All posts by emily mills

Health and Physical Literacy

Congratulations Cheryl, Rob, Elizabeth and Mary! I thought you did a fantastic job with your presentation on Friday. I really enjoyed seeing everyone’s teaching persona come out during the different activities. For instance, I thought Mary had a more warm and gentle voice while Elizabeth’s was very enthusiastic and encouraging which also helped to suit the activities they were doing. I loved the warm up and cool down activity which involved students imagining themselves as animals. From my experience, primary students absolutely love animals and thought these activities were a great way for students to use their imagination. I also loved the instant activity where we each used our bodies to form different letters of the alphabet. This was very creative and allowing students to form partners based on where they were in the gym when the music stops is a great way for them to form relationships with different people.

I thought having sixteen stations was an excellent idea and I loved how Elizabeth said students are free to explore which ever stations they want. This made all of the activities sound really fun and exciting. I also liked how all of the different activities came together to help promote mental, emotional and physical health. I’m a great fan of mindfulness and loved the positivity wall and the meditation centre. I think a lot of students might sometimes get overwhelmed with all of the noises and activities that go on in PE and this is a great way to calm themselves down. I also liked how all of the stations were positioned around the sides of the gym and I feel it would be quite easy for a teacher to stand in the centre and monitor what was going on in the different stations. Overall, it was an excellent presentation and all of the presenters should be very proud of the hard work they put into their lesson.

Gymnastics and Dance Movement Journal by Emily Mills

I thought that both groups did an excellent job with their presentations! There are some very talented students in our cohort and feel like all the presentations keep getting stronger and stronger. With the gymnastics group, I loved how they incorporated Halloween so much into their presentation. It was really cool how each team was named after a different halloween creature (eg ghosts, zombies). I also loved the halloween tag where each group that had to act like the creature their team was named after. I thought that was a very creative and neat way to shake things up. I also greatly enjoyed the stations and think they’re an excellent idea to use when there are multiple teachers in the room even though they may be much more difficult to run individually. I found that each station focused on a very specific skill (eg balancing, rolling) that was relevant to gymnastics and that was great to see.
With the dance group, I loved how gradually different skills were introduced. I found the popcorn dance to be very liberating and fun. I was a bit nervous about the dance off but I really liked working together as a team and thought it was great that there were no winners and losers in any of the games that were introduced. I’m not sure which group did the egg, chicken dinosaur game as a warmup but I thought that was a very fun and inclusive game as well that I think I will very likely end up using in my longterm practicum. I also really enjoyed the confidence of the teachers in the dance group. It seemed like all the teachers and students were having a lot of fun that day.

Week 5 Movement Journal by Emily

I thought Vivian, Zoe and Jenny did a fantastic job with Invasion Games last week! I particularly enjoyed getting to see Vivian’s talents when she was teaching us the dance routine and stretching exercises during the beginning and end of the presentation. I also enjoyed our reading discussions and thought the different models were explained to us very clearly and the discussion questions that were given to us were quite thoughtful. During my elementary and high school experience, I felt like the Sports Education model was the most common. There didn’t seem to be any emphasis on social and personal responsibility or physical fitness outside of school.

However, while I appreciate the groups effort to create a sense of bonding and teamwork during their games, I do have a small concern with the last invasion game that was played. I didn’t really like the idea that if one child was tagged or dropped the ball, the entire team was out and had to start all over again. I think this could potentially be a bit shaming for children who are not very athletic. I also think there might be a slight struggle for very athletic children as well. Even if a child is quite socially intelligent, it may be difficult to be so close to gaining points and having that be prevented by only one or two children. A possible solution may be to have the team go back to the halfway point of the gym instead of the very beginning or having the team do some sort of additional task before being allowed to cross the final line. Overall though, I thought the presentation was quite fun and interesting and I feel like the games shown gave us some great ideas for the future.

Post Lesson Reflection

1. Overall, I felt our gym lesson plan went very well. I thought the time was very well-managed and all the games seemed to build on each other and flow nicely. What was most important to me when creating the games was creating as an inclusive environment as possible that didn’t allow for any shaming. I really liked our friendly adaption of musical chairs with the hoola hoops and how our main game allowed students to just focus on their own abilities rather than comparing themselves to anyone else. I contributed to summarizing the readings and coming up with discussion questions, helped decide which games we should choose to play, helped organize our lesson plan and found/created fun stretching exercises for children at the end of the lesson plan. I agree with Sonya, I think that everybody pulled their own weight and we all worked very well as a team.

2. I was quite surprised at the amount of things a good teacher has to consider when organizing a lesson plan. Planning activities ahead of time is a very important task, particularly for new teachers, so they can understand where the lesson is going and what environment is best for students to learn. While I focused a lot on emotional safety, I wasn’t as focused I should be on physical safety for our main game which is a crucial aspect to consider when teaching children.

3. Although our classmates are already pretty friendly to each other, I think our non-competitive games may have helped players relax and develop connections with each other. Everyone seemed to be engaged in meaningful self-reflection and gained good practice of their throwing skills. Yet, I believe these effects would be much stronger in a younger age group. The class seemed very engaged in the activities and I think this helped us be able to move from one activity to another with confidence.

4. If I could do anything differently, I would have paid more attention to the physical safety of the students for the Mat Striking game. Fortunately, I feel our revised version of the game went very well and I would definitely use it again. I also think that if I make mistakes in the future, I’ll try not to be too overwhelmed after hearing constructive criticism and remind myself that every teacher candidate has a lot to learn and we’ll all get better the more we practice.

What Is Physical Literacy? Movement Journal by Emily Mills

What is physical literacy? Who can be physically literate? To be honest, when I try to picture what the stereotypical physically literate person would look like in my head, I picture someone in their 20s-30s, probably male, who is fairly muscular and is skilled in almost every sport they attempt. However, after viewing the class readings and discussions, I’ve tried to think critically about what different types of physically literate people might look like. For example, I would view an eighty-year old male who goes on very long walks everyday and likes to do exercises to keep his mental skills sharp to be quite physically literate even if he is not as physically strong as someone in their twenties.

Although I really appreciate the emphasis on mental and physical health mentioned by Whitehead (2010) and PHE Canada, I wonder if the definitions are a bit narrow or intimidating. For example, PHE Canada says a physically literate individual is one that moves with confidence or competence in a wide variety of areas (2010) but depending on how you define “competence”, there may be very few individuals that fit into this category. For older adults or children with special needs or physical disabilities, having competence in a “wide variety of areas” may be particularly challenging for them. I think we need to have a broader definition of physically literacy that places emphasis on an intrinsic love for physical activity and is more inclusive of people of different abilities and age groups.

September 9th Reflection by Emily Mills

Unfortunately when I was growing up, physical education wasn’t a very positive experience for me. Although I wasn’t the best at sports, I believe with the right support I could have really enjoyed the chance to try different things and the opportunity to be active in between my more academic classes. However, I was a very sensitive kid and was often found playing sports such as baseball or volleyball which often had me put on the spot in front of others. Sometimes I would even be made picked on for not being able to hit the ball far enough or run the bases as fast as my peers would like.

Fortunately, my impression from Steve is that times have seemed to change a lot since when I was in elementary school. I like the idea of free play when children are free to run around and do as they please. I also think the idea of working in small groups so that children don’t experience too much pressure when they’re learning new things. Although my past experiences in the gym were difficult, I hope they will ultimately help make me a stronger teacher. I want to do everything in my power to create an experience for students different than the one I had when I was younger. I want to have children play in smaller groups, work with different partners and provide verbal encouragement towards each other so that no child feels left out. I want children to learn to love to exercise so they can stay mentally and physically healthy both inside and outside the classroom.