Adding the “Physical” to a Literacy Event!

In this Physical Education Podcast, Chris Nichols shares how he took advantage of a literacy school-wide event to teach parents about physical literacy!

[00:00]: Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Today I want to share with you how I promoted physical literacy at a district literacy fair.

[00:24]: My district just hosted, it’s inaugural literacy for life event this past weekend. A big district initiative this year is improving literacy outcomes for our students and this event was part of a community wide partnership designed to promote literacy. Since my wife is the elementary Literacy Coordinator and this is one of her big events, I knew I’d get roped into giving up a Saturday to volunteer. I didn’t want to just get stuck manning a booth or something I didn’t know much about, so I began to research ways that could be an active part of this event and promote physical education at the same time. While the term literacy is most generally associated with reading and writing, it has a much broader definition that refers to having knowledge related to a specific subject.

What is Literacy?

[01:13]: Literacy as a construct, meaning as an idea or as a theory is driven by context, the subject or setting and to be literate in a specific topic, a person must learn about that topic. So I had my connection. I’ve mentioned in blogs and podcasts that our professional organizations are the best resources we have, so I went to Shape America to see what I could find there. As it turns out, Shape America has definitions for both physical literacy and health literacy.

Physical literacy is defined as an individual’s ability, confidence and desire to be physically active for life.

Health literacy is defined as an individual’s capacity to assess information, resources and services necessary to maintaining and promoting health.

I decided that my contribution to the literacy for life event would be hosting a booth with an activity promoting physical literacy and literacy skills.

Adding the “Physical” to Literacy!

[02:08]: One of the newest games I’ve added to my classroom is Run-and-Spell from Gopher Sport and this was the perfect game for this event.

[02:15]: How to Play:

  • To play, divide your class into six equally numbered teams.
  • Have players stand at a starting line and place a pair of dice for each team at the opposite end of the playing area.
  • Give each team a piece of paper and a writing utensil.
  • At the signal, the first student for each team runs to the dice and rolls them. They identify the letters rolled and record those letters on a sheet of paper. They then tag the next player.
  • When time expires, teams have two minutes to form words and or sentences from the letters they’ve collected. Teams can use each letter only once.
  • The group with the longest sentence or the most words, wins.

At the end of each game, I would reward the students with books that were donated. The truly great thing about this game is that it gets students active while helping them work on their spelling. This game was a perfect connection to the overall literacy theme and gave me the opportunity to showcase what happens in my physical education classroom.

Parent and Teacher Reaction

[03:13]: I got lots of comments from parents saying that they had no idea their kids were playing games like this is physical education and lots of compliments from core content teachers saying how much they love the activity and the content integration. As physical educators, we need to take every opportunity to promote our content and educate others about all the great things we do in our classroom. I will continue to look for opportunities like this to support not only physical education, but also our district initiatives. You can also do these things and not only will it help your district, it will also promote physical education. Thank you so much for listening and have a great day.

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Chris has been a Physical Educator for 22 years in Texas. He has been recognized as a district finalist for Teacher of the Year and formerly served as the Early Childhood Chair Elect for the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD). Chris has presented at state and national conferences and spent two years writing curriculum, creating and delivering professional development, and supporting physical education teachers as a Health and Physical Education Specialist in a large urban district. Now an elementary Physical Education teacher in Garland ISD, Chris strives to promote a healthy and physically active lifestyle in both his personal and professional life.

Chris has been a Physical Educator for 22 years in Texas. He has been recognized as a district finalist for Teacher of the Year and formerly served as the Early Childhood Chair Elect for the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD). Chris has presented at state and national conferences and spent two years writing curriculum, creating and delivering professional development, and supporting physical education teachers as a Health and Physical Education Specialist in a large urban district. Now an elementary Physical Education teacher in Garland ISD, Chris strives to promote a healthy and physically active lifestyle in both his personal and professional life.

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