Physical Activity is Different Than Physical Education

The 2019 SHAPE America National Elementary TOY and Gopher Advisory Board member discusses his reflection after 9 weeks of distance learning, and includes the trending topic of physical activity versus physical education.

[0:03] Today I’d like to talk a little bit about what I’m hearing online with physical activity versus physical education.

[0:42] Hi, everyone, my name is Dawn Tobin, I’m from New York State. and I am currently in the middle of week number nine of my distance learning. I have noticed over on the internet via Twitter and other apps online that people are reflecting on making sure that parents know that physical activity is different from physical education and I have to tell you that I completely agree. I’ve reflected back to all the lessons and the activities that I’ve posted over these nine weeks and I can tell you that I’ve myself posted a lot of content, links to different challenges, dances, ways to get active and skills. But I have to be reminded that it’s really important to keep in the back of my mind, knowing that there is a difference between physical activity and physical education. You yourself have probably seen this.

Tips to Consider While Planning Lessons

[1:33] I know there are videos circulating out there of so called fitness experts and parents who are posting videos to try to help with all the kids that are staying at home and although I think that’s great, I think you have to realize that we are at a point that we are probably no longer in triage mode. I feel personally that I was in a triage mode for several weeks, but now that in New York state that I have about six weeks left, I want to make sure that I’m touching upon new content, and meeting the skills of all the kids. So I’m going to give you a couple of tips that I’ve kept in mind for myself, when I’m planning lessons with my colleagues.

1. Be realistic

[2:11]  Number one, I need to make sure that things are realistic and what I mean by that is I have to make sure that I’m doing first and foremost what my school district is expecting of me that my mandates can highlight certain things that I want to get across in my program, but if I’m not touching upon certain needs, and that the district is expecting of me, that could jeopardize my job and my position. So first and foremost, I think that’s number one.

2. What is appropriate at this time?

[2:42] Number two, you as a teacher need to think what is appropriate for your kids, when you’re reflecting on your content, and you’re getting planning out lessons for the week or whatever it is that you’re doing, is it not only age appropriate, but is this something that’s just going to be busy work for the kids? Or is there actually have meaning in it? What’s the why behind it? What’s the how behind it?

3. Try to incorporate new content

[3:07] Number three, I kind of mentioned this already, but try to incorporate new content as well. It’s really good to reflect on things that the kids did previously before they left school and yeah, they’re home and so they might have limited access to certain equipment. But if possible, try to incorporate new content. If you think about it, if you’re in an area of the country where the school year is over face to face, and I am in a school area, in an area where school is over face to face, I will not be seeing these kids again until the fall. I want to make sure that there’s continuity of learning that a child who’s leaving a specific grade will be ready to go with skills and certain topics of the new grade and so I’m doing my best to try to incorporate that as best as possible.

4. Instill a passion for physical activity

[3:57] And then finally, I have to always remember and remind my parents physical activity is wonderful. In New York State, we want our kids moving a minimum of 120 minutes per week of physical education but in certain content that we’re releasing, the kids will not get that. Yes, I do want them to go for walks, yes, I do want them to ride their bike and to shoot hoops in their yard but in a physical education, we want these kids to come away with skills. We want these kids to understand why they’re doing something, to learn the certain attitudes of what they’re doing it and so I want to always be cognizant of physical activity is really not the same thing as physical education.

[4:41] My last piece of advice is I’m sure all of you are doing a wonderful job out there. You should rely on one another in different modalities, things like this. Try to be as positive as I can, and try it for yourself to be as positive as you can as we move forward.

[4:56] That’s it. Thanks for your time, everybody. And let’s finish up the year really, really strong.

Donn is the 2019 SHAPE America National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. He is a K-5 physical education teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Mahopac, NY. He is also a graduate and undergraduate Adjunct Professor at Manhattanville College, and currently serves on the NYS AHPERD Board of Directors.

Donn is the 2019 SHAPE America National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. He is a K-5 physical education teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Mahopac, NY. He is also a graduate and undergraduate Adjunct Professor at Manhattanville College, and currently serves on the NYS AHPERD Board of Directors.

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