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Our New Games Database

When Mike and I decided to redesign ThePhysicalEducator.com, one of the site’s features we were most excited to update was our Tactical Game and Activity Database.

Today, I would like to walk you through why we changed our games database, what has changed about it, and where we will be taking it from here.

If it ain’t broke…

Our games database is, by far, the most popular feature on ThePhysicalEducator.com. Our games have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times by physical education teachers from around the world. So why change the games database? It has to do with our new mission, which is to help you become the best physical education teacher you can be.

Prairie Dog Pickoff

Our original Game Sheets (from back in 2010)

When I first launched the games database back in 2010, the game sheets were pretty simple. The downloadable PDFs provided you with game rules, variations, equipment, and safety. Although I was very proud of them at the time, they didn’t really help teachers improve their teaching.

Prairie Dog Pickoff 2

Game Sheets 2.0

When we redesigned the Game Sheet template, we wanted to make sure that we included information to help teachers think about the “why” behind every game. That’s why we included sections for tactical problems and tactical talk so that teachers would think “ok, here is what we’re working on” and have some questions they could ask students throughout the lesson to help keep students focused on the learning objectives.

Although we were very happy with this version of the game sheets, there were still a few things that bothered us:

  • How can we help readers better visualize the game than just with a static diagram?
  • How can each game be layered so as to increase its tactical complexity build-by-build?
  • How can we get the community to help discuss and improve each game?

The New Games Database

To answer those questions that were bothering us, we had to rebuild the games database from the ground up. Here’s how we did it:

Game Pages

We wanted to make our Game Sheets a lot more interactive, and that meant moving away from the old PDF format. From now on, every game will have it’s own dedicated webpage packed with interactive features. Hopefully, this will make it easier for teachers to discover, share, and help improve our games (I’ll get to the improving part in a bit).

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjIBx7Ooi1I]

Game Videos

To help teachers better visualize the game and get a better understanding of how to layer each game, we decided to create videos for each game rather than just having a static diagram. The short, animated videos will show you how we layer these games in our own physical education classes, building them up to increase their tactical complexity. Also, thanks to YouTube annotations, we can share additional information with you (e.g. secondary rule/equipment modifications) with you directly in the video.

Screen Shot 2013-11-02 at 6.24.56 PMGame Instructional Elements


On top of a video, each game’s webpage will include additional information to help teachers understand how the game can be used to meet curriculum outcomes.

1. Game Rules

This is nothing new. For each game, we will provide you with a quick description of the game’s rules.

2. Game Builds

With this new section, we will share the different builds we use to layer each game. Please remember that some of these builds precede the version of the game explained in the Game Rules section, and others build upon it.

3. Tactical Problems

With each game we will share the tactical problems that game can focus on. However, remember that you can go beyond the tactical problems we list by adding your own builds to the game (which we hope you will be willing to share!)

4. Discussion Questions

To help you keep your students focused on the tactical problems they will identify in the game, we include a list of discussion questions with each game to help spark student reflection.

5. Safety Rules

Obviously, safety is our number one concern. To help you remember to explain the safety rules, we will list a few of these rules with each game.

6. Required Equipment

To help you plan out your equipment needs for each day, we’ll include an equipment list for each game.

7. Suggested Songs

I love to include music in my lessons, and I know that my students love it when the music goes with the song (e.g. “The Imperial March” for when we play Star Wars Tag). Just for fun, we will include songs that we think go great with each game in our database. We’ve also included a link to a form in case you have some great suggestions of your own that you would like to share!

Screen Shot 2013-11-02 at 6.47.31 PMComments Section

Finally, one of the biggest features we’ve always wanted to add to our games database was a comments section. We’ve received so many emails from teachers in the past telling us about the great ways that they have used our games in their teaching. With the new comments section at the end of each game’s page, teachers can now share and discuss those great ideas right with the rest of the #physed community!

Onwards!

So that is the new format for our free Games Database: web pages full of videos, instructions, links to curriculum outcomes, and teacher comments.

We’re really excited about where the Physical Education Games Database is headed and we hope that it can help you bring new ideas to your teaching.

Having only relaunched two weeks ago, Mike and I are still very busy getting all of our games up and creating videos for each of them. That being said, thank you for your patience as we get this done.

I would love to hear what you think of the new format in the comments below, and I would be even happier to hear any of your own builds/ideas/rules to any of our games directly in our database.

Thank you for reading and happy teaching!

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Joey Feith is the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

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