Recess Dilemma

15 Mar

Hope everything is well Section 20! I am having a blast at my school and the kids are great, but I do have a bit of a dilemma that I would love your imput on.

As you know if you have read my blogs or talked to me in class, I am doing a grade five unit on treaties in social studies for my three-week block. For one of my first lessons, the activity was to make our own classroom treaty. The students together as a class had to come up with three rules they would have to follow for the remainder of the unit. They thought of great ones that involve respecting others and working together in class. The other part of the treaty was to think of a reward and a consequence to go along with the rules. They all agreed on having a classroom pizza party if they followed the rules for the next three weeks. Then came the consequences. There was a variety of suggestions but what they settled on was taking away recess minutes when they did not follow the rules.


Photo Credit: gunnisal via Compfight cc

Now I know what you are going to say. “How dare you take away those children’s recess minutes! They NEED those!” I totally agree; there are students in our class that cannot concentrate without those fifteen minutes of fresh air and play. But I wanted to make this treaty as a class with everyone in agreement, and this is what they agreed on.  Was I supposed to tell them their decision was wrong? I just hoped they wouldn’t misbehave so that I wouldn’t have to use it.

So the next day they as a class were not being respectful. I told them that as stated in the treaty, they owed me one minute of their recess. They all complained but agreed it was fair because of our classroom agreement. They sat silently for the one minute and then ran outside to enjoy their fourteen remaining minutes of recess. I felt terrible, but the next day there was a big improvement on the respect scale. Was it really that bad that I took away one minute of recess since we decided on it as a class? Let me know your opinions and what I could do differently next time.

It is Great to Be Back!

13 Mar

WOW! I feel like I have so much to say! These last few days, although they have flew past, have been so jam-packed with information that I feel like it has been a century since I have seen everyone! I hope that everyone’s three-week block is going well and that you are overcoming any challenges you may be facing.


Photo Credit: SwEeTcHy via Compfight cc

First off, I want to say my day was made both yesterday and today by some amazing kids. Yesterday, the first child to walk into our classroom got wide-eyed and sprinted over to me and my teaching partner to give us huge hugs! Seeing that we are in a grade five classroom, this means a lot! Today my day also got made when I received a note from a student that stated how happy she was when she saw me and that I was the best teacher ever! She also included a candy heart in the note she had received as a prize as a present to me. It definitely put a smile on my face!

There have, however, been some challenges the last few days. Our cooperating teacher refers to our class as “a great learning experience” based on their need to talk, walk and throw things every two seconds. They are an amazing group of kids that have an amazing amount of energy! Some of these students feel that because they haven’t seen us in three months, they need to show off this amazing amount of energy while we or our co-op is teaching. It gets frustrating because as soon as one student gets off topic, the rest are soon to follow. This makes teaching a lesson very difficult. My co-op told me and my teaching partner that we need to be super strict at first and then ease off towards the end. It is so hard though when the students who are acting up the most are the students that I feel need the most attention!

That was the first day. Then came today. The students were acting up all morning, some more than others. When one student continuously tried to pick a fight with my co-op, she looked at him and said, “I will not argue with you because I like you. I do not fight with people I like.” The student looked confused at first but it really worked! I think all he wants is to feel important and wanted in the class. By the afternoon when I taught, the kids were FANTASTIC! They all loved creating their own classroom treaty. If they follow the rules, a pizza party is soon to follow! The student who was misbehaving all morning was even my top participator! I thanked him at the end of the class and told him that I would love to see him work as great as he did this class in every class. That put a smile on his face!

I have a feeling that this will be the start to a great three weeks 🙂 If you have any suggestions of some great classroom management strategies that work to get and keep the attention of your students in your class, let me know in the comments below!

Three Week Block

3 Mar

I am both quite excited and quite nervous to go back to the school I am pre interning at for my three week block. I have been working extremely hard on planning my unit for my grade five students on treaties and their relationship to the Canadian government. I was thrilled to get this topic as I am passionate about including Aboriginal content in schools, however this unit did not come without its difficulties. Even though I have been trained to teach treaties in the classroom last semester, I still felt that I had to teach myself a lot of this information because I was never taught it in school. This makes it very hard for me to teach it to my students. That is why I have been doing a lot of background research to try to get the best grasp on the topic as I can. This is one reason I have been nervous to teach.

The second reason why I have been nervous to teach is because of the topic content. There is so much to cover in such a small indicator. The information is so important and I do not want the overload of information to make my unit boring for the students. This is why I tried to include going outside or being active as best as I could in this unit. For my first lesson, the students get an introduction to the topic of how treaty land is sacred by going outside for a lesson. In other lessons I have tried to include getting up and walking to centres or stopping lectures for an interactive brain break. I hope that these little tricks will be effective in keeping the student’s attention.


Photo Credit: klisu via Compfight cc

I feel that a lot of teachers feel that physical education has to be done strictly in the gymnasium. This is not true at all. We can keep out students active in all subjects and still teach what we want to teach. My lessons above are just one example. What are some ways that you are keeping your students active in the units you have planned for three week block?

Staying Active During the Break

23 Feb

Hello again everyone!

Hope you all have been having a great break! Even though I have been swamped with homework the whole time it has still been nice not to have to go to class. I love being able to have more time to spend with my family and friends especially since lately I have had the winter blues. Don’t get me wrong, I do love winter…that is in November and December. Even January isn’t too bad. When February hits however, the winter blues set in and I am constantly dreaming of summer. The worst is looking at pictures on Facebook of all of you who got to go somewhere hot this break. It makes me want to sit on my couch, curl up in a blanket and eat a whole bag of chips. This, of course, only makes the winter blues worse. So I tried to do a few things to keep my body and mind active during the last of the winter season.

At first I thought that I wasn’t being that active this break, but when I look back there were a few things that I did that were so fun I never even realised I was being active! When my family and I went to Brandon for a few nights, we tried out ten pin bowling for the first time. It was SO FUN! My dad even tried out his “Flintstone bowing” which was hilarious. It surprised me how heavy some of the balls can be. What also surprised me was the muscles you use that you don’t realise till the next morning! The lunging and throwing can make you sore after a few games!

Another bit of fun I had this break was going sledding. No, not tobogganing, the motorized brrrrap! kind of sledding. When I usually go with my boyfriend and his family, I am kind of a scaredy cat and sit with my legs locked in the front the whole time. This time, however, I decided to be a bit more brave. I was standing on the snow mobile, using my legs to cushion small jumps and leaning side to side in the powder. I was surprised how much of a workout this can be, especially in the deep snow! I was so tired afterwards! It was so fun (especially because it was beautiful out)and worth it.

This just goes to show that it is not hard to be active. You can find an activity that is fun and a good workout in so many places. What did you do this break to stay active?


The Hall of Shame

13 Feb

We have all heard of them; the games that have no place in the gymnasium. They are the games that every physical educator has fallen to at least once or twice when their plans fall through. They are the games from our past that make us shudder when we hear their names mentioned and that still make us wary about entering the gymnasium today. They are also the games that are to be discouraged from using in our classes in the future. But what if these games could be modified so that we could use them appropriately with our students?

The Hall of Shame is an article about these feared games that we use in our physical education classes. The articles are quite old (from 1992 and 1994) but a lot of the facts still remain true. These games vary from dodgeball, red rover, kick ball and even tag. The article states that the games have “a lack of emphasis on teaching motor skills and lifetime physical fitness skills” as well as “the potential to embarrass a student in front of the rest of the class”. This reminded me of all the horror stories I have heard of students getting smacked straight in the face during dodgeball and ending up with a bloody nose. There are also the times I remember in my own experience where the outfielders in kickball would sit picking dandelions because no one could kick that far. This article makes some good points, but it also makes me question if we can still use these games to our advantage rather than to our disadvantge.

In my KIN class last semester, we tackled this topic. We mostly focused on dodgeball. Our proffessor told us that yes, the original dodgeball is useless to use in physical education. With a few minor adjustments, however, these games can be used successfully. One example is using the opportunity to recieve a phyical acitivty such as push ups or jumping jacks instead of elimination. Also, cones can be used as targets to be knocked over instead of the balls being thrown at people. These are just minor adjustments that can be used to re-invent the whole game to a more fun, accepting and skillful game.

Here is a PDF I found with multiple dodgeball variations, some good and some not so good. I challenge you as educators to not delete these games totally from your plans, but rather modify them so that they can be useful. What games did you not like in school? What are some ways you could modify this game to make it more enjoyable for your students?

We Are the Best Resources

5 Feb

In one of our classes, we have been asked to present why using technology in class is important. We could pick anything to present on as long as it included using some sort of technology in the classroom. Well, as anyone who uses the internet knows, the opportunities here are endless! So our group chose something simple but oh so useful: blogging.

I first discovered blogging in my ECMP (education computers class) with Alec Couros, an absolute computer genius! He encouraged us to open our minds to the world of blogging so that we could see all the opportunities it had to offer. I, however, did not take it too seriously. I mean who had time for this when we had a million assignments to do, am I right?


Photo Credit: ~Aphrodite via Compfight cc

Then came my rediscovery of blogging in EPE thanks to Brian. Now that I am in my third year, the reality of me getting my degree and becoming a teacher in just over a year is setting in. And boy, is that scary! I still have so many questions that need answering! Who am I going to look to help me when I need those questions answered?

You see, we are each other’s best resource! Through media such as this blog, we can continue to communicate with each other no matter where the world takes us. We can share those experiences with each other. If we do not know the answer to a problem we are pondering, we can point each other in the right direction through posts and connections made through this blog. It is amazing and makes me feel a little better about growing up so fast! Thank you Alec for introducing me to this amazing virtual world and thank you Brian for seeing that I stick to it!

So now, my fellow teachers, I have for you a phys ed blog to help you through your teaching journey. It is called Teach PE Like a Rock Star it and contains numerous interesting articles, resources and even challenges for teachers to try in their class. One article I found very interesting on this blog is called The Hall of Shame. It discusses six traditional games that are said not to be used in the phys ed class because of isolation, lack of skills, and many other reasons. The blog asks you to read the article and argue the fact why one of the games should be allowed in the class. Hmmmm….I wonder what my next blog post will be about? Stay in tune as I am sure I will be writing about this soon!

Developmental Progression

29 Jan

Hey everybody!!

So last class (as everyone who is in my class probably remembers) we spent a good portion of our time inside the gymnasium exploring what certain locomotor, non locomotor and manipulative skills looked like at utilization level according to the Saskatchewan curriculum. Now, I’m not going to lie; at first I thought that this was a little silly. I mean we were hopping around doing movements that we have had mastered for years…or so I thought. When I recognized that there was some movements  I wasn’t  doing at utilization level I realised that this exploration is more important than I originally thought. In order to properly teach our students these skills to help them be active for life, we need to know and be able to perform at a utilization level. What better time to practise and learn about this utilization level than when in a safe environment surrounded by my colleagues?

Then I realised that it will only be a short while longer until I leave this safe environment I call EPE 310 and enter the real, scary world of…THE CLASSROOM! Where will I turn to if I have questions about Phys.Ed. and utilization of skills then? It was then that I discovered a wonderful resource that made me feel a tad bit more comfortable with the scary situation; the NESD website!

My professor Donna Pym showed us this resource in class and I have since found it very handy. It has tons of lesson and assessment ideas for any subject and any grade all based off the Saskatchewan curriculum. I have used it already for a mini unit in my one class and now for finding assessments for EPE so I cannot even imagine how helpful it will be to me once I am actually in the classroom! The on thing I love about it is how it provides a write-up that breaks down the outcome so it is easier to understand. The breakdown shows what level (utilization, control, etc.) the students should be at with each skill. It also shows what each skill looks like in each stage. I also love how it includes essential questions and vocabulary words to clarify language that may be confusing. It is a great resource especially for generalist teachers like me who do not specialize in the phys.ed. area.

Another great thing this website offers are rubrics. On the grade three outcomes I looked at it included two rubrics; one based on one specific outcome and the other that was an outlook for the year. This year-long rubric can guide your planning and assessment for the entire year while the individual rubric allows you to zoom in on one specific skill. It is extremely helpful and, with adjustments made for your class, can be much more useful than trying to make your own.

Please check out this resource and let me know what you think! Also feel free to guide me to some more like it! Thanks 🙂

G.Y.M. (Growing Young Movers)

23 Jan

Hello again everyone!

Tonight I had the wonderful experience of participating in a night of Growing Young Movers and I must say that I had the most wonderful time! I am not even trying to be cheesy; this program is excellent for teaching young children to manipulate their bodies and move towards control. A lot of children in the program are children of educators which goes to show that they believe the program is worthwhile, too. After tonight, I would definitely enroll my own child (if I had any…) in a program like this.

You may ask “OK….what is it that is so good about this program you are bragging up anyway?” The number one thing I loved about the program itself was the way it took actual sports that these children will grow up to learn and modified them into a game that was developmental, age appropriate and most of all fun. For example; one of the games we played involved a gym mat being placed standing up between two students who were between the ages of four and six. These students then were handed a balloon. The aim of the game is to volley the balloon back and forth with one another over the matt as many times as possible. What a great way to introduce and build skills that lead towards the sport of volleyball! These children are learning to use hand-eye coordination with the slow-moving balloon, volleying by passing back and forth and teamwork by working with the person on the other side. This is way better than handing a volleyball and a regulation net to a group of young students and expecting them to have fun or be successful with a game that is way above their level. This game had the children laughing the whole time while still teaching the critical movement skills outlined in the Saskatchewan curriculum. Plus, it was so easy to set up and monitor; any teacher could do it. AMAZING!

G.Y.M. has inspired me. I am hoping I will get to teach phys.ed. in my classroom so I can use not only the things I saw tonight but also the many more at the G.Y.M. website. With fewer children getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day, we need more programs like Growing Young Movers to not only motivate students but to teach them these critical movement skills so that they can be active for life.

I hope the rest of you have as much of a blast as I did tonight 🙂

Fitness Goals for the Year

18 Jan


In the new year I have decided to get back to the gym and works towards the fitness goals I seem to have forgotten in the past four months. However, as most of you know, starting over again is never easy. Especially when the choice you have is either getting an extra hour of sleep or dying in a pool of sweat…Anyways, my friend and gym buddy Karissa showed me the little quote you see above. It not only motivated me but also put things into perspective: you are never going to see results immediately. Sure, I feel great after I work out, but it can be frustrating when you can’t see dramatic results right away. So when I saw this quote it kicked my butt into gear and so far my fitness goals are standing strong:)

I also thought this quote could work quite well for physical education. When we teach our students a new skill we can’t expect to see results right away. It can take weeks before we might see them improve, but the important thing is that they are learning a skill that will help them in a life time of fitness and being healthy. We as their teachers are responsible for motivating them and one way of doing that is being a role model when it comes to fitness. We ourselves need to demonstrate that we think keeping our bodies healthy is important. If we can show them this positive attitude they might just adopt that positive attitude as their own. It might take time, but we just have to keep pushing through.

So to all of my colleagues out there going through a hard time, whether it be in physical education, your own fitness goals, or anywhere else in life, keep going. One day soon you will see the results you have been working so hard towards. I believe in you!

Outcome Based Curriculum

16 Jan

In this past year I have learned tons about the outcome based curriculum and have also heard lots of opinions on it as well; it’s great, it’s frustrating, it’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard…as I said the opinions are endless. My opinion on it, however, is more at a neutral stance seeing that it is the only curriculum I have known as a pre-service teacher.

I find the outcome based curriculum structured yet free at the same time. It gives you instruction on what you need to be able to teach your students(the outcome) yet it lets you as the teacher decide in what way you are going to do this (the indicators). I love how the indicators give you direction on different ways you can go about teaching the outcome and how you can tell if the student in understanding, yet you can create your own indicators if the ones in the curriculum do not fit with how you want to teach the outcome. It gives us the freedom as educators to put a bit of ourselves and our originality into a lesson.

The one thing I do not like about the outcome based curriculum is the language it uses. A lot of the outcomes seem wordy and a bit cofusing to me at first read before I take a deeper look. Also, the language within the outcomes and indicators mostly look for knowledge and comprehnsion based learning. The language the curriculum uses rarely shows support towards other types of learning such as application, analysis, synthesis or evaluation. So the question I have is what is the otcome based curriculum asking of our children if all it is directing us to do is to teach knoweldge but not how to use it?