For our final project, the cross-curricular lesson, Sydney and I developed a mini-unit that integrates science, math, and PE/DPA for primary-aged students.
Through an inquiry into the body’s reactions to exercise, students will learn about how activity level leads to changes in heart rate. Students will measure their heart rate and use this data in real-life math problems. Further, students will be able to experience the workings of the cardiovascular system through a relay activity where they play the part of red blood cells carrying oxygen.
We hope you’ll find this resource useful and that you’ll have fun implementing it with your students!
Class this week caused me to reflect on my own experiences with gymnastics and how much I loved it. It was always my favourite unit of PE throughout elementary school. It was always an exciting time walking into the gym and noticing the gymnastics equipment set up. I think the main reason I liked it is because it really felt like simple play. In my experience, gymnastics never had a distinct set of rules to follow, unlike other units such as basketball or volleyball. Of course we had to stay safe, but we were also able to explore new movements and positions our own way. We usually worked through stations and tried different moves. We were also given the opportunity to create our own gymnastics routine. I remember this being a highlight in Grade 3.
I think opportunities for kids to create their own routine or game is very important. My practicum class created their own game and the kids were very engaged. For the Pro D Day I attended a “5 steps to a happy classroom” workshop with Scott Hughes and he discussed the importance of play in the classroom. Creative play is an opportunity for kids to engage in their own learning and feel a sense of ownership over what they are doing. I think this can be applied to gymnastics and many other subjects. It allows students to be creative and to contribute to their own learning environment. I hope to bring many experiences like this to my future classroom!
This week, I finally understood the true meaning of physical literacy. A physically literate individual values his or her involvement in various physical activities and their contribution to a healthy lifestyle. I come to realize that I am not a physically literate person. Not at all! I do not like to engage in any physical activities except yoga. If I happen to participate in some physical activities, it is for the purpose of losing weigh, a means to an end. Moreover, in the past, I thought the purpose of teaching physical education in a class is to teach various skills of physical activities to students. However, I begin to understand the significance of teaching physical literacy in a PE class and to embrace the values of being a physically literate individual. For instance, unable to visit the yoga studio the past two months, I have been feeling lethargic lately. Suddenly, I realize how I view yoga has changed. Instead of treating it as an activity to lose weight, I am appreciating yoga as a physical activity that contributes to my energy level. I hope to participate in various physical activities, not just yoga, from now on and become a physically literate individual. The way I present myself in a classroom will affect the way students accept classroom activities. I want my students to treat PE class as a fun and lifelong learning experience. In order to make students to approach PE class as I hope they would, I must set an example myself. I must integrate physical activities in my life and appreciate the value of engaging in physical activities and their impact on creating a healthy lifestyle.
Wednesday’s group teach lesson taught me that I am much worse at badminton than I remember! I would not consider myself “physically literate” in badminton, but there are definitely sports where I would be more confident saying that I am. Growing up, I was a very over-programmed kid going to a huge variety of active classes like ballet, Taekwondo, kung fu, and gymnastics. These are not the areas that I would consider myself physically literate in, but I do think that having experienced all of them contributed to my over all physical literacy that I can then apply to other activities. I loved playing ultimate frisbee and volleyball in elementary and high school, and I attribute my hand-eye coordination to my martial arts training where I sparred and broke boards. That being said, I absolutely hate running and avoid it at all costs, even during a game of ultimate. I don’t think that takes away from my ability to play since I throw and catch well enough to make up for that deficit, and I understand the rules of the game, so I do consider myself literate in that aspect.
I found a TED Talk that was an interesting and informative watch. An astounding fact stated was that the current generation of children will be the first to have lower life expectancies than their parents! There is a distinct correlation between our health and technology. As our world becomes more technologically savvy, health declines and obesity levels increase. He has a great definition of Physical Literacy that emphasizes the importance of creating a FUN environment where children can learn how to engage with physical activity. Take a look!
I have never done a flash mob before, and I didn’t exactly know what it was before either … BUT IT WAS AWESOME. I thought that we would go to a random place (such as the new SUB) and start dancing when cued. However, the instructor that was leading the flash mob was so energetic and full of life that she made it more of a confidence building experience rather than just a silly dance.
I loved that she started talking about something that everyone always thinks of, but never says anything about – the feeling of being self-conscious. We rarely express to others that we feel self-conscious when we do certain things. Perhaps you don’t enjoy public speaking because you feel that your voice sounds high and screechy, or that your mannerisms are odd and everyone will be nit picking at everything that you do. Or, maybe you have a hard time speaking out in class because you are worried someone will think what you said was stupid. Maybe you don’t enjoy taking photographs of yourself because you feel your face has that one aspect that will make you stick our like a sore thumb.
I don’t know about you, but all those things used to apply to me at some point in life, and definitely limited my enjoyment of life and the experience of being myself to a great extent. That is why the instructor for the Flash Mob was such an inspiration to me. She highlighted a key fact that many of us have completely forgotten: WHO CARES? You’re different not by accident – but on purpose. Confidence and feeling good about yourself all come from within. Don’t let yourself worry about what others are thinking – because everything that you believe they are thinking, is actually what YOU are thinking about yourself. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is not to care, but it’s also the most rejuvenating. Breathe in the freshness of all that is you, because it’s great. Go do your silly dance in front of your students, because it is great. Go and be too noisy in your class, because it is great, and so are you.
Until next time! Thanks again for the great Flash Mob learning opportunity!
First off, I should say I kind of got carried away in replying to Maymie’s post and covered my response and reflection in one, but i’ll see if I can expand on it here. I have to echo what Ashley said, in that one of the things that stood out for me on Wednesday’s lesson was seeing our classmates present for the first time. While P.E. has always been my subject of choice, I think we all have anxieties surrounding planning and delivering lessons, particularly in the first few months of our program. So it was really great to see everyone do such a great job in the first week, and I think it inspired the rest of us into believing we can do it too!
On top of this, based on the comments posted so far on this blog, it has surprised me how many people have had such negative experiences of P.E.. I would never have been able to tell this, as in our class on Wednesday everyone seemed to be having a ball running around playing tag, and with the beanbag toss. It just shows you that it’s possible to make physical education fun, even if it’s not your preferred subject.
This made me start thinking about my teaching philosophy. I have played a variety of sports growing up, even at an international level, and I previously mentioned the impact it has had on my social and emotional learning, in helping to keep me on the ‘right’ path. And while team sports might not be for everyone, with such an emphasis on more diverse activities these days, I truly believe that every child can enjoy and value having some version of physically activity in their lives. There are larger implications socially and emotionally, and it is our job to make sure they – unlike some of us – have fond memories of P.E., and maybe even help them find their ‘sport’. Even if that ‘sport’ happens to be dancing crazily in the rain in open, public spaces…
Looking back at my P.E. timeline I can say that I was lucky enough to have had positive experiences from start to finish. I had great teachers and enjoyed playing sports outside of school myself so enjoyed my time spent in P.E., but I can definitely understand why it was some student’s least favourite part of the day. I want to do my part as a future teacher to show my students the benefits of P.E. that exist besides just learning physical skills, as there is so much more to be gained from the subject. Learning how to work together as a team and being educated about proper health and nutrition for a balanced life are so important for all students. I think the key for us as future teachers will be to put ourselves in the shoes of a student who’s interests don’t lie in athletics and try to think of how to make each and every class fun for him or her. The P.E. classes I remember the most were when we participated as a class in exciting and different units such as dance, which I enjoyed even though I was not a natural dancer. These classes were similar to our flashmob in that no one cared how silly they looked during line-dance day in gym, all that mattered was that everyone was having fun and being active. I want to be able to foster this kind of positive energy in my classes to help all students enjoy the time they have to be active at school 🙂
It felt so odd to be back in a gymnasium for Physical Education after years away. I stopped taking PE as soon as it became optional in high school because I absolutely hated the fitness tests (especially the 4 lap run) and how none of my friends ended up in my class. PE in elementary school was different though – in a good way. It was more about team work and having fun, while in high school it was more about developing specific skill sets and repeat practise of techniques. I think it’s important to keep a fun and encouraging atmosphere in Physical and Health Education. In my high school classes it wasn’t fun or encouraging; we were told to run around the track until the whistle blew. I had zero motivation to do so. When exercise is under the guise of an interactive and fast paced game, it is much easier to have an enthusiastic group that looks forward to PE class. I think the purpose of PE is to build interpersonal skills, communication skills, hand/eye/foot coordination, and to keep kids active. By sharing our personal experiences, we can take a step back and examine our stories with another perspective, possibly gaining more insight into why we had those experiences and how they will shape our teaching. We can recreate the positive experiences we had, and avoid recreating the negative ones for our students.
When I think of PE, I remember it as a minor subject in my elementary school, only an hour-block once a week. From grades 4-7, each grade level was assigned a single sport to learn and play all year (kickball, T-ball, volleyball, and basketball).
I remember being not-so-athletic back in grade four and would dread PE because kickball meant runningand if I struck out, I let my team down. One day, I was up on the plate, the ball was rolled to me, and I actually kicked it far! I was ecstatic and started running to first base, only to trip on a jagged rock poking from the ground, resulting to the biggest gash on my knee. Needless to say I could not participate in PE after that because I was always on the sidelines. Even when my knee healed, I shied away from participating whenever possible and developed a sense of disconnect with my physical well-being (both education and activities) even in the later years.
This Tuesday, a colleague and I happened upon a flash mob at the Martha Piper Plaza, which turned out to be the Secondary Programme’s Dance Play flash mob. It was so amazing to see people moving and dancing and having being fun. The energy was so contagious, we decided to join and it just made me think that this is what was essentially lost for me in anything related to physical literacy: FUN.
I hope to gain more knowledge in class on different ways I can make my future PE classes fun and full of energy, at the very least have my students not dread PE. I can’t wait to learn from my peers especially during Group Teach sessions!
I found today’s first group teach and instant activity/summary to really sooth any sort of anxiety I had about the class. This is due in a big way to the fact that both groups did such an extraordinary job, but I think I was also reminded that being physically active is something I love to do, and always have.
PE today seems to have come a long way since I was in elementary school, and many of the things I didn’t like about it back then are all things we’re trying to change or improve (hall of shame games, exclusion, favouritism etc.) on now, which makes me feel excited about moving forward teaching PE. I really appreciate that these sorts of considerations are valued now by PE teachers when creating the conditions and environment of their PE classes.
As I mentioned in my reply to Kate’s reflection, I also think it’s really kind of a blessing that it seems so many of us didn’t have the best experience in PE – many of us can empathize with students and make sure to avoid a lot of the issues that led to us having negative memories.