• Brandon Bull

Physical Education in Self Isolation. What Matters?

There is so much creativity and wonderful teachers doing wonderful things in the Physical Education space. I, like many of you, keep asking myself if how I’m approaching this is right. How do I navigate Zoom, Seasaw, TEAMS, google classroom, etc, etc, to best educate my students? What if I’m doing it wrong?

Truthfully, I’m not sure there is a wrong in this situation. My view has changed in all of this in the past couple of weeks. I don’t think we can lose. As teachers, we always want to explore creativity. We’re now put in a situation where we have the freedom to explore that creativity. So, instead of asking myself if what I am doing is right, or if what I am doing is wrong… I now ask myself what matters?

This morning I took my 5 and 6-year-old children on a bush walk. We collected flowers and other nature type things. We then came home and wrote about what we saw and collected. This was an amazing, simple family experience. The same type of experience I would encourage for the students I teach. What an amazing time to try and get your students to strengthen connections and bonds at home. That matters.

My 5 year-olds recount of his bush walk

The teacher in me still finds that I need to have some direction… and that’s OK. In our area, we are told that students will be learning from home for the next 5 weeks and then more than likely coming back to school. In this time frame I will be delivering units from P – 6 on the “Components of Fitness.” The reason for this is that I feel it is a valuable time to educate students about the importance of exercise/activity on their overall health and well-being and it is a unit that does not require a lot of equipment. This is just my opinion. Not sure if it’s right or wrong… but I feel that matters.

I think it’s a good time to try something new. If you can put yourself out there in some kind of way, I think you will only better yourself personally and professionally. I’ve started a YOUTUBE channel where I will be giving explicit instruction to students on activities as well as promoting games that encourage family fitness elements. This idea started from the fact that our software programs couldn’t handle video sizes and it was easier to insert a link then upload a video. I’m more of the curriculum writing kind of teacher, then the out there, video me kind of teacher, so this a step out of my comfort zone… BUT… I’ve already had positive results from my students and other people around the world on the limited videos I have and that makes it worthwhile.

I am aware in making videos of myself that I’m asking students to spend more time in front of a screen on top of the magnitude of time they are already spending in front of a screen doing online learning, gaming, Youtubing, etc, etc. We need to be aware of this. Kids spend more time today engaging in devices than ever before. Too much screen time and not enough physical activity are leading to growing rates of health issues. As teachers and parents, we need to be extra cautious with this right now. We need to be stressing regular exercise and a healthy diet as the keys to a healthy lifestyle.

Some tips I’ve found helpful so far are:

- Helping students and parents with a variety of age appropriate activities

- Setting a regular schedule for physical activity

- Have your students record an exercise log

- Set goals. Goal setting sheets are working for me with my students

- Keep it light and keep it FUN!!!

The world we live in has forever changed, and that is OK. If you have read this far, you are doing an amazing job. Know that. Caring is half the battle. Our students come from a range of backgrounds and socio-economic statuses. Some will do our work, some won’t. Some are scared of what’s going on, some aren’t. For some, simply checking in with them and asking if they are OK might brighten their day. If there is any advice I can offer in all of this is to try not to sweat the small stuff like students not completing work. This isn’t forever. Right now, try to ask yourself one question… what matters?

Good luck in your Physical Education Journey right now and always.


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