip. I think the way we put everything together was good, and the movements were flowing, because we had some things on the mat and some things on the vault, then a bit more on the mat and the rest of the vault skills. To finish off, we had our finale on the mat. Some other groups put everything on the mat together and everything on the vault together, so some of the audience got a little bit bored.
For me, the most challenging skill was the back walkover. I learned how to do them in third or fourth grade, but I hadn’t done one in a while, so I had to do a lot of practicing to get used to it. When we first started planning the routine, I was just going to do a roundoff, but when we had extra time and I was fooling around, I tried a back walkover. At first I couldn’t do it very often, but I realized that the key to success was momentum. I could only do it when I was going fast enough, which was why I decided to do it after the roundoff. When we did our final performance, I was secretly worrying that I would mess up and fall on the mat, but luckily, I didn’t.
The skill I enjoyed the most was probably the flip on the vault. The feeling was amazing… it was like I was flying through the air. When we started practicing, I was going to jump onto the vault, and flip from there, but I ended up doing it differently. I ran, bounced off of the springboard, and put my hands down on the vault instead of my feet. From there I flipped around onto the big mat with a bit of help from Miss Buehler, one of our PE teachers. I think doing that was a lot more fun than my original version, because everything goes faster, and I enjoyed it a lot more.
During this unit we got a lot of time to practice. I think that most of the practice sessions were productive for our group, but sometimes we were just messing around. I think the problem was that we had five or six groups in the class, but there was only one vault. We had to set up rows of mats around the room, with one of them next to the vault so that the group there could practice the whole routine. We rotated between places, so that each group got a turn on the vault, but all of that time with the mats was wasted by some people in all of the groups. Most of the time we stayed on topic and focused, but after we had practiced everything and still had more time, we decided to waste it a bit.
Something that I think our group could improve in the performance is probably the individual balance, because we always got the wrong timing. We wanted to put one hand down and then one foot, but at least one person got it wrong every time. There was also the problem that it wasn’t really individual. We all did the same pose in a line, and then put one arm on the shoulder of the person next to us. Overall, I think we did a really good job, because we were still organizing things on the day of the performance, but everything ended up all right.
I think that this year’s cross country unit really improved my running skills, because we had to practice so many times and push really hard to do the best we could. When I heard that we had to have seven practice runs I couldn’t believe my ears. In the past years we only had one or two practices before the real day, but in the end I think it was a really good thing, otherwise we wouldn’t have had a very good chance to get better. During most of the runs my side started to hurt, but on the real day, it didn’t happen at all. When I was sprinting really hard at the end of the race, I couldn’t feel my legs, but they didn’t really hurt. One of the things I learned is that you should keep walking slowly when you finish the run, because if you sit down your legs will hurt more later. Two of the techniques I used while running were self-talk and singing songs in my head. I would tell myself things like ‘Just keep going, you’re almost there!’ and ‘Just keep running until you reach that tree!’. When I wasn’t doing that, I would sing songs in my head that were fast or upbeat, so that they would encourage me to keep running, which usually worked too. After we had our first practice, I knew I could’ve done a lot better. I’m not sure if it was the weather (rainy and cold) or just that I hadn’t run long distances in a while, but something made me not give 100% of my effort during that first run. When I set my first outcome goal I thought I would reach it in a few lessons, but I never expected to beat it by almost a minute on the next practice! My second outcome goal took a bit longer to achieve, but I was convinced that I could do even better. My third outcome goal lasted through the rest of the unit, but I didn’t know until the week after cross country day what my time was, because all you get when you cross the finish line is a stick that says what place you were out of everyone. When I found out that my time was 12:49, for some reason I thought that Miss Buehler had said 13:49, which was quite a bit worse than before, but when I realized that it was 12:49, not 13:49, I was really proud of myself. On the day when we had to run in the opposite direction, I was almost certain that the track was longer. Even though I only got two seconds slower than the previous time, it seemed so much longer! In conclusion, I think that I got a 6 out of 8, because I put a lot of effort into my running, but I could’ve done better. I also think I improved a lot during this unit, and I’m proud of myself.
Yesterday we had our 6th cross country practice in PE. My time was 13:34, which was too seconds slower than last time. It seemed like the course was longer, even though we just went in the other direction. I think it was because we had to start and end going uphill :(.
There’s only one more practice until the real day! I’m really excited!