As we prepared to get nearly 100 second graders in the water yesterday, many of whom have NEVER been in the water before (believe it or not), I did something I wanted to share with you that you may enjoy. In fact, you may want to try it next time you have a large swim lessons group as it had every child engaged:

After dividing up the 100 swim lessons students into three time slots, with about 33 swimmers per half hour, we gathered the first group on deck. With five instructors in the water, I had created five single file lines with an average of 6-7 children per line. I was about to have the instructors do a freestyle kick demonstration in the prone kick position (also known as the in-line kick). This is the second of two tests we do (first test: kick with a noodle or kick board with the face out of the water). This test determines what group we are going to place the students. One other note, 95% of the children are African American, and I'd estimate up to 50% of them have never been in a swimming pool.

So I say to the kids: “Someday when you grow up (like when your 21 or 22 or 23 years old) and my swim teachers are old and gray and retired, I would love to have some of you in here teaching swim lessons for
me! So today we're going to do a little role playing and pretend you are the teacher for a minute and see how well you do. Let's imagine the swim instructors are your students taking swim lessons from you. I’m going to tell you softly what to say, repeat after me: Arms straight (arms straight), fast kick (fast kick), face in the water (face in the water), ready-go (ready-go)!”

It was such a neat thing to hear those 2nd graders pretend they were the swim teacher and to see the teachers do what they said. I even think it reminded the teachers how effective choral responding is and how important start signals are in their own teaching. There was no question what those kids (playing the role of the instructor) wanted their teachers (playing the role of the students) to do!

So there you have it, just a quick little swim school idea that was fun for the kids and good for the swim instructors too!

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Comment by Jim Reiser on October 1, 2010 at 6:31pm
Thanks Jamie, I really appreciate your comments:) If you do facebook or twitter, I post tips there almost daily you may find interesting:) or
Comment by Jamie Barnhill on October 1, 2010 at 2:56pm
I think that is great! I bet it got a lot of the students over their fears of getting in the water and trying to put their face in! Good thinking!

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