Going into the first day of practicum on Thursday, I was excited and curious to observe how physical activity was being incorporated into the students’ activities through the day at Queen Mary, as well as to have the opportunity to assist in a PE class. Although I wasn’t able to observe an actual block of PE, I did have the chance to witness the Grade 2 students partake in physical activity in two other contexts, both of which were quite interesting to note.
The first example of physical activity I observed was the school’s “Kilometre Club” – a short period at the beginning of each day during which some teachers bring their classes outside to run laps. I was actually quite surprised to see this in schools today, as I recall doing something similar when I was in Kindergarten (though it wasn’t called Kilometre Club at that time)! The children would circle the playground, and receive a small line on their hand for each lap they ran; at the end of the time period, the teacher would tally the lines and mark it on her attendance sheet. I have observed this running practice in other schools I have volunteered at as well, and generally the children seem to be interested in running laps. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all of them are engaged – some are more interested in socializing, but they socialize with their friends as they walk around the field. For these children, the amount of laps they run is less important than having a chance to build relationships with their classmates, which I think is okay. However, this club is also used as part of the IB transdisciplinary theme the class is focusing on: How we organize ourselves. Their unit discusses physical and social/emotional health, with a focus on goal setting; thus the children set personal goals for the teacher with reference to their exercise and how many laps they are attempting to do for a specific time frame. It was interesting for me to see how the IB themes are used to incorporate a variety of subjects within a single theme, including physical activity.
The second instance of physical activity I observed was in the middle of the day, after the students had returned from the library. As they were restless from sitting and listening for a long period of time, the teacher had scheduled a 15 minute period where the students could be active and engaged, providing them with a necessary break from siting in the classroom. The teacher used to overhead projector to put on a website called “GoNoodle” which provides amazing guided dance routines for young children, and many other activities to get children active. Students and teachers alike were participating in the dances and the children were very excited to do this activity. I thought this was a great way to add in a short period of physical activity in the middle of the day to help students use some energy and re-focus their attention after having some time to just move around. It was obvious that GoNoodle is a classroom favorite, as the children knew the lyrics to all the songs and were all extremely excited to participate, even the quieter children. I would definitely use this resource in the future, and if anyone is interested (it’s free!), I have included the link below.