If you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon for Meaningful PE yet, it’s time to get on board. Meaningful PE can combine the aims of Health, PE, SEL and EDI into one simple structure. Not that any of these topics are simple, but helping a student find a place for themselves in your Health & PE classroom should be.
My interpretation of Meaningful PE is an approach to PE that sets students up to explore their mental/emotional and social connections to their motor competence and movement activities. I am just working to become more familiar with the features myself to utilize in my PE electives courses but have admired the work of my colleague, Jo Bailey (@LovePhyed), to incorporate this approach in our general Fitness for Life course at DC Everest. This article is a thorough explanation of the why, what and how to meaningful PE.
With the purpose of supporting their learning in PE and helping students connect the dots of the Health Triangle in PE and Health class, I put together the following exploration of meaningful physical activity for a day of ice skating during our Physical Wellness unit in Health. This document teases out some of the guiding features of Meaningful PE that influences one’s physical experience and may impact their willingness to try it again. I had students focus on challenge, fun, social interaction, and personal relevance.
This document is a template for students to create their own rating system in each of the four areas I had them look at. I encouraged them to use a variety of methods and rating systems to continue building their communication skills.
After teaching the concept and students created their templates, I took them ice skating during a Health class period. I chose ice skating because there are several free rinks around our area with low rental prices. There is also a wide range of ability level possibilities at our rink with rails and skate helpers. Within the template, students were asked to consider these possibilities under personal relevance.
With ten minutes to go in the class period, we came off the ice and students reflected on the experience they set up for themselves. The following are examples of their work.
The particular Health skill I was working on at the time was Analyzing Influences but this could be a great lead up activity and linked into practice for Decision Making or Interpersonal Communication skills as well. I have to say that I am absolutely delighted with the connection between Health and PE in this approach.
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Book: Meaningful Physical Education: An Approach for Teaching and Learning by Fletcher, Chróinín, Gleddie & Beni