I really enjoyed this week’s lesson on outdoor education. I’ll admit that I came into this class at the beginning of the term quite apprehensive about the prospect of teaching PE, let alone teaching it outside with all the extra layers of considerations and complications! However, I thought the group did a great job with their lesson, helping us all understand more about alternative environment and outdoor education and how it doesn’t have to be such a scary thing. I love how Audrey’s knowledge of Gitxsan dance was incorporated into the transition to bring us outside for the lesson. I also appreciated the review of safety protocols and ensuring that we have plans in place for situations that could arise from being in open, public spaces (e.g. if a child gets lost, injured, etc.). The team did their due diligence by scouting out the location for potential risks and safety issues the day before teaching. In practice, we should also gather support from parents, volunteers, and other teachers, as well when organizing outdoor activities. There is so much we can learn from different environments, and we should provide opportunities for our students to experience this.
In our small group review of the readings, we discussed the components to planning a lesson. Christina pointed out the importance of organization and having a “Plan B”, especially when it comes to outdoor education where conditions can be unpredictable or uncontrollable (e.g. weather). We also talked about how outdoor education is not limited to physical education. There are many cross-curricular connections that can be made – to art, to science, to math, to social studies – the possibilities are endless.
Last Tuesday’s Group Teach team introduced striking and batting games to the class. It was awesome to see how everyone’s energy spiked with the conga line and the warm up activity. Although I was a little wary due to my limited dance abilities, I could see how positive this could be for an elementary class where kids could dance around and be silly and goofy without being judged. I also appreciated how we were able to practice the basic movements of batting and pitching before moving on to the main activity.
I like what Steve says about how we are all on our own physical literacy journey. We learn at our own pace and we improve at our own pace, and that is what we have to keep in mind for our students as well. This is what makes the idea of assessment so tricky. Thinking back to my high school days, I remember assessment only ever being summative and never formative. I was never given feedback to improve my learning or to identify my strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement. I only remember doing beep tests and push up tests at the end of the term to determine my grade, but throughout the term we never had activities directed at working on those movements. Looking back on it now, I can understand how both forms of assessment are useful. Students should be able to receive constructive feedback on their performance so they can improve upon it before being subjected to a summative assessment.
On Tuesday, our group presented our lesson plan on Target Games. Being the first group to go was nerve-wracking, especially having to present right after going through all the evaluation rubrics! However, all in all, I think the lesson went well with the help of all our supportive classmates.
During our planning process, we had a lot of different ideas. There were a lot of things we had to keep in mind: PLOs, our target audience, physical/cognitive/affective development, fun, time management, evaluation and assessment, etc. How could we convey all the objectives, information, and instructions to the class, ensure there was a high enough participation time factor, and evaluate learning all within half an hour? It made me reflect on the reality of physical education in schools and how there really isn’t enough time set aside for something so important. It also made me excited to think about the ways in which I could incorporate physical activity in my classrooms throughout the day.
I noticed that the planning came easier to me than the teaching. I was able to research instant and warm-up activities that were simple yet relatable and then tie them together with the main lesson and learning objectives. The actual teaching part was a little more difficult – shout out to Lisa, Tina, and Claire (who did an amazing job leading the instant activity). Again, there were many things to keep in mind and a few hiccups along the way. Transition time was something we had difficulty with, especially with getting the equipment and going outdoors for some activities. Something I have to remember is to wait for the entire class to come in after an activity before providing new instructions, especially when in a large, outdoor space.
Overall, I think the lesson went well. The class played along and laughed at our silly skit, but I think they were really able to see how our whole lesson was structured and tied together.