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Develop a game plan

LEAPFROGS SERIES ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES FOR JUNIORS. By Jean O'Neill Pounds 6.99. GAMES FOR INFANTS By Jim Hall Pounds 5.99. GYMNASTICS ACTIVITIES FOR INFANTS By Jim Hall Pounds 5.99 A C Black.

These books provide a comprehensive series of lesson plans for their respective key stages. Written by experienced practitioners, they should prove valuable to busy teachers.

Athletic Activities for Juniors presents a clear overview, which will help to allay the fears of non-specialists. Component parts of athletic activities are recommended for the early years, middle years (eight to nine-year-olds) and later years (10 to 11-year-olds). A sensible approach is adopted towards competition and its place in the development of the athletics programme.

The lesson plans develop progression from broad foundations to increased levels of challenge and the refinement and practice of athletic actions. They are written in a clear, prescriptive format. Each lesson contains a sound balance of activities and sets an appropriate range of challenges which are particularly good for Years 5 and 6 (10 and 11-year-olds) when many primary schools concentrate on their athletics programmes. Only brief reference is made to assessment and recording, and more help could have been given to the non-specialist with regard to the observation of good athletic performance skills.

Games for Infants develops lesson plans from an introductory chapter which considers the context, management and application of the programme. The lessons are presented developmentally with one lesson for each month of the school year for each year group, which invites repetition and consolidation.

The content is sound, meets fully the requirements of the programme of study and is presented in such a way that it enables teachers to teach directly from the text. The materials provide good opportunities for pupils to plan their responses to the tasks and to develop their performance skills progressively.

The book would have benefited from a section on helping teachers make judgments about their teaching and assess the progress of their pupils.

Gymnastics Activities for Infants follows a similar format. The introductory section discusses briefly the requirements of the programme of study and informs teachers of key points regarding the application and safe management of apparatus.

The content of the lesson plans is good, utilises a sound blend of teaching styles and is helpful to the non-specialist. The work builds logically and progressively, systematically develops variety and contrast and the sequencing of skills on both floor and apparatus.

These books are useful additions to the primary teacher's bookshelf, but, while the content is sound, the presentation is drab and there is a lack diagrams, line drawings and photographs to bring the text to life.

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