March 29, 2017

Getting Started With OPEN

Over the past few months, I've been working really hard to get blog posts out that share the fundamentals of my teaching. The posts have included topics such as the purpose of my program, how I map out my curriculum, the various assessment methods and tools that I use in my teaching (rubrics, magnets, peer-assessment, student portfolios), the role of student reflection in my lessons, and even the system I use to produce grades in physical education.There are more posts like this on the way, and the bar has been set high for the types of posts I want to create moving forward.But there is something I know that I don't always think of mentioning. Something that has been brought to my attention by teachers who have contacted via email, Twitter or Facebook.The content I'm creating can be overwhelming.I heard from teachers who are desperate to take their teaching to the next level but just don't know where to start. Teachers who have taken the leap of faith and joined the online #physed community but now find themselves swamped in ideas, resources, and methods that seem scary at first. My advice to these teachers is always the same:

  1. Start small. Focus on a single idea, try it out, reflect on it and go from there.
  2. Check out OPEN.

OPEN: The Online Physical Education Network

OPEN Logo Banner

It amazes me that there are still teachers out there who have never heard of or seen the work that the OPEN team have created. If you're amongst those teachers who have no idea what I'm talking about, let me break it down for you:OPEN is a free, online, living (i.e. still growing) physical education curriculum that is offered as a public service by US Games. By creating a free OPEN account, you gain access to a TON of learning modules that have been designed to meet the highest of pedagogical standards. Even better is that all of the resources you download can be edited, modified, and tailored to meet your own students' unique needs.Free always sounds too good to be true. So what's the catch? Well, since OPEN is a public service of US Games, the suggested equipment in OPEN's curriculum documents are obviously all available on the US Games website. OPEN stays funded and free through purchases of OPEN equipment packs through US Games. That's it! It's really nothing that will effect the way you go about your teaching, and it's probably the best win-win scenario you could ask for!

OPEN Learning Modules

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OPEN Creative Mode Fitness Module Banner

OPEN's Creative Mode Fitness Module... this is 9 of 178 pages of free, quality content.[/caption]OPEN modules contain everything you would need to ensure that you are delivering effective physical education at your school. This includes resources such as:

  • Lesson activities (which are backward designed from SHAPE America's National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes)
  • Assessment tools
  • Learning visuals
  • Academic language cards
  • Universal Design adaptations
  • Planning tools
  • Teacher evaluation sheets
  • and more!

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OPEN Modules Covers

A few of the modules you can access for free on OPEN.[/caption]Since its launch at the 2015 SHAPE America National Convention & Expo in Seattle, OPEN has created modules for a ridiculous amount of activities and grade levels. The best part? Modules keep getting published at an insane pace and more and more teachers are getting involved to help create new ones!Here's an example of a game you can find in the K-2 Foot Skills Module (OPEN and I have partnered up to share each others games to more teachers. Check out OPEN's take on Star Wars Tag):

Personally, as someone who has created his own physical education curriculum, I've used OPEN mostly to get inspiration for new activities that I can use in my units. Other teachers use the platform to find assessment tools they can use in their teaching, or just use it to download the academic language cards. Of course, some teachers, those teachers who are doing their best to improve their teaching, they use OPEN modules start to finish to make sure that they are providing their students with a quality physical education experience.Whatever your needs are, OPEN is definitely worth checking out. Here's how you can get started:

Getting Started With OPEN

  1. Visit OPEN website at
  2. In the main navigation go to "Login For Free" and select "Sign Up Now" from the dropdown options.
  3. Fill in the required information to create your account (this takes about 2 minutes).
  4. You're all done! Check out the "Curriculum Resources" to access any module you're interested in!

I hope this blog post helps point some of you in the right direction. If you already use OPEN, I'd love to hear about your experience with it in the comments below.Thanks for reading and happy teaching!Just a quick disclaimer: I'm a member of the OPEN Development Council and I sit on the US Games Advisory Board. Neither of those titles are paid positions, I'm just there as a volunteer trying to help out. I was also not asked to write this post, paid to write it, or felt any external need to write it. I'm just a huge fan of Aaron Hart (the man behind OPEN) and find myself constantly being inspired by the work he does and the type of leader he is. Also, OPEN simply kicks ass. If you take a second to check it out, you'll see that the proof is in the pudding.

Joey Feith
Joey Feith is a physical education teacher based out of Nova Scotia and the founder of
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