How schools, families, and community can work together to support healthy active living.

With a revised curriculum for Health and Physical Education has come not only new expectations to help keep learning current and connected to students real lives, but Ontario teachers also have a new set of five Fundamental Principles of which to guide their teaching. These Fundamental Principles can act as a self check for teachers to personally evaluate their instructional practices and teachings. In order to support the understanding of these Fundamental Principles I’ve had the pleasure of supporting Ophea (the provincial subject association for Health and Physical Education) create a variety of tools to share the Fundamental Principles including a series of conversation starters videos which teachers can use to self-check and promote best practices.

This past week the first of five videos was released. The topic is on Fundamental Principle number one, “Health and physical education programs are most effective when they are delivered in healthy schools and when students’ learning is supported by school staff, families, and communities”. Check out what some leaders in Ontario H&PE have to say, and how they bring this Fundamental Principle to life in and out of the gym and health room.

A Physical Literacy Uprising: Banff 2015

Next week I’ll be heading to Banff with hundreds of other #PEgeeks for the PHE Canada National Conference in Banff Alberta. The spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountains, glacier-fed lakes, and wildlife at its wildest and hundreds of folks dedicated to the promotion of healthy, active living, what’s not to love!

I will be leading three workshops at National (scroll to the bottom to learn about those) so have complied my top five list for getting the most out of your HPE conference experience!

1. Start following the hashtag NOW!

See who else is getting excited about #Banff2015 and start connecting. Learn what they’re looking forward to and where they’re coming from. People come from around the globe to this conference, so let’s get excited for a physical literacy uprising together. Also, don’t forget to follow @PHECanada and @albertaHPEC on Twitter. (And me too! @RunSoulCycle)

2. Be prepared!

Most of the workshops at National are active, so wear your runners and be dressed to move. Also consider bringing a water bottle, healthy snacks, and possibly an extra shirt for a quick change – you never know when a DancePl3y flash mob will break out!

3. Plan your workshops now.

Why wait? Sure, from years of attending and presenting at HPE conferences I know the first evening is usually reserved for sitting around with your team, and a few drinks, and making your conference workshop picks. “Ok, I’ll trade you an Ophea PlaySport workshop in time slot B for a Teaching Dance for Education workshop in time slot F” Don’t wait! Make those picks now! Check out the workshop descriptions and conference festivities here.

4. Leave the pen, bring your smart phone.

Why worry about missing an important fact while copying notes from a Power Point when you can just take a photo of the slide and keep on learning. This also applies to resources, videos of games, dances, or activities – don’t worry about writing the rules or steps, catch it in live action for later reference. Even better yet tweet that out (referencing the presenter of course and share it with the entire HPE community. If it’s inspired you, it’ll be guaranteed to inspire someone else.

5. Be open to new ideas!

One of the newest additions to the Ophea consulting team is Lindsay Siple, .Ophea PARC Consultant. Lindsay suggests conference goers take risks and move out of their comfort zones. “Try activities that are new and be open to new ideas and ways of thinking and doing. This is about connecting with people. Be sure to bring a good level of energy, and most importantly have fun!”

If you’re heading to Banff I hope I’ll see you at one of my three workshops.

  • Physical Literacy & The Early Years. Friday. Session B. Room: KC 301.
    • Description: This workshop provides a deeper understanding of physical literacy, its benefits, and connection to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years. Workshop participants will be provided with ready-to-go activities and tools to develop physical literacy for easy integration into existing programming.
  • PlaySport: Bright Ideas To Get Moving – Using A Teaching Games for Understanding Approach. Saturday. Session E. Location: Sally Borden Gym South.
    • Description: This workshop outlines the TGfU model, presenting skills and strategies used in games and activities based on four game categories: Target, Net/Wall, Striking/Fielding, and Territory. Examples from the free PlaySport resource will provide participants with ready-to-go activities and tools for easy implementation.
  • Teaching Dance For Understanding: A New Pedagogical Approach For Teaching Dance In PE. Saturday. Session F. Location LF 224 Dance Studio.
    • Description: Love TGfU? Come discover TDfU – Teaching Dance for Understanding! Learn how to modify the the ‘rules’ of dance (choreography and technique) to allow students to experience success with foundational movements and rhythms designed. Designed for PE teachers, this model will help you develop physical literacy and fundamental movements skills as students explore various styles of dance and gain self-confidence in expressing themselves. Explore curriculum design strategies that follow the 6 elements of the model then experience fresh ideas and lesson plans in action!

You can find me above, plus in the expo at the Ophea booth, and at the dance-off social! I look forward to us learning and sharing together in one of the most precious, protected places in the world.

5 Holiday Gifts for PE Teachers Who Have Everything!

Are you looking for something for that physical education (PE) teacher in your life? Or are you a PE teacher looking for new ideas of gear to add to your equipment room? Here are the top 5 new toys I love, and I’m sure your #PEGeek (or class!) will too!

 1. Garden Heroes Beanbags.

I first got to hear about Gopher through first hand experiences with the amazing things they are doing in giving at educator professional learning. At the last two conferences I have had the pleasure of presenting at, Gopher have provided me with all the equipment I needed to conduct the workshop, then donated it all to local schools. During one of these workshops I used the Garden Heroes Beanbag set for a game of Beanbag bocce, and while they didn’t “roll” as well as typical bocce balls, they adorableness translated into a very fun modified game. The beanbags can also be used to integrate connections from the healthy living strands into PE, or just be a cute way to engage your class in fun. Available online from Gopher here.

beanbags2. Yoga Alphabet Cards.

I love these cards, yes maybe I’m biased because they were my idea and I wrote them, but I love how they connect literacy in PE, How they connect the physical practice of yoga, with fundamental movement skills, and fun, and I love that they are bringing the mindfulness of yoga into the classroom. Perfect for daily physical activity, physical education, and literacy instruction, you’ll be engaging children’s bodies and minds as you help them develop health-related components of fitness.  Available online from Ophea here.

YogaCover_26OC113. Fingers Light.

The ladies from DancePl3y originally shared these sweet little lights with me and as a lover of dance and movement I knew that I needed them. They can turn that dance lesson from a fun time to a wild time! After teaching a dance, whether it’s novelty or creative, have students then perform the sequence with the gym lights low and finger lights on. See a dance in action here. You can buy them online from Amazon here, or in a 5 pack you can pick them up from your local Dollerama.

led-finger-lights1-1746364. ITunes Gift Card.

This is a very practice gift idea. Whether buying music for their movement lesson, or the hottest app for their tablet, an ITunes gift card has so many useful applications in PE program. Many deals exist for purchasing cards, and even places like the Real Canadian Super Store are offering, buy a $15 gift card for $10. So search around and find a deal!

itunes-giftcard5. Super Sport Disc Packs (aka Hand Trampolines).

I first watched a class engaging with hand trampolines during a classroom visit of the PE Teacher extraordinaire Andrea Haefele. We were there watches how she integrates technology in the gym – Youtube video here – and these were part of her lesson. They make the list because they are a great way to modify your PE program when focusing on the strategies of Net/Wall games. Rather than worrying on badminton sending/receiving skills using fun equipment allows students to just focus on the strategies, and Andrea does this like the HPE rock star teacher she is. I purchased my set from my local Scholars Choice, but they can also be purchased online from Gopher here.


 What’s on your holiday health and physical education wish list? Share it below!

*images sourced from respected images identified in post*