Thursday, 5 April 2012

Summary of Learning

This VoiceThread will summarize my learning in EPE310 in a short 5 minute clip. Hope you enjoy!

What did you learn from watching this clip?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Three Week Block Experience

During my pre-internship I am doing a mini unit on the geological structures and formations of rainforests with a great group of grade one students. In order to learning mapping, I thought it be a great physical activity to pretend every individual was a globe (or our world). At our heads is the North Pole, at our hips is the Equator, and at our feet was the South Pole. The students had previously learned that polar bears live at the North Pole, rainforests are grown near the Equator, and penguins live at the South Pole.

As a lesson I decided that it be great to include physical activity. So I had the students stand up behind their chairs and played a game around the idea of Follow the Leader or Simon Says. I had explained to the students that our bodies were the earth and that our head, hips and feet are parts of the world and compared it to a globe in the classroom. I then prompted with the cues North Pole, Equator, or South Pole and that would be the place the students had to move their hands to on their bodies. I then challenged them by naming things that are located at each place. I continued this until all understood a bit more about how to read a globe or map and the locations of things around the world. My focus was for the students to understand that rainforests are located near the middle of our earth or the middle of a globe, near the Equator.

I found this lesson to work really well to get the students up off their chairs and participating alongside myself in a bit of a physical activity. After this activity the students than work really well in their seats. I found that incorporating movement with learning really helps improve concentration and learn a lot about a topic quickly. The movements the students did can help them remember where things are located on our world, and helps with kinesthetic learning.  
This map, locating rainforests around the world, was done in addition to our physical activity.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Stressful Planning

In developing my curriculum understanding project, I was trying to think of something that would shape and mold my understandings into something useful. This is how the idea of mini lessons came up. I focused on grade five to make my life easier and to reduce stress. Of course, stress never really goes away when you are a teacher. I am constantly thinking about how I can change things, be more creative, use my skills, and challenge my thinking, etc.


So when push came to shove, I created a Grade five mini lesson booklet that focused on the three strands of physical education; active living, skilful movement (with a focus on throwing and catching), and relationships. These fifteen mini lesson will help any teacher trying to find new ideas to use in their physical education class, whether in the gymnasium or not, and make connections to the Saskatchewan Curriculum.

Needless to say stress does come with planning when you are a teacher, but sometimes riding in the rough will give you the diamond you looking for.  
What is your way of demonstrating your understanding of curriculum?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Effectiveness in Physical Education

There are six characteristics emphasized in the SaskatchewanPhysical Education Curriculum that are components of an effective physical education program.

“Student Learning is supported by a program that:
·         focuses on achieving physical literacy

·         provides meaningful contexts, key idea, and questions for Elementary Level students to explore

·         teaches students how to use critical, creative, and powerful learning strategies

·         see teachers planning to meet the needs of all students

·         is planned purposefully based on the curriculum

·         is defined by the grade specific outcomes.”

Now what does physical literacy in a physical education class actually involve? At first I was thinking does that mean having the students read articles or books about physical education? Well that seemed rather silly. So as I am trying to understand what physical literacy is, I read about it in the curriculum documents. I find out that physically literate students are those who can move properly and with confidence in a range of physically challenging situations, can read the physical environment, anticipate movement and responding appropriately. The students can identify and articulate the essential qualities that influence the effectiveness of their own movement performances, and a sense of understanding of a whole health lifestyle. Taking this information (found in the curriculum document) into what my original thoughts about physical literacy meant, is completely different. These qualities make sense to having students become physically literate in your physical education program.

The second point, providing meaningful contexts, key ideas, and questions, reminds me about inquiry learning. Inquiry learning in physical education can lead to students having a deeper and enriched understanding of why physical education is important to their education and for themselves.

The third characteristics, teaches students how to use critical, creative and powerful learning strategies, means for students to be able to make decisions about movement, offensive/defensive skills and plan, and also about other’s movements. These will help students understand the quality of the game or activities they are playing and help them achieve greatness in that area. This will lead to feelings of success and lead to lifelong fitness.

The fourth of which is seeing teachers planning to meet the needs of all students. I have talked about inclusion in another blog post, but in recap, if you allow opportunities for everyone, everyone will have a chance to feel involved, be part of a team, and have feelings of success. These opportunities are important and making them happen for meeting the needs of everyone is of utmost important to my physical education philosophy.

The fifth characteristic, is planned purposefully on curriculum, well this makes sense. Curriculum is made for a reason, it is to lay out the things all students should be able to do, know and understand by the end of each grade. These outcomes are not only important for education but important for the students. They will help develop skills and movement, active living, and building relationships.
Found in the Saskatchewan Curriculum

The last characteristic which is defined by the grade specific outcomes; it is important to recognize at what point in a student’s physical education program do certain skills and movements are possible for physical development of the children you are working with, and know at which grade the students should have the outcome explored, progressing towards, have control or utilization of. These developmental progression help identify where students are at each outcome and help plan for what needs need to be met next.

I believe that these six characteristics are important for having an effective physical education program and effective teaching style for all teachers in a physical education classroom.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Structured Recess?

Google Images

As I was rummaging through growingyoungmovers website I came across a question posed under daily physical activity, it asked, “What do you think of the idea of a structured recess for elementary students?”

Well I will tell you what I think…

We are told by many active lifestyle programs, like Saskatchewan in motion, that kids need 60 minutes of physical activity or more every day and more is always better. Many suggest structured play during recess will help kids achieve those 60 minutes a day, because in some cases kids are not getting any minutes of physical activity during a school day. I do not think having structured recess is the answer for this problem. I think we have to go back to the roots. We should ask ourselves, “Why are kids not achieving any physical activity minutes in a school day?” It states in the Saskatchewan Education Curriculum that physical education should be 150 minutes of instruction per week. (Break that down into approx. 30 min a day) So the problem is not about having a structured recess but having a structured/organized school day.

If we look at a structured recess what problems can that create? One, many students dislike physical activity, because it is forced upon them during the time of day where normally students would have some freedom. Second, does the social aspect of recess time get pushed to the side? Having a structured recess would leave less time for kids of similar age to discuss topics of interest to them. Third, forced physical activities during recess might turn kids off of physical movement completely.

We must also look at the positives of a structured recess. One, structured recess could in fact decrease bullying because students are engaged in a physical activity while supervised/instructed. Second, it would guarantee active movement. Third…well frankly I cannot come up of a good reason to support this…

I believe that recess should be a time for kids to have a break from the structure of a school day, to release energy on their own terms, and socialize with their friends. Students that are structured too much will lose their sense of adventure and lose chances for exploring their curiosities.  

What are your thoughts about a structured recess?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Discover Hantis: Physical Activity or Physical Education

During my regularly scheduled twitter time I came across this tweet by @ThaxtonMarshall “@phys_educator I teach students Hantis 101 & 102 from YouTube, then set up tables and watch the magic happen.

I thought to myself what is Hantis? So I watched these videos and found out.

In class we discuss the difference between physical activity and physical education. Is Hantis a physical activity or can it be part of physical education? Let us look at the curriculum to see if it can connect to any outcomes.

What Movement Activity could Hantis fall under? Is it a target game? Or could it be low-organizational and inventive game? There is a target in which the tennis ball must hit to ‘score a point’ but it also requires little organization. (4 tables and 1 tennis ball) I personally would classify Hantis as a target game because there is a target in which must be met in order to ‘score a point’ against the other team. The reasoning for the quotation around 'score a point' is that I believe that this game can be done without keeping score and can be done to build relationships with all those members playing.

 In the Grade 5 Physical Education Curriculum outcomes

ü  5.5 Complex manipulative Skills: Refine manipulative skills used in increasingly complex movement activities such as lead-up games, including: hand dribbling can be seen in the video.

ü  5.6 Performance Refinement: Apply performance cues, movement variables, tactics, and principles of practice in complex movement activities to improve the performance of self and others.  The body fakes, change of speed, change of direction, keeping the body low while moving are all examples of successfully achieving this outcome and is done by involving your students in a game of Hantis.

ü  5.7 Skillful Play: Refine, alone and with others, selected movement skills, tactics, and strategies while participating in: small sided and lead up target games. The students during a game of Hantis must distinguish between effective and ineffective individual and small group offensive and defensive tactics.

After successfully connecting Hantis to the SaskatchewanCurriculum I would say Hantis could be part of Physical Education classroom. This new discovery of a game involving hand eye coordination, defensive/offensive strategies and movement variables, such as Hantis, can create a new environment for your students that move away from the regular sports (volleyball, basketball, table tennis, etc.). Hantis can be a lead activity to other movement activities such as net/wall games. It could be a developmental area for table tennis, badminton, etc.  Hantis can be very valuable in my opinion to any physical education classroom.

Do you think Hantis can be part of physical education classroom or would you classify it as a physical activity?

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Expect the Unexpected: Inclusion

“An inclusive physical education environment is one which provides the opportunity for students of all abilities and interests to participate with their peers.” (Saskatchewan Curriculum 2010)

Inclusion…Hmm. How? Why?

Thanks to my sister, Haley George, for posting this video on my Facebook wall. This video helps people, and myself, better understand why inclusion is so important and how inclusion benefits all.

For most teachers we worry about accommodating for inclusion off all young movers. Well my answer is; allow for opportunities. Just like Jason’s Basketball story. Without his coach giving the opportunity for Jason to play, Jason would not have been able to feel the same amount of success just sitting on the sidelines. The Saskatchewan Curriculum 2010 suggests that “inclusion recognizes the inherent value, dignity, and worth of each student, and reduces perceived differences amoung students.” This statement is a prime example for Jason’s story. Jason was worthy of playing in the game, he gained dignity as the whole audience goes crazy after each 3 pointer, and for those moments on the court Jason was not perceived as ‘different’ Jason was just a young boy scoring baskets at a game. Opportunities like these can only be given to students by the teacher or, in this case, the coach.

Teachers need to provide these opportunities of successful achievement and active moving. These opportunities are not just given for those students who may have disabilities but it is also given to students who may not. With a variety of instructional strategies and opportunities all can benefit.

The only way any teacher will know how to teach in a physical education setting with students with ‘disabilities’ (The reason for the quotes is because I believe no child has a disability; that word is too negative. Children have challenges that can be overcome) is to gain experience in them. Becoming familiar with these challenges and knowing the student’s strengths, interests and abilities all teachers can make physical education positive and active for all.
What challenges do you fear about inclusive physical education?

Friday, 20 January 2012

Keeping Active: Dance

So, as usual I have my ritual of watching Ellen DeGeneres and today I witnessed physical education at its finest. Aunt Carol who’s welcomed onto to The Ellen Show after Ellen saw her dancing Hip Hop on YouTube.  (Watch the video to see Aunt Carol Hip Hop)

Now many would say dancing is not a part of Physical Education. Well I beg to differ. It is stated in the Saskatchewan EducationCurriculum that students in grade nine demonstrate body management activities and lists dance as one way of demonstrating this. This clip inspired me to think about dance differently. If Aunt Carol can keep dancing and keep healthy, than so can students in the classroom. (or in this case the gymnasium) So why not incorporate dance as part of Physical Education? I don’t see how this would be a problem to any Physical Education classrooms, do you? Let's try it!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

What is Physical Education?

What is Physical Education? Is it developing skills for lifelong fitness, building relationships through the social activities, or building a sense of self, community and place? I believe it to be all three.

As I read through the curriculum documents I see that the above three areas (lifelong learners, sense of self, community, and place, and engaged citizens through building relationships) as broad areas of learning that students are supposed to learn as they go through their Physical Education careers. I have learned that in many cases this is not true.

Take for example in some cases many physical education class experiences involve dodge ball, the common sports (volleyball, basketball, badminton, and track and field), and capture the flag. But physical education is much more than that.

Physical Education has to be about developing important skills, strategies, and tactics that can be transferred to a variety of contexts.

Physical Education has to be about developing a balanced self. Being continued healthy individuals, making for healthy families and communities.

Physical Education has to be about enhancing personal well-being of self and others, by contributing to social, cultural and environmental activities.

Now all these ideas are great!  The problem comes to actually initiating them in any teacher’s physical education class whether it in Kindergarten or Grade Twelve. It is important to involve all these broad areas of learning so the next generation can have positive lifestyles.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


I find this man so inspirational! Hope one day my difference can be like the one he has on students and people.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

First Day of Classes 2012

Well first day of classes for 2012 and one of the busiest for sure! My new EPE 310 class runs for 5 pm until 8:50 pm. (Elementary School Physical Education for those who do not know what EPE stands for) I thought this class would drag on and on but today we had a lot of fun. We were taught how to cram into a one min speech our memories of our physical education experiences. It was good to hear about how others remember physical education and comparing it to your own. Sometimes I wonder if physical education is conveyed properly. Some remembered beep tests, running laps, gymnastics (O the joys of being in a neck brace) sports, yoga, while others remembered dodgeball and capture the flag. No matter our experiences in physical education we will always take them with us when we go teach one day. If we remember something negative about a particular event we might not be so willing to try it in our classrooms, but who knows we might be willing to jump back on that horse and try it again.

Onto some important note taking; there were three activities we played today.                One of which included a noodle passing game in which we laid on the ground head to feet in a linear line and, with a noodle, passed it taking the noodle from our feet up past our bodies onto the next persons feet. This created a lot of excitement, some competitive nature and got great involvement from all of us. The second activity was a Rock, Paper, Scissor competition called ‘Evolution’ having completing multiple stages of success all the way to the other end of the gym challenging those at your stage. If you win the match you move up and if you lose you move down. I really appreciated the respect involved. Before each match you would shake hands say “Good Luck” Rock, Paper, Scissor and high-five saying “Good Game.” This gave losing a battle a positive message. The last activity involved students running from all four corners of the gym into the centre to grab playing cards, all of the same suit from Ace to King. The challenge is having the cards face down and having to flip them over to collect the correct cards. I love the idea of this game being adaptable to all grade levels.

This new class gives us an opportunity to try different areas of social media. (Creating this blog for example) I never would have tried something like this before. I am too scared of writing my thoughts down for everyone to see, but I am challenging myself to try something new. I already had a Twitter account but our professor wants to communicate through this social media which I find fantastic. I can check it on my smart phone and not have to worry about logging onto my computer at home to see new e-mails. I believe this semester is going to be a great one! All us pre service teachers out there, “Let’s Get Er Done!”