Health-Related Fitness avenues of exploration
For those of you who read my last blog post, you will recall that I did pre-unit interviews with my students to determine where they are at with their understanding of the big ideas in regards to Health-Related Fitness and their thoughts about potential directions we might explore in this unit.
To take the teaching and learning process a step farther in this unit, I'd like to share with you the concepts that I intend on unpacking over the next couple of lessons and how I am hoping to achieve this aim. It is critically important to me that I get the students to understand that we all have choices in regards to how we choose to improve our level of personal fitness.
To do this, I could blindly throw fitness testing at them and run them through a barrage of different fitness testing type activities, but as you can see in the pre-unit interviews that I did with my students, most of them had ranked fitness testing very low and did not want to do it. In honoring their perspectives, I must deliver the unit in a way that helps them to understand that improving personal fitness can be done and measured in other ways.
Bearing this in mind, I have focused them in on 4 different areas that we will explore and given them choice over which of these areas that they would like to focus on. It is important to me that they understand the concept of 'burst and recover' which is the way most kids engage in physical activity which is moving their bodies in bursts of energy then tiring and slowing their pace down before picking it up once again. When they are active at recess, we can see 'burst and recover' in action all of the time. Kids will spring around playing tag then slow down only to start racing around again a few moments later. The concept of 'burst and recover' through active games will be explored in our Health-Related Fitness unit.
It is also important for students to understand that some people can create 'burst and recover' type activities by careful design through interval training. Usually this type of training is done by athletes, but still important for the students to know and understand. The concept of 'burst and recover' through interval training is another area that I want my students to develop an awareness of in this unit and will provide them with the option to do interval type training if they choose to.
The third area I'm getting them to focus on is the concept of moving their bodies for extended periods of time at a steady pace of medium intensity. The types of activities that we will explore to provide them with the experience will be through longer bike rides, jogging, skateboarding, scootering, power walking, etc. These are all relevant life options that work on developing cardiovascular endurance that many people take advantage of.
The last area that I'm going to have my students explore is the idea that we can move our bodies in ways that help us develop muscular flexibility and strength. This can be achieved through yoga and other types of core workouts.
To begin to unpack these different areas, I booked some time with the students in their classroom and showed them the following 4 visuals that I had created using poster sized paper and markers. I then had the students choose a minimum of 2 different areas that they would like to explore in this unit. A number of students chose more than 2 areas which was great to see.
Setting the Stage
Despite the students choosing a minimum of 2 areas to explore, I will require them to take part in activities that have them experience all 4 areas in the next couple of classes in order to give them a fair glimpse into the different ways that people can work on improving their own levels of personal fitness.
Afterwards, I will get the students to revisit their initial choices and allow them a second chance to choose. Perhaps some might change their original choices or add another choice into their exploration.
The 20-Minute Challenge
Another task that I will get them to try out is the 20-minute challenge that I posed to them last week. The 20-minute challenge is getting them to choose one activity falling under any of the 4 themes; Burst and Recover through active games, Burst and Recover through interval training, Moving their bodies for a longer period of time at a steady pace, or Moving their bodies in ways that works on flexibility and strength.
For example, I had 4 students choose to ride their bicycles for 20 straight minutes without taking a break. I had another group play 4 v 4 soccer on a small pitch for 20 straight minutes, and another group use scooters for 20 straight minutes. There were allowed to take breaks if they truly needed to but I asked them to self-assess their level of effort and whether or not they could last the entire 20 minutes doing the activity that they had chosen. In measuring how long they could take part in the 20-minute challenge, they know where they are at and the time that they will try to surpass when we do the challenge again.
Although most students do not want to do fitness testing this unit, there are 4 students that want to do some of the tests. I will support them with this and set up the tests that they would like to do.
I'll write more blogs as we progress through this unit to share my own reflections, what's not working well and what areas are working well. It is my intention to share as much as I can on my blog to seek critical feedback. How would you run a unit such as this? What am I missing? What might I consider doing? Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks for reading!