Dance isn’t something that comes naturally to me. The only time I believe we’ve done dance in PE was during the month of December, in preparation for the Christmas Party where we would have a Ceilidh. Practicing involved having the boys line up on one side of the hall and the girls on the other, with each taking turns to select a partner. Possibly the most awkward thing ever when you’re in your pre-teens! So seeing dance in a different way was great fun. Everyone was moving and having a great time, and I felt like we’d achieved something by the end of the class. I thought the ladies did an excellent job leading, and I have to also give a shout out to Meghan for being such a ‘risk-taker’!
This week during practicum, we’ve been able to see how physical education is being implemented in the schools. Southpointe has 4 specialists who cover the K – 12 years. The first day when I walked into a PE class the students were sitting individually on their ipads reflecting on videos of their batting movements. I think it’s safe to say that physical education has definitely changed from when I went to school!
I’ve been able to watch my class transition through skill building drills to mini-games, before participating in full class batting/fielding games. They even played Chuck the Chicken! Not only that but they have also been connecting to their next Unit of Inquiry (body systems). How did their muscular system/central nervous system/respiratory system help them achieve that movement? How are they connected? Thus, the students already have some knowledge before they even get started! It’s great seeing everything that we’ve been discussing during our classes being implemented in the field.
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!
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.
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/)
I had absolutely no idea how Wednesday’s group teach would turn out. I was quite happy at first when our group was given striking/fielding games, but after thinking about it for a while, it was actually quite difficult to put together a lesson that ensured maximum participation. There is a lot of standing around in baseball, kickball etc, so I was worried that our lesson was going to be boring. So “maximum participation” was something that we tried to keep in mind throughout the whole process. But actually, it turned out okay – having a very positive and cooperative class surely helped! And I think it was the first time that we’ve actually worked up a sweat (good thing we decided to take out the laps around the field at the last minute!).
I had never heard of “Chuck the Chicken” before it was suggested for our lesson. Frankly, I initially didn’t see the purpose of throwing and running after an ugly rubber chicken, and how that could be relevant to fielding. But it actually turned out amazingly well! It reminds me that you have to keep an open mind and be creative when engaging kids, as the main priority is to have fun and get them moving! Although, I’d still be really interested to learn who first came up with that game (and how!)…
I have to say though, I found the lesson planning part of the process quite difficult to wrap my head around… and i’m wondering if this is a similar concern for a lot of people (given the expressions in Lisa’s class today). We’ve not really had much direction on lesson planning but it is an assignment required for most classes. What templates do we use? What resources/information do we have to include? How do we base it off the curriculum? So it took a while to get going. But maybe we do just make things up as we go along and it will get easier over time. Becoming more efficient at drafting these is definitely going to be a goal of mine for this coming year.
First off, I should say I kind of got carried away in replying to Maymie’s post and covered my response and reflection in one, but i’ll see if I can expand on it here. I have to echo what Ashley said, in that one of the things that stood out for me on Wednesday’s lesson was seeing our classmates present for the first time. While P.E. has always been my subject of choice, I think we all have anxieties surrounding planning and delivering lessons, particularly in the first few months of our program. So it was really great to see everyone do such a great job in the first week, and I think it inspired the rest of us into believing we can do it too!
On top of this, based on the comments posted so far on this blog, it has surprised me how many people have had such negative experiences of P.E.. I would never have been able to tell this, as in our class on Wednesday everyone seemed to be having a ball running around playing tag, and with the beanbag toss. It just shows you that it’s possible to make physical education fun, even if it’s not your preferred subject.
This made me start thinking about my teaching philosophy. I have played a variety of sports growing up, even at an international level, and I previously mentioned the impact it has had on my social and emotional learning, in helping to keep me on the ‘right’ path. And while team sports might not be for everyone, with such an emphasis on more diverse activities these days, I truly believe that every child can enjoy and value having some version of physically activity in their lives. There are larger implications socially and emotionally, and it is our job to make sure they – unlike some of us – have fond memories of P.E., and maybe even help them find their ‘sport’. Even if that ‘sport’ happens to be dancing crazily in the rain in open, public spaces…