Teaching Rhythmic Gymnastics - A Developmentally Appropriate Approach

Heather Palmer
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ISBN: 0736042423 

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About the Author | Table of Contents | Audiences

Rhythmic gymnastics offers a unique blend of music, movement, and apparatus that challenges students to discover their bodies’ capabilities. The opportunities for movement are endless as children use their natural creativity and imagination to manipulate ribbons, balls, hoops, ropes, and scarves in fun and spectacular ways.

With Teaching Rhythmic Gymnastics, you don’t need any specialized training to put together a developmentally appropriate program; this book leads you through the entire process. It’s so easy to implement that once you’ve begun reading you’ll be able to lead classes through the basics of rhythmic gymnastics from the very first day. This book has everything you need to get going:

• Practical ideas for making your own hand apparatus from everyday materials
• Lesson plan ideas and strategies for class management
• Activities that you can use to develop each of the movement elements: locomotion, jumps, leaps, balances, turns, and pivots
• Learning challenges for every fundamental movement using each apparatus
• Tips for selecting music, including basic information about tempo, rhythm, and beat

The book takes a developmental approach that places you, the teacher, in the role of facilitator, using themes, guided discovery, and problem solving to encourage students to work at their own ability levels. The students may work individually or in groups, which help them build teamwork, collaboration, and leadership skills. You can easily include special-needs populations by using simple equipment modifications or program adjustments. Plus, the book includes suggestions for tailoring a rhythmic gymnastics unit for older (secondary) students.

By providing open-ended movement tasks and challenges, you can use this program to guide children to self-discovery within their individual capabilities. After developing movement and spatial awareness, students get the opportunity to use apparatus and discover the fundamental movements and vocabulary along the way. To expand their learning, students refine and add to their movements through a series of learning challenges. The culmination of the learning process occurs when students combine their newly discovered skills into sequences and routines.

This open-ended approach and extensive illustrations make this resource easy to use. To make your job even easier, the book includes a variety of convenient and time-saving tools, including ready-to-use checklists, assessment guidelines, lesson plans, word searches for vocabulary development, and even routine-planning posters that you can enlarge on a copier and post in the gym.

Rhythmic gymnastics is an enjoyable sport that develops fitness, inspires creativity, and enables every child to work at his or her own level. With Teaching Rhythmic Gymnastics, you can add variety to your gymnastics and rhythmic units; start a rhythmic gymnastics club; or introduce a safe, enjoyable alternative to traditional gymnastics programs.

About the Author
Heather C. Palmer is the program coordinator for Rhythmic Gymnastics Alberta. She discovered rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 19 (the time of her retirement from competitive artistic gymnastics), and she has been actively promoting the sport ever since.

Although she has served as a coach and judge at the competitive level, Palmer has more recently shifted her emphasis to developing rhythmic gymnastics at a recreational level. She has held numerous positions on the board of Rhythmic Gymnastics Alberta, including coaching chair and provincial coach. She, in collaboration with a group of dedicated Alberta coaches, developed and promoted the PRISM skill development/badge program that has been adopted throughout Canada. In 1992, Palmer received the Calgary Volunteer Award for developing the sport of rhythmic gymnastics in Calgary, and in 2003 she was recognized by Rhythmic Gymnastics Alberta for her exceptional contribution.

As a classroom teacher herself, Palmer also understands the demands of teaching: She has taught movement and rhythmic gymnastics to children throughout her teaching career. She has also taught rhythmic workshops for teachers for 12 years. She is certified as a level 3 coach in Canada’s highly regarded National Coaching Certification Program and as a course conductor for level 1 and 2 technical courses in rhythmic gymnastics.

Palmer attended the 1999 World Gymnaestrada in Sweden as a team manager and hopes to attend a World Gymnaestrada as a performing gymnast. A member of the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the Coaching Association of Canada, Palmer lives in Calgary, where she teaches at Hillhurst Community School. She also runs a private club that focuses solely on recreational and performing programs. In her free time, she and her husband, Brian Unterschultz, and their two children enjoy skiing, camping, and hiking.

Table of Contents
Part I: Getting Started on a Rhythmic Gymnastics Unit

Chapter 1. Rhythmic Gymnastics
History of the Sport
Why Should We Teach Rhythmic Gymnastics?
Gender and Individuality Issues
Gymnastics for All and for Life

Chapter 2. Rhythmic Gymnastics Equipment
Equipment Inventory Check
Rhythmic Balls
Ribbons and Ribbon Sticks
Alternative Apparatus
Sound System

Chapter 3. The Six Stages of a Rhythmic Gymnastics Unit
Stage 1: Spatial Awareness Without Apparatus
Stage 2: Exploration and Discovery With Apparatus
Stage 3: Fundamental Movement Identification
Stage 4: Learning Extension With Tasks and Challenges
Stage 5: Sequence and Routine Development
Stage 6: Demonstration and Evaluation

Chapter 4. Planning the Rhythmic Gymnastics Unit
Do I Have to Know How to Do It to Teach It?
Where Do I Start?
Connections to Core Physical Education Curriculum
Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Planning the Unit
Connecting to Classroom Learning

Chapter 5. Developing the Lesson
Learning Outcomes
Lesson Planning
Incorporating Group Activities

Chapter 6. Organizing for Teaching and Learning
Class Organization
Teaching Methodology

Chapter 7. Choosing Music
Age of Participants
Percussion Alternatives
Basics of Music Terminology

Part II: Incorporating Learning Experiences Into the Rhythmic Gymnastics Unit

Chapter 8. Spatial Awareness and Body Elements
Spatial Awareness
Movement Cards
Fundamental Body Elements

Chapter 9. Rhythmic Gymnastics Skill Development
Rhythmic Ball Skills
Rope Skills
Hoop Skills
Ribbon Skills
Scarf Skills

Chapter 10. Routines and Beyond
Choreographing a Routine or Sequence
Refining the Finished Routine
Assessing the Finished Routine
Planning the Performance

Appendix Routine-Planning Posters

Resource for K-12 physical education teachers, classroom teachers, adapted physical educators, recreation teachers, dance teachers, and gymnastics club owners and instructors. Supplemental textbook for courses in physical education, adapted physical education, elementary education, early childhood education, recreation, and dance.