All posts by Kaira Pena

October 21st – Movement Journal #5: Gymnastics

What a great class today! Amy, Sydney, and Maria did such a wonderful job teaching gymnastics to younger children (Kindergarten). I was admittedly skeptical when I first saw Gymnastics as something we could potentially teach in the primary years, but they did a great job of focusing on one gross motor skill that is essential to gymnastics: balance.

They had three stations set up (walking along the beam, balancing a bean bag on your head, and re-ordering yourselves as a team on the beam). I enjoyed the last station the most because it generated a lot of communication and creativity amongst our team. We tried different strategies to move ourselves in the right order, and realized this activity could be adjusted to meet the skill level of any grade.

This class actually reminded me of an a activity I observed in my practicum school during PE. Their instructor divided the class into groups of 2-3 members and they played a modified version of Twister. The instructor would call out “Show me two legs and two arms!” or “Show me three legs and four arms!” It definitely showed creativity and problem-solving skills from the students.


October 14th – Movement Journal #4 (Teaching Summary)

This week, Fiona, Sienna, and I were in charge of doing the teaching summary for chapters 4 and 5, “Planning for Instruction” and “The Instructional Process.”

What really stood out to me was this practice of proactive planning and thinking ahead before creating a unit plan. Instead of asking ourselves, “What am I going to teach tomorrow?” educators are encouraged to ask, “What sports/dances/games am I going to teach this year?” By taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture of a school year as opposed to an individual PE class, educators set themselves up for success as the plan for instruction.

The chapter looks at working backwards:

  • Examining Curricular Documents
  • Developing a Yearly Plan
  • Developing a Unit Plan
  • Establishing Objectives

When I was reading the chapters, I was pleasantly surprised that curricular documents were emphasized as we are at a point in the program where we are all trying to figure out where to even begin in lesson plan making.

When I looked at the BC curriculum for PE 4, I realized that physical educators are given a lot of freedom on the content they choose to teach throughout the  year. Here is an example of how I planned using the new curriculum:

Big Idea: Personal choices and social and environmental factors influence our health and well-being.
Core Competency: Examine and explain how health messages can influence behaviours and decisions.
Content: factors that influence self-identity, including body image and social media
Activity: A unit on looking at commercials and advertisements targeted to inform and misinform consumers (e.g. Coca Cola ads, yogurt commercials)

Lesson planning is still a work in progress, but it was helpful to try it myself, knowing I have freedom on the actual content/activities but have the curriculum as my guide.

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October 7th – Movement Journal #3 (Invasion Games group teach)

Group teach, done!

I have to be honest and admit that I have never heard of netball until Ally and Jessica suggested we to do it for our group teach. Jessica did mention that netball was not very popular in Canada, but that she had played it back in England. It was not surprising then that most of our classmates have never played it either except for a handful of people.

I was initially overwhelmed while we were doing research so I could understand the rules because I did not feel confident teaching something on which I have almost zero knowledge! However, we soon identified that our classmates (or students) might feel the same problem, and so we decided to modify it appropriately to suit our needs, which is simply to explore concepts of invasion games.

On the day of our group teach, I personally tried to avoid mentioning basketball as I did not want our students’ prior knowledge of basketball to be their basis for netball. It soon became apparent that that is exactly what our students did to try and grasp the rules of netball (i.e. “So it’s like basketball?”), which was my initial reaction too when it was suggested within our group. In the end, Jessica had to state: “Take whatever you know about basketball and disregard it. The only commonality between netball and basketball is you score points by shooting a ball into a basket.”

This kind of almost automatic response from our students made me think of how I would probably introduce netball at a much younger age, so there is minimal preconceptions of other invasion games, particularly basketball that might confuse them.

We made sure that our activities leading up to the game were essential, but moving forward, I might try the TGfU whole-part-whole approach and just let them play an initial game of netball before doing the drills. I was impressed with our students as they really tried to do the proper footwork (land and pivot) and respect boundaries (no contact) during the main game. Overall, I do think our group did well, especially since we introduced a completely new game!

Thank you, IB PYP athletes!

September 23rd – Movement Journal #2 (Kaira)

I really enjoyed this week’s group teach with badminton! I have never played badminton before, and was initially intimidated by the prospect of playing in front of all my classmates. However, the Group Teach team (Fiona, Julie R., and Helen) created a great learning environment by splitting our class into small groups so that nobody was singled out.

In addition, being in a small group of four created a fun group dynamic where all members showed support by cheering each other on! My team (Jen, Sydney, and Amy) were amazing in that they would let me take another shot if I failed a serve, giving encouragement and motivation. Games like these create small communities that foster a sense of belonging in children, which as we’ve all learned is essential for their social and emotional learning. 🙂

P.S. I apologize for the late post, Group A!

September 9th-Movement Journal #1

This is me joining in on the Secondary Programme's flash mob on Tuesday!
This is me joining in on the Secondary Programme’s flash mob on Tuesday!

When I think of PE, I remember it as a minor subject in my elementary school, only an hour-block once a week. From grades 4-7, each grade level was assigned a single sport to learn and play all year (kickball, T-ball, volleyball, and basketball).

I remember being not-so-athletic back in grade four and would dread PE because kickball meant running and if I struck out, I let my team down. One day, I was up on the plate, the ball was rolled to me, and I actually kicked it far! I was ecstatic and started running to first base, only to trip on a jagged rock poking from the ground, resulting to the biggest gash on my knee. Needless to say I could not participate in PE after that because I was always on the sidelines. Even when my knee healed, I shied away from participating whenever possible and developed a sense of disconnect with my physical well-being (both education and activities) even in the later years.

This Tuesday, a colleague and I happened upon a flash mob at the Martha Piper Plaza, which turned out to be the Secondary Programme’s Dance Play flash mob. It was so amazing to see people moving and dancing and having being fun. The energy was so contagious, we decided to join and it just made me think that this is what was essentially lost for me in anything related to physical literacy: FUN.

I hope to gain more knowledge in class on different ways I can make my future PE classes fun and full of energy, at the very least have my students not dread PE. I can’t wait to learn from my peers especially during Group Teach sessions!