Right now we are all navigating a period in our careers that may be a little scary, slightly uncertain and very different. No one is an expert, which is, in my opinion, the variable that has brought our community of health and physical education teachers even closer together. I can not put into words how appreciative I am of our professional learning community, and all you do for the advancement of our profession and the experiences of our students. I can however put into words what my approach has been to delivering learning and enrichment opportunities to my students from about an hour away. I have split what I share with my students up into three categories, “Please Do”, “Choose Two” and “For You”. Aside from the obvious, super clever and catchy rhyme scheme, it has allowed me to organize what I am sending home in a clear, understandable way. At least that is the plan.
Please Do – My please do category is where I give my students their task for the week. My focus right now in regards to tasks or assignments is two-fold. First, I do not want to give them something that they can not handle. I do not want to overwhelm them and I want to get good work back. With that in mind, I am even more aware of my “creativity sweet spot” than ever before. Being too creative, or overly ambitious can be a disservice for our students at any time, but especially now. Also, I am steering clear of making movement an assignment. I do not want movement, exercise, or play to become another check on the day’s to-do list. I want moving to be theirs, something they do for benefit, and enjoyment.
Choose Two – This is my favorite category. This is a menu of activities that deal with three layers of connectivity. Connecting with your family, connecting with yourself and connecting with your community. I keep hearing people talking about things “getting back to normal” or “returning to some normalcy”. In all honesty, I don’t want things to go back to the way they were. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be back in school, I don’t want people to be nervous about this virus, I want my students and yours who rely on school for social and emotional support to have it, the list goes on. However, I don’t want to return to what “normal” was for a lot of people. The hecticness that deprives us many opportunities to be with our family, to take care of ourselves and to have a strong sense of community, and I hope this menu supports that. The students were asked to choose two of the items on this menu and do them before we get back to school, whenever that may be. Activities include, making a family time capsule, writing letters to people that are serving your community right now and going an entire day without using their phones, unless they are making a phone call. A Google Form reflection was provided for each one
For You – This menu is exactly what it says, it is for my students, it is theirs. There are no reflections attached, no tasks that must be completed, no logs to be turned in, nothing. Just a menu of ways that they can be active and alleviate stress while at home. We all know how important moving is, especially now, and I promote that all the time whether in person or remotely. However, their movement and play is theirs to own, I am just providing them a variety of ways to go and be active. As a coach I do not believe in running for punishment, because exercise should not be demonized. As a teacher I do not grade based on participation because the game is simply the vehicle to the learning, and I want their motivation to come from inside them, or from the climate of our class. As a remote teacher, I want them to see the value of play and activity, not the mandate.
I would love to know how you could use this format to better serve your students. Maybe it is not separated tasks or activities, but multiple options in one assignment. However you choose to lay it out, let me know!
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