When students enter the gym they are ready to move. They want to move. As they get off the bus in the morning they are yelling across the black top asking "What are we doing in PE today Mrs. Jessel?" or "Do I have PE today Mrs. Jessel?" They do not want to come to the gymnasium and sit.
I found instant activities provide the students with moderate to vigorous movement options which help the students focus before the lesson begins. I teach a variety of instant activities in the beginning of the year and rotate through them. Some of the activities are linked to the daily lesson while others are random.
Instant activities I've used in the past include cooperative challenges, ball throwing challenges, fitness and low organized games like Lazy Mary. Once taught and reviewed two or three times, the students are able to organize and start the activity with little assistance from me.
During instant activity time I take attendance, reset the daily lesson, and talk with the students.