I have a great deal of respect for the P.E. teachers at my school. Never have I met teachers in their field that make the valiant efforts to implement school initiatives and assessment strategies in the ways they do. The incorporate proficiency scales, post quality learning targets, and even have come up with clever assessment strategies for their students–and the kids learn a ton.
I recently read this article on gym class, and it posed the question, “Is gym class just another place for kids to learn?”
I thought to myself… what an asinine question. Of course it is another place for kids to learn. However, I think what they are learning might be different, and even the ways in which they learn might be different. Truly, physical education is channeling a completely different intelligence most of the time. It’s requiring children to use the visual-spatial parts of their brains and coordinate many parts of their body at the same time. Of course they’re learning.
With Common Core at our doorstep, the question becomes: How do we integrate P.E. into the Common Core? Many teachers are worried about their precious instructional time in the core, and sometimes see physical education as just another disruption to the schedule. I know I am. However, I think that there are some simple ways that P.E. teachers could help to integrate the Common Core into their lessons.
(1) Statistics – The Internet is littered with sports statistics. These sports statistics would lend themselves nicely to the Common Core, so that students could use these “stats” to make inferences on best techniques for success in a game.
(2) Sports Blogs – Once again, the Internet is littered with sports blogs. Truly, almost every area of expertise has blogs nowadays. In addition, kids’ news sites contain many articles recounting sports games and ways to become better at sports. Allowing kids access to these would give them time to support literacy while still teaching their craft.
I’ve heard accounts of children reciting facts while running, and reviewing core content while doing jumping jacks. But really, this is not any more effective than having them jump around in the classroom. What we need to do is make literacy and numeracy relevant in this extremely important part of our kids day, but not to take away from what our physical education teachers teach; rather, we should do this to help enrich their content and provide even more relevance for reading and math.