Physical Exercise Task Cards

Station Signs, Physical Education Task Analyses, Strength and Stamina Exercise Cards, Physical Movement Prompts

UDL 1.1

Physical Exercise Task Cards are strength building references in which students are provided visual signs that symbolize specific body movements that are ordered sequentially by the level of physical difficulty required (e.g., the most complex movements presented first, then scaled down using modifications to support individualized student abilities, such as a standard push-up scaled down to a knee bearing push-up). Physical Exercise Task Cards should be presented in a physical education setting at least twice a week to ensure student strength gains are increasing or maintained. These task cards should also be implemented at the beginning of the class to prevent injuries from mental or physical fatigue that may occur after a student exerts some energy. Physical Exercise Task Cards can also be applied in the classroom setting to support a student in releasing energy or peaking awareness. This strategy provides students with strength building variations and helps build physical stamina in order to prepare their muscles for everyday life skills.

Implementation Tips

Selecting Images
Select bold images that clearly symbolize the physical actions a learner must perform, similar to these [[ | push-up images ]] (e.g., hands on the wall with the body at an angle for wall pushes, crossed legs for knee push-ups). Include no more than three modifications of a body movement on a physical exercise visual.
Planning Physical Activities
Review a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) to align Physical Exercise Task Cards with the learner’s current physical support objectives. For example, if a student is working on increasing flexibility, plan exercises in which the student performs upper and lower body stretches.
Modeling Physical Exercise Task Cards Movements
Model the physical actions that students are being asked to perform, including all variations of difficulty, to include all learner abilities (e.g., forward kneeling plank with weight bearing through the toes, and the modified version of weight bearing through the knees).
Using Observations
Use observations to evaluate a student’s level of success while performing physical movements using task cards. If a student cannot accurately perform the most challenging version of an exercise for at least two repetitions, encourage the student to try a modification until mastery is demonstrated.
Making It Relatable To Real World Experiences
Support student understanding of participating in Physical Exercise Tasks by explaining the benefits of practicing each movement (e.g., “Gaining good upper body strength from push-ups or wall pushes can help you with everyday tasks, such as carrying groceries, opening a jar, or even getting out of bed!”).
Physical Exercise Task Card Stations
Create physical activity stations, but avoid setting up stations that consecutively work the same body area (e.g., a squat station followed by a lunge station). Provide ample space between each station (e.g., use the four corners of a gymnasium) and have students rotate every 3-7 minutes for 20-30 minutes.
Utilizing Physical Exercises In The Classroom
Collaborate with a Physical Education teacher, Occupational Therapist, or Physical Therapist to apply this strategy in the classroom. This provides a student that requires physical support with more consistent strength building exercises, energy release options, or opportunities to peak awareness.


Gross Motor Skill Support
After reviewing individual student IEPs, a teacher decides to incorporate Physical Exercise Task Cards to highlight specific modified movements to support all learners while rotating through three strength and gross motor skill building stations (e.g., push-ups, squats, body planks). The teacher carefully selects precise images to demonstrate less strenuous alternative actions for each exercise prior to student participation. To introduce these tasks, the teacher models each station’s action with the paired variations. After, students participate and rotate through stations every 3-7 minutes while the teacher conducts observations to monitor student strengths.
Building Flexibility Skills
To support a student that is working on increasing muscular flexibility, which is essential to prevent injuries, a teacher creates Physical Exercise Task Cards to highlight four different body stretches (e.g., standing toe touch, quad stretch, chest stretch, calf stretch). After modeling the movements and variations demonstrated on each card, the teacher invites the student to try each action. As the student attempts a standing toe touch, the teacher notices this action poses a challenge. Using constructive feedback the teacher states, “That was such great effort! Let’s try the next modification listed so that you can build up your flexibility to master the first one.” The student then uses the task card to modify actions (e.g., seated toe touch with slightly bent knees).
Increasing Classroom Engagement
After lunchtime daily, a teacher notices that a student demonstrates signs of frustration or fatigue (e.g., becomes easily agitated, lays head on table). To minimize frustration and peak the student’s awareness during afternoon activities/lessons, the teacher incorporates some Physical Exercise Task Cards into the classroom environment to help re-engage and refocus the student’s attention. The visuals are placed in a designated area (e.g., hallway, quiet corner of the classroom) and the student is shown where the tasks are. The teacher explains, “You’ve worked hard all day. Let’s take a short break at our body work station.” The student engages with this station no more than twice per class period (e.g., for up to 5 minute intervals) to maximize instructional time.

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