Everything begins with thought so think like a champion
I have been involved in education and coaching for over 20 years now and there is one thing that I know for certain. Everything begins with thought and success is more achievable when we have a positive mindset. As a former competitive football player and competitive golfer, I always performed at my highest level when I was in the right mindset. It wasn't always easy to do, but getting myself into this zone took a lot of hard work and mental preparation.
As a physical educator, I believe that we MUST address mindset with our students before anything else. Before getting caught up in curriculum demands and student learning outcomes, we have a responsibility to help our learners understand just how powerful thought can be in achieving success. This applies to all facets of life, not just school. We must give students every opportunity possible to address their own mindset and to practice freeing themselves from negative self-talk and destructive thoughts. Bob Marley sums up the power of mindset in his beautiful 'Redemption' song.
My grade 4 students are working on a "Who we are" unit in the classroom which focuses on the central idea "We all have distinct interests, attitudes, and skills that can be developed.' As integrated learning means everything to me, I am piggy backing on this by focusing on the same central idea for my grade 4 students in PE. I have met with the classroom teachers a number of times collaborating with them on how best to plan and deliver this unit. I told them that I wanted to get all students in grade 4 to pick a goal to work on in PE. Whatever they choose to do must be something that they are either a beginner at or consider themselves not very good at.
The main aim of my unit in PE is to get the students working on improving upon their level of skill in their identified activity over the entirety of the 7-week unit. The classroom teachers have been informed of their goals and have addressed these goals in discussions that they have had with their students back in class. This is among one of the very best collaborative units I have taught in elementary PE. The kids are responding amazingly well and have already shown a great deal of improvement.
I have had ongoing discussions with them about getting into the right mindset and maintaining this mindset. I have given a number of personal examples of how a positive mindset has allowed me to accomplish some great things in sport and in life. My own blog is a testament to this. I am so proud of my blog. It's a work of love, patience, effort, and passion.
What's even more special about this unit is that the classroom teachers are coming to PE to support their students, learning more about their progress related to their goals, and to support my efforts as well. One of our new grade 4 teachers at NIS, Paul Johnson, popped by for a lengthy visit yesterday.
Breaking Down 7 Big Ideas in Our Growth Mindset Unit
There are 7 big ideas that both the classroom teachers and I are addressing in this unit. As seen in the visual below, my students and I have broken these ideas down and have had numerous discussions related to each area. The visual has been perfect for spring boarding a deeper understand of what a growth mindset looks and feels like.
It has been a wonderful experience seeing how this unit is unfolding in PE and in the classroom. Integrated learning such as this brings so much value to a school's curriculum. I wrote a letter to the parents earlier in the unit to explain my unit from the perspective of PE, so that they can observe their child to see whether or not action is being taken after school at home in regards to their goal in PE. I have had a few parents already tell me that their kids are practicing at home which is so rewarding to hear. Please check out the short video below to see my students talking about their goals and the set up of the unit. What are your experiences with integrated learning in PE? Would love to hear your stories!!