There are many ways to integrate and fuse Language Arts and physical education. The use of Language Arts in physical education class does not detract from the P.E. curriculum, but actually enhances what is already taught. This is done without taking away much time, if any, from physical activity time during class. 

Mark Ricketts loves to infuse different areas of language arts into his physical education lessons. The use of read-a-louds in grades K-2 is a great way of adding to the physical education learning experience. He added to stories that he found in the school library by writing his own. He wrote his first story, "Socco and Slurpie's Island Adventure," to fit into his lessons about traveling (locomotor movements), pathways, speed, and levels. His other stories also fit into his lessons and add a bit of excitement. Mark started teaching Health as well in the Fall of 2014 and continues to add stories that incorporate those lesson topics as well.
Below, at the bottom of this page, are some other activities that can be used in K-4 elementary P.E. classes.

George Graham, Shirley Ann Holt/Hale, and Melissa Parker wrote a great book called "Children Moving, A Reflective Approach To Teaching Physical Education,."  (1998, 4th edition). I highly recommend it as I have used many of the activities and concepts from the book in my teaching including Language Arts related activities. See below:

1.  Read-A-Louds- (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me))-   (K-1, some in 2nd grade)
In Kindergarten, First, and sometimes Second Grades, read-a-louds work great for warm-ups, introduction of a topic, or as closure after a lesson. P.E. teachers can find a number of children's books that students can act out as you read. Click below for a .pdf file that lists many excellent books that I use in my Physical Education lessons.  Suggestions are included for how to use each book. Some books can be split into two lessons if they are longer.Books take anywhere from one to five minutes to read.
Easyreaderbooklist -$1.99

Activity ideas to use with Mark's books- more to come Summer 2016

Socco and Slurpie's Island Adventure Activity plan.pdf$2.99 (Can be purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers in Mark Ricketts' store)

  • Incorporates Common Core ELA Standards into your P.E. lesson. Go to to download a comprehensive plan that includes many activities and warm-ups that can be used with "Socco and Slurpie's Island Adventure" and "-The Lost Chapters" by Mark A. Ricketts.
  • General Information About the Unit:
    • The Traveling (locomotor) Unit plan includes six sample lessons, PA Health, P.E., and Dance Standards covered, Common Core ELA Standards used, and many warm-ups and activities using the pirate theme that go along with the  story. 
    • This unit plan uses English Language Arts (ELA) Infused Physical Education through the use of fictional stories and related activities. This infusion enhances physical education class by bringing your students into a storybook world that they explore through movement and exercise. The Language Arts standards are seamlessly fused with the PE standards to let the lessons flow without taking away from the students’ physical activity time.
    • You can adapt this unit to any length of time available. It is set up as a six lesson unit with the final two lessons being optional. You can also pick and choose activities based on your needs, equipment, and time constraints. It can be used in the beginning of the year as an introduction or as a review at any time during the year.
    • This unit can be used, or modified to fit in, either first or second grade lessons with some activities appropriate for even Kindergarten or third grade.
    • “Socco and Slurpie’s Island Adventure” (paperback available on is a story that is split into three “chapters” that are each taught in separate lessons, but it could be read from front to back in about six minutes. The first chapter is an introduction and has a few travel words to act out, the second is meant to be read and acted out, and the third finishes the story and can lead into an activity with pathway “treasure” maps.
    • “Socco and Slurpie’s Island Adventure- The Lost Chapters” (can also be found as paperback on are used as six separate books that can be given to students in small groups who take turns reading and acting them out as they are read. They can also be used by having the teacher read each book as the class acts it out as a whole.Each “chapter”, or book, focuses on two or three traveling, or locomotor, movements.Each “chapter” features a character from the main story and the setting happens during the time the original story is taking place. 

2.  Cone to Cone Writing-(Source: Great Activities newspaper) (1st-4th grade)
      12-14 cones are spread throughout the gym. A paper and pencil are at each cone. One student stands next to each cone and one sits, ready to write. On signal the standing student starts jumping jacks or runs in place while the sitting student writes a word that could start a sentence. Once one word is written that sitting student must run, skip, gallop, etc. to a different cone and exercise until the paper opens up. The exercising student stops then adds a second word to the paper that makes sense with the first word. This continues for 3-5 minutes until there are complete sentences on most papers. Teacher moves throughout, erasing words that don't make sense with the words already written down. Teacher collects papers and reads the ones that make sense. Could give students a topic before starting this activity. Could also allow older students to write a sentence instead of just a word and create a story.
3.  Poetry and creative dance- (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me)) - (Grade 3 and 4)
Using Jack Prelutsky's "Awful Ogre Dances" from the book of poems "Awful Ogre's Awful Day" 3rd or 4th graders discuss the meaning of words in the poem as well as phrases in the poem. Partners then follow the sequence of the poem to create their own "Ogre" dance as the teacher reads the poem.

Click here for a lesson plan 3rdpoetry.docx- (check back soon for resource)
4.  Differentiating among 'time words' – (Source: Graham & others, 1998. 4th edition. "Children Moving, A Reflective Approach to Teaching Physical Education." Pgs. 241,242)- (Grades 1 and 2)

Teacher writes all of the words in the following sequences on the white board. The words are large enough for students to see. Bring students back to white board after each sequence so they can see the words.
                Teacher directed exploration of changes in speed:
·         Show me the differences between the words dash and waddle, dart and crawl. First dash, GO. Now waddle. GO. Now dart. GO. Now Crawl. Remember to change speeds with each word so the speeds are very clear.

·         Let’s try them again. Listen very carefully because I’m going to start calling them out faster and you’ll have to change quickly from one another.

·         Ask students to tell you which is the fastest/slowest out of the three words
Sentences of action words

1.       Run-freeze-skip

2.       Dart-collapse-pop

3.       Grow-spin-deflate

4.       Slither-inflate-pop

5.       Squeeze-jump-release

6.       Creep-pounce-explode

7.       Skip-pause-flop

8.       Rise- twitch-fall

9.       Gallop-stamp-corkscrew into ground

10.    Jump-freeze-jab 

5.   Following 'Flow Word' Sentences - (Source: Source: Graham & others, 1998. 4th edition. "Children Moving, A Reflective Approach to Teaching Physical Education." Pg. 247) (Grades 1 and 2)                             First talk about bound (not free flow) and free flow. Have students walk with a beanbag on their head after describing bound (not free) flow. Then let them run without them on their head after discussing free flow. Put beanbags away.

·         On the white board are flow sentences. The first one says: Walk, run, jump. On the signal, begin to travel, using the sentence as your guide. The words are clear; the commas mean to pause or hesitate before the next idea, and the periods mean to stop. Make it very clear where your pauses are and when you stop. End in a period (Stomp foot), question mark (put arms out to side and hands up), or exclamation shape (Jump and come down skinny and loud). Repeat the action of the sentence three times.

Other sentences: Walk, sneak, pounce. ;   Leap, stamp, twist?  ;   Creep, hop, flop!

·         What you just did is an example of bound (not free) flow. Now you’re going to turn the same thing into free flow. This time, on the signal, you’re going to follow the same sentences but without the punctuation marks—in other words, no commas and no periods or pauses or stops. So, you’ll start at the beginning of the sentence and keep going all the way through; no one should know when you’re going to change to the next action. Your action should just flow smoothly, one action leading to the next. When you get to the end of a sentence, just start over again. On the signal, let’s start with the first sentence.

·         Now that you’re so good at the sentences, you’re going to make up one of your own. On the board is a list of words. (such as walk, shrink, gallop, skip, explode, jump, roll, and hop) Choose three of the words, and make your sentence. Put punctuation in, because punctuation is the key to when you stop or pause. Practice your sentence five times with the punctuation in it; then practice five without the punctuation. Practice it very carefully, because we’ll show some of the sentences to the class. It should be obvious when there is punctuation and when there isn’t.

 5b. Practicing Flow words-
 This time, there are two columns of words on the white board, but no punctuation. You’re going to join the words together to make a sequence.

The first column of words reads:
·         Melt
·         Inflate
·         Slither
·         Shrink
On the signal, practice the words in the order you see them. It is your choice when to change from one word to the next. Go. (Bound flow- controllable)

 Now do the second column of words:
·         Jump
·         Spin
·         Stride
·         pop.

(Free flow-wild)

·         Which sequence gave you a bound feeling? Which one a free feeling?

·         Now go back and practice each sequence three times, making it clear each time which one is bound and which is free. 

6.  Differentiating 'Power Words' (Source: Source: Graham & others, 1998. 4th edition. "Children Moving, A Reflective Approach to Teaching Physical Education." pgs. 244-246) (Grades 1 and 2)

Teacher writes words on the white board in pairs. Students are shown each word and then act out each set of verbs or each situation to experience weak and strong forces.    

Decide which is the stronger word:
·         Float/collapse - Have you ever seen a hang glider? It’s like a big kite that floats through the air, but a person is floating with it, just as if he or she were attached to it. You’re now a hang glider, rising over the mountains. Go. Oh, no. all the wind suddenly died. You’re hang glider is falling to the ground. You collapse as you hit the ground.

·         Glide/Stomp - You’re a very good skater, and today  you go roller skating. You’re at the rink, gliding along , having a great time. Now something sticks to your skate; you don’t fall, but you have to walk along and stomp to get it off. Show the difference between light and strong movements.

·         Raindrop/ Thunderstorm - You’re a raindrop in a gentile spring rain, a rain that makes all the flowers bloom and the grass turn its greenest. Now you’re a raindrop in a bad summer storm where the wind blows and the sky is dark. Remember to make very clear which raindrop is strong and which is light.

·         Ant/Rock - Imagine what an ant trying to lift a rock feels like. Try hard; you’re the only hope of the rock getting off the ground. Now you’re a strong person trying to lift the rock. How are your actions different? (Strain and shake for ant, easy for strong person)

·         Weightlifter lifting the heaviest weight you’ve ever lifted. As you pretend,  keep your entire body strong. Then lifting a 5 pound bag of sugar. How easy is it for you? Make your whole body light as you show this action. All your muscles should be loose, as if they’re hardly used at all.

·         Punch/Flick - Now we’re going to use words to help us tell the difference between strong and light movements. The first two words are punch and flick. I’ll give you a story and you make the movements that go with it. One movement should be strong, the other light. Make each movement very clear. Pretending you’re a boxer, punch the punching bag as hard as you can. Now, just flick a fly off of your mother’s freshly baked chocolate cake.

·         Creep/pounce - The words creep and pounce can help us learn strong and light movements. Let’s try it. You’re playing Hide-and-seek; creep very quietly from your hiding place so no one will see or hear you. Now, you’re creeping up to catch your runaway kitten. You’ve found her and are ready to pounce on her before she runs away again. Ready, Pounce. Oops. You missed. Which movement was strong and which was light?

·         Sneak/scare - This time you’re going to show light and strong action words when I use the words sneak and scare. Let’s pretend your brother has a letter. You want to know what it says, so you sneak up behind him to find out. You can’t read over his shoulder, so you figure if you scare him, he’ll drop the letter and run. Go. You need to sneak then scare. 

7. Word Cube Travels: (purchase Foam Move Cubes at ) Travel words. (Activity Source: Mark Ricketts (Me))
   Using words from the P.E. curriculum, students are placed into groups of 3-5. Each group is given a Move Cube. Teacher writes travel words on large notecards and puts one card in each plastic pocket on the sides of the cube. Each cube has 6 travel words from the P.E. curriculum such as skip, gallop, etc. Students take turns rolling the cube. Every student in the group does that word for 7 seconds in the area around the cube. The next person in the group then rolls and the activity continues. Great for a warm-up activity and to go over the spelling of words. Good word work activity. P.E. and Classroom teachers could use these cubes for many activities.  "Perfect for language and academics such as: Preposition, Phonic cards, Shapes, Vocabulary, Alphabet, Opposites", Etc.- as advertised on Sportime's website.

8. Four Corner "Island" Travel Words Using 4 dry erase boards on cones (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me))  (Grades 1 and 2)
Note: boards can be bought at -Patch Circuit 2-Sided Dry Erase Boards - 18 x 24 inch - Pack of 6

At each corner there is a sign with three movements on it. Students perform the first movement on their signs while traveling to the next corner, where they read and then begin the first movement on that sign, and so on, as they progress from corner to corner. When they return to their starting corner, they begin the second movement listed and continue working their way through the lists around the gym until they have completed all of the tasks. Play music if possible. We pretend we're traveling around an island.

 SIGN #1                 SIGN#2             SIGN#3                        SIGN#4

Skip                         Hop                   Crawl                          Slide

Gallop                     Leap                 Skip                             Fast Walk

Jog                           Jump                Walk backwards       Run

9. Word Wall Work- During lessons I use a giant word wall and a green laser pointer. We spell the word or words that we are working with that lesson. I made the word wall using card stock, lamination, and paper clips. I used sticky Velcro tape to help hold up some of the words. I also use other words as well, writing them on a large notecard. The word wall is used by students to write down words during some lessons such as pathways, travel sequences, etc.                             
10. Writing in P.E.: Differentiated Fitness Workout: student created workout plans- (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me))  (Could be used in Grades 3-6) Listed below are the grades I use each in:
Third Grade Fitness Project lesson
Fourth Grade Fitness Project lesson

11.  Writing in P.E.: Ball Skills Target Stations- student created target station- (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me)) (Third Grade) - Stresses writing in a sequence using "First, Second, Next, etc."
Click here for webquest
12. Writing in P.E.: Sport Skills Team Game Creation (Small area 2 vs. 2 game)- (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me))  (Fourth Grade) - Stresses the use of headings in Non-fiction, "How to" instructions.
Click here for webquest 
13. Fitdeck ™ Junior Exercise Cards- ( Grades 3-6 )Good Non-fiction activity cards. Students read the information on each exercise card and then look at the picture for more clues on how to the exercise. Small groups can use these cards in many different activities. Purchase the cards at 
14. Letter wall (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me))- (K-2) On a wall in my gym I have every letter of the alphabet (8.5 X 11"). Additionally, I have two of each vowel. I use the letters on this wall throughout the year as targets for throwing activities. In the beginning of the year the Kindergartners use them to throw at the alphabet and letters in their names. First and second graders use it as a station or partner relay race to throw at the letters as they spell words from my word wall. 
15.  Ecosystem terms exploration- (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me)) (Grade 4)- Done during our Integrated Arts time. The specific terms Lotic and Lentic needed to be remembered. We did balances to represent Lentic and flowing movements to represent Lotic. Lentic/Lotic lesson plan
16. Adverb Cards- (Source: Mark Ricketts (Me)) (Grades 2-4)- As students enter each is given an index card with and adverb written on it. The teacher calls out a verb (ex. skip) and students skip in whatever way their adverb tells them to. (ex. skip- slowly, -quickly, lazily, etc.) Students then trade cards with someone and the teacher calls out a new verb that the class acts out. This could be done with younger grades if the teacher keeps the adverb cards and calls out both the adverb and verb. It could also be reversed with the teacher handing out the verb cards and calling out the adverbs.
17. Travel Sequences- (Source: Mark Ricketts) (Grades 1 and 2)- Students must select three travel words from the word wall, put them in a sequence, practice them, then write the words down in the same sequence that they did them. Students then exchange sequence card with another student and then try out their classmate's sequence card. They take their cards home with them to keep. 

Language Arts integration ideas for physical education teachers:

Soccand SlurpiStories