Are you teaching your high school health and physical education classes in a virtual or hybrid setting? I’m sharing 6 resources and tips to help engage your students when you can’t be with them in person.

Collaborate!

First, my biggest tip for everyone is to collaborate with other people to create resources for your students. I have been fortunate to work with students, as well as colleagues in my building, in neighboring districts, and my PLN on Twitter in developing some of the resources below.

Important and Influential People

Student Collaboration – Meryam Legesse, Senior at Guilderland

There are a few other things I plan on incorporating into my teaching this year for both my hybrid and remote students. This idea came from one of my students in a recent Anti-Racism Committee meeting we were in together. She mentioned that she wished she saw more examples of influential black women when learning about different topics and content in her classes. That really resonated with me and I reflected on what I could offer to my students. I have decided that with each activity, I will be adding “Important and Influential People” who have historically helped with the sport movement, those who continue to have an impact, and any up-and-coming individuals contributing to the sport. I am also going to highlight other sports and individuals on my Google Classroom page that may be of interest to my students. To get you started, here are a few links to articles in my Important Individuals Who Influenced Sport Google Sheet. There are tabs at the bottom of the sheet highlighting different sports. Each sport has a link to a different article. I will be writing the names, including a picture, and a bio for some individuals on each sheet. 

Research a Health-Related Career

Twitter PLN – Jane Connor, Physical Education Teacher

In New York, our new Learning Standard #6 states a physically educated individual “Recognizes career opportunities and manages personal and community resources related to physical activity and fitness to achieve and maintain overall wellness.” Jane Connors, a teacher at Central Valley Academy, and I collaborated on this assignment for our students in order to meet a grade-level outcome for our high school students. We created a Google Slides presentation for the students to use to complete this project. Students in my class will have the opportunity to create a Loom style video to “present” their project. View the Health-Related Career template.

Google Meet Expectations & Meet Your PE Staff

Colleague – Tamara Bryngelson-Eppard, Physical Education Teacher

At my Google Meets with students, I joke about it being the year of the bitmoji. Many of you have heard about the virtual locker idea that was posted on twitter. (If you have not, check it out here.) When one of my colleagues saw that idea, she started to talk to me and our department about other fun ways we could incorporate them into our classes. It certainly is not a “new” concept to use them; teachers have been using them for quite some time, but we made some of our own creations to make our students smile while still giving them information we wanted them to know. The first one I am sharing with you is used when we discuss our Google Meet Expectations. I like to post this on my classroom page an it consists of 1 Google Slide with 9 expectations that we felt were important for our students to know when in our Meets. 

Another fun project we created for our students is Meet Your PE Staff. We used a picture of our gymnasium as the background and added our bitmojis to the gym. We then created a Google slide that corresponded with our bitmoji. Once a student clicks on one of us, it will take them to a slide that has some info about what we coach, what clubs we may advise, and our email.  A creative way to use this with your students is to create a class version. You could use any school background picture and create a Google slides template for them to add their bitmoji and a slide that has some “fun facts” about them.  If you use Google Classroom and make it an assignment, you could then force a copy to each student in the settings so they each get their own to edit. This could be a great “getting to know you” activity for your class.

Additional Virtual High School PE Resources

I also want to take this opportunity to share a couple more resources I’ll be using in my high school physical education classes this year. These were shared on SHAPE America’s TOY Talk Tuesday Episode 5 (listen here or read below).

Needs Assessment Survey

The first one is a Needs Assessment Survey utilizing Google Forms. In the spring, when my district went to all remote learning, I felt as if I did not know enough about what my students were dealing with at home. Some were taking care of their siblings, others had to get jobs to help support their families, and I had plenty of students (I’m sure many of you did) who struggled with remote learning as a whole.

If I knew some of this information ahead of time, I would have done some things and approached some of my teaching differently. The survey will help guide me to better understand what my students are managing at home.

Here are examples of my Needs Assessment Survey questions:

  • Are you are caring for any siblings?
  • Is your at-home work environment is quite and productive?
  • Are your parents or guardians working at home/remotely? If so, does this impact you at all?
  • What technology strengths do you have? Are there any technology need you are going to need help with throughout the remote learning experience?
  • What resources and equipment do you have access to that could be used to perform (insert activitiy/activities)?
  • Would you like to schedule any 1-on-1 time with me to express any concerns you have about physical education class in a remote environment or this school year in general?

By conducting this Needs Assessment Survey, I will be able to make more informed decisions when delivering instruction, as well as in creating assignments and assessments that meet their social and emotional needs.

Genius Hour Activity Project

The other resource I’m going to be doing this year is a project-based learning assignment called the Genius Hour Activity Project. The purpose of this assignment is for each student to pick one activity that they have always dreamed about trying. I know we all probably have something we’ve always wanted to try but maybe just haven’t gotten there yet. Students are going to research their chosen activity and present their completed project to their classmates. They’ll receive a Google Slides template on Google Classroom to create their project, which must include pictures and a video of that activity, a brief history of the activity along with citing any influential people who have contributed to the success of that activity, any needed skills and equipment, any natural resources or facilities in which they can engage in this activity, expenses that they need, and an overall budget. The last component is for them to complete a written reflection as to why they chose this activity.

To kickoff this project, I’m going to share a real-life example for them. When I decided to become a certified scuba diver it was important to learn all about the areas of being engaged in that activity successfully. I want my students to go through the same process to be their own activity genus!

View SHAPE America’s TOY Talk Tuesday Episode 5 to access my resource examples.