I use a variety of teaching methods and appropriate instructional practices to provide a well-rounded education to support healthy and academically successful students. My instructional philosophy is age/grade-level appropriate and engages students 100% of the time through activities that are aligned with SHAPE national standards. These practices ensure safety, fun, and success for all students. The best strategies I have are: I am passionate about kids, I love PE, and I bring as much enthusiasm to my kids every day of the year as I can.
Create a PE Interest Form to Motivate Students
Over 90% of my students do not participate in an extracurricular athletic team. The first 3 days, they complete a PE activity interest survey on their GOOGLE classroom form. Students choose a variety of activities that interest them. This allows me to cater instruction to meet the needs of all my diverse learners. My goal is for students to enter an emotionally safe environment and develop a positive attitude towards PE class, which in turn will intrinsically motivate them to develop an appreciation towards lifetime activity. Early in the semester, I have students do Icebreakers (name game) to get acquainted and feel more comfortable with their peers. Students also engage in a team-building game called, “Mission Impossible,” in order to work on cooperation and sportsmanship skills. I have a student-driven classroom in which all students are assigned jobs (set up equipment, sweep, time-keeper for dress-out). Students take ownership and learn responsibility along with communication skills.
Best Practices and Methodologies
My methodologies include blended learning. Students develop literacy skills through a high-interest library (fitness/nutrition books), pair-share (PE word of the day/health concept of the day), and flipped classroom (GOTCHA home fitness activity log). I provide a lot of different teaching methods such as: student-centered discussions (cooperative games), teacher-led (quick instant activities), circuit training (fitness stations), teacher/student-led (cardio/kickboxing/dance/yoga routines), sport education model (invasion games), and guest presenters from local businesses (lifetime activities-golf, tennis/self-defense-karate/dance/yoga/life skills coach).
How I Teach Skills in High School PE
I teach my students to learn new skills through teacher demonstrations and making connections to other previously learned core class concepts along with real-world experiences (spin rotation of a ball-science). I love using student demonstrators as peer coaches as well as helping their peers improve motor skill acquisition. I use academic language (FACT principle-Force, Angle, Contact Point, Trajectory) and associations to reinforce the new skill and to transfer learning to other skills. Critical elements in invasion games that I use are tuck (safety), grip (4 finger), stance (ready position), and footwork (slide left, slide right, slide forward, slide backward). Basic cues that I use to teach throwing a foam ball include: turn, point, step, throw, freeze frame. I use these same concepts/cues to transfer knowledge/concepts to other activities such as tennis forehand (turn, point, step, swing, freeze frame). When teaching motor skills, I will have students practice individually, with partners, groups of 3, and group of 4. During modified gameplay, I utilize small-sided games. I also use task cards for stations and visual aids to show step-by-step progression, highlight videos to give modeled behavior, and power points to show the basic rules of fitness activities.
Using heart rate monitors
Students have been taught how to take their heart rate manually and understand their target heart rate zone. I also provide every student with their own heart rate monitor and pedometer to track individual heart rate zones, along with their total steps in daily PE class. My students rotate from stations/games by high-fiving their peers (and saying, “You Are Awesome!”) to demonstrate teamwork, sportsmanship, and cooperation skills.
Class Management Strategies
To get my student’s attention, I will say “hand.” I use a lot of different cues to move my students during transitions such as: music (start, stop), verbal (freeze) and non-verbal (hand signals to rotate). During Fitness activities, I use guided practice, kinesthetic learning, differentiated instruction, so students can work at their own pace and complete a hands-on activity. I modify instruction every semester to support my students’ interests and instructional needs. I am constantly doing ongoing reflection on the effectiveness of my lessons (videotaping my students) and plan for adjustments that will improve my teaching and make a positive impact on my student outcomes. I’m fortunate to have awesome students who are open-minded, engaged, active, eager, to learn and always working to be the best that they can be.
Jerry Honeycutt is a physical and health education teacher at Indian Land High in South Carolina. Jerry has taught for 28 years at the elementary, middle and high school levels and is a previous Southern District Teacher of the Year. He has served as a mentor teacher for Winthrop University and currently presents at workshops and conferences around the country.