How to Teach Good Sportsmanship to Elementary Students in 2023

If you are an elementary teacher looking to learn how to help your students be good sports, then you found the right place! Sportsmanship skills prepare kids to play games and be on teams with others in a productive and positive way. Students who are good sports are better friends than students who are not. In this post, we’ll go into detail about what good sportsmanship is and why it’s important. In addition, we’ll share tips and ideas for how to teach being a good sport in an elementary classroom setting. Read all about helping students use good sportsmanship in and out of the classroom below!

What Does Sportsmanship Mean?

Sportsmanship is when people are playing or watching a game or sport and treat each other with respect whether they win or lose.

Why is it Important for Kids to Show Sportsmanship?

It is important for kids to show sportsmanship because it helps them develop skills for managing and developing positive relationships. People want to play with others who are good sports. Understanding sportsmanship is important for understanding and showing respect for others.

How Do I Know If I Need to Teach Sportsmanship in My Classroom?

The students in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade classroom would benefit from sportsmanship lessons and activities if any of these statements are true:

  • Students have a hard time playing games with each other.
  • There is a lot of drama after recess.
  • STEM challenges have become more work than fun.
  • Students struggle with self regulation during sports and games.
  • Students struggle to control their impulses during sports and games.

4 Reasons To Promote Sportsmanship In Your Elementary Classroom

Below are 4 reasons to promote sportsmanship in your elementary classroom.

1. Students will be better friends to each other 

Students who are good sports will be better friends with each other because they will win and lose fairly when playing games. People who are good sports will be able to take turns while playing a game and won’t always have to pick the game that is played. Both of those are important friendship skills that help students maintain lifelong friendships. 

2. Recess drama will go down 

How often do your students come back from recess upset or crying? How often does it have to do with winning or losing a game or the way someone treated them after they won a game? Teaching sportsmanship will teach students to play fairly and respectfully during recess, making recess drama go down. 

3. STEM challenges will become fun again 

STEM challenges are incredible for team and community building, as well as creativity. When students learn sportsmanship they will become better engaged in STEM challenges because they will know that they aren’t about winning or losing, and how to treat their teammates with respect. 

4. Sportsmanship teaches teamwork 

Teaching sportsmanship is important because it helps build teamwork skills. Teaching sportsmanship naturally teaches students how to work together towards a common goal and how to manage issues that arise on a team. Through learning sportsmanship students will learn how to respect each other. 

5 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Sportsmanship

1. Read Aloud Picture Books about Sportsmanship

Picture books are a great way to introduce and teach an SEL topic. It gets students thinking about the topic and activating their background knowledge. Check out this list of picture books for teaching sportsmanship!

2. Watch Videos about Sportsmanship

There are tons of free online videos out there that promote social emotional learning. It’s a fun and engaging way to teach SEL skills that your students will enjoy. Check out these videos for teaching sportsmanship!

Vocabulary words can help students develop understanding of sportsmanship and create connections through related words. Our sportsmanship SEL unit includes ten vocabulary cards with words related to the SEL topic. It is important for students to be able to see, hear, and use relevant vocabulary while learning. One idea for how to use them is to create an SEL word wall as students learn the words.

4. Provide Practice Opportunities

When learning any skill, students need time to practice. Social emotional learning skills are no different! Our sportsmanship SEL unit includes scenario cards, discussion cards, choice boards, games, and much more. These provide students with opportunities to practice the skills independently, with partners or small groups, or as a whole class.

5. Integrate Other Content Areas

Integrating other content areas with this topic is a great way to approach this SEL topic. Our sportsmanship SEL unit includes reading, writing, and art activities.

Sportsmanship SEL UnitSocial Emotional Learning Units Bundle

In closing, we hope you found this information about teaching sportsmanship helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts.

Share it:


Winter Opinion Writing FREEBIE!

Grab this freebie and engage your students in a fun seasonal activity. It’s a great way to practice opinion writing.