Posts Tagged ‘lesson plans’


Developing a Learning Roadmap – What Is It and How Can It Help?

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Teacher sitting in front of eager students

A learning roadmap is a corporate technique that’s becoming more and more popular in educational institutions.

In the corporate world, it refers to an individual plan for your career and professional development, and in schools it’s much the same. At its simplest, a roadmap will identify milestones that the district, school, educator, or individual student should achieve. Those milestones are broken down into clear steps and components to achieve those milestones.

The learning roadmap can be especially helpful for students and educators to navigate physical education together. But how do you create a learning roadmap, and more importantly, how will it help with your physical education classes?

Developing a Learning Roadmap

A good place to start when developing your learning roadmap is by unpacking the national standards for physical education. With this approach, you can identify the actions of the curriculum outcomes and break them down into smaller parts.

Breaking down each physical education goal into individual components can make it easier to track a student’s progress and to understand where they need to improve. You can even break the learning roadmaps down into visual rubrics that explain in detail what defines progress. This way, you and your students can clearly see the different levels of physical education activities and what is required for each one.

Turning Goals into Components

So, how might you break physical education activities down into clear and effective components?

If the curriculum requires students to participate in 60 minutes of daily exercise, they’ll have to learn how to exercise first. To begin with, they’ll need to learn the basics, from good posture, to running, to throwing. Then, they can mix these basic skills together into different movements or activities, like playing baseball or even a game of tag. Creating a roadmap will allow you to guide your students through this development and inspire your lesson plans along the way.

Another curriculum requirement might be that students showcase fitness literacy, the evidence of which being that they can “demonstrate, with teacher direction, the health-related fitness components.” You could break that down into a spectrum, from a level one student who “cannot list or define the components of fitness,” to a top-level student who “can list the components of fitness and can provide a basic definition of each.”

In this example, the priority becomes teaching the students the components of fitness and their definitions. It helps if you focus your lessons on these components to ensure students reach the overall objective of improved fitness literacy.

How a Learning Roadmap Helps

At the end of the day, a learning roadmap should help schools meet the needs of today’s physical education students and prepare them for their future. This planning tool can be used as a flexible, forward-thinking accompaniment to the traditional curriculum.

As a physical educator, building a learning roadmap will help you define goals for your students, which can be broken down into components that will shape your lesson plans. This will steadily improve students’ understanding of fitness, as well as their overall fitness literacy, ultimately empowering them to take control of their learning. After all, when students have something to work towards, they make more visible progress.

One of the more long-term benefits of adopting a learning roadmap is that students will be ready to bring those skills out of the classroom and into the real world when they graduate. In that sense, the technique comes full circle to the corporate world from where it originated!

Contact SPARK today to speak with our knowledgeable team about other physical education innovations you can incorporate into your classes.

 

Up, Up, and Away! Superhero Lesson Plans

Monday, August 21st, 2017

superheros

If you can’t get your students into being more active, maybe Superman can!

If there’s one thing kids these days love, it’s superheroes. Even when you limit their screen time and they haven’t seen the movies, chances are they’ve still heard about Iron Man or Wonder Woman from one of their friends.

Fortunately, as a physical educator, you can harness this enthusiasm into some super lessons of your own.

Superhero Skills

Role playing in your class can be a great way to introduce younger students to basic fitness concepts and movements.

Start by having your students come up with their own superhero name based on a particular athletic skill like jumping, balancing or throwing. Suggest ideas based on the curriculum you are using, or find inspiration through other lesson plans for elementary-age students.

Next, have them invent a scenario where they need to use that skill. For example, maybe “Jumping Jane” needs to jump over a river to help her friend, or “Throwing Boy” needs to throw a life preserver to someone in the water. Help individual students perfect a signature move with your guidance for proper form.

Once their backstory is established, have each student share their superhero and their signature move with the class. At this point, all of your students should try out this move. Help them as needed to ensure they’re using proper form. You can even use the associated rubrics to score students based on this exercise.

Superhero Sounds

Boom! Pow! Zap!

Having students act out typical superhero sounds effects is another elementary-age technique that can be used alone or integrated into lesson plans like the one above.

Work with students to decide what physical movement each sound evokes: whether a big jump for “boom!”, a kickbox-style punch for “pow!”, or a double spin for “zap!” Decide on a series of sound actions and teach them to your whole class before integrating them into an exciting story. Your students have to act out each sound when they hear you say it.

Storytime just got a whole new twist!

Superhero Day

For older students, you can make a whole day out of superhero physical activities.

Try reframing the traditional track and field day as a superhero day. With a pinch of imagination and any middle school lesson plan, you can create a day-long mission requiring superheroes. Just make sure you relate the activities back to your school and district’s specific curriculum.

Start by setting the mood with superhero-themed teams and colored t-shirts to match. Divide the class into groups like the green Hulks, blue Wonder Kids, and red Iron People. Then, make a list of the skills and activities you’re due to complete and transform them into a day of superhero activities. You’ll turn traditional track and field on its head – superhero style!

A regular sprint and jump circuit fulfills National Standards elements of “running, jumping, analyzing and correcting movement errors” and “participation in physical activity, conditioning application.” But a Ninja Turtle circuit, where students sprint pizza boxes to their fellow “turtles” and jump over obstacles along the way, fulfills the fun requirements that National Standards might not cover.

It’s the perfect way to enjoy an entertaining, yet effective, day of physical education.

Superhero Sports

Every high school has a football team, but how many have an elite alien-neutralizing task force?

Something that works for K-12 students is turning their favorite sport into a superhero narrative.

Reimagining a football as an alien object that needs to be neutralized across the line adds an element of fun and imagination to a familiar game. Turning badminton rackets into Spider-Man’s extensions can do much the same. Take a look at some of the lesson plans for high school-age students that incorporate specific sports, and try to think of ways they can be reframed as superhero activities.

Just because students aren’t in elementary school anymore doesn’t mean they can’t use their imagination. Integrating imagination and creativity into physical education lesson plans at all levels has the potential to boost student participation and make physical education more fun.

But, at the end of the day, an educator who gets kids more involved in fitness is the real superhero!

Contact SPARK today to speak to our expert team about more lesson plans for your physical education classes.

No Gym? No Sweat: Physical Education Ideas Fit for Any Space

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Kids stretching in empty room on yoga mats

The word gymnasium suggests basketball hoops, climbing ropes, and other tools that help keep active bodies and active minds fit and busy. It’s a classroom like any other; where vital skills like teamwork, commitment, and leadership are learned. In a way, the gym is the fitness center for the mind: “Movement activates all the brain cells kids are using to learn,” John Ratey, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says. “It wakes up the brain.”

But in many schools, the gym is a multi-purpose facility; the setting for assemblies, science fairs, concerts and drama productions, and other activities that, while central to the daily life of the school, can leave physical education teachers scrambling. (This sort of thing never happens in chemistry class.)

So, what do you do when your gym class suddenly has no gym? It’s often not as simple as opening the door and turning the kids loose outside. Not every school has a playing field, and even those that do are always at the mercy of Mother Nature. Sometimes, the cafeteria, an empty classroom, or even the hallway will have to do. Use these SPARK lesson plans to turn just about any space into an ad hoc gym with just a little bit of equipment and a whole lot of imagination.

Squirrels in the Trees

What you need: Nothing at all!

Set ‘em up: Establish a mid-sized playing area of about 20 paces by 20 paces. Break the students up into groups of three, with one group member designated as the “squirrel” and the other two as “trees.”

How to play:

  1. Facing each other, the trees join hands. The squirrel stands outside the trees.
  2. On the teacher’s signal, the trees lift their arms and the squirrel moves under them to the other side. Then, the trees squat down and hold their arms low to the ground while the squirrel moves over them. Next, the trees stand up again and the squirrel moves around them on the outside. Finally, the trees crouch while holding one arm up and one down while the squirrel moves through the space between them. The full sequence should take about 30 seconds.
  3. The teacher signals again, one tree switches roles with the squirrel, and the cycle repeats.
  4. After one more signal, the last tree gets a turn at being the squirrel.

Musical Hoops

What you need: One standard hula-hoop per every two students; a device to play music.

Set ‘em up: Scatter students and hoops around the space. Use as much of the room as you can to encourage movement.

How to play:

  1. When the music starts, move about the room. Watch out for other students and try to look for open space.
  2. When it stops, get inside the nearest hoop as quickly as you can. (If you can’t find your own hoop, share with someone else; you just have to have one foot inside the hoop.)
  3. Once the music starts again, step out of your hoop and keep moving. This is where it gets interesting: The teacher will remove one hoop from the playing area!
  4. At the end of each round, there will be fewer and fewer hoops to squeeze into. Will everyone fit inside?

Grab the Apple

What you need: One beanbag (or similarly graspable item) per every two students; a device to play music.

Set ‘em up: Set the students up in pairs sitting cross-legged on the floor and facing each other. Place a beanbag between each pair.

How to play:

  1. The students sit facing each other with their hands on their knees while the music plays. When the music stops, the first one to snatch up the beanbag wins the round.
  2. In each new round, the students move into a different position and perform an exercise of the teacher’s choice while the music plays. One round could be situps to the beat of the music, followed by pushups, then leg pumps from a pushup position. Get creative and see what your kids can do!

Need ideas to keep your students fit, happy, and eager to learn? SPARK can help. We work hard to create best research-based physical education programs for kids from pre-K through grade 12. Discover the curriculum, training, and equipment that best fits your class.

Back to School: PREP, SET, TEACH!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Coach Giving Team Talk To Elementary School Basketball Team

By: BJ Williston, SPARK Trainer and Curriculum Development Consultant

Well, it is that time of year again! You have squandered another perfectly good summer and now you need to get ready for the new school year. If you teach using one of the SPARK Programs, this post will help you prep for a SPARKed-up year.

CREATE A YEARLY PLAN

Not looking forward to spending all your Sunday afternoons planning what to teach each week? Well, the Yearly Plan (YP) is the way to get it all done up front. This isn’t to say there won’t be some adjustments along the way, but it’ll save you many hours throughout the year. Not only that, it also ensures you will cover all the content needed for each grade level.

Each SPARK Program has sample yearly plans which can be used as written or as a guide to create your own that is more aligned with your needs. Things to consider when creating one for your school:

  • Standards and Outcomes: This is most likely your highest priority. If you do a Standards-Based Yearly Plan, try using SPARK’s as a guide. It covers all the outcomes for each of the grade levels showing which assessments to use and which SPARK activities help address those standards. It’s very handy!
  • Facilities and Equipment: Due to the reality of often sharing space and stuff, you will need to keep this in mind when writing the YP. For example, if there is only one track, you won’t want all 7th grade classes doing Track and Field at the same time. In our MS program, we have YPs for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades keeping these issues in mind.
  • Weather: It’s tough to teach flying disc activities when it’s crazy windy, and you wouldn’t want to be doing jump rope on a blacktop when it’s 100° outside. If you use outdoor space much, like we do in California, you’ll need to use the weather as your guide.
  • Team-Teaching: If two or more teachers are team-teaching PE, that needs to be figured out before you write up your YP. For example, if three 5th grade teachers want to “specialize” in one Spotlight on Skills unit for three months it might look like this: Ms. Sanchez teaches Dance, Mr. Anderson teaches Cooperatives, and Ms. Ng teaches Football. The YP shows all three for three months, with students rotating from teacher to teacher each month. Be sure to keep facilities and equipment in mind when selecting units.
  • Unit Plans: As part of a YP, you will need to have Unit Plans to schedule which activities you will teach on which days in order to address the standards and have students reach the outcomes for their grade level. SPARK has sample Unit Plans for each unit/section in each of the programs.

2016-2017 SPARK Calendar:
www.sparkpe.org/wp-content/uploads/SPARK-Calendar-2016-2017-Interactive.pdf

READY YOUR LESSON PLANS

Prior to each week you’ll want to pull out the lessons needed for each day and each class. Many teachers using tablets will create PDFs out of all the lessons needed for each grade level for the whole unit. Others, who like the paper lessons, will pull them out of the manual and put in sheet protectors and on clipboards for each day. Whichever way you go, prepping your lessons on Fridays ensures a smoother week to follow. SPARK has you covered and ready to adjust and challenge students with SPARK It Ups, Extensions, and Game Resets (depending on which program level).

View and download additional sample SPARK lesson plans:
www.sparkpe.org/physical-education/lesson-plans

GET YOUR EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS, AND MUSIC SET

If you didn’t do an inventory at the end of last year, shame on you. Just kidding! However, you should do one now so you know what you have and what you may need to order.

Before each unit, check out the What You Need page found in each unit’s Introductory Pages to ensure you have all required equipment before you teach each unit. If you don’t have the equipment, see if you can substitute something else, or possibly borrow from another school. (“If you loan me a KIN-BALL® and I’ll loan you a parachute!”) If that doesn’t work, either order it or change your plans! Once you have your equipment together, put it all in a cart (or two or three) so it’s ready to go and other teachers know you have dibs!

Check the lesson plans for any instructional materials needed and print them or pull from your SPARKfolio.

Be sure you have your music prepped and ready to go, as well. Make a playlist for each unit so you’ve got it all in one spot. You can use SPARK’s music from one of their CDs and SPARKfamily, and add your own if you like. Students always appreciate new, fresh music (clean versions, of course) they are hearing on the radio.

TEACH!

SPARK always suggests leading off the year with our first mini-units (Building a Foundation, The First 3 Lessons, The First 5 Lessons, and HS PE 101) followed by team-building activities from the Cooperatives Unit (3-6, MS, and HS). These activities help to establish a positive learning environment to set up protocols, learn and reinforce social skills, and promote cooperation and trust among your students. (It never hurts to revisit these throughout the year!) Follow your YP and make adjustments as you go.

By doing some extra prep now, you’ll save yourself a lot of work throughout the year. Who knows, maybe you’ll have time on the weekends to do some playing yourself! Golf, anyone?