Gemma’s Movement Journal – October 14th

Being part of the BEd program has provided me with a lot of new experiences, although I think being a hedgehog and a polar bear are an absolute first for me! But the lesson on Wednesday was fun and engaging, and we managed to work up a sweat while we were at it. So great job ladies!

The Crocodile
The Crocodile
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The Polar Bear

I love doing and planning scavenger hunts (I’ve done a few for birthdays & bachelorette parties), but I also think they are an ideal activity for encouraging students to experience the outdoors. There is a healthy dose of competition, and allows for students to practice their thinking, creative and team-working skills, as well as encouraging them to experience new things. In thinking about my own experience growing up, we very rarely experienced outdoor education or alternate environments for either P.E. or regular classes… I only remember one occasion of going outside to a nearby field in the last week of the year as a treat (although this may have something to do with the horrendous Scottish weather!). It was still a time where we spent a lot of time playing outdoors outside of school and I was lucky enough to come from a family who came from more rural communities and who enjoyed this. We would spend every summer up in the islands, playing on tractors and in the moors helping to collect peat.

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So it’s scary when just 20 years later, the majority of play occurs indoors. I remember going out for dinner a month or two ago and seeing a family sitting nearby and all three of the kids were straight away sitting on their devices playing games. We are so lucky to be living in British Columbia where there is nearby access to so many varied environments. Yesterday it was a 5-10 minute walk until we were in the middle of a forest. We could have gone 10 minutes in the opposite direction and been at Wreck Beach. So as educators we really need to instill this outdoor mindset from the start. I saw a couple of videos on Youtube of teenage gamers and the impact on their social skills and their understanding of society is clearly evident. I know Steve mentioned this in class previously, but the David Suzuki Foundation has some really great resources and ideas for implementing an outdoor mindset within the classroom, and this is something I will definitely be incorporating if I’m lucky enough to have my own classroom one day. It even has some benefits for teachers too… (http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2014/09/learning-in-nature-is-good-for-teachers-and-students/)

2 thoughts on “Gemma’s Movement Journal – October 14th”

  1. I’m interested by your comment about scavenger hunts being a “healthy dose of competition”, Gemma! I feel the same way – competition is motivating; but there is so much research showing that competition isn’t good for children, especially in PE. I’m not sure how you would address that in something like a scavenger hunt, where competition is such a central element of the activity, and there is a clear winner that you can’t “hide” from the children. I think the way that this week’s team teachers gave the prize was great – they still honoured the winning team, but everyone got an apple! And the winning team got to feel special because they handed them out 🙂

  2. Hi Gemma,

    I enjoyed reading your post, and the pictures you posted were great! I also thought the scavenger hunt was a great team-building and collaborative activity. This scavenger hunt, in particular, allowed for equal participation and required constant movement throughout. By the end of it, my teammates and I were in need of a water break. If I were to implement this scavenger hunt in my Grade one and Grade two classroom, I would be a bit reluctant as regards to the set boundaries. I noticed that some of the stations were out of the instructors view and thus, it made it difficult to supervise the students. If I were to repeat this lesson plan, I would most likely use only the field as, it has a designated fence around it. It would, therefore, make it easier to monitor students whereabouts and prevent students from wandering off. However, for the older grades I believe giving them the freedom to explore beyond the field would be appropriate because it would allow them to build their independence and trust with the teacher. Moreover, they would be in small groups and would look out for one another. According to Mitra et al. (2014), students move more when they have some freedom to roam unsupervised and take risks. For example, Grade five and Grade six students who are given the opportunity to go outside and explore unsupervised get twenty percent more heart pumping activity than those who are always supervised (Mitra et al. 2014). Therefore, I think you make a great point that scavenger hunts are a great means for exploring the outdoors. As we have learned in previous classes, students are thirty-five percent more active when physical education is held outdoors. In addition, after reading the article you posted “Learning in Nature is Good for Teachers and Students”, I was captivated with the great benefits that teachers gain from teaching outdoors. For example, teaching outdoors makes educators “more confident and enthusiastic about their work and more innovative in their teaching strategies” (David Suzuki blog, 2014). I think that as future teachers we need to take these facts into account when devising our lesson plans and reevaluate whether the lesson can be held outdoors.

    Mitra, R. & Faulkner, GEJ. & Buliung, RN. & Stone, MR. (2014). Do parental perceptions of the neighbourhood environment influence children’s independent mobility? Evidence from Toronto, Canada. Urban Stud. 51(16). p. 3401-3419.

    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2014/09/learning-in-nature-is-good-for-teachers-and-students/

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