When supervising my students in the cafeteria I was attracted by some of their snacks and lunch boxes. I thought of the moms or maids putting thought and effort early in the morning while preparing the food for the kids. Then the idea came into my mind: I will take some pictures with these nutritious and good looking foods and I will promote them as healthy choices for our every day life.
Action: I made a few posters and, with my principal’s support, I have placed then on the cafeteria’s walls. We have also promoted these pictures through all the Primary Seesaw accounts and the school’s social media.
Pam-pam-pam! This is grade 2 students sharing with the world their health choices!
You will ask: ‘Are these really their choices?’ And I will answer: ‘This is worth inquiring into and encourage students express their opinions and think about who should do it!’. From here, the learning opportunities are endless, the health inquiries generous and the choices can shape in such diverse ways! What do you think?
Physical Education is not the easiest subject to organize boards, but is definitely attainable with dedication and clear purpose in mind.
This year I moved to a new school and thanks to the principal’s vision we have a display policy in place that regulates the way we communicate students’ learning, actions and outcomes. The PE department has allocated a generous corridor with plenty of pin boards where we have the opportunity to showcase and advocate for the quality of our programme. In this post I will share some examples of displays that fit best our learning context.
Grade 3 Health Related Fitness
I want to start with a display where grade 3 students express their suggestions and actions that they will take as a result of their knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in the unit. Inspired by Kath Murdoch’s book – Power of Inquiry – I have deepened the questioning empowering students to communicate their thinking effectively. To be concise, I will just point out what we have displayed, mentioning that some displays are work in progress, as they are part of a learning continuum that we aim to illustrate.
This is a practice that I enforce at the beginning of each year with the cohorts of students that I teach: we discuss together what makes our PE environment safe and enjoyable for learning. We reach consensus, then students write down their group statements and we all sign the poster. We define ourselves as a team of learners and we often go back to our agreements to refresh or highlight their importance.
Approaches to Learning
We post the approaches to learning in both English and Arabic, and we add relevant pictures for each of the five skills categories. We have a similar display with the IB Attitudes .
Play with Purpose
This is the core of our activity and the posters communicate and illustrate snapshots of the Teaching Games for Understanding approach that we employ in our school. I created collages that evidence students’actions and the intended learning outcomes.
On this board I choose students’ reflections, games creation outcomes and learning continuum, that evidence the formative and summative assessments of various units. As other displays exemplified in this post, this is a dynamic one that gets refreshed on unit basis.
Finally, I got to organise the Wonder Wall and give it the attention it requires. I made a poster with each grade and the name of the unit. Our students write their questions on post-its during or after group inquiry, pre-assessments, provocations and exit permits. We answer all the questions and we encourage students’ agency by informing our planned and taught curriculum.
By using the white board we invite students to communicate how they feel about their learning, through Smiley Faces and Traffic Light tools. I find these tools effective at the end of the sessions: some students help organizing the equipment while others communicate their learning. I also encourage social and communication skills by asking them to share their learning with a peer (Think. Pair. Share.) or by letting them justify their reflection.
Ideas and suggestions
I would be happy to hear about your ideas and suggestions, or even more, to see how you advocate for the quality of the PE programme at your school.
In my next post, I will be sharing a personal reflection following Kath Murdoch’s workshop that I attended last month. I intend to share some of the pedagogic approaches, strategies and tools that can enhance our activity in the PE environment.
The healthy development of the whole person benefits from the ability to move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities. As a fitness professional I firmly believe that physical strength is the basis of all the things we want to do with our body in life: work, play, hike or catching the bus from the station, for example.
The concept of sport performance is at high stake in the swimming department programme of my school, led by Gil Levy, an elite swim coach at the national, international and olympic performance level. Gil came up with a comprehensive plan and he leaves no stone unturned on his way to achieve excellence, and this is one of the reasons that inspired and motivated me to get involved. The swimming performance training approach in our swimming team is centered on the following components: athletes’ neuromuscular factors, the psychological factors, environmental conditions and coaching and external support for the swimmers.
In leading the FitSwim strength and conditioning program I am ensuring that the neuromuscular components are being magnified through a systemic stress and a systemic response from the muscles during the strength sessions. We focus on the whole body as a unit, a system, instead of an isolated component. The system gets stronger and the components, too. It is an utilitarian adaption of simple biological principles of stress, recovery, and adaptation that we practice in our progressions.
The strength and conditioning program has a frequency of two sessions a week, with swimmers starting to train ar 7.00 am. Additionally, short technique sessions are performed during the holiday sessions or swimming camps. This tops up an intesive swimming training with some of the most commited athletes attending the sessions during school holidays.
In the upcoming posts I will share insights of our strength programme featuring the top swimmers in our school and Singapore. Until then, our swimmers are flying really high!
The purpose of #Fitwork is to empower our students to transfer knowledge and understanding beyond school’s environment and to initiate meaningful actions that may enhance their physical activity level and change lifestyle behaviors.
The first monthly PE homework in grade 4 will be aired this weekend. Initiated by @mrobrienman, the activity is planned by the PE educators (@FitnwitPE,@physedsais, @BriarJohns) involved with this grade level and supported by their collaboration with Home Room Teachers. Here’s the activity for this month:
What shall I do? Call an animal of your choice (bear, frog, crab, etc). Make sure you can imitate and demonstrate its movements. Animal sounds are allowed too!
How long? For 3 minutes, everyone in your family has to use the moves of the animal you called: going to the kitchen, moving to the pool and back or scratching the back on the door).
How many times? Each family member can call ‘Dare or Bear’, twice a day. Feel free to use it in key moments: getting up and out of bed, MRT waiting line, movie time or when playing in the park.
What else? Add a twist of fun by being as creative as you can when deciding the rules of your ‘Dare or Bear’. If you don’t Dare (animal walks), then choose to Bear (consequences: 5 Burpees, 10 Jumping Jacks or let your imagination loose).
Be clear, concise and demand commitment.
You can only be famous for 3 minutes!
Have fun and let us know what went good or…what needs improvement!
Next #FitWork, in a month time! Until then, have fun and keep it simple!
We were impressed about the homework that connected with Alex’s unit of inquiry in grade 3. The central idea is: “Leadership can be exhibited in different settings and scopes”.
Through the key concepts of form, perspective and responsibility, students inquire about the characteristics of leaders, circumstances that shape them, and various opportunities for leadership that they can explore in the community.
Using his thinking skills, researching and communication, Alex shortlisted his grand mother, Khaled Abdul Malak, his mother, Sue, a Stamford educator, and he decided to illustrate Marcus Smith and his leadership skills in the homework. Marcus is the founder of InnerFight, and he is a highly qualified performance coach and an international athlete. Although they have met only a few times in Marcus’ Dubai based gym (once at 5.00 am), Alex is definitely inspired and has a strong understanding of the powerful messages sent through living this lifestyle. His perspective on leadership is exemplified in the homework.
Thanks to Mandala Barab, Alex’s class teacher and the group of educators collaborating on the unit’s strategies, grade 3 students are starting the year equiped with meaningful experiences that empower them to make connections and transfer them into real life.
Weeks ago, my friends asked me about computer games or applications that I would recommend for children. Without using any searching engine, I do have my favourite ones, as an educator and parent.
Usually, our children ask for the iPad to see a movie or cartoons. I do my best to distract their focus so I created a “Special Play” folder, that is designed only for gifted children who want to experiment the ultimate games. If you have children, you know what I mean.
When they ask for the iPad to play, we mirror it on a big TV screen. Interesting enough, they take turns, encourage each other and compare their results. After 20 minutes, my son would be sweating like a marathon runner and my daughter would run to the kitchen, screaming for water.
One solution for rainy days, that can save money and time. Ladies and gentlemen, Special Play list of apps:
Fit’n’Wit Kidz’ is a program designed and planned as an entertaining fitness activity focusing to offer a better understanding of living a healthy lifestyle by students and parents.
Fit’n’Wit Kidz. Physical. Education. Fun.
‘Fit’n’Wit Kidz’ is an activity where we practice basic movement skills and co-operative games with a high dose of fun.
This is a personal project that started seven years ago in my previous school. Together with my wife we are continuing to enjoy this activities and absorb the students’ energy every week.
During exercise we stimulate the brain plasticity by generating the growth of new connections between the brain cells.Our brain produces new neuronal connections when we are physically active. The students are more alert, better able to pay attention, learn and remember new things immediately after doing physical exercise.
Fit’n’Wit Kidz. Mental and Physical Exercise.
We focus on learning experiences with both physical and mental components. It is well proven through extensive research that this type of approach has a higher impact on cognitive functioning over exercise or mental tasks alone. The best health workouts in the Fit’n’Wit Kidz club are those that integrate different parts of the brain such as coordination, rhythm and strategy.
Have a look at the video and leave your thoughts below.