All posts by allymona

Sydney & Ally’s Cross-Curricular Resource

For our final project, the cross-curricular lesson, Sydney and I developed a mini-unit that integrates science, math, and PE/DPA for primary-aged students.

Through an inquiry into the body’s reactions to exercise, students will learn about how activity level leads to changes in heart rate. Students will measure their heart rate and use this data in real-life math problems. Further, students will be able to experience the workings of the cardiovascular system through a relay activity where they play the part of red blood cells carrying oxygen.

We hope you’ll find this resource useful and that you’ll have fun implementing it with your students!

PE, Math & Science Cross-Curricular Lesson

Ally’s Movement Journal – Oct. 28

You probably know by now that I’m not much of a dancer. Despite 8 years of classical ballet training I don’t have much of a sense of rhythm nor do my limbs seem to coordinate themselves particularly gracefully.

I’d really love to be a PE teacher, but one of the things that makes me apprehensive about following this dream is that I’d have to teach dance. I managed to get through PE dance lessons by hiding in the back, but that’s not an option when I’m the one teaching it!

Aiming to solve this problem, I went on a hunt and found this great resource about teaching dance in PE:

SPARK PE’s Tips for Teaching Dance in PE

I LOVE that the first thing they say is to start small. That’s manageable. I can do that. I even already know the Pata Pata (thanks Ms. DL & the grade 1s!)

I also love all the ways they integrate media and pop culture into their suggestions. I know that as a child I was always more excited to do something when there was a video or multimedia component to it; hopefully this is still the case for today’s kids.

This week’s dance lesson was a great example of how to “hand the heavy lifting” over to your students. While the teachers demonstrated the steps, they weren’t in front the whole time, which handed the responsibility over to us but also took them out of the spotlight, which is key for me if I were to teach dance. I loved the way the iPads were integrated into the lesson, and I think this would be awesome for a whole unit for students to see their progress from the first time they tried the dance to the end of the unit.

Thanks to this week’s teachers!

Ally’s Movement Journal – Oct. 14

I don’t think it’s any secret now that I love PE, but especially I love being outside for PE! Taking opportunities to go outside is something I really want to incorporate into my teaching practice, whether it’s for a dedicated PE class or just to get some sunshine & fresh air during the day. Daily physical activity and the chance to spend time outdoors every day is so important for our kids (and us!), and one of my personal quests is to convince everyone that this is the case.

I think this week’s lesson, and the fielding games lesson 2 weeks ago, gave us great examples of how easy it can be to take our students outside. As we discussed with Steve, outdoor ed doesn’t have to be the big camping excursions or expensive, specialized sports like we tend to think of. It’s literally as simple as going outside. We’re lucky that our home is so rich in natural environments that would be perfect and easily accessible for daily outdoor education. Like Maria said in her post last week, one of the teachers at Southlands takes her class for a walk in Pacific Spirit Park every morning. This would be easy to do in a lot of areas in North Vancouver too, and even in urban areas if there’s a large-ish park nearby.

I found an interesting project by UC Berkley: The Outdoor Classroom. Although this is specifically targeting early childhood education, many of the core concepts are applicable to elementary classrooms as well, including:

  • “Most activities that can be done indoors can also be done indoors”
  • “The outdoor space offers a balance of areas for physically active and less active play” (or learning!)
  • “The outdoor curriculum evolves from and changes with children’s changing needs and interests” (particularly relevant to inquiry learning!)
  • “Children experience nature in as many ways as possible”

All in all, I think outdoor education’s star is rising. There’s been a bit of a reversal in activity trends in education, but I’m hoping that educators, administrators, and parents will begin to understand the importance of physical activity in their children’s lives and embrace outdoor education as an important element of education.

Ally’s Movement Journal – Sept. 30

Firstly, thanks Tobi, Emily, and Gemma for an awesome lesson! You were all fantastic in front of the group and I really appreciated getting outside into the sunshine and playing such hilarious & fun games!

When they introduced Chuck the Chicken I was SO excited! It’s one of the games we play at work (with kids/teens who are on the autism spectrum) and it’s one of our favourites, even though it never *quite* works the way it’s supposed to – getting such a diverse group of kids to play a cooperative game is quite a challenge!

One of the most important things I learned in my PE classes in undergrad was that the games we play in PE, especially with the younger kids or to accommodate a diverse group, don’t have to look like the ‘real’ game forms. It’s OK to modify and adapt games to make them fit the needs of your students – not making the kids fit into the game. This is something I’ve come to understand well through working with kids with disabilities: trying to play a ‘real’ game of soccer or basketball almost never works, and it’s really so much better to modify it. It’ll make you happy, because it will work, and it will make the kids happy, because they’ll actually be able to be successful! And the new versions often turn out to be super fun, like 3-ball kick baseball! I don’t think any of us would have rather played kickball on Wednesday because we were having so much fun with the modified, more inclusive game!


Ally’s Movement Journal – Sept. 16th

Steve, when you told us on Wednesday that we would have to do a flash mob dance in public, in front of everyone, I just about died. I did ballet as a child, but beyond what the Royal Academy of Dance  taught me, I can’t actually dance. I even told my elementary school PE teacher that it was “stupid” that we had to do dance and I shouldn’t have to do it, because I already knew I wasn’t going to grow up to be a dancer. So, long story short, flash mobs just really aren’t my thing. But! Dare I say that I actually enjoyed myself? The instructor was just so enthusiastic it was contagious! I have so much respect for people like her, who are able to get up in front of the crowd and just radiate excitement and positivity.

Before the whole flash mob exercise, I was wondering aloud to some classmates about why on earth we would have to do this and what it could possibly do for my teaching. But, having thought it through a bit, and thinking about how I felt before and after, I’ll concede that there was a good point and it is beneficial to my teaching practice.

We’ve heard from our profs about how teachers have to be actresses, to not let our fears, personal opinions, or baggage shine through. Our students can’t know that we hate algebra, or that we can’t dance, because then they will hate algebra or dance too. Teachers are role models first, conveyors of knowledge second. So for the time I’m with my students, I have to pretend that doing a silly dance routine with all my friends in front of a bunch of strangers, who I’ll probably never see again is my FAVOURITE THING EVER!!! And then I can not dance on my own time 🙂

Thanks, Steve, for this lesson in life and in teaching!