Today I would like to stress, once again, the importance of sharing good teaching practice within our profession. There is nothing more valuable than connecting with other good practitioners and sharing not only our common vision of what PE should look and feel like in the 21st century, but to also share excellent teaching ideas, strategies for assessment, and useful resources. I am lucky to have connected with other like-minded teachers within our profession over the past couple of years, teachers that are making a difference and pushing physical education to deeper levels of conceptual learning.
I had an excellent Skype call today with Nathan Horne from International School Singapore (click http://www.iphys-ed.com/ to see Nathan's website) that saw us bounce ideas off one another, share our units and our vision of how a quality PE program should run. As well, I have collaborated many times in the past with Joey Feith who is based in Montreal, Canada and is the founder of http://www.thephysicaleducator.com/. Joey shares a number of quality resources and excellent teaching and assessment ideas that are immediately applicable in PE classes.
It is through networking like this that I have become better at what I do and it is with hope that my website helps other teachers to come up with new teaching, assessment, and behavior management ideas that they can put into practice within their programs. For the last year, I have had different PE teachers from around the world guest blog on PYP PE with Andy and to share successful strategies, resources, and teaching ideas that they have used in their lessons. Today, I am happy to post a new guest blog written by Remke Langendonck who teaches at Berlin Brandenburg International School in Germany. Remke and her husband, Joost, have documented their work on their own website that can be found at http://www.peteam.weebly.com. Please check out their website to find out more about how they teach and assess.
A bit about Remke:
Remke was born in the Netherlands and trained as a whole school physical education teacher with a specialism in sports management. She is a mother of two awesome and lively little girls and is highly interested in anything that has to do with Physical Education and ICT.
She has taught across all ages and has held positions such as head of elementary PE at the Grange in Chile, head of junior school PE and junior school activities coordinator at UWC. She is currently teaching part-time and working on her masters degree.
Remke's Guest Blog
After trying out a couple of ideas from Andy, it is time to give something in return. I am a strong believer in sharing practise; it is just a great way to help each other become better educators whilst saving time reinventing the wheel!
I am a proud advocate of lifelong learning and find it important to educate our students not only about sports, but to use Physical Education as a tool to learn the attitudes and skills that will help us throughout life. The trick is to keep a high level of energy going whilst getting the important ideas and messages across to our students. One of my favourite moments of the year is our “Healthy Decision Unit” with our Grade 4 students. Although the theory part is covered for a large part in the homeroom, PE leaves a big impression by making it all visual, having an enormous impact on the students’ thinking. All worksheets, set ups and organisation of this unit can be downloaded freely from http://www.peteam.weebly.com (resources – pyp grade 4).
Here is a description of events to give you an idea of what happened during our healthy decisions lessons. Towards the end of the unit, the Grade 4 students received a box with “left-over-snacks” from a non-existing sporting event. This box contained apples, juice, chocolate bars, etc. Students could choose freely from this box during their snack time without any explanation for their choices needed.
Their snack time happens to be right before their Physical Education lesson. When the students came to PE, they reflected on the food choices they had made and we talked about the amount of calories involved. With the assistance of a worksheet, the students then calculated the amount of calories they had consumed. This was followed by a discussion about how long we need to exercise in order to burn these calories off.
With the whole grade level we went for a run in the gym or out on the field where we tried to go for as long as possible (the students were so engaged with the topic that a 15-minute run was roughly what was manageable for them). After the run we discussed the amount of calories they had burned and how much longer they would still have to run in order to break even. Students then had a realisation how hard they have to work in order to burn off just a few of their consumed calories. The lesson was finished off with a discussion and some shocking pictures about the amount of calories some food items actually have (fries, coke, big mac etc.).
Because of the success of this first lesson, we added for the first time a second lesson to it. During this lesson we played three games with our students all based around health awareness. We have three classes per grade who come out at the same time, allowing us to rotate a class per teacher. The first game was a sugar cube run. It was a bit like a relay run where there are 3 students on a team. On one side of the gym we had various items (snacks and drinks) and the students had to run with one sugar cube in their hand and place it in front of an item. The students kept on running until they had reached the amount of sugar cubes, they thought, belonged to each item. When each group had completed their run, a discussion and reflection followed on how many sugar cubes there were in the food and drink item and what the consequences are for their body. I always love the moment when they hear that there are 27 sugar cubes in 1 litre of coke!
A similar game was played where the students were challenged to increase their awareness about calories in a product. Teams race up and down to the food items and placed pre-made cards with the amount calories in front of the items. Once all the cards are placed the group can ask for a clue from the teacher to help them in creating the right matches. However during this second part, the students had to run with a weight vest, with an additional 10 kg stored in it (depending on the size of the student), until they have matched all the cards correctly. At the end of the game there was a reflection on the amount of calories, exercise and a positive or negative energy balance and the consequences for their bodies.
The last game was merely a fun tag game changed into “healthy tag”. It was played with a green and yellow ball, as well as two taggers. If a student gets hit by a green ball (representing healthy food) they had to perform 10 jumping jacks before returning into the game, however if you get hit by a yellow ball (representing unhealthy, greasy food) they had to crawl through a tunnel filled will balls, like a clogged up artery. The reflection at the end of the game is about the difference between nutritious and non-nutritious food and the relationship to your health.
This all can easily be spread out over multiple lessons depending on your situation; the fact is that the kids love it because it is so close to reality. We have even given a follow up session for parents to create awareness about nutrition and calories. Without all the running but with the same shocking details!