Hey everyone! It was great to be back in PE after two weeks of practicum and also interesting to partake in this week’s group teach. I really enjoyed the individual activities planned for this week, as it was quite new for me to experience these in a PE setting. During my time in elementary and high school, we never had the opportunity to do guided dance or yoga, and I really enjoyed it. Dance units were always routines practiced and presented in groups, or partner dances such as swing dancing, which generally made me feel somewhat conscious and uncomfortable. However, these sorts of individual activities would be great for students who do not like being watched or being the centre of attention in PE class, as everyone is participating together, but the students are not really observing one another. Also, it was great to see how the group integrated heart rate monitoring into their activities, but I would have liked to see more discussion of what different resting heart rates indicate, or what heart rate we should expect to have after completing each activity (just to have a point of comparison).
On another note, I think this week’s group teach could tie in well to our readings, especially with regards to “culturally relevant physical education.” For instance, Sheena’s dance section incorporated reggaeton music. Dance could be used in PE as a way to validate other cultural traditions, as students could partake in various different types of dances, or dances to music from other traditions. As well, the individual activities could various forms of exercise or stretches from other parts of the world, which would work well within the textbook’s context for diversity that discussed adapting PE for race and for new immigrant students.
This week’s gymnastic lesson was great! I thought it was very well executed, and I enjoyed that the group aimed to integrate a collaborative portion (the number-beam) exercise into a sport that is often individual.
This week’s lesson as well as our little excursion to the gymnastics centre really created a sense of nostalgia for me. Gymnastics was one of my favorite units in PE both in elementary as well as high school, and being with the gymnastic equipment brought back memories of my extracurricular gymnastics lessons as a child. That being said, I was never really very good at gymnastics, but I enjoyed it and thus have fond memories of it. Its quite unfortunate that gymnastics is one of the programs that schools or teachers feel uncomfortable including, for fears of safety and liability, which were addressed in last week’s readings. This is not to say that I don’t understand the rationale behind it, because I too would be worried about all the potential safety issues and legal issues that could arise as a consequence. Nonetheless, this is a shame because I think gymnastics is a popular aspect of PE, and one that children (especially in elementary school) are quite excited and enthusiastic about! I’m not sure why gymnastics in particular causes more concerns about safety or injury in comparison to other sports – perhaps it is because it can involve a lot of large equipment (at higher grades)? I am also unsure whether these concerns are valid, as I think there is a potential for injury with any sort of activity in PE.
On a different note, I just wanted to add that having these activities prepared and taught by our peers has resulted in a wonderful toolbox of ideas that we can use during our practicums (and into the future)! In my case, last week in my class’ PE block, the children were playing tag and running games and my SA asked me if I had any ideas to contribute. I immediately thought of the previous groups’ “animal run” activity and proposed that to my SA. We modified the game so that no one was “it” but solely had students moving around the gym as different animals until the whistle blew, at which point they had to organize themselves into groups of a certain number within a hula hoop. The children who did not find a group in time then got to choose the next animal movement. This activity worked extremely well and the Grade 2s loved it! So, thank you to the Outdoor Ed. group for this great idea 🙂
Included here is the lesson plan for Week 2, Target Games. Sorry it’s so late! We didn’t realize we were supposed to upload it.
EDCP 320 Lesson Plan Target Games (Week 2, Anna, Angela, Shirin)
Going into the first day of practicum on Thursday, I was excited and curious to observe how physical activity was being incorporated into the students’ activities through the day at Queen Mary, as well as to have the opportunity to assist in a PE class. Although I wasn’t able to observe an actual block of PE, I did have the chance to witness the Grade 2 students partake in physical activity in two other contexts, both of which were quite interesting to note.
The first example of physical activity I observed was the school’s “Kilometre Club” – a short period at the beginning of each day during which some teachers bring their classes outside to run laps. I was actually quite surprised to see this in schools today, as I recall doing something similar when I was in Kindergarten (though it wasn’t called Kilometre Club at that time)! The children would circle the playground, and receive a small line on their hand for each lap they ran; at the end of the time period, the teacher would tally the lines and mark it on her attendance sheet. I have observed this running practice in other schools I have volunteered at as well, and generally the children seem to be interested in running laps. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all of them are engaged – some are more interested in socializing, but they socialize with their friends as they walk around the field. For these children, the amount of laps they run is less important than having a chance to build relationships with their classmates, which I think is okay. However, this club is also used as part of the IB transdisciplinary theme the class is focusing on: How we organize ourselves. Their unit discusses physical and social/emotional health, with a focus on goal setting; thus the children set personal goals for the teacher with reference to their exercise and how many laps they are attempting to do for a specific time frame. It was interesting for me to see how the IB themes are used to incorporate a variety of subjects within a single theme, including physical activity.
The second instance of physical activity I observed was in the middle of the day, after the students had returned from the library. As they were restless from sitting and listening for a long period of time, the teacher had scheduled a 15 minute period where the students could be active and engaged, providing them with a necessary break from siting in the classroom. The teacher used to overhead projector to put on a website called “GoNoodle” which provides amazing guided dance routines for young children, and many other activities to get children active. Students and teachers alike were participating in the dances and the children were very excited to do this activity. I thought this was a great way to add in a short period of physical activity in the middle of the day to help students use some energy and re-focus their attention after having some time to just move around. It was obvious that GoNoodle is a classroom favorite, as the children knew the lyrics to all the songs and were all extremely excited to participate, even the quieter children. I would definitely use this resource in the future, and if anyone is interested (it’s free!), I have included the link below.
Coming out of class on Wednesday, I realized I could easily count the times I actually enjoyed a PE class as much as I did this week’s – let me just say it’s not many. The reasons I enjoyed this class were due to a combination of the atmosphere in the class, the activities (both before class and during the net games lesson) as well as some interesting moments of reflection and understanding during the presentation on physical literacy.
First of all, the fact that the nets were set up, badminton equipment was available, and people were already rallying when I walked in to class early just provided a welcoming and fun atmosphere. Instead of sitting and talking while waiting for class to start (I got there a bit early!), it was a nice change of pace to just play with the equipment in a very relaxed and social setting. I found this set the tone nicely for the beginning of class, as everyone had a chance to socialize and be active before beginning more academic work.
The lesson on physical literacy was also quite interesting, as there were certain parts that really stood out to me and made me see the importance of children’s physical literacy in a new perspective. Specifically, the chart in the presentation that highlighted the journey of long term athletic development in an individual’s life – beginning with basic skills (“active to start” and “fundamentals”) and moving on to “learning to train”. From there, one can remain active for life, or pursue further training for competition and more. This one image was really an eye-opener for me, because it very clearly showed why it would be detrimental for children to specialize in a sport at a very young age. By developing different skills in various sport areas, children gain more exposure to different fundamental movement skills and can use these transferrable skills in a variety of activities.
To be honest, I was slightly apprehensive about this first class of EDCP 320 – mostly as a result of a combination of not knowing what to expect as well as some negative memories of PE during my time in public education. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the open, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that greeted me when I entered Osborne A.
As a very shy and uncoordinated child, PE (especially during my pre-teen/adolescent years) was generally a source of anxiety. This is not to say that there were never times I enjoyed PE. On the contrary, when we had classes that allowed for small group activities rather than whole class activities or team sports, I normally felt more comfortable and actually enjoyed myself, as I didn’t feel the pressure to “perform” or a sense of vulnerability. Likewise, when I had instructors or teachers who I felt were understanding or more inclined to listen, I was more interested in attending PE.
Therefore, since my personal experience with PE was not always positive, I think it is important and beneficial to share and hear other perspectives on PE experiences (as I am sure many of you have had very positive experiences!). This would allow us, as future teachers, to more effectively gain insight into the diversity of our future students (in terms of personality, learning styles and skill level) and how best to create a simultaneously fun, inclusive and productive PE environment.