The New FMS Skill Posters
by Joey Feith
As an elementary physical education teacher, one of the cornerstones of my program is to help my students develop their fundamental movement skills.
If you’ve never heard of the term before, fundamental movement skills are one of the building blocks of physical literacy. They empower students to engage in a wide variety of physical activities and provide the foundation for more complex, activity-specific skills.
Mastering the fundamental movement skills helps students further develop their physical competence, which can lead to increases in confidence and motivation in regards to being active for life.
That said, helping students master different fundamental movement skills also serves a separate purpose in my program. My approach to teaching the FMS skills is one that leads to students understanding how to teach themselves new skills. This is important to me because I want my students to be lifelong learners and I recognize that the lessons learned in my program need to outlive me if they are to truly have an impact on my students’ lifelong health. That’s why we typically follow a five-step process when learning something new in class:
The first step is for my students to see the skill they will be working on. Providing them with a visual example of the skill being performed (especially if it is being performed in the context of a game) helps students have a clear idea of what the skill looks like.
Next, I want my students to explore the skill. Without providing an overwhelming amount of information, I set them out to see what works, what doesn’t, and what makes the skill tricky to perform.
Once the students have tried the skill for themselves, we come back together and break it down. Based on our collective experience, we pull out the five important keys (a.k.a. critical elements) that allow someone to perform the skill at a high level.
With the important keys in mind, we go out and practice. This step involves four smaller steps: a) set a goal, b) seek out feedback, c) measure your progress, d) repeat! This step allows students to constantly figure out what they need to do to close the gap between where they are at in their learning and where they want to go.
In my lessons, we always talk about how learning itself is an adventure and one that has a start line but no finish line. I work hard to build a culture of resilience and growth mindsets in which students are comfortable with starting at the start (I always say “race car drivers don’t get worked up about starting at the start line), celebrate their individual successes (no matter how small), and always ask themselves how they can keep on improving.
With that process in mind, I’d like to show you the new FMS Skill Poster Series and FMS Key Cards that I have designed and use in my teaching. These posters were designed with the “See It! Try It! Break It! Work It! Learn It!” process in mind.
The New FMS Skill Posters
Each skill poster showcases a few common elements: the skill icon, the skill name, a performance graphic, the skill’s important keys, and a QR code.
The Skill Icon
I had created a set of skill icons in the past to represent each of the fundamental movement skills we explore in my program. Although I kept these on the back burner for a while, I found myself constantly going back to them. My students liked the simplicity of them and having them colour-coordinated with the other resources I develop for each skill just made everything easy.
The Performance Graphics
Because I’m obsessed with how things look in my program, I wanted to make sure that I was creating artwork that I could proudly have on display in my gym. Although the artwork takes time and planning to create (I had made three a couple years ago and hadn’t since), I’m getting better at it and now have graphics for every skill I teach. Most importantly: my students love them!
The Important Keys
In order to create common language that we use to break the FMS skills down, to always know that the important keys are on hand in my gym, and to add to the culture of learning and thinking that I strive to create in physical education, I added each skill’s important keys to its poster. The important keys are the skill’s critical elements which I have re-written in student-friendly language that came from discussions with my students.
The QR Code
Finally, in order to help my students visualize the skill and its important keys, each FMS skill poster displays a QR code that links to a video of the skill being performed at regular speed, then again in slow motion with animated annotations highlighting the important keys as they become observable. Here’s an example:
When I scan the code myself when I’m using the posters in my teaching, I typically AirPlay the video to the big screen in my gym and pause it at key parts to highlight any important keys I want to discuss with my class.
I’m super happy with how the posters are turning out and excited to see the entire series (20 posters in total) on display in my gym! The FMS Skill Posters have been incredibly useful in my lessons in the past and I’m excited to be sharing them with you!
Accessing The FMS Skill Posters
You can currently find the FMS Skill Posters in the #PhysEd Shop! They are grouped into either Locomotor Skills or Manipulative Skills, with series within each group that contain different skills. Here is what is currently available (with more on the way in the next few weeks!) You can click on any of the images below to access that set in the shop.
FMS Manipulative Skills
FMS Locomotor Skills
The FMS Key Cards
Each set includes an FMS Skill Poster and FMS Key Cards for each skill in the series. The FMS Key Cards are small, printable visuals that I used to highlight/introduce specific important keys for any given skill. Each FMS Key Card set includes six cards: one for each of the critical elements of the set’s focused skill and one summary card that highlights all five of the critical elements.
Here are some examples of how I use the FMS Key Cards in my teaching:
As we review the important keys of the lesson’s focused skill, I’ll have the skill’s FMS Key Cards on the board with the back of the card facing out (so that you cannot see the text). I’ll invite my class to name some of the important keys of the skill. As they do so, I’ll point to the card that has the identified important key and invite the student that named the key to flip that card around to reveal its text (Price Is Right style).
Similar to what I have done with my assessment magnets and QR Jump Rope Cards in the past (check out this Quick Look video), I’ll have the FMS Key Cards for the lesson’s focused skills up on the board and then invite my students to reflect which important key they are focusing on in order to improve their ability to perform the skill with a mature pattern. Once the students have set their goal, they mark it by placing their magnet underneath the selected important key.
In a game like Treasure Grab, I’ll have my students divided into teams and assign a FMS Key Card to each team. When it is their teammate’s turn to get the ball, the players who are back at their team’s base will peer-assess (what we call Mini-Coaching) the active player’s performance. If the players are able to observe the assigned important key in the active player’s performance, they give the player a thumbs up as that player makes their way back to base. If they do not observe it, they give a thumbs down so that the active player knows that they must refocus their efforts in regards to that important key. After a certain amount of time, I’ll rotate the FMS Key Cards so that every team gets to focus on each important key.
Finally, if my younger students are exploring movement through station work, I’ll leave a summary card (the one that displays all five critical elements) at each station that has students working on fundamental movement skills. This way, students have access to the important keys should they need them. Between station rotations, I’ll ask the class to share a few examples of the important keys they used in order to improve their skill level at each station.
Again, I’m really excited to be finally sharing these all with you as I’ve been working on them for a long time. As always, I truly appreciate your support and I hope you find these posters useful in your teaching!
Thanks for reading and happy teaching!
May 16, 2021
May 7, 2021
April 26, 2021