I am so surprised by how much I enjoyed PE class this week! When I heard it was taking place at the track, I started to dread it! I ran track and cross country in high school and I have very bad memories from the experience. Since I am extremely competitive, running in any form stresses me out greatly. This week’s group did an awesome job making the activities competitive enough to be fun, but in a way that there was no individual pressure to perform. Because there weren’t any one-on-one races, it was impossible to measure your speed against someone else’s. This is a great activity to do in an elementary PE class, because it provides motivation to run fast without putting the pressure of one-on-one competition onto the students.
I also found the discussion part of the class very interesting. Being inclusive is hard in any classroom, but it is often even more difficult in a PE class. We talked about how often times there is no black-and-white right answer when it comes to inclusivity. To include one student sometimes inconveniences and limits the quality of the lesson for all other students; but of course that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to exclude a child with a physical or mental disability. As teachers, our job is to design lesson plans that can include everyone without limiting anyone. I was thankful to hear some strategies on how to accomplish this. Hopefully we can all be fully inclusive in our practicum classrooms this year and in the future.
I really enjoyed this week’s lesson by Jackie, Lexi, Katy, and Brianna. They had a great lesson and did a wonderful job of not just telling us, but showing us some examples of outdoor environment lessons. Lexi’s station with “mine field” is a great team-building activity that could be done indoors, but moving outside brings a new level of fun and excitement. It’s so important for students to have an opportunity to go outside and be active throughout the day. This encourages both physical and mental health.
I also loved that we learned how to incorporate other curricular areas into alternate environments. Katy’s station with the planes could incorporate science or math, while still allowing children to be outside and active. Jackie’s station was a great way to include art, environmental studies, and physical education within a lesson. We all know that Physical Education classes are important for children…I liked that this week’s lesson focused on the importance of physical activity and being outdoors across all classes. As teachers, we should try to bring classes outdoors as much as we can. I remember as a kid, we were rarely allowed to go outside during class, but I always loved class whenever we did. Moving class to alternative environments is a great way to make students more interested and involved, while also allowing students to include more physical activity in their day.
I really enjoyed this week’s lesson. The games were fun and eventful – I was never standing around and waiting. I think these sorts of activities are really important in PE because they ensure that EVERYONE is participating, even people who are less athletically inclined and may try to avoid participation. I also enjoyed how we stopped as a class and worked to modify the game to make it even safer and more inclusive. This is something that we as teachers should be doing in all of our classes, so that we can continuously improve our lessons.
I also really enjoyed the group discussion. I was in Pamela’s group and she did a great job talking to us about assessment in PE. Lots of us remembered being tested based on our athletic abilities as kids; tests like the beep test, or seeing how many push ups we could do in a minute. Although I usually enjoyed these activities, it seemed that most people didn’t. I agree with the group consensus that assessment based on athletic ability is not fair. Grading based on athletic ability doesn’t take into account that some people are simply more naturally athletic than others, and that this natural athleticism is not a fair representation of a student’s efforts and improvement. I think students in PE should be graded based on their understanding and passion for an active lifestyle, as well as their participation and willingness to learn. I think this way of assessment will be much more successful in encouraging a love for physical activity in children.
In PE this week we learned about the origins of Physical Education classes in Canada. I had never really thought about “the point” of PE, and how it has changed over time. I was especially interested to learn that PE classes originally consisted of military drills and were designed to create obedient children. Looking back on my own experience as a child in PE classes, I realize that there has been a large shift even in the last 10/15 years in the curriculum. Most of my PE classes as a child we based on sports like softball, floor hockey, etc. We also did lots of testing, like seeing how many laps we could run or push-ups we could do within a minute, and we played plenty of “shame games” like dodgeball. I actually enjoyed most of these activities as a child, although in hindsight I realize why they can be harmful to children, especially kids who are less athletically inclined. Learning about the new curriculum and it’s focus on encouraging a healthy lifestyle makes me much more excited to teach PE. I think it’s so important that there are also units in nutrition and mental health. Not everyone is destined to be a sports superstar—but everyone (even children!) can have an interest in their own mental and physical well-being. Teaching a more holistic and inclusive version of Physical Education to this generation of Canadians will hopefully eventually lead to a much healthier Canada.