Despite local students not being in class these days, there are innovative ways of connecting with them and keeping the wheels of the education process turning.
That goes for physical education as well.
Megan Lozeau’s ‘Physical Education @ Home program’ at Christ-King Catholic School is set up as an interactive web site with activities to create a healthy home environment, as well as lessons to keep up with one’s physical education.
Specifically, there are activities and links for Healthy Eating, Mental Health, Getting Active and Restful Sleep.
There will also be weekly updates and new lessons added on a consistent basis.
“I think considering the circumstances, it has been going well. But it’s been a tough transition for all of the teachers and students. I think I can speak for all of the teachers at our school when I say that we all miss the students – we miss hearing their stories and just talking and laughing with them, and watching them learn,” she explained. “The hardest part is just the lack of interaction with the kids! We miss them like crazy.”
That said, it is good to be able to connect via technology – even though it isn’t quite the same as face-to-face.
Nevertheless, teachers have made the best of it. For her part, Lozeau has developed, as mentioned, a series of online activities and links to help keep students in shape and healthy.
“There’s a really good community of phys. ed teachers online across the country, and people are really good about sharing their own resources and then encouraging others to use them. I try to find the best practices online and give credit where credit is due,” she explained, adding she takes the platforms and adapts them to better fit with the needs of her own students.
There is plenty of variety on the site, too.
Students can check out features from four categories – Healthy Eating, Mental Health, Getting Active and Restful Sleep.
“I’ve been adding things as I find them and swapping others out based on feedback from the students of what they find interesting,” she added. “Some of the things are elements I had incorporated when we were still in school, so the kids were familiar with it. The kids have done ‘Cosmic Kids’ videos before, and it’s common for teachers to do ‘Go Noodle’s’ – so that is familiar with them as well.
“With Dance PL3Y, the videos are in a program we have previously had in our school. We did a five-day residency two years ago, so they would be familiar with the format of that as well. So really, we are trying to bring little pieces of the school home to them!”
Lozeau noted that she’s had several chats with the students to see what they like and what they don’t care for, and it’s all working towards a productive system.
“They seem to enjoy it, and I’m trying to put things on there so there is something for everyone,” she said.
“The students have more time to kind of dive in and go into the lessons and extend their learning because for some kids, phys. ed is their favourite subject.”
As for the mental health component, that was included to help students deal with these unprecedented times.
“They are missing connections, and missing their friends, so I’ve tried to put in activities that deal with mindfulness and to help ‘ground’ them – things to help keep them calm and strategies to help them cope.”
For Lozeau, as mentioned, not having the kids around has meant dealing with an array of emotions.
“We’ve been talking at school about how much the kids are going to change when we see them again in September because over the summer they grow so much and change so much,” she said. “We will be coming back and seeing totally different kids.”
Lozeau teaches every student from Kindergarten through to Grade 9.
Meanwhile, the online focus continues.
“It’s made me realize how much of the reason that I teach is grounded in relationships. I’ve also been the phys. ed specialist here for four years, so some of these kids I’ve seen everyday for four years! They are a big part of my life.
“When you stop seeing them, you think about them, you worry about them, you miss them. I think it has all re-affirmed for me just how important relationships are in teaching. We definitely won’t be taking that for granted when we go back.”