Monday, September 27, 2010

Writing and Physical Education

The goals of our district this year include "writing to learn" and  infusing nonfiction reading and writing into every classroom. With that in mind, the phys. ed. teachers contacted me to find out how they might include writing in their curriculum.

The request caused me to think back to another school I had worked at where the phys. ed. teacher had his students maintain notebooks/journals on a daily basis. From what I remember, students did goal-setting and record-keeping in addition to reflections in their notebooks. I thought that I would find out what the teachers at this school were already doing and then go from there. What I found out is that they don't have students do any writing at the moment. What they needed from me was how to do it and ideas on the content of the writing. We talked about creating a Phys Ed Journal for:

-       Cornell Notes
-       Self-Reflection on skills/performance
-       Explanations of rules/how to play the game
-       Goal-setting
-       Recording achievements/setbacks in reaching goals; foods eaten; exercise regimen vs. sedentary activity
-       Vocabulary
-    Exit/Entrance Slips

Discussion centered on what was realistic considering the wide range of students in the classes and the resistance that might happen when students are asked to write in their physical education class. I encouraged the teachers to think of authentic uses of the writing as well as practical ways to ensure that notebooks were in class every day.

To begin with, teachers will keep the notebooks in class and use them  for goal-setting and possibly for entrance slips, allowing students to reflect back on the previous day's work. I suggested the possibility of students doing drawings/diagrams in their notebook as well. I'm anxious to hear how this goes.

I think I will contact a few other schools to see if journals are still being used in phys.ed.

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