Building Belonging in PE
how teams are formed matters
Everyone’s moving—either opening for the ball or blocking the pass. Three steps and a short toss ... the blue team catches the squishy green football and scores!
Flicker Football is a physical education favorite at Meadow Pond Elementary. Students love it because it’s fast and fun. Teachers Marie Pritchett and Nicholas Savastano love it because of the skills it reinforces and the cardio it requires. They also fold in another benefit: belonging.
Coaches Pritchett and Savastano use a simple strategy to support all students in feeling welcome and included. They create the teams. “It’s all about how we group our students,” said Pritchett. "We mix abilities and never let anyone be picked last."
feeling welcomed and included
Positive Team Experiences
Getting to know students well
“We really get to know the students,’ said Pritchett, explaining that the coaches see students three times a week for PE as well as lead Morning Meetings two times a week. “We know who loves to play a certain game as well as those who are reluctant to participate. We know who is forceful and who is shy.”
They are equally purposeful when it comes to pairing students as buddies, or picking students to lead Tabata, the high intensity warmup routine. Their goal is for all students to feel comfortable in physical education so that they participate and build positive team experiences.
Pritchett knows the emphasis on belonging is taking hold when she sees students run pickup games of Flicker Football at recess. “They’re taking what they’re learning and using it in free time.” The teams are fair and include everybody.