💪 In this episode, I'm trying something new! Let me walk you through a lesson that I recently designed and delivered at a local middle school. The lesson kicked off the students' fitness unit and focused on helping them explore the health-related components of fitness in a way that did not involve fitness testing or hitting up the fitness centre.
00:00 - Introduction
05:00 - Selecting outcomes for the lesson
06:04 - Lesson Learning Targets
07:51 - Fitness Tag
10:44 - What, Why, How
12:11 - The WHY of fitness education
16:34 - Castlemania
21:58 - Student Reflection & Assessment
25:04 - Post-lesson TMR (two-minute reflection)
29:00 - Conclusion
Joey Feith 0:00
Hey everyone. Before we get into today's episode, I just want to say thank you so much for subscribing to the show, and for sharing with others on social media.
Joey Feith 0:07
All right, let's do this
Joey Feith 0:26
Hey everyone, this is Joey Feith from ThePhysicalEducator.com. And welcome back to the physique Show podcast, a podcast for physical education teachers who care deeply about creating effective, meaningful experiences that ultimately empower their students to get the most out of life. In today's episode, I want to do something a little bit different, I want to walk you through a lesson that I recently designed and delivered to a group of middle school students here at a local school near where I live. But before we get into that, I just want to remind you that the physical educator.com is going to be going offline for the month of June, you may see up for a couple more days here, but it is going to be coming down as I get ready to publish the new version of the website. And as I do that, the site is going to be a little funky, okay, there's going to be a couple of glitches, there's gonna be some problems as expected. But I'm so excited to get the new version of the fiscal tricare.com up, it's been a long process, trying to get it all ready. And I can't wait to have a website that's up that's actually working. And that is just a smooth experience for everyone, including very selfishly myself. Now, that said, if you're not currently subscribed to the #PhysEd newsletter, my weekly newsletter that I send out, please make sure that you go ahead and subscribe to that. Not only will you be able to continue to receive content that I'm putting together to help you continue to grow as a physical educator each and every week, but you'll receive all the updates you need to receive to know when the new version of the website is fully up and ready to rock and roll to subscribe to newsletter just check out the link that I provided you with in the show notes to this episode. Okay, let's get to that middle school phys ed lesson that I planned and delivered.
Joey Feith 2:05
Okay, so a little bit of context here, if you haven't been listening to the show, or reading the newsletter recently, I finally after months of trying to jump through every possible hoop that was thrown my way, got my Quebec teaching license recognized here in my new home province of Nova Scotia, Canada. And because I finally got that, that means that I've been able to sub This is the first time that I've been teaching in schools since I left teaching in the fall of 2020. And I gotta say, I love it, I missed so much being in front of students and getting to connect with students getting to be Mr. Joey once again, and I've been subbing in different schools and in different contexts and environments. But there's no doubt that where I feel most at home, and where I feel most excited to be, is back in the gym, working with students as their substitute physical education teacher.
Joey Feith 2:55
Now, for the teachers listening, whenever I get an opportunity to sub for a PE teacher here, where we live, I try to make it very clear that, you know, I don't want those teachers going through the stress of having to write a lesson plan. I always say just give me a theme. Tell me what it is that your students are learning, and all plan the lesson. I'm a curriculum dork. Okay, this is what I love doing. So I want to make sure that, you know, I'm able to continue practicing my skills in terms of being able to design and deliver effective physical education lessons. And one of the fun challenges or constraints, I guess, that I've been able to grapple with lately, as I go about teaching PE in Nova Scotia, is that a lot of the schools where I'm teaching physical education, their lessons are only 30 minutes long. And this is a stark difference from the 75 minute lessons that I had when I was teaching in Montreal. And even when I was in the public system in Montreal, I still had 45 minutes, which is a significant jump up from 30 minutes. Even so, it's been a blast trying to figure out how do I take these best practices and these these teaching tactics that I've developed or throughout the course of my career, and see how I can make them work within a 30 minute lesson. So it's been a fun challenge to play with, like I said, and I got to put that into practice recently, as I was substituting for a local PE teacher here who I've mentioned on the podcast before John bustin, who teaches at Kings County Academy here in the Annapolis Valley. So John was going to have his middle school students, so grades four to eight, begin a fitness unit in PE class. So that was pretty much the information that was provided with I told him not to give me more than that and not to worry about I take it from there. So the first place I looked at was Nova Scotia has curriculum outcomes for physical education, which I'm not a huge fan of. All right, I've got my my thoughts and my opinions on them. And I don't I don't want to I don't want to get too deep into that.
Joey Feith 4:54
But I will say that when I spoke at the TAPHE conference, so TAPHE being the Teachers Association for physical and health educators in Nova Scotia. And I was going to be helping teachers understand how to work with curriculum outcomes. When I started looking at what Nova Scotia is current outcomes are, I saw an opportunity there to try to create something that would make it a little bit easier for teachers to work with them, and also simpler for students to be able to understand them. So what I did is I took the eight or nine outcomes that there are and I created a poster for each outcome. And on that poster, I stated the outcome and student friendly language. And then what Nova Scotia has here is they have outcomes and indicators. And then I created a statement for each one of the indicators underneath the outcome as well to try and make a little bit easier.
Joey Feith 5:48
So that being said, the outcome that I decided to move forward with when planning this lesson was I can take ownership of my health related fitness levels. And the indicator I chose to focus on was I can identify physical activities that contribute to my fitness in a positive way.
Joey Feith 6:04
So based off of that outcome and indicator kind of combo, I designed two learning targets for this 30 minute lesson. One was I can name four of the five health related components of fitness. And the other one was, I can identify activities that emphasize the health related components of fitness. So going into the lesson, what I did is I start off by designing the White House statements for the lesson, which would identify what we're learning to that day. So putting an emphasis on the actual learning in phys ed, why we are learning that so trying to infuse the learning with personal relevance and meaning. And then how will we know we have learned to which sets the clear targets for that lesson? So are what why how statements for this lesson? Where what are we learning? Today? We're learning about the health related components of fitness? Why are we learning that taking ownership of one's fitness helps you get the most out of life? And how will you know we've learned it. And that's where I shared the the two learning targets that we just spoke about. So here's how the lesson kind of ran out, I had two key learning activities that were designed to try and help students get into a place where they were going to be able to explore the health related components of fitness, and have fun in kind of dynamic way. So when the students came into the gym, what they saw right away was hoops scattered out everywhere in the gymnasium. So I KCA when I was teaching the students just arrived to the gym, they're not getting changed for phys ed. And then they just begin their 30 minute lesson when it's done, they head on out and then the next class walks right in so it's it's a pretty fast paced day when you're there teaching and I I'm not gonna lie, I kind of love it, it was it was pretty fun.
Joey Feith 7:51
So when they came in, they saw the hoop scatter out everywhere. And then I invited the students to go Stan and anyone on the hoops. And they were, they were invited to even share a hoop with other people should they choose to do so.
Joey Feith 8:05
And then I explained to them that we're going to start the lesson off by playing a game called fitness tag. So in fitness tag, the goal of the game is to try and score as many points as possible. To score points, you need to move from the hoop you're standing in to another one without getting tight. And if you do get tight, you have to remove yourself from the game, usually by doing a moose antler, which is you hold an open hand up towards your head with your thumb touching your temple. That's the international symbol I use for letting people know that you've already been tagged. And then you have to remove yourself from the game and complete one of the following exercises before moving in, you have a choice between doing 30 jumps off a jump rope because the students had just completed a jump rope unit 20 Jumping jacks, or 10 Push ups. So the students had the choice between the three. And then once you perform that, you can return to the game. So in the game, the tiger would be myself I was gonna start off as a tiger and I can only tag students when they're moving in between hoops when they're in a hoop. They're on base and they're safe. And we started the game just was the one tag. Okay, I how can I say this I baked the builds of the game into the game itself without pausing since I was using this just as an as an instant activity. So I knew I only had like a couple of minutes to play this game because I want to get into the main learning activity for the lesson. So as the game is going on, without pausing, I was adding tags to the game and then also changing rules to make the game more challenging for the students. So the students are playing the rain between the hoops and I'm running around trying to tag them and if they get tired, they're doing their moose antler and moving out and doing their exercises. And then I would grab a couple pool noodles. I was using pool noodles to take the students and are handed out to students. So we got additional tags.
Joey Feith 9:52
We had about four tags at total. And then as the game was going on, I would just quickly lower the music and add a rule to try and make gets more challenging. So, two things that I did here is I would start removing hoops. So there are fewer hoops in the game. I also told the students that one of the changes we made was that you can only be two people per hoop. So you know, like I said earlier, the students were allowed to share hoops. But now if you if you saw hoop that already had two people, you couldn't step into that hoop. And I also said that we would limit the amount of time spent in hoops to five seconds. All of this was super fast paced, but it was a ton of fun. The students had a blast playing all grades had a ton of fun with the activity, and just went through, we went through the activity in a in just having a ton of fun, lots of music, it was a blast.
Joey Feith 10:44
And then once the activity was done, I called everybody in for the what, why how discussion for the day. And like I said, we start off with the what so we're going to be learning about the health related components. So explain to students that they were going to be getting a fitness unit. And in that unit, they were going to be learning about different concepts related to fitness, including the different components and reminded students that what fitness means is being able to do everything that the day throws at you, without ever getting too tired. That was the definition that I developed with my students at my previous school. And that we continue to use throughout the years, and explained that if you were to take fitness, and break it down into smaller pieces, each of those pieces would be different components of fitness, and that there are two main categories of components, skill related components, which affect your ability to perform skills to different degrees of intensity and accuracy. So that includes everything from power, speed, balance, coordination, reaction time, I'm missing one, I'm forgetting off the top of my head, but the those all fall into the skill related components. And then on the health related side, those are the components that have a direct impact on your physical health. So these would be muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular or cardio respiratory endurance, flexibility, and then body composition.
Joey Feith 12:11
Now, when we got to the why, of this lesson, I explained to the students that the reason we were talking about this is because having developing a deeper sense of understanding of fitness and of one's fitness levels, puts you in a place where you're able to take ownership of your fitness to a certain degree. And the reason that's important this is kind of a try to capture the students attention with the statement is that, you know, I don't actually care about the students fitness, I want them to be healthy, I want them to be disease free, and I want them to feel good. But most importantly, I want them to feel powerful in their lives. And we we talked about the fact that, you know, there's a lot of things that happen in your life that can make you feel powerless, things that are outside of your control things that you have no direct influence over. And when you focus on all of those elements that are outside of you're outside of your circle of influence, you can feel you can begin to feel very powerless, you can feel like life is happening to you and you have no you have no real way of taking it by the reins.
Joey Feith 13:25
But by focusing on the things where you actually do have influence where you do have control, you can begin to grow your powerful your power, you can begin to feel more powerful in your life, and your ability to wake up every day. And to choose to do activities that are going to positively contribute to your fitness is a way of you exercising that power and becoming more powerful in your life. I quickly mentioned that there's there's factors that are going to influence your health that you don't have any control over and that that's true. However, choosing to wake up in the morning and doing your 10 Push Ups choosing to take stairs over an escalator, choosing to walk to school when you're able to do so instead of waiting for the bus or whatever it may be. Those are all things that you can do to focus on your own fitness levels, and begin to feel more powerful in life. So that was really the the why of the lesson. And then the learning targets that we had being able to know for the five health related components of fitness, being able to name activities that emphasize the different components of fitness. Those are going to be our learning targets that were going to help us develop those skills, knowledge and understanding that we need in order to ultimately feel powerful in our life.
Joey Feith 14:43
So before we go on to the first activity, I mentioned okay, we're going to look at the health related components. So we're going to talk about four of the five. I said we weren't going to be focusing on body composition. That wasn't something we're going to be getting into today. But when I introduced each of the health-related components, I invited students to do a quick little action to go with it. So the first thing I did is I asked him was like, Okay, everybody put your arms out and give me a double bicep flex and go, who and all the students were.
Joey Feith 15:12
And then I said, muscular strength is the first component health related component fitness. And that's being able to generate a maximum amount of force in one single effort. And then I invited the students to do the same thing, but to repeat it three times who, and they all went, who was great. And I said, muscular endurance is the ability to repeat a force over multiple repetitions, or sustain one for a single long effort. Then I invite the students put their hand on their chest and go bump, a bump bump as they kind of tap their chests. And they all did that bump, a bump, bump, and who said that cardio respiratory endurance is your heart and your lungs ability to work together over a longer period of time to deliver oxygen to your working muscles. And then finally, I had the students reach up to this guy and give it all Yeah, and they all did that. And then I said, flexibility is your ability to move through your full range of motion. The idea here is that what I wanted the students to do is to try and tie the knowledge piece to a physical action. So that later on in the lesson, when we were recalling these health related components, we could perform the action as a clue to help them get into it. So the what why how was done all this was done in the span of maybe five minutes. It sets the tone for learning it gives it it gives the students a target to focus on. And it brings a sense of purpose and intention to what we're about to do.
Joey Feith 16:34
And the next activity that we got into was an activity called castlemania. So castlemania is a health and fitness game that I that I designed for phys ed, and what it entails is that you begin the the activity by dividing the class into two teams, each team is assigned at one half of the gym, there is a central line that divides the two halves, the students cannot cross. And at the end, on the far end of each team's half, we set up a collection of pins and cones and whatever you want to set up to build these castles. And those would serve as your castle towers. Now, for the first build, the first builds were loaders and loaders and launchers. So each team would have to break down into pairs within their team. And for this build, I placed a blue gymnastics mats, about a third away a third of the half. Okay, this is kind of call you about a couple of meters away from the half line, right. And I, the students once they were in their pairs, and they decide who would be the launcher and who would be the loader, the launchers would get onto the blue mats in a setup ready position. And their job would be to launch these these foam balls that I would put into the game in just a second. Now the launchers are repeatedly launching the balls, but how do they get to the ball so that it's up to her loader partner, the loaders job is to run around their half of the gym and collect the ball, okay, bring it to their launch or load their launcher up. And then the launch would be able to throw the ball to try to knock over the pins. The goal of the game is to try and knock over the the other teams entire castle, so knock over all the pins and cones and all that stuff that we had set up.
Joey Feith 18:25
So once the loaders and launchers were ready to go, we would begin the game I put out a ton of foam balls. Okay, I think we had like 20 or 24 balls like in play. And they're going around the loaders are loading up the launchers the launchers are launching the bomb. At this stage of the game, there are no defensive players. So you're not allowed to block a ball out of the air or stop it from hitting a cone, all you're focused on is on the offensive side of trying to knock over the cones on the other side.
Joey Feith 18:55
Every like 30 to 45 seconds, I would call out switch with your partners. And as they switch as they would hear that the loaders would become launchers, the launchers would become loaders. And they just quickly switch with their partner. I would call this out a couple times between within the build so that each player got to play each role, maybe three to four times before the bill was done. So
Joey Feith 19:23
while their students are doing this, and they're there, they're playing this activity. Okay, I'm getting ready for the next round in the game and or the next build of the game. In build two, we would introduce two new roles. So another pairing of roles that would be working together.
Joey Feith 19:41
And in this build, we introduced the blockers and batteries. So within the team, we still have the student pairings that they had earlier, but each team would get to pick two to three pairings that would serve as the blockers and batteries and the way that these roles work were that the blockers would be allowed to block any of the balls that were coming to hit over their team's Castle pins. So they are the only defensive players in the game, they're not allowed to throw the ball do not play any offensive role, their only job is to try and guard those pins. But while a blocker is working their partner, the battery is outside of the playing area, holding a wall squat against the wall. So they're doing their wall squat against the wall, okay, their wall sit against the wall, I'm going around making sure that their thighs are parallel to the floor. All right, and they're they're experiencing that burn as as they're going. So the students are are going around, okay, there. Now we've got these two new builds in it. And again, I'm calling switch up your partners, and the players would switch with their partners quickly as they go through the game. Now there was a third pairing of students, but I only got to this pairing and a couple of lessons. And some of the lessons ran a little long, because of, you know, students showing up a little bit late or whatever it may be or me talking too much, which, again, I'm adjusting to the 30 Minute lessons, but the last pairing involved cannons and chargers. So for this pairing, what I did is on each half of the gym, I put a hoop off to the side near the center line. And that would be the cannon spot. And cannons were players who are allowed to run through their half gather a ball, run through their cannon spot and then try to knock over any pins or targets I would have made up the other teams Castle using an overhand throw. Now again, this this role played in a pairing. So while you had the cannon, you also had the charger on the outside. And while the cannon was doing the rule, the charger player had to do continuously perform jumping jacks until I would call switch of your partner in which case you would switch with their partner. So those were all the roles of castlemania you had the loaders and launchers, the blockers and batteries, and the cannons and chargers.
Joey Feith 21:58
At the end of the activity, I pulled the students into the whiteboard. And on the whiteboard, I created a grid. So think of a spreadsheet. Oh, okay, so a sheet with columns and rows with three columns, one that said health related components of fitness, another that said role, another activity. And then for each row, I added just the first letter of each word that made up each of the health related components of fitness. So for muscular strength, you would see an M and then a big space and then S.
Joey Feith 22:31
And I then asked the students to recall the health related components of fitness. So we saw at the start of class, so then I start off just with like flexing my biceps. And then they're like, oh, muscular strength. So we wrote down muscular strength. And then we continue this until we had all four of the health related components of fitness that we're talking about that day. Again, we weren't talking about body composition. My question for the group was then based off of the different roles that we saw in within castlemania. Which role
Joey Feith 23:03
emphasized each one of these components the most. So for example, for muscular endurance, a lot of the students mentioned that the lodgers the students were performing those situps to launch the ball. They were using that role emphasised muscular endurance. So we wrote down launchers beside muscular endurance. And then we completed this they would say, you know, for flexibility, it was the blockers for muscular strength, it was the canons for cardio respiratory endurance, it was the loaders or the Chargers. So we fill if we fill up this chart, okay, the second column with these roles from the game. And then the last question was, what are activities that you perform in your life that you engage in in your life that specifically emphasize each one of these health related components. And then the students gave examples so for, for example, flexibility of law students mentioned that they dancers law students who compete in dance competitions at the school, and were part of dance troops. For muscular strength. A lot of students mentioned hockey for muscular endurance a lot of students mentioned mountain biking. For cardio respiratory endurance, a lot of students mentioned,
Joey Feith 24:19
running and cycling. So we tried to come up with the list of activities that emphasize each one of the different health related components. Once this is done, we I brought to the students attention that having a deeper understanding of the health related components of fitness and the skill related components of fitness can give you a better idea how you can either train to improve in your activity, or how you can select activities that can help you improve your fitness and the ways that you want to grow. And with that, we wrapped up the lesson I asked the students to give me assign 123 or four just with their fingers based off of how well they felt that they they reached each one of the learning targets.
Joey Feith 25:00
For the day as a quick self reflection, and I sent them on their way.
Joey Feith 25:04
So in conclusion, what I want to share with you here is just my little two minute reflection format that I use to think about my teaching and try to help me continue to grow with each lesson that I teach. The format or the framework involves four key points. So first, a four point rating. So from not at all, kind of mostly, yes, and absolutely, those are the four levels, did my teaching lead to observable learning. And in this situation, I gave myself a three out of four. So mostly Yes, I feel like the students had no issue at all filling out the blank spots on the board during our final reflection.
Joey Feith 25:42
But that said, having that kind of group discussion isn't necessarily letting me know if each individual student got there. So I would have liked to have some kind of assessment tool that could have done a little bit better of reflection, or a little bit better of an assessment at an individual student level. But still, mostly as I felt was good. And spoiler alert when I went back and actually got to teach a second lesson of this unit. Because I got the sub for John again, I was very impressed at how well the students were able to recall the health related components of fitness. So the second part of this framework is a lesson starter, something that went really well in the activity. And I feel that, you know, for a middle school fitness lesson, the two activities we did fitness, tagging, castlemania did a great job at being helping us explore fitness concepts in a fun and dynamic way. As opposed to just like, you know, having the students workout or do fitness testing and whatnot, we were able to really dig into the health related components of fitness in a way that was that was fun and engaging and challenging for the students. And you know, we made a blast. So that was my star. The third part of this Two Minute reflection as a lesson stairs, one thing that I would do to improve this lesson next time that we do,
Joey Feith 26:59
what I those kind of two things, and I already mentioned, one, I wish I'd created just a really short exit ticket, we're same thing as like the chart that we had there.
Joey Feith 27:10
You know, how the students write down the health related components of fitness so that I'm able to assess that learning target that we set, and then maybe
Joey Feith 27:20
provide them with the roles from the games so they could associate each each role to one of the health related components. And then on the other side, have them list activities that they perform outside of school that emphasize each one of those health related a little exit ticket like that could have gone a long way in terms of helping me ensure that there was a lot of learning happening at the individual level. The only thing I didn't like about the lesson is that I didn't like the format of like, you know, providing the learning target at the start of the lesson and then playing the whole lesson and just having a discussion at the end. Usually, I like to bring students attention back to the learning target midway through our a couple different times, but at least midway through throughout the lesson to try and get them to refocus on that learning target. So next time, I would have, you know, between one of the builds, when I was introducing a new pair, I probably would have had students reflect on how those roles were emphasizing the different health related components of fitness. And the last part of this four part framework for this Two Minute reflection is a memorable moment, something that stood out that day when I was teaching. I think that one of the things that stood out for me was first of all, I was so impressed with how engaged the grade eight students were, I was worried that I was great, I was gonna get the most pushback from it was actually the grade that I got the most engagement from. So that was really lovely. And the other thing that stood out, I had nothing to do with the lesson. My son goes to school, and he's in pre primary, and he doesn't have phys ed class. And I had a spare during the day. And I emailed my son's teacher at the start of day and said, hey, when I've spread this time, could you bring your class in and I'll teach a little phys ed lesson. And she was willing to do so. So for the very first time ever, I got to teach my son in physical education, and it was an absolute blast.
Joey Feith 29:00
So that's it for this little lesson walkthrough on this 30 minute Middle School Fitness based lesson that I taught my local school. I hope you enjoyed this format. If this is something that you that you like getting to hear about how I structure lessons, how I plan lessons, let me know because I would love to continue to do more shorter versions of the podcasts like this. I think that if they're helpful to you, they're really fun for me to be able to put together. A couple of things here before I sign off. If you got value out of this podcast episode, please please feel free to share with others. If you have an opportunity to do so. Go ahead and leave a review on the phys ed Show podcast on your your podcasting platform of choice. It goes a long way in helping build trust with others when they know that somebody that they trust really likes the episode that they're listening to or the podcasts or listened to. So I always appreciate that. The other thing is that if you have any questions or anything that you want to that you want to dive deeper into, please let me know on Twitter, you
Joey Feith 30:00
can hit me up on the web sites Twitter account, which is at phys underscore edge care. That's at p hy s, underscore edu c a t o r. So hit me up there as well. And the last thing I want to mention is if you haven't done so already, make sure you subscribe to the show. But most importantly, make sure that you subscribe to The phys ed newsletter. Again, the link is in the show notes takes two seconds to sign up. And then you'll never miss out on any updates or any of the goodies that I love to pack into the weekly newsletter to help you keep thinking and growing as a physical education teacher. Once again, everybody my name is Joey fight from the physical educator.com Thank you so much for listening in to this episode the financial podcast. Keep taking great care of yourself and happy teaching