Physical & emotional safety is a precondition for learning in H&PE

Students learn best in an environment that is physically and emotionally
safe. In health and physical education, we often think of the need to keep our students physically safe. We have them checking to ensure their shoes are laced, hair is tied, and jewellery is removed. There is physically an inherent risk, and we want to do as much as we can to reduce it.

As educators we need to keep in mind that students learning is occurring in a public space where others can see them explore, learn, succeed, and make mistakes, and because of this, students emotionally safety should be top of mind as well. Student’s also discuss health topics that may be personal, and have implications for their personal health and well-being, so creating an inclusive and emotionally safe environment is critical.

Teachers need to provide a physically and emotionally safe environment for learning by emphasizing the importance of safety in physical activity, treating students with respect at all times, being sensitive to individual differences, following all board safety guidelines, and providing an inclusive learning environment that recognizes and respects the diversity of all students and accommodates individual strengths, needs, and interests.

A recent video from Ophea shares how some teachers in Ontario are bringing these concepts to life. Check it out!

Is your learning environment physically and emotionally safe? Ask yourself these reflection questions from the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum, 2015.

Self-check Questions:

  • Is instruction designed to ensure a positive experience in a safe, inclusive, and
    supportive environment for all students?
  • Are all school board safety and equity guidelines being followed?
  • Are intentional steps being taken by educators and students to build skills for
    healthy relationships and ensure that bullying and harassment are prevented, or
    addressed if and when they occur, in the change room, the gym, outdoors, and in
    all learning spaces?
  • Are activities being modified or adapted as required to ensure that all students
    are included?
  • Is exercise presented as a positive and healthy experience rather than being used
    as punishment?
  • Does the program ensure maximum participation for all by avoiding activities
    in which students may be eliminated from play, and thereby deprived of
    opportunities to participate, practise, and improve?
  • Are teams designated in ways that are inclusive and fair, avoiding potentially
    insensitive methods of selection (e.g., having teams chosen by student captains)?
  • Are students’ diverse backgrounds taken into account when health topics are
    introduced, to ensure that discussions have personal relevance and that topics
    are addressed with sensitivity?

Hit the Gym with Your Valentine this Week

IMG_2367Whether you have a valentine or not, hitting the gym with a friend or group is a great way to hold yourself accountable, stay motivated, and have a whole lot of fun!

Here are five moves for you to try while getting a sweat on with your sweetie!

I shared these moves on CH Morning Live, so if you’d rather watch, check the video here!

1. Partner Squat.

IMG_2370Facing each other both of you lower together holding right hands. Keep arms tight pulling towards each other, strong through the arms. As you return to stand continue to pull arms as if trying to complete a row, by pulling your right elbow back behind your body. Complete 12 repetitions with the right arm, followed by 12 repetitions on the left arm twice.

2. Plank with Dead Lift.

IMG_2372.PNGPartner A holds a plank position on their hands while partner B holds their ankles. Partner B folds at the wait completing a Dead Lift, lowering Partner A’s legs to just below Partner B’s knee height. Partner B returns to stand. Partner B completes 10-12 repetitions 2-3 times alternating positions with Partner A.

3. Leg Pushes.

IMG_2377Partner A begins lying down, face up, with their head towards partner B. Partner A extends their legs up straight towards Partner B who pushes them away. Partner A engages their core, controls their legs as they lower, returning them up towards the ceiling and to Partner B. Complete 10-12 repetitions, 2-3 times before switching positions.

4. Plank High Fives.

IMG_2382Partner A and B face each other in a plank position on either their hands and knees or hands and toes. Partner A and B simultaneously clap right hands together, then left as if playing “patty-cake”. Complete 10-12 claps 2-3 times.

5. Forward Fold and Chest Opener.

IMG_2385Partner A and B sit on the floor back to back. Partner A completes a forward folding reaching towards their toes bringing their nose down towards their shins. Partner B leans back onto Partner A with their arms extended out towards their sides, opening their chest. Hold for 10-15 seconds before switching positions.

5 Easy Ways to Find Time for Activity

BeActive

In an ideal world we’d each have a full hour for physical activity every day. But even if you don’t have plenty of time, short rounds of exercise can add up over the course of your day. So, whether you’re at home or at the office, make the most of your time with these five ways to sneak activity in to your busy schedule.

1. Divide it up. Finding an extra 60 minutes a day of activity might seem tough. Consider breaking your workout into two 30-minute, or three 20-minute segments at times that are convenient to you. Moving first thing in the morning before your shower, and then again at lunch, or finishing your day with a workout while making dinner will leave you with a raised heart rate and feeling of accomplishment.

2. Turn your Commute into a Workout. Try walking, running, or riding your bike to the office a few days a week. You’ll save money on gas, possibly save time from public transit or congested driving, and start your day with a clear head. Live too far for an active commute? Try getting off the bus or train a few stops earlier, or park your car farther away.

3. Take the Stairs. This is an easy option depending on your physical activity level and workplace attire. For added fun, consider counting the number of steps you can do in a minute, or for an extra glute workout, when you can do it safely, take two steps at once. For those working in high towers, why not take the elevator part way and walk the rest!

4. Talk and Walk. Need to take a few minutes to catch up with a colleague at the office? Why not do it with a walking meeting. Commit yourself to two or three 10 minute touch base conversations where you can brainstorm a project, follow-up and plan next steps, or bring your phone along and chat it up while on the move. A great way to get fresh air while getting down to business.

5. Take a Class. Consider gathering a few colleagues and hold each other accountable to a noon hour sweat session. If you don’t have enough time to take a full class, consider getting on a machine or using free weights for 30 minutes is a great way to break up the day and sneak in “Me time”. And as a bonus, depending on your intensity, you might even be able to return to work sweat-free.

How do you sneak in some extra physical activity during your day? Share it in the comments!