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Squads by the Numbers


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A K-8 teacher tip for organizing your students.  
Submitted by Bob Cooke, Westminster, Maryland.


BACKGROUND: Organized to the Max!: I have used squads in my Physical Education classes for the past few years. I have found them to be the best way for me to organize to the “max.” Here’s how it works:

1. Each class is divided into six squads.

2. Squads are lettered from A-F.

3. Each squad has a mascot who’s name begins with the team letter. Examples: A: Alleycats, B: Bulldogs, C: Cougars, D: Dragons, E: Eagles, F: Falcons.

4. As the students enter the gym, they are seated in single file behind a designated squad leader. Squad leaders are changed each month.

5. Any pencils, notebooks, instruments, etc. are placed against the wall and directly behind each squad. In my situation, the students may be coming from or going to other classes where the items are needed.

6. For outdoor activities, we use six cones to designate the squads. A hula hoop is placed behind each squad. The hoops become each squad’s “storage space” for school items.

Using this method of class organization, I have found the skill practice, games, team selection, and entering and exiting the gym can be done in a quick, fair, and orderly fashion. I select the squads and mix all the ability levels evenly. So when we have lead-up games, it is easy to have three separate games with each squad representing a team.

At times, it may be necessary to have two large teams. With squads, you can quickly select three squads on one team and three squads on the other team.

THE SQUAD PUZZLE GAME: The older students usually remember their squads after just one class. The younger students need plenty of reinforcement, so we play games such as “The Squad Puzzle.” In this activity, the students are scattered about the gym performing a variety of locomotor skills. When “squad assemble” is called, the students have to go back to their squad in the correct order. Doing this several times at the end of each period quickly helps the students to remember their squad order.

You will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of ways that you can minimize the minor time-consuming tasks during a class while maximizing the actual activity time!

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