Yoga and Storytelling

After attending a Physical Education Conference and learning from a specific presentation, I decided to include some yoga sessions with the lower grades as part as our “Body Management Unit.”

The cool part of doing this activity was that students were learning different yoga posses as we read the stories. Some of these stories came from  the Cosmic Kids site.

We also read a book called “I am Yoga” by Peter Reynolds and students followed up with the posses very well.

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Tactical Problems

Yesterday I decided to start my lesson with a provocation. We are in the invasion games unit and this year I am really focused on using this new approach called teaching games for understanding. It really makes a difference when students understand the tactical problems and think of solutions for them.

As we started the lesson I had written this sentence on the board.

What is the Other Team Doing to Keep the Possession of the Ball?

Some students shared their thoughts and we had a little bit of a discussion before starting the warm-up and the actual games.

During the small games 3v3, the students who weren’t playing had to observe the others and think of the inquiry I had written on the board, get a marker and write down something they observed.

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I told them not to worry about writing their names, I didn’t want to stop them from sharing their thoughts.

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Most of my students wrote down something. It was a quick way of reflecting on what they saw and also a way of thinking what they should do to support their team.

I just wanted to share that EAL students might need more time to understand what they are being asked to do. Allowing enough time for them to think helps. Their writing might have spelling mistakes, but the concept they want to share is there, and I think visuals and time can be very powerful.

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Swimming

It’s been another great unit of swimming in grades 1-5!

Students are already showing great progress in their strokes.

Learners have been already exposed to front crawl or freestyle, back crawl, and breaststroke. Students learned about their body position, leg and arm action as well as the importance of breathing.

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This year we used an underwater camera and took several videos to see the progress of children and work on areas of improvement.

We practice several drills using kickboards and full strokes without using any flotation aids.img_3224-1dw7pcd-1024x765

Physical Literacy, Fitness, and Feedback

As part of our physical education curriculum, we teach health and fitness all year long to our students.

This week we introduced the “Health Components” to our learners. Please ask your child what are some things to consider in order to be healthy. They should be able to name at least four different components.

Learners shared their thoughts and after a short warm up, they worked on developing their fitness. In order to do that we had students divided into small groups working for a minute in different stations focused on strength, balance, cardiovascular fitness, etc.

This year we decided to have instant feedback in some of the stations. Students could see themselves in the iPads, check their body position, and correct it right away if necessary.

 

 

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This is Physical Education, Gym lives Down the Street

Recently, we have been talking with the students about the role of PE. We have been asking them why are you coming here, in order to encourage them to be thinkers.  Not much to our surprise many of them say they come here to exercise or to play sports.  But is that the main role of PE or it is a false notion which has been circulating for decades? Let me elaborate on this a bit more in today’s post.

Physical Education is seen as important as other subjects in curriculum and since it is an academic subject learning is the main focus. Of course one can say that student is not seated like in other classrooms. This is absolutely true as most learning happens by exploring physical skills, applying movements and strategies to the modified games or challenging and learning about personal fitness. Yet it is a learning process and in its essence does not differ from other subjects.

Invasive Games Unit

This year I decided to start the Invasive Games Unit with a new approach called “Teaching Games for Understanding.” (TGfU)

The main idea of this approach is to have children being able to understand the games and move away from the traditional way of teaching where skills were mostly learned during drills. With the traditional approach, when students were exposed to the small side games, they didn’t really know how to use those skills as they practiced them without defenders.

That’s why this approach is more focused on developing communication skills. Students work together on finding the best tactics and strategies to achieve their goals. At the same time, they are obviously working on their running, dodging, passing, catching and shooting skills. The rules of the small games can be modified by changing the number of players, space where they are playing, the implements they might be using, etc.

Once learners understand that whole concept of finding the best tactic to be successful, they’ll be able to transfer that knowledge to other games and sports.

During the games, I like to stop students and ask them questions to see if they are understanding the game and if they are feeling successful or frustrated.

Questions can be as simple as “If your team has possession, how will you receive a pass?” or “If your team is defending, can can you prevent the opposing team from making a pass?”

At the end of the lesson I had a short discussion to get students thoughts on these kind of questions and reflect of their games.