Congratulations to the group this week. Liz, Cheryl, Mary and Rob, the lesson was so much fun. Upon first glance, physical and health literacy seems like a hard topic to create a PE lesson plan around, however, you all did a great job incorporating both topics into the lesson. The creativity of the warm-up and cool down was awesome and the instant activity was so much fun as well. All in all it was great to have so much choice and flexibility within the lesson.
I never really thought about health and physical literacy before this course. These concepts are an integral part of the foundation of physical education and life as well. It is clear that health literacy has a symbiotic relationship with physical literacy. Being a balanced person and understanding how to be literate and take care of one’s own self is important for children to understand. Physical education is no longer just about sport but about the child or person as a whole. Health literacy encompasses more than I thought and learning about the many aspects of health literacy was enlightening. The lesson made me take into consideration how literate I am in both health and physical literacy and how I can change that.
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.
This week was my group’s turn to teach. We taught track and field, specifically sprinting. I think our lesson went well, my instant activity was short, fun and engaging. The class enjoyed the warm up as well. We did dynamic stretching to music and it turned into a dance party. I think these ideas really transfer to the classroom as students really enjoy doing things this way. I also felt that my discussion group for the reading summary went really well. We had a great discussion and I almost did not get through everything I needed to for the summary. I felt that the reading was really engaging for us to discuss and we were all in the same mindset for it.
Our planning was difficult. We ended up changing our lesson plan quite significantly as we had planned way to much. However it came together in the end which was great. We ended up changing our track relay the morning of. We realized that the track was bigger then we were thinking in our heads and needed to modify the game so there was not as much running involved. We wanted to make the game enjoyable for people who are not runners and we felt this modification was important for that.
I felt the group was really engaged and I was not expecting this! I felt people were not excited when they heard what we were doing but the attitude really changed as we got into the activities. I think we managed to make running fun!
One thing I reflected on this week was how PE was taught in my practicum school. This past week I was able to see two different PE classes with two different teachers. Interestingly, both classes played some form of dodgeball. The grade 7 class played a variation of dodgeball called partner dodgeball where they were taking turns hitting their partner. The grade 3 class played “skittles” a game where they had to hit down pins in the back of the opposite territory. Then they played the version of dodgeball where once a student is hit they go to the opposite side and have to hit someone on the opposite team to get back into the game. It is interesting to see so much of a hall of shame game being played in the classroom.
The result of this really made me think about how I would plan a PE lesson. I think my first PE lesson will be one with a variety of activities and one that is inclusive for all students. As I get to know the students I can learn what they enjoy doing and plan inclusive games around their interests.
We looked at alternative environments for lessons. My school is located within a residential area so walking to other environments is limited. However, they have a huge grass field in the back. There is a lot of space to set up fun amazing race, obstacle course type games. Some of the activities we did in this week’s class would work really well in this environment.
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.
In the reading summary and discussion this week, we reviewed the different pedagogies for teaching physical education. The pedagogy I found to be most effective and the one in which I hope to implement when teaching my Physical Education class was the TGfU or in other words, Teaching Games for Understanding. This pedagogy focuses on learning and performing sports skills in a variety of settings. The end result is athletes who acquire a strong knowledge and recognition of the game and their own abilities. I found the six-step process that TGfU activities follow to be most helpful in understanding this pedagogy in greater detail. Step 1, the game, was the step I found to be most interesting and unfamiliar to me. Step 1 involves having the teacher introduce a modified version of the game that has clear objectives and follows the basic rules and concepts of the formal game. I was unfamiliar with this step because in my previous experiences in physical education, my teachers would often have us students jump straight into the game without learning the fundamental movements and rules. My teachers assumed that we would learn these basic rules, movements and tactics through continuous playing and practice. However, this in turn caused me to lack the game appreciation and tactical awareness (steps 2 & 3), I needed to gain, in order to apply in playing the game. I will continue to review and familiarize myself with this six-step process and apply it when teaching physical education.
On another note, I wish to highlight an experience I witnessed during my first day of practicum in my Grade 1 and Grade 2 classroom. The teacher of this class starts every morning with a thirty-minute walk in the forest next to the school. I think this is a great way to start the day as it keeps the students active and is a great source of energy for the day ahead. Moreover, I noticed that the students were able to focus better and were more energetic once they returned from the walk. The teacher tries her best to implement physical education throughout the day such as taking breaks from sitting and listening in order to stretch and move around. I look forward to learning more about her physical education techniques and to see if she is incorporating the strategies and knowledge we have learned in class thus far. I now know that I must always have my running shoes nearby, ready to be slipped on as required!
Picture: Natural artefacts Grade 1 and Grade 2 students collected from their nature walk
This week’s team teach was excellent in many different ways. The warm up activity was hilarious. I got so many laughs out of other people’s animal dance moves and it was a lot of fun to be silly with a group of people! What a great fun way to get everyone moving!
The first activity was a lot of fun too. I was confused at first, I think the huge amount of cones set up made it a bit hard for me to visualize but once we got into our groups to play I was not confused anymore. The game was a good way to get students moving and practicing their throwing. There are so many modifications you could do to help enhance student learning.
The last game was an interesting game. I did not like the unsafe elements but other than that it was great. I was running around so much in this game that by the end I was exhausted! This really helped me to see the importance of an active curriculum. After class, I felt awake, alert and ready for the day. Being active in school really does help students in other areas of academics.
Our discussion of assessment was very important. Growing up we were often assessed on how fast we ran or how talented we were at a certain sport. Using strategies such as exit slips, or student evaluation on their performance in class not only gets them involved but also allows those who are not naturally fast runners to be successful.
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.
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…