Use the links above to see what’s going on in the gym by grade level.

Chapter 1. Monthly Newsletter

  • December PE HBON

    Hello again,

    Our students are building team skills, strategies, and focusing on improvement as our indicator of success.

    The big picture this month: Teamwork and social responsibility

    Motor skills, fitness, and mental toughness are all important factors for health.  Our social behaviors impact all three of these greatly.  When we have a positive social environment we can accomplish more and deal with things like failure.  Students 2-8 are all working on a simple game in which we pass the ball to each classmate once before stopping the clock.  Students must work together quickly while developing strategies to knock off more time.  Our current record is 19 students in 29.25 seconds.



    Notes for all:

    Kindergarten-1st grade notes:
    K-1s have been working on furthering their front crawl and underwater skills.  Many K-1s have shown great bravery and have stuck their heads underwater on their own for the first time.

    In gym, we have played plenty of tag games, which help introduce the idea that your heart gets stronger when you make it go faster.  Tag games also teach spacial awareness and will help improve all sorts of skills such as avoiding collisions.  Students are currently working on underhand throw, balance, and coordination.

    2-3 notes

    Athlete of the Day:  We recognize each class for 2-3 and 4-5 one student that is caring, responsible, cooperative, and demonstrates best effort.  The athlete of the day does not need to be the best at sports or the fastest.  We want to recognize those students who show the end goal of physical education, to appreciate and participate in health-enhancing behaviors, especially social interaction.

    Our 2-3 students have really progressed in the water with their freestyle, I see longer, more efficient swimming which means more fun and less struggle.  We will now be able to shift our focus onto other skills, strokes and games.

    4-5 notes

    Athlete of the Day:  We recognize each class for 2-3 and 4-5 one student that is caring, responsible, cooperative, and demonstrates best effort.  The athlete of the day does not need to be the best at sports or the fastest.  We want to recognize those students who show the end goal of physical education, to appreciate and participate in health-enhancing behaviors, especially social interaction.

    4-5s are self-motivated to warm-up and are now.  We have a strong group of swimmers who are eager to work on their own technique and how to improve.  It is nice to see swimmers remember what we worked on from week to week without even reminding them.

    In the gymnasium, our students have done a nice job with a hockey unit, learning how to control extensions, building up motor control while giving their hearts a good workout.


    6-8 notes

    My middle school class group did a great job in the gym with hockey, I had 99% enthusiastic participation and some semblance of team play.  Middle school students officiate their own games but still are expected to play mostly to the rules.  I have seen a few students choose to put themselves in a place that makes them nervous and choose to play in a game, even if they didn’t think they were very good.

    My elective class most recently worked on pickleball, a net game that is halfway between ping pong and tennis.  Students impressed me with the high level of hand-eye coordination.  Middle school gym elective will be in the pool in December working on water polo as our next activity.  Please make sure your student has a school-appropriate suit for class.



    Until next time,


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  • November Gym/Swim News

    Hello all,

    We have brushed off the dust and are in the full swing of things.  I have plenty of students working with me at recess on all sorts of skills from frisbee to climbing to basketball skills.  It is great to see students take time to learn something new outside of our class in a relaxed setting.

    The big picture this month: How can I make learning number one?

    I look for real, measurable improvement in my class.  In a class setting, meeting only once per week, our students face a lot of challenges in the pool and gym.  Every student needs to be their own coach.

    Students will break down their skills into manageable pieces that help us learn and grow.  The end goal is for each student to hold themselves accountable while loving what they do.  Learning comes from lots of success, failure, and tiny adjustments along the way.  The more involved the student is in that process, the more they will value their health, improvement, and self-worth.

    Notes for all:

    If you have an old girls suit that is not overly stretched out, we are short on sizes 8, 10 and 16.  I always welcome suit donations.

    Thank you for reducing the laundry load, we average about 38/40 of students showing responsibility and bringing their suits.

    Kindergarten-1st grade notes:
    Please help us work on responsibility at home.  Teach them to change on their own.  Many do not know the simple tricks we take for granted (ie. arms before head for a t-shirt).  Independence and self-motivation will give us 5-10 minutes more of practice time in the pool.  Students at this level are working on comfort in the water, streamline, and breath control.

    In gym, we just finished up our bowling unit.  We have very accurate rollers who are listening to directions, and taking turns.  When we work on manipulative skills (catching, kicking, throwing, rolling), students are building coordination, creativity, and having fun.  We continue to work on keeping our personal space through various tag games and using our imagination.

    2-3 notes

    2-3 students should have goggles every day, as we want to keep our eyes still while our body rotates and stretches through the water.  We have all taken our deep end test and are working towards building up strength and skill.  Students are working on cooperation (relays), manipulative skills (water polo), swim skills, and building confidence underwater.

    In the gymnasium our 2-3’s are rolling along as well, and did a very nice job of cooperating and staying on task during bowling.  We have finished fitness testing, although as a word of warning, fitness testing at this age is more a measurement of listening skills and following directions.  At this stage we are really trying to build the fun-level up, but also understand why the ball rolled the way it did.  We are also trying to connect how our heart rate changes when we move.  If you have any HR monitors, fitbits etc, kids love to see the data visually.


    4-5 notes

    4-5s have taken off in the water, we have a high percentage of our swimmers passing the deep end test.  Front crawl, treading, and a self-directed warm-up is I really recommend getting your child to a pool at least once a week outside class, as it provides and opportunity for your child to build strength and reinforce what we are working on. Have them swim a 2-4-2 when they get in.

    In the gymnasium, students have put forth both patience and effort.  Our fitness testing is a slow, meticulous process that can definitely be a struggle.  I was proud of the responsibility shown by most of our students at this level.  Underhand roll was a big focus in our bowling lanes, do not be surprised to see lots of pins knocked down if you end up at a bowling alley in the near future.


    6-8 notes

    My middle school class is always interesting to see the range of skill levels in one setting.  Many of my games and activities have a challenge designed to motivate students to improve.   I am looking at cooperation and compassion, and asking our students to find improvement there.  Our biggest focus for middle school is building the social skills needed to compete in a positive, healthy manner.  We want to make sure that everyone feels confident enough to stick out.  Our next piece will be working in more peer evaluation, giving feedback and working through problems.   Thank you for all the middle schoolers that have asked me for additional help on their sport skills, fitness testing, and class activities.  You are doing yourself a huge favor by being your own coach.

    After playing handball and speed ball, our world sports class turned the tables on the school and worked together to design their own games.  We found out that making a game that is fair, safe, and competitive challenges your brain to think ahead.  I was happy to see the cohesion of this group in particular.




    Until next time,


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  • Physical Education News: October 2017

    Hello all, I hope everyone is getting settled in.  I am having a wonderful experience so far, and I am excited to see the positive attitudes so far.  I’d like to introduce myself to those who have not met me yet, my name is Tommy Magner, I am a native of Ann Arbor and recent graduate of Western Michigan University.  I have spent the last 9 years coaching swim and water polo, ages as young as 4 and as old as 40.  One thing I have learned is that attitude unlocks potential.

    Why physical education?

    We are working together to build health literate, respectful  citizens.  Students are expected to show growth in the following areas:

    1. Social skills — Cooperation, compassion, responsibility, and best effort (These are my class expectations)
    2. Motor skills — Different ways to move, balance, throw, kick, and much more
    3. Fitness  — Flexibility, strength, and endurance, heart rate
    4. Cognitive skills   — Tactics, game rules, problem solving, goal setting, how the body works


    Please read the 3 points below — some policies that may be new this year

    1. Water bottles

    Students need to have a water bottle in class.  This allows for more opportunity (reduced time for water breaks), and healthier students.  

    2. Pool/changing — Equipment, responsibility, and practice

    Students should have their own swim suit, towels and goggles.  Goggles help your child learn proper technique and see swimming skills underwater. It is the students “job/responsibility” to be prepared for class.  The pool locker room is a place for students to quickly and quietly change, without assistance from adults.  Please help your student by reinforcing this “job” at home, especially if they are not used to fixing inside-out clothes.  This one is mostly directed at the K-1s, 2-3s.

    3. Fitness testing/PACER — Next week!

    Students 2-3 and up will be conducting fitness testing this week, including the PACER.  Please be advised that students should have water and their best attitude with them.  Fitness testing:

    • Identifies specific strengths and needs
    • Lays the groundwork for many important life skills: goal setting, building resilience, self-confidence, achievement, work ethic, and more.  

    There should be no worries regarding your score.  We are only looking to learn more about ourselves.

    Why physical education?

    We are working together to build health literate, respectful citizens.  Students are expected to show growth in the following areas:

    1. Social skills — Cooperation, compassion, responsibility, and best effort (class expectations)
    2. Motor skills — Different ways to move, balance, throw, kick, and much more
    3. Fitness  — Flexibility, strength, endurance, heart rate, and designing workouts
    4. Cognitive skills   — Tactics, game rules, problem solving, goal setting, how the body works


    A small note concerning my teaching style:

    Physical education will be challenging, rewarding, and fun.  The games I design can often be played without referees, sports leagues, or even large numbers of participants.  We will spend time learning skills, not just “playing games”.  

    Like any class, there is an expectation that a student will show up and do the work.  I do my best to make sure there is always an opportunity for success, regardless of your child’s background in organized sports.  There will also be failure along the way, just as in life, and that is a good thing.  I hope to instill resilience and determination over the course of the year.  Please assist me by encouraging and rewarding health-enhancing behaviors, especially involving physical activity.  


    Health is not a destination, but a sum of your everyday behaviors, for better or for worse.  

    Happy moving!

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  • Physical Education/Swim Newsletter: February 2017

    We have been having a lot of fun in the pool and the gym over the past couple of weeks.  All of the students, across all grade levels, have learned the steps to the same dance, “Shake a Tail Feather.”  The classes will continue to practice during warm-up in the gym over the next couple of weeks so that the steps become second nature for all of the grades.

    We have just begun our basketball unit at school.  The K1 classes will be mixing in some heart health lessons and jump roping along with an introduction to basketball skills.  The 2/3 classes will be focused on skills such as passing, dribbling, and shooting.  In 4/5 grade students will begin to learn more game rules and play in dynamic settings.  Middle school classes will be combining two units- net ball and basketball- over the next couple of weeks.

    Our middle school elective class this semester will be a conditioning class in which students will work to complete many different types of workouts and increase their level of fitness.

    In the pool, we are building up a lot more endurance and getting more swimming in this semester.  I would like to remind students to bring goggles if they need them as the longer we swim, the more difficult it is to improve if they have their eyes closed or head above water.

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  • Physical Education Newsletter January 2017

    As the semester wraps up and a new year begins, I am thankful for all the Honey Creek students and families that make this school community so special.  I am looking forward to going back to school on Monday and excited to see what opportunities the rest of the year brings.

    Physical Education

    All grade levels (K-8) will begin a dance mini-unit in January.  We will have a lot of fun creating our own dances, learning choreographed dances, and listening to music.


    The first week back will consist of a swim review for the grade levels that will include: water safety and pool rules, strokes learned, and getting comfortable in the water again.  As we move forward, the K1 classes will be doing a lot of freestyle progression drills as well as fun water safety lessons and toy collection games.  The 2/3 classes will begin to focus more on short axis strokes including breaststroke swim and dolphin kick.  The 4/5 will continue to build on stroke technique as well as endurance but will also be learning the basic rules to water polo this semester.

    Continue reading →
  • Physical Education Newsletter, December 2016

    The K1 students have been working really hard in the gym on various skills including: overhand throwing, underhand throwing, kicking, dribbling, and striking.  We have done a number of different games to help improve these skills as well as various “station” days in which they mix in fitness activities during class.  They will begin to focus more on side-arm striking over the weeks before break and will complete some teamwork challenges as well.

    2/3 classes have done a great job working on their endurance in the pool.  This week, we did a freestyle progression in which they swam a lot!  They will work on frog and dolphin kick over the next two weeks.  In the gym, the 2/3 classes have been working on practicing their overhand throwing skills in a more dynamic setting.  They will begin side-arm striking games with paddles next week.

    The 4/5 students are in the middle of their first volleyball unit.  They are doing a great job challenging themselves to learn new skills and encourage one another throughout the process.  We will be continuing volleyball and ending our unit with a game of Eclipse Ball the week before break.  In the pool, the 4/5 classes have been working on transitions when swimming multiple lengths in a row.  They have been practicing both open turns and flip turns, as well as breakout strokes.

    In middle school, students have also been working on a volleyball unit.  The middle school students will be focusing a lot on volleyball rules next week and getting into more of a scrimmage setting to put their skills to work.  They have been practicing: overhand serve, spike, set, bump, and block.

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  • Physical Education Newsletter November 2016

    Students across all grade levels are working on finishing up their FitnessGram assessments.  Last week, students completed the PACER test during class to help them set goals throughout the year to increase their cardiorespiratory endurance.  This week, students have worked on finishing up the following components of the FitnessGram test: curl ups, back saver sit and reach, push ups, and trunk lift.  The Honey Creek students have once again impressed me with their focus and effort during these assessments as well as their constant encouragement to their classmates.

    K1 classes have worked a lot in the pool on streamlining off the wall, challenging themselves to see how far they can glide with a single push.  They continue to make improvements in their flutter kick and get more comfortable in the water every week.  In the gym, we have been practicing our underhand and overhand throws by doing both partner skill work as well as various games.

    2/3 and 4/5 classes were challenged in the pool to kick on their backs and balance a cup on their foreheads.  This encouraged students to focus on body position during backstroke; some students even swam entire lengths without the cup falling off!  We will continue to progress in backstroke as well as work to increase our treading endurance and learn some open turns over the next couple of weeks.

    Middle school has done an excellent job on FitnessGram in the gym.  They have taken a lot of personal responsibility in regards to their individual fitness levels.  Next week, students will begin a volleyball unit in the gym that will continue throughout the month of November.

    Continue reading →
  • Physical Education 2016

    It has been an exciting start to the year for Honey Creek in both the pool and the gym.

    K1: The K1 classes have been doing a great job this past month focusing on developing locomotor skills, spacial awareness, following directions, and practicing sportsmanship.  The locomotor skills that they have begun to learn include: skipping, galloping, running, and shuffling.  They have had both individual practice with these skills and practice in a dynamic, game environment.  Over the next couple of weeks, students will be introduced to the overhand throw as well as various fitness concepts.

    The K1 classes continue to make improvements in the pool as they work on floating, flutter kick, sculling, and gliding.

    2/3: Students in the 2/3 classes have done great work so far this year.  We are finishing up our soccer unit in which students got to practice dribbling, passing, and shooting.  They were introduced various positions and put into a game setting as well.  2/3 will begin to complete more fitness circuits over the next couple of weeks and will take part in the FitnessGram beginning the week of October 24th.

    In the pool, we have had many days dedicated to flutter kicking and developing more endurance with our legs.  The students have begun freestyle progression drills and have taken the deep end test one time.  We will continue to practice freestyle swimming as we add in more backstroke drills and treading practice over the next couple of weeks.

    4/5: I have been very impressed with the focus of all the 4/5 students this year.  They have shown great teamwork and dedication to making improvements in both the pool and the gym.  Students in the 4/5 grade levels have finished up their soccer unit and will be working on exercise technique.  Again, beginning the week of October 24 the 4/5 students will take part in FitnessGram testing.  This year, they will complete 5 components of this including: PACER test, trunk lift, sit-and reach, sit-ups, and push-ups.

    The 4/5 graders have done a fabulous job in the pool.  We have been able to complete drill progressions for freestyle and have begun to build in some endurance work by swimming multiple lengths in a row.  Next week, students in these classes have earned a game day and will be playing water basketball.

    Middle School: The middle school classes are always a lot of fun to teach.  In the elective class we are focusing on team sports this semester.  They seemed to have had a lot of fun during our time playing eclipse ball and are always eager to get to the next game.  In the middle school PE classes we have just finished up our soccer unit.  This week, students are working on technical aspects of 3 exercises: the squat, burpee, and push-up.  Students will complete a squat clinic in which they work in groups of 3 to practice form.  Next week, they will learn about and complete a Tabata circuit during class and will begin FitnessGram testing on October 24th.

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