Using Time-Outs During Outdoor PE Sessions

One of the most common class-management issues, as any elementary school teacher will tell you, is overly chatty students. For some students, the outdoor PE setting makes the temptation to talk (while they should be listening to the teacher) too great to resist. How should you handle these chatty students?

A time-out—removing a disruptive student from the current activity—is one of my favorite class-management tools. But you must use time-outs responsibly to get their full benefit. Keep time-outs short, about 3 to 5 minutes. Often, the students who present the most severe behavior challenges are the ones who most need to be involved in organized activity. So you want to get them back into the action quickly. At the end of a time-out, chat briefly with the student you disciplined. Make sure they understand the mistakes they made and know what they have to do differently.

The added bonus of a time-out is its potentially strong impact on the other students in the class. Often, immediately after you issue a time-out, other chatty students quiet down as they realize that there could be a consequence for their behavior.

Author: mgardner123

Author of the PE by Design program. I'm passionate about helping K-5 classroom teachers teach physical education.