If you are a SPARK physical activity or physical education program user, you’ve most likely heard about our fabulous, but not-yet-famous SPARK Integrations on the back side of each activity plan. Found next to the Extensions and just above the Tips and Pointers, these little nuggets are a not-so-hidden gem that can be used to help integrate other subject areas into your PA/PE program, or to infuse some wellness messages or physical activity elsewhere throughout the day. Each program has their own unique topics appropriate for the participants of that program.
- Early Childhood integrations are all of the Academic persuasion and include Art, Literacy, Mathematics, Music, Nutrition, and Science.
- After School integrations reinforce learning from the activity, increase MVPA (Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity) at home, and coincide with the Think Abouts used at the end of the activity. They are all Home Plays, meaning they give information to kids to use in their home life and include Move More, Character Matters, Fitness Focus, and Food Facts integrations.
- K-2 Physical Education features Academic, Home, and Wellness integrations.
- 3-6 Physical Education includes Academic, Home, Wellness, and Fun Fact integrations.
- Middle School Physical Education has Home, Wellness, Global, and Multicultural integrations.
- High Schools Physical Education includes Home, Wellness, Global/Multicultural, and Sport Literacy integrations.
Please explain these!
Academic integrations link PE to the classroom and back. These range in subject matter from literacy to math to science. These are one of the many ways SPARK helps to address the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics (Examples: 3-6 Flying Disc: Corner to Corner Give and Go and EC Super Stunts: Animal Movements 1)
Home and Move More integrations promote physical activity at home with friends or family members. (Example: AS Cool Cooperatives: Kin-Ball Cooperative Golf)
Wellness integrations provide tips on nutrition, safety, health, etc. (Example: K-2 Catching and Throwing: Switcheroo)
Fun Facts are only found in the 3-6, but these are some doozies! They include an interesting short story or tall tale that you and your students will get a kick out of and share with others. They are connected to the activity by name or theme, but not necessarily by a straight line. (Example: 3-6 Soccer: Soccer Golf)
Multicultural connect activities to diverse cultures found locally and regionally. (Example: MS Dance: Create a Poco Loco)
Global connect activities and/or units to history, customs, and practices of countries around the world. (Example: MS Golf: Bocce Golf)
Sport Literacy integrations provide useful skill, strategy, or game regulation specifics that pertain to each unit. (Example: HS Badminton: Win the Point)
Character Matters help develop social skills and positive character traits like fair play, initiative, trust, etc. (Example: AS Cool Cooperatives: Hog Call)
Fitness Focus and Food Facts: I don’t think I need to describe these other than to let you know they are great! (Examples: link to AS Great Games: Builders/Bulldozers and AS Super Sports: Mini-Basketball
Sounds cool, but how am I going to use them?
Teachers of physical education and physical activity (PE Specialists, Classroom Teachers, Activity Leaders, Early Childhood Leaders, etc.) use the integrations in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas:
Read during Warm-ups: As students/participants are warming up (e.g. during Perimeter Move) read the Integration aloud to set the stage for the activity to follow. This works best with the types of integrations that give information about that activity, like the Wellness, Multicultural and Global, Fun Fact, and Character Matters integrations.
As an Extension of the Activity: Many of the integrations are actually hidden extensions in that they change the way the activity is played and the focus has now been placed on something math, literacy, or science-related. These Academic Integrations (found in EC, K-2, and 3-6) can be used during the middle of the lesson as an extension to integrate these academic subjects INTO Physical Education. These vary from a quick science fact about aerobic capacity to a math extension that changes the focus of the game to utilize mathematical skills. (E.g. 3-6 Jump Rope: Jumping Color Tag) When using any of these, it’s wise to check with the classroom teacher to see if the level of academics is appropriate for his/her class and to prepare for teaching the extension instead of the activity as written on the front page.
Read during Cool-down: While students are cooling down (e.g. stretching) read the integration and discuss using pair/share. For example, after playing Durango Boot (AS Flying Disc) read the Character Matters integration and ask students to discuss the how competition motivated them in the game with a partner. Call upon 3 pairs to share what was discussed. This tends to work best with Home Plays, Move Mores (in AS), Character Matters (as a reflection on behavior during class) and Sport Literacy (to review rules/concepts learned during the lesson.)
Put on Bulletin Boards: Print copies of the integrations. (For MS they can be found on SPARKfamily.org under each unit’s instructional media in the Planning section, just below Unit Plans but all other programs they are on each activity’s backside.) Post the integrations for each week’s lessons so students can read throughout the week as they pass by. This use works best with all types of integrations except those providing an extension to the activity by changing the focus to something academic. Ask students questions about them during roll-call or warm-up to assess their learning. Reinforce students who respond appropriately.
Share with Classroom Teachers: It’s all great to integrate other topics into PE to help address Common Core State Standards, but what about a little reciprocity? To help integrate PE concepts into academic classes, share integrations with your classroom teachers. If you are a classroom teacher, they could be used as short physical activity breaks and an infusion of wellness facts throughout the day. The types of integrations that work best here are those pertaining to Wellness and any Home Play activities.
Use with the Little Ones: If you are a leader of a pre-school/early childhood program, there are a variety of ways you can use the integrations. They serve as academic enrichment tools for before, during and after a SPARK lesson. Use the Music integrations during circle time and the Art integrations during center time. E.g. “We made an umbrella with our parachute today. Can you draw an umbrella?” (Example: EC Parachute Play: Umbrella)
An example of a Science integration is a discussion about baby animals in a SPARK activity called Guppies. Math integrations may include the concepts of shapes, counting, and grouping. Many of the Literacy integrations suggested in SPARK can be easily added to circle time because they prompt children to act out a story using a skill learned during movement time. All of the books suggested in the Literacy Integrations coordinate with the lessons and relate to one or more of the following themes: colors, language arts, mathematics, movement skills and knowledge, nutrition, personal development, science, self-image, and social development. (Example: EC Building Blocks: Creative Words and Movements)
The Early Childhood program also includes Family Fun activities (in the bottom left corner on the backside of activity plans) which serve as a type of Home Play to promote physical activity at home with their families.
Please share how you use them!
Have you been using integrations in these or other ways? If so, please share with us at SPARK. Email your ideas at email@example.com. We’d love to share your best practices with the SPARK family!