The Common Core standards were introduced to schools throughout the nation in 2010 and have quickly been adopted by 45 states. Designed as a robust, nationwide set of school standards, the Common Core program builds off the state standards already in place. The standards prepare students for college and the workforce by providing them with various skills that enforce writing, thinking critically, and solving real-world problems. Common Core Logo

The program focuses primarily on math and English language arts, which extend to all school subjects, including physical education. Let’s take a look at how you can integrate Common Core standards in your PE class.

Reading and PE

A prominent focus in the Common Core standards is developing verbal and reading skills. Fortunately, you’ve been doing this the entire time without even knowing it. Simply providing verbal cues and instructions each day is a good starting point, but you can push it further with these simple ideas:

  • Station cards: During an activity that involves moving between several different stations, create station cards that offer in-depth written instructions for what to do next for critical thinking/comprehension practice.
  • Read-alouds: Also known as shared reading, read-alouds give students a chance to hear fluent reading. Provide hand-outs and read out loud while your students follow along. They can then keep the hand-outs to peruse later or to reinforce your verbal instructions.
  • Bulletin boards: Provide a bulletin board that gives your students instructions, tasks that must be accomplished, or provides a lesson that they must apply during class. Create a PE word wall that displays important vocabulary—movement words, health terms, names of muscle groups—that will be used throughout the day’s lesson.
  • Supplemental texts: Post or hand out supplemental materials about the sport or skill you’re currently covering. For instance, if you are on your baseball unit, post a short history of baseball, the basic rules, fun facts, and profiles of athletes.

Writing and PE

Proficient writing has become one of the most important skills in the modern day. Some ways you can integrate writing into your P.E. curriculum:

  • Setting goals: Have students write down their goals before an activity or at the start of the week. At the end of the activity or the week, have kids provide a post-assessment of what they accomplished and what they could have done better.
  • Health and fitness journals: An extension of the above, you can have each student compile an in-depth journal that records their fitness goals for the entire year and includes a daily breakdown of the foods they ate and the physical activities they performed.
  • Create a new game: Split kids into groups and have them write out the rules and directions for a new game. They can then provide a quick demonstration of the new game, and you can choose from the best to play during the next class period.
  • Educational brochures: Kids can create informational brochures on various subjects, like the importance of physical activity, nutrition, or how to maintain a healthy heart. You can then make copies and distribute them or post them on your bulletin board.
  • Home fitness projects: These projects extend the lessons kids learn in class to their lives at home. Have them write out ideas for living healthy outside of school.
  • Create a class website or blog: Put kids in charge of certain elements of the blog or website and encourage students to contribute to the blog by writing short posts and comments. This is also a great way to build students’ technological proficiency.

Math and PE

Math comprises a whole range of skills that go far beyond solving equations on a chalkboard.

  • Graphs: Students should create graphs and charts that show their results for a given activity. For example, when students run timed laps, you can have them chart out their times and see their progress over the course of a month.
  • Skip counting: Normally, when your students warm up or do stretches, they count by ones. Switch things up by having kids skip count progressively. For example, they can do ten jumping jacks counting by ones (1, 2, 3, 4…), then do toe touches for ten seconds but counting by twos (2, 4, 6, 8…). This is a great way to combine physical activity with multiples.
  • Pedometers: Pedometers can be used for all kinds of fun math-related activities. Kids can wear pedometers during class to see how many steps they’ve taken and then challenge themselves to take more steps during the next class. They can add the numbers together to see how many total steps they took.

While the mere mention of standards can bring on the snores, there are tons of ways to integrate the Common Core standards into your physical education curriculum. Get creative and have fun!


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