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Team Teach Reflection


This week, our group taught a lesson on Physical and Health Literacy. In general, I really love the idea of Physical Literacy. I myself am not a “team” or “organized” sport type, and I am so glad that schools are encouraging students to find a love of physical activity and to make a commitment to healthy living.

I was very proud of our lesson. During planning, we wanted to create a lesson that would encourage students to start pinpointing aspects of physical and health literacy that they enjoy. Because none of our learning objectives were skill based, and because this lesson/unit would be used as a cumulative one, focus was placed on enjoyment rather than skill building. Along with this, the 2 Stars and a Wish self-assessment intends to help students reflect on their experience and draw tangible connections between enjoyment and physical activity. By giving students choice, whether it was through choosing what bingo station they wanted to go to, who they wanted to work with, words they wanted to spell, or group size, students felt autonomous in their decision about their health, and thus could choose to pursue activities they enjoyed. We did want students to try things they wouldn’t normally try, and not to get too stuck in any one activity, thus we gave the instruction that students must fill their whole bingo card by the end of the unit. However, the enjoyment factor was again addressed by telling students they were welcome to revisit and adapt stations as much as they wanted during the unit.

Mary and Cheryl did a wonderful job with the warm up and cool down, and Rob did as well with the Instant Activity! When we were planning, we decided that we wanted to take a cross-curricular approach, and weave in as many connections with other curricular areas that we could. This was reflected in the instant activity (The Moving Alphabet) and its connections to literacy, and the warm up and cool down connections to animals and environments. Activities within healthy bingo showed connections to Math, SEL, Literacy, and competencies such as critical thinking and communications, as well as pulling together different movement skills that students would have learned throughout the term in PHE.

Another of the concepts that we wanted to weave into our activity was cooperation and teamwork. Students had the option to work together in small or large groups, or to work individually on tasks. Again, choice gave students autonomy and ownership over their healthy activities, and they could draw on constructivist learning models to stretch understanding and skill building.

Overall, my main goal was to create a fun and supportive environment for active participation and exploration, and I think that that goal was achieved!

Week 8 Journal (Dance and Gymnastics)

Unfortunately, I was away the day of the dance and gymnastics presentation! However, in that statement alone, I believe the importance and draw of dance and gymnastics is illustrated by the fact that I — someone who has not been interested in PE in the past — was disappointed to be missing this part of our class. Dance has many cross-curricular connections, as well as connections to culture and society. Of course, one of the most common cross curricular connections of dance is that of storytelling skills being demonstrated through dance and movement. However, one can incorporate the movement and rhythm skills of dance in every curricular area. During my short practicum, I taught a lesson using rhythmic movement patterns to practice and internalize Skip Counting in grade 1 and 2 Math. Children stomped, tapped, and clapped beats, as well as crossed the midline as they chanted their skip counting patterns. Dance can be used as a way to introduce cultural connections in the classroom using a cross-cultural art-movement form.

I also believe that dance aids in children’s social and emotional development. I have often observed young children letting go of many of their inhibitions when dancing or participating in more expressive forms of movement. Partner and group dances can increase cooperation within a class community, and the performative aspects of dance and gymnastics encourages a supportive audience as well as builds confidence for those performing.

Movement Journal: Week 6 Elizabeth Greenwood

I loved outdoor education! It was so nice to have a change of environment, and Lexi, Katy, Brianna, and Jackie did a fantastic job of having interesting and engaging activities. In order to tie in the activities with the reading this week, I am reflecting on things I would keep in mind when planning alternate environment/outdoor activities.

  • keep in mind time and location. I wouldn’t want to spend more time getting to a location than engaging in activities
  • the outdoors are inherently more active than a classroom, so activities that may not seem extremely active (like using natural materials to create a picture) can still be active when done outdoors (particularly if you incorporate walking to the location or other more active components to the lesson)
  • there are many local resources that you can use so you can limit the number of materials, etc. that you need to bring along
  • even if you haven’t planned specifically for an outdoor or alternative environment activity, you can take advantage of good weather or sheltered areas to teach “regular” lessons outside
  • being flexible outdoors can lead to wonderful teachable moments! At Katy’s station, we watched a spider catch and eat a fly. It prompted questions, discussion, and wonder in the participants.

I think a lot of teachers find outdoor and alternate environment education to be daunting because of  safety and organization. As the text highlighted, routines are elemental in a well-planned PE program, and I think that proper planning, and instruction (including well structured and practiced routines) can make alternate learning environments more manageable. Also, recognizing that the use of local areas and resources can be just as, or more, beneficial as a distant trip can relieve pressure and encourage more of this type of lesson!

Movement Journal: Week 4 Elizabeth Greenwood

I have recently come to understand that one of the fundamental and foundational pieces of education is an understanding of one’s students. Thus, pedagogical approaches for the accommodation of the diverse needs and interests of learners is to first understand what those diverse needs and interests are! Entry and exit slips with simple questions are a good way to gauge students’ feelings about PHE, as well as journals or blogs. After you have an understanding of who you are teaching, you can begin to differentiate your lessons to accommodate a diverse student population. I really enjoy stations as a part of my own Physical Education. Stations provide diversity in the learning environment and account for differences between students. Even if there are one or two stations that students enjoy less, a limited amount of time and a variety of stations ensures that all students’ will be catered to.
In the same way as understanding your students feelings about PHE through entry and exit slips, journals, etc. is important, observing your students throughout physical education is important to give them formative assessment, and to find the best ways to provide summative assessment at the end of the learning period. Formative assessment is critical in subjects such as PHE as many students struggle with testing and performance at the level to which they are actually capable. Observation is more likely to provide those performing assessments with an understanding of students’ authentic ability to apply fundamental movement skills in real-life situations. Observation is another way in which educators can glean a better understanding of their students’ needs and interests. Levels of engagement during a lesson can be observed and lessons can then be adjusted to better suit the needs of the students. Thus, reflective and observational assessment of one’s own teaching is incorporated in the PHE experience.

Movement Journal: Week 2 Elizabeth Greenwood

I am getting more and more excited to teach PE as I am realizing more and more that it isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a space for athletically advantaged students to play dodgeball and run laps. I’m so glad that the Hall of Shame articles focussed on emotional safety as well as physical safety in PE classes. As we have been getting deeper into our coursework, an obvious theme is inquiry and I am thinking more about how to encourage inquiry in PE. I would really like to diversify students’ sense of what physical activity means and work with them to start exploring their understanding of physical and mental wellbeing through inquiry thinking! I’m so happy that the story of PE is changing from the militaristic style physical training to a more wholesome education on health and wellbeing. I was also considering competition in PE, and while I do believe that it is important to instil a sense of friendly competition in kids, I also am glad that there is a shift away from competition being the primary focus of physical education. I was considering dodgeball and how I might modify it away from its “shameful” characteristics, and realized that you can still teach the same skills (accuracy, throwing, etc.) by having a group on one side of the gym throwing balls at objects that are set up on the other side. Each object has assigned points (big = more points, small = less points) and the class as a whole is trying to get as many points as possible. Record how many points you get in each round, and try to beat the group score every time you play! That way you’re challenging your personal best every time.