Distance Learning For Physical Education

Distance Learning For Physical Education

This post is part of a series called The #PhysEd Lab. The series focuses on ideas that I am currently exploring in my teaching. The ideas are past the “half-baked” phase and I feel comfortable sharing them, but I know that there is still more to learn. That’s why I will be coming back every now and then to update this post with my latest findings, as well as any wins, fails, struggles, and successes that I may have experienced along the way. Sound good? Let’s get into it!

First of all, I hope you’re ok. Well, as ok as someone can be when their world has been turned upside down. Do me a favour and don’t ignore the underlying feelings that are bubbling inside you at this time. Maybe it’s worry, maybe it’s anxiety. Maybe you have been stocking a bunker with toilet paper for years now and all you are feeling is pride and excitement. I don’t know, to each their own. You’re allowed to feel those emotions: you’re a human being, it’s part of the experience. Meet them, acknowledge them, invite them to tea and then carry on with your day knowing that you don’t have to pretend that any of this is normal. Just because it isn’t normal doesn’t mean that we can’t find a way to thrive in it all.

Also, because I don’t know that you’ve heard this recently, you are good enough. There’s a lot out there right now and a lot of people are hustling. That doesn’t put them ahead and you behind. Everyone meets a moment in their own way, so all you have to do is meet this one in yours. Personally, I use work as a self-soothing system (ask my therapist). I’m not making content to make you feel bad, I’m making it to make me feel good. If any of these resources make you feel stressed out, I will not be offended if you mute me for a while. You do you.

Ok, onwards.

Last Thursday, I found out that my school was going to be closing for two weeks in a provincial effort to flatten the COVID-19 curve. My wife and I had also just returned from our first family March Break vacation to the US with our son (South Carolina, you’re a beaut!) only to find out that we would now have to keep ourselves in voluntary quarantine for 14 days. Our son’s daycare has closed (shout out to all of the daycare educators out there, we love you) and we’re both attempting to teach at home while being good parents and good spouses.

This is not how I thought 2020 would be kicking off, but hey: I won’t be forgetting it any time soon! I can’t remember a single thing that happened in 1994. What a bore!

I’ve been working on a few different resources for my this distance learning reality that we now find ourselves in. My focus/philosophy (for now, this is a #PhysEd Lab post), is as follows:

  1. The work should help students find a new normal and not just ignore that their world has changed.
  2. The work should minimize burden on parents as they work to rebuild family routines.
  3. The work will have limitations as I have limitations. I cannot meet everyone’s needs but will get better at meeting more needs as I grow more comfortable creating distance learning resources.
  4. Since we don’t know how long this new situation will actually last, the pace of the work needs to be slow and steady.

As I mentioned on Twitter, I’ll be sharing anything and everything I make during this weird time for free. To make it easier for you to access these resources and to make it faster for me to share, I’ll be putting everything into a Dropbox folder as opposed to uploading it to the Shop. This site is my small business, and I know it’s going to hurt for a while. That’s ok: my wife and I are blessed to have our teacher incomes.

Physical Education @ Home Curriculum Document

I wanted to put together a curriculum document to be shared with my students and families. In it, I’ll be including at-home lesson plans as well as a variety of resources that families can check out in order to build a healthy home environment during this pandemic.

I built the doc in Google Slides and did my best to make it feel like an app by including “buttons” to navigate around it (it’s still a Google Presentation document, so expect accidentally taps to the next page). I figured that having everything in one place gave families more to explore and could possibly serve siblings who don’t attend my school.

As I mentioned earlier, my intention here is to slowly populate this document with new resources, lessons, and more. I don’t want to overwhelm anybody and I recognize that I need to pace myself. I have weekly virtual check ins with my students/families (via Google Meet, Google Classroom, and/or email) in which I will bring updates and assignments to their attention. That being said, none of this will contribute to students’ grades. I don’t know what our next report card will look like, but I know that I cannot expect all families to be able to complete assigned work on a regular schedule. The lessons and resources are there for students to explore and have fun with while learning. That being said, I am still going to do my best to make lessons follow a familiar structure (e.g. What/Why/How introductions, Learning Roadmaps for self-assessment, etc).

I will be trying to make video-based lessons. To be honest, they are very time-consuming and challenging to produce. I’m waiting to see how my students react to them to determine if this is something I should continue to focus on.

Access The Curriculum

I’m happy to make this document public. You can use it/share it as is, but I will not be taking requests to edit it in any way. I’m asking everyone to understand that I need to limit what is on my plate so that I can focus on staying balanced.

“Take Care Of…” Graphics

Five years ago, when we were living in pandemic-free times, I shared a graphic that I had created for my teaching. The idea was to have behaviour expectations all fall under three categories: taking care of ourselves, taking care of each other, taking care of this place(our classroom).

Since students are now learning at home, I figured it would be a good time to revisit this idea and redesign it to help students create a healthy learning environment at home.

To achieve this, I started unpacking each focus area (“yourself”, “each other”, “this home”) into sub-areas and listed a few examples of behaviours that align to those. My intention is to share these with families and invited them to unpack each level further so that they can build this up together. You can access these graphics in PDF form in the #HPEatHome Dropbox folder.

Free #HPEatHome Folder

Super Schedule Sheet

I’m someone who functions best when I have a schedule. Scheduling my time helps me feel like I’m in control of my day and helps me ensure that days don’t just blend into each other. Our family is very routine-based, which has gone a long way in helping us function with a toddler at home.

For kids, schedules can give them something to look forward to, help them take ownership of their time, and have fun planning an exciting day. To help kids (and their families) out, I made the Super Schedule Sheet (a daily schedule template).

On the schedule, I provided 16 hour-long blocks that kids can use to schedule their day (they absolutely DO NOT have to use all of them). To the right of those, I provided 8 different types of activity categories that kids can choose from. The idea here wasn’t to tell kids how their day should go, but rather to give them the freedom they need to plan it themselves and the tools required to make sure their day is balanced and includes different health-promoting activities (e.g. moving, eating, washing, sleeping, relaxing, etc.)

Based on the response to the preview I posted on Twitter, I’d say there are a few of you who were interested in using this sheet with your family/students. You can find it in the free #HPEatHome Dropbox Folder.

Free #HPEatHome Folder

Pokemon Scavenger Hunt

Here’s an activity designed to help kids have fun, be active, and stay busy while parents work from home!

I made a set of 15 30 Pokemon Fitness Cards (there are more on the way… I’m pacing myself.). The idea is that parents can print these out, cut them up, and hide them around the house (like, really hide them).

Then, kids are given a coin (let’s call it a Pokecoin because I’m already all in here) and a Pokedex sheet. Their job is to look through the house, find the Pokemon, and try to catch ‘em all!

Here’s how to catch a Pokemon:

  1. Find a Pokemon hiding in your house.
  2. Look at the exercise associated to that Pokemon.
  3. Decide which type of Pokeball you will use to catch the Pokemon (i.e. Pokeball, Great Ball, Ultra Ball). Each Pokeball gives you a certain amount of coin flips.
  4. Perform the correct amount of repetitions of the exercise to throw that Pokeball.
  5. Once you have completed the exercises, start flipping your Pokecoin (keeping in mind the amount of flips you are allowed to use based on which ball you threw).
  6. If you get a “heads” within the flips you have earned, you’ve caught that Pokemon!
  7. If you do not get a “heads” within the flips you have earned, you’ve missed and have not caught the Pokemon.
  8. You may not try to catch that Pokemon again until a) the next day or b) you’ve caught a different Pokemon.
  9. If you catch a Pokemon, add its information to your Pokedex!
  10. Keep going until you’ve caught them all!

I figured this is a fun way to get kids exploring in their homes. I have a few ideas for other rules (like how to “unlock” new Pokemon or get an immediate second attempt), but I’m going to roll those out later with the next set of cards.

UPDATES:

  1. I’ve added 15 new cards, with 3 new Pokémon types and some 1st evolution Pokémon (which are harder to catch). Find the updated document here.
  2. I’ve added playing card codes to each Pokémon card. This way, students who cannot print out the cards can substitute them for regular playing cards instead. Just use the PDF as the reference key.

You can find the resources for this game in the free #HPEatHome folder.

Free #HPEatHome Folder

I hope these resources can help you out! I’ll continue to add more as I make more, but I wanted to get this first batch out. If you’re looking for even more resources, check out the #HPEatHome hashtag on Twitter.

Please, please, please keep yourselves, your loved ones, and your neighbours safe! My dad works at Costco, he’s working insane hours, and it would make me feel so much better if I knew that everyone reading this was doing their part to flatten the curve.

Take care of yourselves. Thanks for reading!

Happy Teaching!

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Joey Feith is the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.