A Journey to Empower Students to be Active

This year I decided to start something new to promote physical activity outside of our physical education classes.

After school, many children join different physical activities and sports, however, many go home and spend their afternoon sitting with an iPad in their hands, playing games and watching movies.

Today’s digital world is changing the way students learn. As a consequence, children get sometimes exposed to lots of screen hours and it is not always ideal for their physical, mental, and social development.

In order to promote physical activity at my school, I decided to ask students to share any sort of physical activities or sports they practiced outside of PE either with their friends, or their families. I used a couple of hashtags, #fitwithfamily, and #fitwithfriends for students to share under these two bigs umbrellas.

All year long, learners could send me pictures of them playing different sports or being physically active. It was great to see the variety of activities they filled the end of their days, weekends, or holidays with.

I had students hiking with their families, riding horses, skiing down the slopes, playing soccer, badminton, ice hockey, basketball, etc. Others shared their climbing, ice skating, swimming, and running moments.

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This idea also involved teachers and the community. Some teachers shared their journey being “fit” with other teachers and friends, with their families, or both. Some sent the pictures through social media such as “Twitter”, “Instagram” or “WeChat.” Some by email or just hard copies.

I printed it all the pictures and posted them on the door of the gym with the name of the student, the class, and section. I also had all the names of sports and the physical activities printed so students learned new words.

Although it was a small project targeting, students, teachers, and the community, I feel that it had a great impact on students’ learning. One of the best parts of this project for me was to see students who were not always so confident in PE feeling so proud of themselves when others asked them for instance about their fencing or climbing experiences.

As a physical education teacher, I want to educate children to be physical literates who enjoy physical activity and are keen to participate and try out new activities. It is essential that they understand the importance of physical activity to lifelong health and well-being.

I made this little video with Flipagram trying to capture the essence of the project.

In addition, @katievhobbs, the wonderful elementary art teacher at our school and I did a little collaboration where she asked students to draw their “fit moments.” Click here to see the collaboration between Art and PE.

AMPed (Autonomously Mastered Purposeful education) Program

Last November I got this email:

“Hello SIS Colleagues, 

We are excited to begin our AMPed curriculum in Grade 1 and we would love your help. Starting in Trimester 2, we are looking to offer our Grade 1 students a variety of learning and exploring opportunities on Day 3s, from 1:20-2:00 pm. 

We would like to offer a “Career AMPed” project where the students have the chance to shadow members of our community and see what it is like to do the many jobs that make SIS the fantastic place it is. You would sign up for just 1 session, just 40 minutes with a small group of students (10 or less) that will spur thoughts, questions, connections, and insight into the minds of our young students as they see and experience what it is like to be…you.

The Grade 1 team feels that you would have wonderful guidance, skills, and enthusiasm to share with the students in this alternative learning setting. Would you be willing to work with a group of Grade 1 students for one block on one Day 3? We will ask one TA to come with the students to help you.

Please let us know if you are interested and available to participate in our AMPED projects on a Day 3 in Trimester 2. 

We’re really looking forward to this dive into exploring new ideas and learning with Grade 1!

#funnerthanrecess”

…And so I decided to help and be part of the project…

So what is AMPed? Click here to learn more about it

Later in the year, I was assigned a group of Grade 1 learners who came to learn about Physical Education. Since I was in the dance unit, I asked them if they would like to help me teach a dance class to kindergarten students.

I showed them how I planned the lessons, how I assessed the students using rubrics, the vocabulary we were going to be looking at during the lesson, and then everyone got a job to help with. Some of the first graders were in charge of the warm up, others of the music for the dance, others picked a child to assess following the rubric I gave them.

After the class, the Career AMPed, as they called them, reflected on their learning as “PE teachers” by sharing what they enjoyed doing and what they thought it was hard as a physical education teacher.

I thought it was a great experience for them, as well as for me as a facilitator of their learning.IMG_0951IMG_0970IMG_0978

Be Prepared, Be Mindful, Be Inspired

A couple of years ago I met Andy Vasily, an international physical educator at APPEC, a PE conference in Hong Kong.

In his keynote, Andy told us some personal stories and how these events in his life changed the way he approached life, personally and professionally.

I totally relate to these statements. They are all equally important to me.

Be Prepared

As a physical educator, I am aware that my lesson can change dramatically just because of the weather, the students in that class or the mood I might have because of stress, lack of sleep, or any other thing. Just because of all that we have to be prepared and plan our lessons thoughtfully and accordingly. That doesn’t mean that it might not change last minute…

A few days ago I wanted to introduce my students the SOLO Taxonomy in order to make their learning more meaningful and make sure they were aware of what they knew or not in our Net Games unit, more specifically in the tennis skills. I guess I wasn’t exactly prepared myself and it really made me consider my teaching skills and abilities…

Be Mindful

How many times have you started doing something and moved on to something else before you were actually done? We live and work in busy worlds where there are continuous distractions. We always to achieve more and sometimes we put too much on our plate. I remember a teacher I use to teach with used to tell me, “If you are adding something into this, just think that you will have to take something off. We only got this much time, no more.” I like to say that I am an innovator and I consider myself quite creative, but that means that sometimes I get way too many thoughts on my mind at the same time, too many goals I want to achieve, too many challenges, and I end up not focusing. One of my goals this year is to work on being more mindful and focus on one thing at the time. I ended up putting my phone in my drawer and my iPad away and both of them in silence, so I would get no interruptions as I work on something.

Reflecting is another goal of mine, and it is, somehow related with being mindful. Just dedicating some minutes to think and write about my practices, what went well and what do I need to work on, change or adapt.

Be Inspired

As a life long learner, I like to find different sources of learning in my journey to become a better educator. I follow amazing teachers and leaders on twitter who inspire me every day. I work with incredible educators who are always trying to think out of the box to bring the best to their learners. I attend several conferences every year where I always learn something I like to apply right away so I won’t forget.

I listen and participate in conversations in “voxerpe”, more listening than participating though.

I read books with new approaches, such as the Cooperative Learning in Physical Education.

I do MOOCs and webinars.

I share my teaching and learning ideas to hopefully inspire other in twitter.

Thank you all who inspire me in any possible way, so make me every day a better teacher!

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What does a Good PE Lesson Look Like?

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As teachers we constantly ask ourselves how are we doing with our teaching, what we supposed to be doing and what are our goals. We are always looking to find ways to best support student’s learning.

A couple of days ago, I came across this infographic and it got me thinking about my own practice. Blogging helps me to reflect on what I am doing, why I am doing it and how I do it.

I like how is structured in three different bends:

What makes a good lesson?

What can I do as a teacher?

How can I engage students?

The infographic touches on many things we do daily in our lessons. It is always a good reminder and a way to start including some of those things in our daily routines so they become natural.

A few days ago I signed up for an online course called ” Outstanding PE Classes” and that’s supposed to be really good. Here is the link

Hopefully all these tools will help us, physical educators. in our pursuit to teach outstanding physed lessons.

 

 

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.

Last Week of School.

I can’t believe that another year has passed by. We are in the middle of the last week of school, a quite busy week with lots of last things to finish before we head out to our well deserved summer.

It has been a full year, with lots of growth happening and I am very proud of my students and the progress they have done.

Today I decided to ask my learners what physical activity, sport, or exercise they were planning on doing during the summer. Most of them said swimming, however, some named other sports such as tennis, badminton and soccer. One student shared his love for hikes which I do too. It makes me happy feel that they will be able to spend time doing these kind of activities rather than spending their summer playing with their iPads.

Hopefully most of them will enjoy the benefits of being physically active.

 

 

How to start my new blog? Where to find inspiration?

I’ve been thinking on starting my own professional blog for a while now and I always find an excuse to finally never start it.

Today I had a different mindset. I thought I will read other blogs to find inspiration but finally decided that what I really had to do was just start typing and inspiration will eventually come.

As a physical educator and lover of physical activity, I always get inspired when I’m out running in the outdoors, especially when I’m close to open waters or mountains.

Today I did not have the chance to go outdoors but one of my students was the one who inspired me and I guess that’s one of the most amazing things that can happen to an educator.

Somehow today I rescued from my clutter inbox an email from an amazing conference I happened to attend last November. They were wondering if we could have a couple of students who we feel had changed their lives due to the approach we have in our physed lesson, video themselves and sharing that video with us.

I decided to email then this one student of mine and I guess her response to my email made my day.

“I would love to do it. Thanks for choosing me” she replied back in capital letters.

She doesn’t even know if I’m asking everyone or just a couple of students, but that quick and positive response made me reflect and inspired me to start my first post of my blog today.

Thanks Danielle!

Hopefully this post will help other people to get started with whatever you have in mind. Stop thinking about it, just do it!

By the way, the video will most probably shared during the 2016 AAPEC conference in Hong Kong #PEChangesLives