Category Archives: Spotlight

BOKS Kids – A FREE Physical Activity Program for Schools

I just saw a commercial for this on TV (I know right, a commercial about kids’ physical education?!) and I thought some of you might like to check it out! Bonus: it’s FREE!

BOKS Kids

A free before-school physical activity program for elementary & middle schools. Get kids active and ready to learn!

Spotlight Saturday 7: PhysEd Source

For the potentially final Spotlight Saturday, we’ll be taking a look at PhysEdSource – a site that the BCTF website links to on their PE specialist teacher page. This site is intended to be “an online directory that aims to provide useful web links and other helpful resources for professionals in the field of physical education”.

They have sections for gymnastics, outdoors activities, sports and games, individual activities, and dance, as well as general health and DPA, plus links to research on physical education and physical activity, focusing on a Canadian perspective. In the sections for activities, they are typically broken down, and you can find resources for setting up units, breaking games down into specific skills or tactics, or guides to different movements for things like dance, gymnastics, or yoga. It’s definitely an interesting site to check out.

They have a variety of resources for DPA activities, and they have a section on assessment too.  You know a resource website has really covered their bases when they even have resources for juggling! 

In addition to providing the majority of their content in English, they also provide quite a few links to French-language resources – I’m not quite fluent enough to vouch for those pages, but it definitely seems interesting, and their link to a tennis-lesson page seems neat!

Spotlight Saturday 6: Action Schools! BC

This week’s spotlight is on Action Schools! BC, which is “a best practices whole-school model designed to assist elementary and middle schools in creating and implementing individualized action plans to promote healthy living while achieving academic outcomes and supporting comprehensive school health.” It includes components of PE, DPA, and healthy eating, to create a very holistic program which provides a foundation for life-long healthy living.

They have six action zones: School Environment, Physical Education, Classroom Action, Family & Community, Extracurricular, and School Spirit. Each of these six area includes the top five ideas for increasing physical activity and healthy eating, and there are some really great suggestions on these pages.

Action Schools! also provides complimentary professional development resources to schools, through workshops and mentorship programs. They also provide a great deal of resources, such as planning guides, action pages, and posters, so you can take action on some of these ideas. There’s an interesting section on student leadership as well!

Possibly the neatest feature of the site is the listing of “playground circuits” that have been created for schools throughout BC. You can search by district, and view suggested circuits to use the playground and field area in PE and DPA. My school is already on there – is yours?

Spotlight Saturday 5: PEGames.org

Today’s post is an overview of a really neat site that Fraser found – www.PEGames.org, and in particular the section on Primary warm-up games. They list equipment needed, and give a great overview of how to play the game. While not quite as focused or detailed as the PlaySport site, these games are great for a fun icebreaker, warm-up for a lesson, or just a fun idea for some DPA. New games are regularly The website also has a section on full length games, if you’re looking for something a bit longer, although they do also include a variant of dodgeball so use your discretion. There’s a section on classroom games too – again, great for DPA! I really like the look of the game “Assembly Line” – it encourages a lot of creativity, and also has the potential for a large variety of motions. Lastly, the site lists a lot of great ideas for Fitness Circuits and Weekly Challenges – definitely take a look at this resource, it has a lot of great information and I know I’ll definitely be using some of these games next week!

Spotlight Saturday 4: Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Healthy Kids

Time for another Spotlight Saturday! Today I’m taking a look at the “Healthy Kids” section of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website, and in particular their “Healthy at school” section.

To gain a basic understanding of the importance of heart health, and how this can (and should!) be incorporated into schools, there is the “Heart Health in Schools: Why it Matters” section. There are tons of facts and recommendations here, based on research the H&S Foundation has conducted and collected. It’s definitely a great place to really get to know the “why” behind keeping kids healthy in school.

From there, check out their “Lesson Plans & Activities” page. They’ve got lesson plans for grades K-8, with lots of games, activities, and even ways of working physical activity into the curriculum! If you click on the link to more resources for teachers, you’ll also find a few more activities, as well as a printable healthy-eating cookbook. There’s also a great pdf with ideas for activities for DPA/brain breaks, which you can view here!

If you’re still looking for more, check out this page, with resources on their Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart programs – this fundraising campaign is also a great way to get the whole school involved in being active and increasing physical literacy.

Have you checked out the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Healthy Kids” resources? Have you used any of their activities during your school visits or practicum? What do you think?

Spotlight Saturday 3: Easy Assessment App

Time for another Spotlight Saturday! A few people asked if I could give an overview of this assessment tool after our “assessment speed dating” activity on Wednesday, so today’s post is an introduction to the Easy Assessment app. This was one of the apps mentioned in chapter 15 of our textbook, on using technology in physical education. It was 99 cents when I purchased it for class, but it looks like it’s currently freeThere’s also a pro version (which I haven’t played with), and that app costs $1.99. The app is for Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod), but there are likely similar apps for Android/Windows products too.

While not only useful for PE assessments, there are a few key features of this app that seem like they would be very helpful in this class in particular. Once you open the app, you can create a variety of rubrics on scales (ranging from 0-10, so your scale is customizable) in varying areas. The possibilities are limitless, and you could assess on anything from balance, speed/time, form, and technique, to more affective things like leadership, teamwork, and safety. This means that the tool can also be used for any unit, from invasion games to gymnastics to dance to target games! You can also upload rubrics as .csv files, if you already have prepared them in a spreadsheet – I haven’t tested this tool out, but it seems like it would be a neat feature that would save some time on a phone/tablet.

You can also either manually add class lists or import them. Students can be assessed in groups or individually, and once assessments are added they can be viewed in-app, or can be sent via email or Dropbox.

When assessing students, the scales can be adjusted on the various criteria. Notes, photos, and video footage can also be added – this is what is exceptionally helpful in a PE context, because “a picture is worth a thousand words” after all – and video in this case is likely worth more! The downside to this tool is that the tech (phone, tablet, etc) with the app would need to be brought to and used in the PE classroom, but as long as students are told why and how the device will be used (and as long as it doesn’t go against any school or district policies of course!) it could be incredibly useful, especially in assessing things like form/technique.

Has anyone tested out this app? Anyone interested in checking it out now? And does anyone know of alternatives for non-Apple users?

Spotlight Saturday 2: PHE Canada

Hi everyone!

For our second Spotlight Saturday feature, we’ve decided to take a in-depth look at PHE Canada and their website. PHE Canada stands for Physical & Health Education Canada, and has a longstanding history. Created as the Canadian Physical Education Association (CPEA) in 1933, they became the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (CAHPER) in 1948, and then the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in 1994. In 2008, they became PHE Canada.

Their vision is to see “All children and youth in Canada living healthy, physically active lives”, and they strive to achieve this by supporting schools in becoming “Health Promoting Schools”, that include the provision of Quality Daily Physical Education and fostering healthy school communities.

PHE Canada has several advocacy aspects to their organization – they are involved in interacting with local, provincial, and national governments and policy-makers, to influence the healthy development of Canadian children and youth. They are a great resource for stats and research, and also provide ways to get involved in their mission – the page listing what teachers can do can be found here.

In addition to their advocacy and research/resource programs, PHE Canada also creates and supports programs and projects in the following four categories (which match up with their four pillars):
– Quality Daily Physical Education (QDPE)
– Health Promoting Schools (HPS)
– Quality School Intramural Recreation (QSIR)
– Dance Education

Within each of these four areas, they have a vast wealth of information and ideas. They are also involved, along with two other organizations, in Youth Mental Health initiatives. They are taking part in Young Health Program (YHP), and considering that mental health is a strong focus for the Education program this year (and also just an incredibly important thing to be knowledgable of as educators), it would be well worth looking into this aspect of PHE Canada’s work as well.

All in all, the PHE Canada website is fantastic, and the organization is making great strides in increasing the physical literacy of children in Canada, through programs, advocacy, and research. Check out their site, and see if you can get involved and incorporate some of their ideas into your work this year and throughout your career as teachers!

Spotlight Saturday 1: PlaySport

For our first Spotlight Saturday, we’ll be taking a closer look at a fantastic resource – PlaySport, an online activity-based resource that helps children and youth develop an understanding of and competency with skills and strategies associated with physical activities and a wide range of sports. The site uses the TGfU approach (Teaching Games for Understanding) which is a great model for lessons.

This site will probably be a great source of ideas for activities during your practicum – you can search by the following categories:

Division: Primary, Junior, Intermediate, Senior

Activity Category: Territory, Net/Wall, Striking/Fielding, Target Games, Individual Pursuits

Movement Skills: Stability, Locomotion, Manipulation, Body Awareness, Spatial Awareness, Relationships, Effort Awareness

So for example, if I was teaching a Junior-level class during a target games unit, and wanted to focus on their manipulation movement skills, I could put those search terms into the website, and have a number of games to choose from. For this search, there were three:

Beanbag Boccia, where “Participants learn about and practise sending an object toward a target to accumulate the most points.”
Pinwheel, where “Participants learn about and practise sending an object toward a target surrounded by bowling pins while standing at different distances.”
Target 5, where “Participants learn about and practise sending an object to hit a variety of different targets.”

You can select any game and view a page with the information needed to set up and run the game (or download/print it). This includes things like equipment needed, safety concerns, adaptation options, and detailed instructions, diagrams, and even videos to demonstrate gameplay.

Have you had a look through PlaySport yet? What games do you think would be really valuable to use in your practicum classrooms?