All posts by Maria Sidiropoulos

Maria’s Movement Journal: November 18

Movement Journal # 9: November 18

This week in Physical Education, my group and I presented our reading summary and instant activity. For our instant activity, we decided to have our peers participate in a game of chain tag. My group and I wanted to introduce a game that our peers could use during their practicums. My Grade 1 and Grade 2 students play various tag games during Physical Education. Therefore, I decided to teach my students chain tag during the PE lesson I taught in my practicum. I thought this tag time was effective in that it required students to work together and play cooperatively with one another. My students seemed very receptive to the new game and were enthusiastic throughout the entire activity. The great thing about tag times is that they can essentially be used in any grade level, and they often require students to be constantly moving. When I consider which games to include in a PE lesson, I am always thinking about which games require full student participation and activeness. I believe that these are two important things to consider when devising a lesson, in order to meet the curriculum standards and to achieve physical literacy.

The reading summary this week focussed on Chapter 7, Diversities in Physical Education, and Chapter 8, which addressed the areas of Adapted and Inclusive Physical Education. My small group and I had an in-depth discussion about the contexts of diversity (i.e. race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, and so on) and possible approaches for alleviating the problems these different diversities pose. For example, when discussing body image, my group suggested that the physical educator should invite people from the community with eating and weight challenges to speak to the students about ways to overcome unhealthy body images. In Chapter 8, my group discussed how there is no formal Canadian or provincial law to ensure physical education for people with disabilities. Instead, we must trust that the physical educators will do their best to include people with disabilities in Physical Education. We then read a case study of an educator refusing to include a student with Asperger’s syndrome in his class because of the student’s perceived bad attitude. We analyzed the case study and stated recommendations as to what the educator should have done, and what we would do in such a situation. Overall, it was great to have my peers thinking and discussing important concepts and scenarios because these are issues we will have to face as future educators!


Maria’s Gymnastics Group Teach Reflection: October 21st

This week Sydney, Sienna and I had our group teach for Gymnastics, which was specifically designed for Grade 2 students. Our gymnastics lesson plan primarily focussed on teaching students to balance. We executed this through the use of two warm-up activities followed by a three-station circuit, which required students to practice using both static and dynamic balances. For someone who enjoyed participating in Gymnastics during my childhood, it sure brought back a lot of memories and nostalgia when devising this lesson plan. Some teachers dread teaching gymnastics due to the safety precautions they must adhere to, the time it takes to set up and take down equipment and the fear of having students injure themselves on equipment. However, after devising this lesson I learned that gymnastics can easily be taught in a safe and positive environment with minimum equipment needed. I believe Gymnastics should be included in every Physical Education curriculum because it is most effective in teaching students fundamental movement skills, for example, balancing, rolling, jumping and so on.

One factor that worked effectively in our lesson was that each of the activities including the warm-up activities involved some type of balancing movement. Having students complete each activity in the sequence we implemented enabled them to gradually build their understanding and further develop their balancing skills. All the activities were linked in that students were required to balance; however, the range of creative activities we developed enabled students to reflect on the many different ways we use balance in our daily lives. Moreover, we highlighted to students that gymnastics is often focussed on the individual and involves less teamwork. However, we believed that collaboration in gymnastics is necessary and important. Therefore, we included a collaborative activity in our circuit. We instructed students to work as a team and rearrange themselves on a bench from number one to eight. This was a great team building activity and one in which students were required to work together while developing their individual balancing movements.

If I were to replicate this lesson again in the future, I would re-evaluate whether I would include a circuit with only one teacher supervising and circulating the three stations. During our circuit, Steve had my partners and me to try and teach from standing in the center of the gym and from a birds eye view perspective. He posed the question of how we would manage this circuit on our own? I realized this was much more difficult than I had originally envisioned because of the inability to focus my attention on one station without having the other two stations attended to at the same time. This was especially difficult when students were instructed to switch stations and in need for the teacher to repeat instructions. In the future when teaching Grade 2 students I will break up the three-station circuit into one activity per day. Once the students have mastered each station, a circuit would be included at the end of the unit. Furthermore, instructions could be provided at each circuit for students to read over and remind themselves of the responsibilities for each activity.

Another thing I would do differently in the future is to demonstrate each activity at the designated station. This provides students with a better visual to remember the instructions and strategies for the activity before they are separated into groups to do the activities themselves. As a group, we decided to demonstrate all three activities at one of the stations. Also as a group, we agreed that in order to save time it was best to not have the whole class move from station to station for the demonstration. However, after consideration we decided this was not the most effective way to demonstrate the stations to students.

Overall, this experience was very enriching and rewarding. I learned that it was important to be flexible and not to be afraid of making changes in order to enhance or challenge the various activities. I hope to develop and implement a similar lesson that includes the modifications addressed above during my practicum this year!

Maria’s Movement Journal # 3: October 7th

In the reading summary and discussion this week, we reviewed the different pedagogies for teaching physical education. The pedagogy I found to be most effective and the one in which I hope to implement when teaching my Physical Education class was the TGfU or in other words, Teaching Games for Understanding. This pedagogy focuses on learning and performing sports skills in a variety of settings. The end result is athletes who acquire a strong knowledge and recognition of the game and their own abilities. I found the six-step process that TGfU activities follow to be most helpful in understanding this pedagogy in greater detail. Step 1, the game, was the step I found to be most interesting and unfamiliar to me. Step 1 involves having the teacher introduce a modified version of the game that has clear objectives and follows the basic rules and concepts of the formal game. I was unfamiliar with this step because in my previous experiences in physical education, my teachers would often have us students jump straight into the game without learning the fundamental movements and rules. My teachers assumed that we would learn these basic rules, movements and tactics through continuous playing and practice. However, this in turn caused me to lack the game appreciation and tactical awareness (steps 2 & 3), I needed to gain, in order to apply in playing the game. I will continue to review and familiarize myself with this six-step process and apply it when teaching physical education.

On another note, I wish to highlight an experience I witnessed during my first day of practicum in my Grade 1 and Grade 2 classroom. The teacher of this class starts every morning with a thirty-minute walk in the forest next to the school. I think this is a great way to start the day as it keeps the students active and is a great source of energy for the day ahead. Moreover, I noticed that the students were able to focus better and were more energetic once they returned from the walk. The teacher tries her best to implement physical education throughout the day such as taking breaks from sitting and listening in order to stretch and move around. I look forward to learning more about her physical education techniques and to see if she is incorporating the strategies and knowledge we have learned in class thus far. I now know that I must always have my running shoes nearby, ready to be slipped on as required!


Picture: Natural artefacts Grade 1 and Grade 2 students collected from their nature walk

SEPT 23- Maria’s Movement Journal

In this week’s class, I learned that physical literacy goes beyond the acquisition of knowledge and understanding. Physical literacy is an ongoing journey and is not about owning a single set of skills. As Whitehead (2014) states physical literacy also involves “the motivation, confidence and physical competence to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”

After defining physical literacy in class, it had me reflect back to how I became physically literate in soccer. I have played soccer since I was six years old and was on a competitive team throughout high school. My physical literacy in soccer developed through learning the fundamental movement skills such as passing, positioning oneself and kicking the ball. I had to gain these skills before learning and understanding the rules of the game. I can resonate to Whitehead’s definition of physical literacy because of the two words she uses- motivation and confidence. For me, motivation was a significant factor in achieving physical literacy in soccer. My soccer coaches were highly supportive, encouraging and instilled in me the confidence I needed to be the best possible player – physically, cognitively and socially. My coaches motivated me to continue building on my basic skills and foundations and to take risks when the opportunity rose. Moreover, as a soccer player I acknowledged that making mistakes is part of the learning process. Finally, I learned that having mentors to give you advice and facilitate your progress are essential in developing your skills.

Even though, I spent a great deal of time playing soccer throughout my youth; it enabled me to apply the same similar steps to achieve literacy in other sports or activities. I believe that it would have been more effective to achieve physical literacy had I participated in a variety of extracurricular physical activities throughout my youth. However, soccer was my passion as a child, and I was determined to make it my priority!

Week 1 (Sept 9) Movement Journal – Maria

What were your own positive and negative experiences in Physical Education?

As I reflect back to my experiences in Physical Education my positive and negative experiences were heavily dependent on the teacher’s enthusiasm, the creativity in the curriculum and the motivation he or she could instil in their students. Moreover, when the teacher could create an environment that encouraged inclusiveness and one free of judgement. When these conditions were satisfied, it was very likely that I would have a positive Physical Education experience.

A negative Physical Education experience I had in the past was when it was time for student evaluations. For example, throughout high school, the ‘six lap run’ was one way in which teachers would evaluate our running ability each term. This assessment would in turn make up the majority of our grade for the term. Before every ‘six lap run’, I would have an immense amount of anxiety about whether I would be able to complete the run at a reasonable time. As I reflect back to this memory, I realize that this anxiety was unnecessary because I knew I was capable of running and performing at a successful pace. However, I always found this experience to be daunting because it was clearly visible who were the ‘stronger runners’ and who were the ‘weaker runners’ in the class. In comparison, when one receives their mark back for a Math test their grade is not publicly announced and shared with their classmates. This privacy in turn allows one to feel less ashamed or embarrassed about their grade and instead encourages room for improvement. I believe that if the teachers had provided more reassurance to their students, this run would not be something all students would dread throughout the year. As a prospective teacher, I hope to show encouragement, enthusiasm in all activities and to help all my students reach their individual goals. It will be my goal to ensure that each one of my students will have a positive Physical Education experience.