What I’ve Learned From Distance Learning in PE

In this episode of the PE Express podcast, Chris Nichols shares what at home distance learning looks like after 5 weeks of implementation.

[0:03] Today on the PE Express podcast, I’ll share a follow up on how we’re focusing on at home learning.

[0:31] Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Today I want to do a little follow up on after five weeks of at home learning and where we are today on distance learning at home. When the pandemic started, we were at a rush to get ahead of this and to try to figure out what things we could do to provide students at home. With that, we put out a lot of documents just to give the parents information and we didn’t really address all the things that were necessary to get these things out. Do students have technology? Do they have access to internet? If not, what do we need to do in that situation? So all these questions have come about since we’ve started at home learning, or distance learning.

What We Learned From 5 Weeks of Distance Learning

[1:20] We realized very quickly that we were overwhelming parents and students with too many activities, not only for physical education, but for every content area. So we step back away from the situation and thought, hey, less is more. We were giving the parents and the students too much, too quickly and we had to scale back on those ideas. And now we’ve gone to one lesson per week, to provide families for physical education. I’ve tried to make my lessons very simple. I try to focus on things that we’ve already covered throughout the year. If that’s not something that is easily doable. Then I do something funny. I’ve started to film myself and believe me, I’m not very good at filming and it’s not something I’ve done before. Dr. Pangrazi and Aaron Beighle talked about in the PE Huddle, how to share these things with your students and let them see the human side of you let them see the mistakes and let them know hey, it’s okay. We’re all in this together. Just the kids see me make mistakes has added to the whole SEL, the big buzzword SEL, social emotional learning.

[2:38] As physical educators, we’ve done that our whole career and now more than ever, the students need that aspect of us. I drop in several times a week into classrooms via Google Meet and just say, “Hey, how are you doing? What’s going on?” Another day we hosted a show your furry friend. So I brought my dog into the screen. Everybody got to show their animal and if they didn’t have one, they shared something else. One of the great things that has come out this pandemic is the increase of outdoor activities. I’ve had so many students share with me milestones that they’ve achieved at home during this time, the first time riding their bike without training wheels, being able to go on multiple walks with their dogs, and the amount of time that they’re spending with their family. All of those things have been a benefit and we always have to look at what are the great things that are coming out of this even though that’s hard to recognize.

[3:39] The final thing that I’ve come through through these weeks of being at home learning is my self care. I am struggling with sitting in front of a computer and doing Google Meets or Zoom or whatever platform you’re using and it has taken a toll on me not only physically but mentally. So make sure you take care of yourself, Dr. Bob and I talked the other day about the rule of 20. Every 20 minutes focus on something else. Stand up, move around, do some stretches, do some exercise. Thanks for listening. Have a great day. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay active.

Connect with Chris on Twitter @CNicholsPE and get more ideas from Chris by reading his blogs at http://www.gophersport.com/blog.

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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