Sunday, 9 December 2012

A Different Perspective on Gym Class

Kids today are harder to teach than ever. Not only do you have to contend with diminishing attention spans, but you also have diminishing budgets to worry about.

But both problems can be solved with a better Physical Education Curriculum and a bit of creativity. Here are some easy ways to teach a better gym class on a budget.

What Does “Better” Mean?
Improve the health, fitness, and academic potential of each student—a better gym class will achieve all of these things.

These days, you can find excellent physical activities for preschoolers, middle schoolers, and high schoolers that use instructional methods that have been meticulously researched by social scientists. The National Institutes of Health and leading research institutions like Columbia University discovered years ago that physical activity helps stimulate learning in young students.

A better gym class combines fun movement-based activities with core academic skills like math and science.

Beating the Budget
An effective gym class doesn't even require tons of money. If you’re teaching in a cash-strapped school district (and you probably are) then use these simple tricks to beat your budget and still help your students get the most out of physical education.

  • Make old new again. How much old Physical Education Equipment does your school throw away each year? There are more economical ways to handle old equipment than simply trashing it all.
    • Re-use. Even old equipment can have uses. Instead of throwing away the football team’s worn footballs or jerseys, you can use them in gym class instead. You’ll save money if you take old but use able equipment from sources within your own school district.
    • Donate. Tax write-offs are great ways to give your department some budgetary wiggle room. Give your old equipment to a community soccer team or health and wellness class at the senior center.
  • One for all! If you really think about it, you’ll be able to find excellent pieces of equipment that can be used for many applications. Stay away from specialized items that can only be used for a single purpose and instead put your money in things like orange cones, hula hoops, and versatile balls.
Practice What You Preach
As your better gym class starts to take hold and you see your students really enjoying themselves (and learning a lot too!) you need to keep one step ahead. If you see your students are picking up educational games quickly, keep the challenges coming. Think of new ways to utilize the equipment and lesson plans you've invested in.

After all, a gym class that never moves forward means students who never move.


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