Word of the Week 6: Evolution

We found ourselves deep in discussion on the evolution of pedagogy this week.  Our conversation covered the political, social and structural changes in education in BC, and Canada more broadly. Admittedly, we are no experts in the history of elementary academia, but it was nice to pause for a moment and reflect on the ways in which past trends influence present decisions. For Robinson and Randell, an understanding the history of physical education is important as it helps us understand physical education today (2014, 13).

What events do you think have been most fundamental in shaping physical education curriculum today?  How do you think the curriculum today will effect future physical education programs?

Spotlight Saturday 4: Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Healthy Kids

Time for another Spotlight Saturday! Today I’m taking a look at the “Healthy Kids” section of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website, and in particular their “Healthy at school” section.

To gain a basic understanding of the importance of heart health, and how this can (and should!) be incorporated into schools, there is the “Heart Health in Schools: Why it Matters” section. There are tons of facts and recommendations here, based on research the H&S Foundation has conducted and collected. It’s definitely a great place to really get to know the “why” behind keeping kids healthy in school.

From there, check out their “Lesson Plans & Activities” page. They’ve got lesson plans for grades K-8, with lots of games, activities, and even ways of working physical activity into the curriculum! If you click on the link to more resources for teachers, you’ll also find a few more activities, as well as a printable healthy-eating cookbook. There’s also a great pdf with ideas for activities for DPA/brain breaks, which you can view here!

If you’re still looking for more, check out this page, with resources on their Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart programs – this fundraising campaign is also a great way to get the whole school involved in being active and increasing physical literacy.

Have you checked out the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Healthy Kids” resources? Have you used any of their activities during your school visits or practicum? What do you think?

Word of the Week 5: Competition or Cooperation?

To what extent should we foster competition in our Physical Education programs?  Should educators bypass traditional competitive sports like soccer and football to make way for yoga and recreational dance?  According to John Steele, chief executive of the of the UK Youth Sport Trust, “competition is not a dirty word.” Steele argues that teacher should not be afraid of educating children about winning and loosing.

What are your thoughts on competition in Physical Education programs?

For more reading on competition in PE see: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6356569


Here is another great article on Competition and Fair Play by Ellen Singleton:

 This is the kind of experience I plan to encourage by Singleton ..

Spotlight Saturday 3: Easy Assessment App

Time for another Spotlight Saturday! A few people asked if I could give an overview of this assessment tool after our “assessment speed dating” activity on Wednesday, so today’s post is an introduction to the Easy Assessment app. This was one of the apps mentioned in chapter 15 of our textbook, on using technology in physical education. It was 99 cents when I purchased it for class, but it looks like it’s currently freeThere’s also a pro version (which I haven’t played with), and that app costs $1.99. The app is for Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod), but there are likely similar apps for Android/Windows products too.

While not only useful for PE assessments, there are a few key features of this app that seem like they would be very helpful in this class in particular. Once you open the app, you can create a variety of rubrics on scales (ranging from 0-10, so your scale is customizable) in varying areas. The possibilities are limitless, and you could assess on anything from balance, speed/time, form, and technique, to more affective things like leadership, teamwork, and safety. This means that the tool can also be used for any unit, from invasion games to gymnastics to dance to target games! You can also upload rubrics as .csv files, if you already have prepared them in a spreadsheet – I haven’t tested this tool out, but it seems like it would be a neat feature that would save some time on a phone/tablet.

You can also either manually add class lists or import them. Students can be assessed in groups or individually, and once assessments are added they can be viewed in-app, or can be sent via email or Dropbox.

When assessing students, the scales can be adjusted on the various criteria. Notes, photos, and video footage can also be added – this is what is exceptionally helpful in a PE context, because “a picture is worth a thousand words” after all – and video in this case is likely worth more! The downside to this tool is that the tech (phone, tablet, etc) with the app would need to be brought to and used in the PE classroom, but as long as students are told why and how the device will be used (and as long as it doesn’t go against any school or district policies of course!) it could be incredibly useful, especially in assessing things like form/technique.

Has anyone tested out this app? Anyone interested in checking it out now? And does anyone know of alternatives for non-Apple users?

Word of the Week 4: Geocaching

This is the ultimate game of hide and seeking treasure, and a great way to bring technology into your PE lesson. Pronounced “geo-cashing,” this game uses GPS technology to guide geocachers to the location of a geocache – a small water proof container with containing a notebook. The coordinates are published online and accessible to everyone. There are currently 1.1 million active geocaches located in over 110 countries.

Robinson and Randall suggest geocaching is a great way to get students outdoors and interacting with the natural environment (2014, pg., 273). How might you utilize geocaching in your PE program? What are your opinions regarding bringing technology into PE?

Spotlight Saturday 2: PHE Canada

Hi everyone!

For our second Spotlight Saturday feature, we’ve decided to take a in-depth look at PHE Canada and their website. PHE Canada stands for Physical & Health Education Canada, and has a longstanding history. Created as the Canadian Physical Education Association (CPEA) in 1933, they became the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (CAHPER) in 1948, and then the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in 1994. In 2008, they became PHE Canada.

Their vision is to see “All children and youth in Canada living healthy, physically active lives”, and they strive to achieve this by supporting schools in becoming “Health Promoting Schools”, that include the provision of Quality Daily Physical Education and fostering healthy school communities.

PHE Canada has several advocacy aspects to their organization – they are involved in interacting with local, provincial, and national governments and policy-makers, to influence the healthy development of Canadian children and youth. They are a great resource for stats and research, and also provide ways to get involved in their mission – the page listing what teachers can do can be found here.

In addition to their advocacy and research/resource programs, PHE Canada also creates and supports programs and projects in the following four categories (which match up with their four pillars):
– Quality Daily Physical Education (QDPE)
– Health Promoting Schools (HPS)
– Quality School Intramural Recreation (QSIR)
– Dance Education

Within each of these four areas, they have a vast wealth of information and ideas. They are also involved, along with two other organizations, in Youth Mental Health initiatives. They are taking part in Young Health Program (YHP), and considering that mental health is a strong focus for the Education program this year (and also just an incredibly important thing to be knowledgable of as educators), it would be well worth looking into this aspect of PHE Canada’s work as well.

All in all, the PHE Canada website is fantastic, and the organization is making great strides in increasing the physical literacy of children in Canada, through programs, advocacy, and research. Check out their site, and see if you can get involved and incorporate some of their ideas into your work this year and throughout your career as teachers!

Word of the Week 3: ‘Movement Concept’

This little phrase caught our attention while reading Wall & Murry’s article this week. Wall & Murry  discuss the educator’s role introducing ‘movement concepts’ gradually to students – first as a floor activity before moving to apparatuses (1994, pg., 401).  We wondered, what constitutes a ‘movement concept’? And how do you know which movement concepts to teach , and which ones you should approach as ‘taken for granted understanding’?

According to Robinson & Randall, a movement concept answers the four following questions  (2014, pg., 319):
1. What is the body doing?
2. Where is the movement going?
3. What is the dynamic content or quality of movement?
4. With whom or to what is the mover relating?

With these questions in mind, what do you think is the most important movement concept to teach children at the start of a Gymnastics unit?

Note: Have a peak at the ‘Movement Concept Wheel’ designed by the University of New Mexico for an overview of different movement concepts  and how they relate to our broader understanding of what it means to be a physically literate individual.

Spotlight Saturday 1: PlaySport

For our first Spotlight Saturday, we’ll be taking a closer look at a fantastic resource – PlaySport, an online activity-based resource that helps children and youth develop an understanding of and competency with skills and strategies associated with physical activities and a wide range of sports. The site uses the TGfU approach (Teaching Games for Understanding) which is a great model for lessons.

This site will probably be a great source of ideas for activities during your practicum – you can search by the following categories:

Division: Primary, Junior, Intermediate, Senior

Activity Category: Territory, Net/Wall, Striking/Fielding, Target Games, Individual Pursuits

Movement Skills: Stability, Locomotion, Manipulation, Body Awareness, Spatial Awareness, Relationships, Effort Awareness

So for example, if I was teaching a Junior-level class during a target games unit, and wanted to focus on their manipulation movement skills, I could put those search terms into the website, and have a number of games to choose from. For this search, there were three:

Beanbag Boccia, where “Participants learn about and practise sending an object toward a target to accumulate the most points.”
Pinwheel, where “Participants learn about and practise sending an object toward a target surrounded by bowling pins while standing at different distances.”
Target 5, where “Participants learn about and practise sending an object to hit a variety of different targets.”

You can select any game and view a page with the information needed to set up and run the game (or download/print it). This includes things like equipment needed, safety concerns, adaptation options, and detailed instructions, diagrams, and even videos to demonstrate gameplay.

Have you had a look through PlaySport yet? What games do you think would be really valuable to use in your practicum classrooms?

Word of the Week 2: The Four ‘C’s

We couldn’t settle on a single word this week, so we chose four:

continuous, collaborative, comprehensive and criteria-based

These are the four ‘C’s that Robinson and Randall suggest are the “essential principals”  of physical education assessment “that must be constantly respected” (2014, pg., 102). If educators follow these four principals, Robinson and Randall suggest, students will be more likely to  achieve the outcomes of their PE program.

Which one of the four ‘C’s do you think is most important and why? Can we apply the four ‘C’s to subject areas beyond physical education?  Why?