It was our last group teach for PE last Friday. I thought the group did an amazing job on teaching health and physical literacy. The instant activity of spelling out letters was fun and gave us the opportunity to be creative (I love the CITE photo Steve took). I was in Cheryl’s group for reading discussion; the summary was clear and concise, which gave us the chance to reflect more for discussion. I learned new information and strategies for facilitating health and physical activities into other subjects and I had fun listening to other people share their experiences. The warm up and the cool down were awesome; I can imagine grade 2-3 students would be really engaged with acting out as wild animals in the jungle. Also, this is a great activity to do a cross curriculum with a drama class! I loved the main activity and I was able to get to 13 out of the 16 stations. We all had so much fun; they must have spent a lot of time preparing for all those stations and setting up. I like how they connected different subjects to the activities at different stations, such as art, music, English and health. This last PE lesson was a great demonstration of how to do cross curriculum with PE and other subjects and it was very well taught!
When I reflect on my own experiences in physical education as a kid I have mostly positive memories. I was never a star athlete, but I was fortunate to not have any traumatic experiences. I feel that my teachers did a good job in creating an inclusive and positive environment. But when I think about what sort of PE teacher I would like to be, I think about what sort of values and lessons I would like to teach my students. I’ve realized I am less concerned about teaching them about physical fitness, and more concerned about teaching them about what it means to lead a healthy life – or perhaps helping them define what “health” means to them. I think being a good athlete is only one small aspect of what it means to lead an active or healthy life.
I grew up as a competitive synchronized swimmer and spent plenty of mornings dreading the fact I had to jump into a cold pool and swim a thousand meters. Overall, I think this training taught me more social and emotional lessons than physical. It taught me how to work in a team. It also taught me how to “suck it up” and deal with moments that I wanted to avoid or skip out on. I hope that I can help debunk the myth that gym class is only about physical fitness. I believe the more we, as educators, enforce that health is about the number of lengths you can swim or weight you can lift, the further we will be from nurturing a generation that is physically, emotionally and socially “healthy”.