For the past month, Physical Education teachers have been trying to adjust to the new normal. Many of you have successfully tapped into your creativity and built entirely new lessons, as well as found content online to supplement your plans. You have learned new technology skills, presentation skills, and methods of communicating with your students. It is such a different reality from the school setting where most of our contact with students is spent engaged in physical activity. It is fantastic to see our Physical Education community come together and support each other.

The school year is nearing its end, and hopefully everyone will be able to return to school in the fall.

You are continuing to build new skills through distance learning, but instead of just putting this experience into your box of memories, I think it is important to consider how you will incorporate these new skills into your teaching in the future. You have grown as an educator, so the next goal is to figure out how you can use these new experiences and resources next year and beyond. 

Think about different opportunities you have to use these new skills both in class and out. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Out of Class

Whether you have snow days or you are forced out of your gym, students don’t have to lose physical activity time. You can create preplanned lessons to keep students active. A lot of what we designed is ideal for small spaces such as living rooms, so this would also work in a classroom setting or for students at home. You can even create content for substitutes to use to prepare for lessons when you are out.

Students Unable to Participate

Maybe you have an injured student sitting out or others forced to be at home for an extended amount of time. Creating lessons for students without actual physical activity may be needed. This could include research, reading, journaling, watching videos, and reflecting. It could also involve providing some low-impact modified activities. You can still keep students engaged in your class.

New Experiences

This can be a great opportunity to build up your home-school connection. You can use your new video and presentation skills to create activities for students to do with their family or dip into your new collection of lessons to give them more choices for being active. Another idea is to use these resources to engage large groups of students in activity before school, during lunch, or after school. 

What other ways can enhance learning for students using your new skills?

Jeff Mushkin

Jeff was first exposed to SPARK in 2004 while working for Shasta County Public Health Department in California. He became a SPARK trainer in 2005 and oversaw the SPARK Community Grant Program for Shasta County until 2007 when he joined the SPARK team. Jeff has spent the past 12+ years in SPARK curriculum design, professional development, and equipment selection. Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education, a master’s degree in Public Health, and over 20 years of experience in physical education, health, and nutrition. Jeff spends his time with wife Julie, daughter Katie, and his son Zack. In his free time, Jeff enjoys playing tennis and golf. Jeff resides in Louisville, KY. What I love about SPARK: That the curriculum addresses all of the fundamental skills students need to learn and each unit follows a progression so each lesson builds upon the last. What is great about SPARK: All of the supplement materials that enhance each of the lesson plans. There are task cards, skill cards, music, and assessments for teachers to use to reinforce learning. Favorite SPARK lesson: Workout Buddies. I love the social interaction between partners and that it provides students with a choice in how they want to complete the activity. What makes you excited about SPARK: I’m excited to join Gopher Sport to continue with my love of SPARK and creating physical education resources to meet the needs of teachers.