Teaching Physical Education Without the Gym. . . A Reflection from Portville Elementary School’s PE Teacher, Christina Matz
Field Day at Portville, like many schools, is a fun, engaging day not only to help close out the year but to give students ideas to stay active in the summer with their families. Obviously, due to the school shutdown, I had to modify Field Day, but I was not going to cancel it.
Throughout the shutdown, I was able to collaborate and share ideas with physical education teachers with whom I networked from around the country and around the world. I took advantage of the many CABOCES PE webinars and forums afforded to us, especially with learning the use of technology, which is a smooth segue to our Portville Virtual Field Day.
Before the shutdown, I had limited knowledge of Google slides, publishing to YouTube, or Facebook Live. But, I learned these skills to combine with my prior knowledge of physical education to create a Google slide with 23 Field Day events as well as 36 clickable images. The links led the students to YouTube videos of me and my family doing the various Field Day activities. I was also able to attach a scoresheet and a certificate to the Field Day slide post. Some of the activities were my own, while some were shared with me with other PE teachers from as far away as California and Australia.
One of the many challenges was how to come up with physical education activities to do without the aid of traditional equipment. To overcome this, I looked around our home for common household items present in most homes. For example, I used rolled-up socks and pillowcases, ladders, and spatulas. To help hype it up, I asked for elementary teachers and staff to send pictures of themselves with an encouraging sign for our students. Using a video editor, I put together a collage set to music for the students to enjoy.
The community response was overwhelming. On my PE Rockstar Facebook page, I asked for families to share pictures and/or videos of their children doing the activities. I had so many responses, it was hard to keep up with them all!
During the shutdown, community support and involvement is even more important than normal times and this was a great way to inspire passion and excitement for physical education.
So why did I do this? I did it to continue to interact with students but also to bring families together with physical activities designed for students, which the whole family could engage in. The passion I have for physical education is something I will always have but staying positive and learning new skills during our time at home will only enrich my teaching in the future.
I would not have been able to do this without the support of our Portville school and community, especially our elementary principal Lynn Corder, who is always supportive of my ideas for our Portville elementary PE program.
By: Christina Matz, Portville Elementary
Coordinated by: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
The motto at Delevan Elementary is “We are in this together and better collectively than we are separately.” The Common Core Learning standards have been a guiding force in instruction as well as a learning process for ALL K-4 teachers including special area teachers, who have made a significant contribution to the movement. “Common Core and the six instructional shifts methodology does not silence the creative voice; it enhances the aesthetic process and provides opportunity for higher level thinking skills” (engageny.org).
The special area teachers at Delevan have seamlessly and consistently integrated both the Common Core ELA and Mathematics standards into their curriculum. In both art and music classes, students create, explore, build vocabulary, and complete written reflections/self-assessments aligned to the CCLS Writing standards. To hook the students into a new unit, visuals and technology resources are used along with historical background that aligns to the CCLS Informational Reading standards. Students are provided with weekly experiences that provide Career and College Readiness skills along with the 4 C’s in 21st Century Learning; critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. “The Common Core Learning standards act as a thread that helps knit together a well-rounded learning experience for every student while supporting colleagues cross- curricular” (www.engageny.org).
In the library media center, lessons are aligned to appropriate grade level Common Core Reading and Writing Learning standards. Students in Grades K-4 are exposed to reading and writing across a variety of genres including narrative, expository, and persuasive text. Students learn about author’s purpose, characteristics of nonfiction and fiction, text features and text structures. Students in the class learn how to collect information from multiple sources and compile it into a short research paper.
Physical Education is a place where students bodies are participating in physical activities, while their minds are critically thinking at the same time. Students participating in physical education classes are engaged in literacy infused lessons on a daily basis. Students are responsible for problem solving and peer collaboration. Thematic units that align with school wide literacy efforts are implemented. For example, K-4 students participated in an Olympic games unit that correlated with the school’s reading celebration, titled “Go For the Gold”. Also, students in K-4 had a reading competition. For each book read and Accelerated Reading quiz completed, students earned a gold, silver or bronze medal. Each grade level chose a country and created a flag to display in the gymnasium. All medals earned were displayed near the flag. The physical education teachers were instrumental in making this school wide literacy effort fall into place.
When students attend special area classes, they are” rocking the Common Core” by participating in the arts as readers, writers and thinkers!
By Colleen Root, CA BOCES and Pioneer Central School
Through the generosity of a PEP Grant awarded to the Portville and Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School Districts, physical educators from across the region have been gathering over the last year as a Collaborative Learning Community.
With meetings alternating between Houghton College and the Olean Main Center, teachers have had time to explore best practices and strategies both inside and outside of the physical education classroom setting. PE teachers have heard presentations on DASA/bullying, law issues in sports and athletics, SLO’s and APPR, and the academic benefits of physical education. In the gym, they’ve shared lesson and warmup ideas, including ways to integrate technology in education, and have headed outside to explore Houghton’s Ropes Course.
Together, they have established a Weebly to share information online and have been given access to a Physical Educators email list-serve. Our hope is that they are able to establish collegial relationships that extend outside of our workshops and improve their practice on a regular basis.
The next Active PE Forum is scheduled for Friday, May 30th at Houghton College. To register, please contact Laurie Sledge at 376-8357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.