Being a lighthouse school has always helped with teaching our kids different ways to find information and to present their findings in many ways. Our 1:1 device ratio has allowed kids to use a variety of digital content and strengthen their technology skills. My teaching strategy used to be to model, have students work in partners and then have them “show what they know” on paper. I feel like being a lighthouse school has changed my teaching into a more blended learning experience. Students don’t always have to use a device and can learn without one, as we already know, but the technology has helped students become more creative problem solvers. I was able to bring this to life in the classroom for the 4 years we were a lighthouse school in first grade and was ready to continue the challenge in physical education.
Students ranging from grades 3-5 start the year out doing Fitnessgram. Fitnessgram is a program that allows teachers, administrators, parents and, most importantly, students to identify, understand, and make positive changes to their health and in turn build the healthy habits needed to carry them well into the future. Students perform and record a series of tests in the physical education and can see if they fall within the “healthy fitness zone” which is based on their age, weight and height. The series of tests are runs, push-ups and curl-ups. Students begin practicing these tests in the second grade and they start recording and looking at their healthy fitness zone in fourth and fifth grade. When teaching students the proper form for push-ups and curl-ups students have a hard time making corrections as they can’t see what they look like while doing them. I decided that in physical education we would put these devices to use. Students recorded themselves doing push-ups and curl ups. We then recorded students that were showing proper form for each. Students had an opportunity during one class to watch the videos of proper form on their device as well as record themselves. Using the device was a way to motivate students to do push-ups the correct way since they would be recording themselves. It also helped them to make their own corrections as they could see where their mistakes were and not by me calling them out to them. After the students were able to record themselves and watch examples they could record their final and put it into a PowerPoint presentation to give to me. They were able to tell me about the corrections that they made by comparing their first video with their final video weeks later after practicing.
The students enjoyed working on this project and they were able to do a successful push-up and curl-up after using the device to record and make corrections. Just this one enhancement has made the students in gym see how technology can be used in a different content areas in a meaningful way. I can’t wait to continue this journey of the lighthouse school in my new position.