May 30, 2012 by Brad Currie
Image Credit ~ http://schools.bvsd.org/p12/mesa/programs/Pages/pe.aspx
Readington Middle School’s health and physical education teachers provide students with engaging and relevant learning experiences on a daily basis. The department firmly believes that each child’s well being is a top priority and during their time in middle school they should develop a skill set that will make the more knowledgeable about living a healthy life style. The various activities, games and lessons have changed over the years, but the notion of “take care of yourself and take care of each other” rings true again and again. Each and every day students are engaged in life lessons, cardiovascular exercise and games that promote sportsmanship. Below you will find examples of how learners are exposed to a wide array of meaningful learning experiences that promote a healthy way of life and focus on 21st century learning skills.
Currently in 8th grade health class students are working on a video in connection with a unit on alcohol. The students began by looking at the topics covered in the chapter. Using http://www.todaysmeet.com students generated questions they thought were appropriate to research based on the chapter headings. Questions were then combined into a word document and posted to the class Edmodo page. Students then went onto the Edmodo page and looked at the question list. Their task was to organize the questions into subject categories, delete repeat questions, and add or amend any questions as they thought necessary. Once they organized the questions the students were put into groups based on the categories they created and filmed a three part video in response to those questions. The students structured their video as a talk show, a news broadcast, and/or a public service announcement. Once the three parts were finished students put the video together to make one “television” broadcast.
In PE students just finished up the jump rope/hoops for heart campaign and learned about cardiovascular disease. Monies raised from this initiative were donated to the American Heart Association to help people in need. Videos and pictures were taken of students participating and brought an overall sense of pride to the school community. Students have also been introduced to new sports such as handball, tchuckball, and Finnish baseball. In the near future students will be making their way taking onto the project adventure/low elements course and focus on such skills as communication, teamwork and trust.
Throughout other various health classes web 2.0 tools are being utilized such as http://www.todaysmeet.com, http://www.livebinders.com, http://www.gapminder.com, http://taggalaxy.de/, and http://www.prezi.com. These great tools are incorporated to help aid in student learning. Students find these new tools fun and very easy to use. The best part about web 2.0 tools is that they are free and require little to no information from the students to use them. Over the course of a given school year in health class such resources as UnitedStreaming, MakeBeliefComix and MyPlate.gov are integrated to help students further comprehend topics presented during a lesson.
One health project in particular, focusing on tobacco, had students researching using web 2.0 tools. The researched websites and notes were then saved using http://www.livebinders.com and transformed into Prezi presentations to share with the rest of their classmates. Students loved using http://www.livebinders.com when they research because it saves all the websites they find and their time is not wasted. Another favorite tool of health teachers and students is http://taggalaxy.de/. It is sometimes referred to as “google images on steroids” and contains a huge flickr domain that has millions of specific pictures for free.
As you can see the Readington Middle School wellness department sets very high standards for students and stresses the importance of incorporating healthy habits on a consistent basis. 21st century skills focusing on collaboration, technology integration and problem solving are continually weaved into health and physical education classes which prepares students for the world they will live in ten years down the road. Our wonderful wellness staff stays on top of best practice teaching techniques by attending professional conferences such as the recent ASCD Conference in Philadelphia, and expanding their PLNs through such vehicles as Twitter. The goal for all students involved in health and physical education programs is to learn how to live healthy and active lives. There is no doubt that there is nothing more engaging and relevant then taking care of your body and understanding the importance of staying physically fit.
By: RMS Wellness Department