As the school campus has been shut down until at least April, the Distance Learning Plan will be put into place on March 23, causing a change of curriculum in many subjects, including PE.
The Distance Learning Plan consists of having students check Schoology each day to find the work that they need to complete from each subject. As a result, many teachers have been planning how their curriculum will change. The Distance Learning Plan for middle school PE was created by the entire PE department.
PE Department Head Mr. Patrick Severijns said, “One of the reasons why we include the whole team is that we have team members who worked in China last year and who are in close contact with former colleagues who have been experiencing school closures and distance learning for several weeks now. This connection is providing us with some valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t work in this scenario.”
The PE department is confident that they have an effective framework in place in the case of distance learning. As distance learning is challenging for PE, there will be no assessed work. Instead, students will be provided with daily movement ideas and ways to stay active during their learning at home.
The PE department hopes students can use the resources to take breaks from their work, as well as to re-energize themselves in preparation for their more demanding online classes. Mr. Severijns said, “We know from other schools that students who spend a lot of time with distance learning actually want to do movement breaks. Since we are now not working on any assessment based units, we will be providing wellbeing activities that everyone under these circumstances wants to do.”
Many students think that this is a very effective and appropriate idea for distance learning. Eighth-grader Maisie Rosenberg said, “I think the movement breaks will be good because they encompass what PE is about. It’s about getting exercise and taking a break from your normal work.”
Eighth-grader Zain Rafiq supports the PE Distance Learning Plan but also pointed out a challenge with the system. He said, “I think movement breaks are a good idea because they will make you do a good amount of PE without dedicating a big chunk of time. However, some people might not do this as other things might be more appealing to them. Maybe if there is a reward or encouragement to do this, it would be better.”
On top of the workouts posted daily, students may feel encouraged to exercise due to the challenges that will be posted. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the PE Department will publish a new challenge, where students have to submit a video of themselves completing it. The PE teachers of those students will then look at the videos and award students points to their orange and black color teams. On the next Monday or Tuesday, the results will be posted showing which color group is in the lead.
The purpose of the challenges is to connect the ASL community. Mr. Severijns said, “When everybody’s apart from each other, it’s so hard to feel that you’re working all together on something bigger. They [the challenges] are our first step to make sure that we connect a little bit more as a community.”