If you have been teaching physical education through synchronous means over the last few months, you know first-hand that it can be a challenge. As a teacher, planning for lessons within this environment of instructional delivery is difficult and for it to be effective, there are many more things that you need to take into account compared to teaching in-person. This is no doubt a daunting task, but there are some things that you can do to help your students get and stay engaged in your lesson designs.
We know the human brain is constantly looking for novelty. This is seen in our relatively short attention spans and how easily we can get sucked into an endless scrolling adventure on our electronic devices. The number of stimuli that bombards our senses as a result of this action satisfies our brain’s need for novelty while simultaneously allowing us to simply swipe to something new with the flick of a finger when our attention span runs out.
While social media uses this information to attract more users and increase engagement, we as teachers can learn something from the brain’s desire for satiating this need for novelty as well. With many of us teaching through virtual means in at least some capacity at the moment, we can leverage technology to engage the brain in many of the same ways as social media does.
Utilizing randomizers (virtual dice, spinners, etc.) is a way that we can accomplish this within the instructional delivery methods we are forced to use right now. These are the thoughts that inspired this blog and the next few paragraphs, I will share 3 of Gopher’s fantastic Dynamic P.E. ASAP lessons that can incorporate various pre-made virtual randomizers to help increase the engagement of your elementary P.E. students during your synchronous online lessons!
Movement Varieties Lesson Example
Use this Dynamic P.E. ASAP lesson as written in the plan, but instead of you as the teacher telling the students what to do, allow for more engagement by sharing your screen as you display this locomotor randomizer video. As the teacher, press play on the video and then ask certain students to unmute themselves. While the randomizer is spinning ask that student to yell out “STOP” whenever they want to be in control of the randomizer and then you as the teacher simply pause the video to reveal the locomotor skill the class must use during that movement challenge within the lesson.
Within this same lesson or a future lesson, you can then combine the use of the aforementioned locomotor randomizer video with either this pathway randomizer video, this direction randomizer video or this speed randomizer video using the same procedure as mentioned earlier.
Move and Assume Shape Lesson Example:
Use this Dynamic P.E. ASAP lesson as written in the plan, but instead of you as the teacher telling the students what shape to balance in on the stop signal, use this body shape randomizer video in the same way as mentioned above to allow for more student engagement!
Body Shape Randomizer
Bend, Stretch, and Shake Lesson Example
Use this Dynamic P.E. ASAP lesson as written in the plan, but instead of you as the teacher telling the students what body part to stretch, bend or shake, use either this upper body part randomizer video or this lower body randomizer video in the same ways as mentioned above to allow for more student engagement!
Upper Body Randomizer
Lower Body Randomizer
I have used some of these randomizers with my students in our synchronous online P.E. lessons already and they have enjoyed them. I have used the privilege of “stopping” the randomizers as a way to incentive students following directions and trying their best during our activities and it has worked well as a behavior management strategy within our online learning environment.
What other ways have you leveraged technology to capitalize on the brain’s search for novelty to make your lessons more engaging for your students? Comment below and share what has worked well for you!