🛹 Earlier this spring, I got to check one of my goals off of my teaching bucket list. For years, I've dreamed of teaching a skateboarding unit as part of my physical education program. Well, after several twists and turns, I finally managed to make that dream come true! In this episode, I'll walk you through the process I used to design and deliver a meaningful series of skateboarding lessons that empowered the middle school students at our local school to turn our town's skatepark into their own personal playground!
00:00 - Introduction
05:40 - The SK8TOWN initiative
17:30 - Skateboarding at KCA
19:44 - Skateboarding Career Levels Poster
22:01 - Skateboarding Learning Roadmap
23:50 - Lesson One: Bailing
31:51 - Lesson Two: Riding
36:03 - Lesson Three: Challenge
38:23 - Lesson Four: Skatepark
41:06 - Final Reflection
49:15 - 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. All right, let's do this
Joey Feith 0:08
Hi, everyone, I'm Joey Feith, and I'm the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. You're listening to The #PhysEd Show: 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.
Joey Feith 0:43
I hope you're doing good and feeling great as we wrap up a new school year. While at least here in North America, I know that my friends in Australia probably feel differently about it. In today's episode, I want to walk you through a middle school skateboarding unit that I designed and co-taught at my local school here in Nova Scotia.
Joey Feith 0:58
But before we get into that, I have two announcements that I want to share with you. first off, after years of putting it off, and months of work, the physical educator.com is being redesigned and relaunched. I'll be taking the site offline throughout the month of June with the intention of having the new version up my early to mid July. Now, June is usually a pretty quiet month for the site. So I figured this was the best time to get this work done. That said, I will continue to share content and resources through my newsletter. So be sure to check out the link in the show notes to make sure that you're subscribed to that so that you don't miss out on anything I'm sharing while the site's down. The second thing I want to tell you about is phys ed u which is the physical educator dot coms professional growth community. Now listen, teaching PE can be lonely and trying to grow your capacity for designing and delivering effective physical education experiences is no easy task. I launched visit you with the intention of creating a space in which physical educators can engage in open and honest professional conversations, ask vulnerable questions, and share experiences from their teaching without having to worry about whether or not others were going to judge them for it. Visit new members get to participate in exclusive workshops, access high quality professional content and discover innovative resources that can help them take their teaching to the next level. All of this is complemented by an incredible community of passionate educators that you can engage with 24/7. Regardless if you're on your computer, on your desktop platform, or on the go through the platform's mobile app. If you want to learn more, check out the physical edge care.com/membership. Again, that's thephysicaleducator.com/membership. All right, let's dive into today's episode.
Joey Feith 2:44
So for most of my career, I had this dream of teaching skateboarding as part of my physical education program. When I was a kid, I grew up skateboarding, I skateboard throughout most of my teenage years, I wasn't ever very good at it. But I love to do it. And I love the opportunities that created for me to be able to hang out at the skate park, meet new people and challenge myself to do stuff that honestly I thought was really cool. Now, when I got into teaching, I quickly realized that there's a lot of kids that were referred to as those like, in between kids, they like to be active, but they don't necessarily have that sport that really calls to them. And you know, they don't fall into that kind of like popular jock kind of category, either. There are kids that could maybe benefit from finding that thing that's going to really help them click, but also something that's going to bring them a little bit of extra like social oomph. And to me skateboarding does exactly that. Because not only is it cool to watch, and it looks pretty hardcore, but you look pretty badass when you bring your skateboard to school. And people are like, well, you're skating. Okay, that seems really cool. So, when I first got to my previous school, and I pitched this idea of teaching, skateboarding, I was met with a little bit of resistance in terms of, we have to make sure that you know, we have the right insurance for this, and we're not gonna be held liable if there's an accident. And that kind of delayed the program. And then finally, when I was ready to get everything up and going, I was like, Okay, this is the year we're going to do it. We're going to do it in spring. And this was in the fall of 2019. And then there just proceeded to not be a spring for a couple of years because of a global pandemic, if you remember. Now when I left teaching in the fall of 2020 Later on that year, we moved to Nova Scotia. I live in a beautiful town here called Kentville, Nova Scotia, which is in the heart of the Annapolis Valley. And one of the things that drove us to this town because we couldn't visit here during the pandemic because you have to quarantine for 14 days, was the fact that can fill has an amazing Parks and Recreation Department. I'm talking world class innovation focused on accessibility and innovative programs that make sure that everybody feels included and finds that things that helps them click. Now another cool feature about Kentville is that we have have an incredible skatepark I'm talking this skate park, punches way above its weight. And it's located right in front of our local school, which is Kings County Academy, or KCA. So when I started trying to figure out what I was going to do here when we moved here, you know, I was working on the website, I didn't have my teaching license yet I wasn't able to sub. So I started looking into okay, how can I start bringing some of my experience of physical education and my passion for physical education, to community rec and see how I can maybe connect with youth and continue to to help kids get the most out of life in a public recreation kind of role.
Joey Feith 5:40
Now, after a couple partnerships with the public recreation or Parks and Recreation Department last year, including some family phys ed events and some birding events that I host at the marsh, I started to really think about, okay, how can I bring a skateboarding initiative to our town, and that's when I came up with the skate Town program. Now, just so you know, Kentville's nickname is K town. So SK8TOWN, s k, eight, T. O wn. I thought it was a genius name, okay, I'm not gonna lie, it was very proud of that name. And I remain proud of that name. What skate town was going to be when I started putting this together, the idea was to create a community club that was going to serve the youth here in our town. And the mission of this club, would be to provide youth with a space where they feel that they can belong, where they feel like they can grow their skills, both on and off the board, and experience servant leadership within their community. The idea was to pair everything I knew about youth development, character, education, social emotional learning, and teaching personal social responsibility into a program that was going to help the youth here in town really discover themselves and grow as people through this fun and awesome skateboarding community group.
Joey Feith 6:57
So SK8TOWN was built, built around eight core values. And the idea was that everything that we're going to do in the program was going to focus on these values. So the values were community. So being able to look out for each other, support one another, and make sure that everybody feels that they belong, access. So making sure that everybody is able to experience skateboarding and the community that surrounds it. So making sure that if there's any barriers in people's way to being able to participate, let's say, access to boards, or helmets or pads or whatever, those barriers been removed, so they could just focus on connecting with others. The next value is respect. So no matter where a skater is, or or, or how they feel about skateboarding, they deserve to be respected. Right. And to understand that respect is a two way street and to never tolerate disrespect, both at our park and but also in life. The fourth value is growth. So knowing that growth isn't necessarily easy, but that doesn't stop us from remaining focused on it all times. So every bill, every faceplant, every frustrating session is all part of the process of becoming the skater that we want to be. The next one was grit. So learning how to never give up and not only on themselves, but don't give up on each other, to be able to put in the work and to learn how pick ourselves up when we bail. And to know that nothing will make you stronger than picking others up along the way.
Joey Feith 8:27
Now you number six was leadership. So knowing that with in a community in order for that community to thrive, everybody needs to step up. leaders aren't people who are born, you're not born a leader, you're forged through practice and experience. And I wanted to get our members to actively seek out opportunities to help others contribute to making the community stronger, and pay kindness forward. The seventh value was excellence. So being able to take the excellence that we strive for out the park and apply to all aspects of our life. So understand that excellence is not the same as perfection. It's a focus on being the best version of who you are, and not trying to meet some make believe impossible standards, but rather just keep shooting for the moon as you continue to grow as a person. And then finally the eighth, eighth value was stoke. So just remember that skateboard should be fun. And people should leave the park feeling super stoked after every session, even if you skated terribly that day. So making sure that everybody feels amped up is a community responsibility and understanding that by supporting one another and encouraging each other and cheering each other through those tough moments. That's going to lead to all of us feeling stoked when we leave the park. Now, what I wanted to make sure we did through SK8TOWN is I want to bring together different community stakeholders to form partnerships. And obviously at the heart of all this was the actual chemical youth right? So I wanted the community group to be something that was going to empower youth so that they felt like this wasn't a program that was happening to them but somebody that they were going to help build and to intentionally design the programs so that we eventually transfer the ownership away from its founders and people who started like myself and other stakeholders, and really put it in the hands of us so that they can continue it, and grow it in sustainable ways over the years. Now outside of youth, obviously, myself, okay, working through the physical educator comm and creating this program, but also wants to pair up with I got skate, which is our local skate shop here and make sure that, you know, we're tapping into the knowledge that the owners have there, and the community that surrounds that skate shop, so that students recognize that, you know, like, your local skate shop is an important part of the skate culture where you live, and to be able to celebrate that and recognize that is important. And then obviously, the other stakeholders as well as making sure that our Parks and Recreation Department was involved, so that we're helping them reach their goals. And then as well, the town of Kentville, to ensure that, you know, everything we're doing through skate town, was ultimately going to represent our town well, and just give our towns one more thing to be able to celebrate. So what I want to do as well with the the program was to try and gamify it a bit. So the idea was built around the, you know, as students are growing, they can achieve or unlock different levels. And these four levels, had each had their own set of goals. And these goals fell into three categories, skill based goals, engagement goals, and leadership goals. So I said those four levels, so the four levels were level one is your Grom level. So this is being able to land level two tricks. I'll talk about the trick levels later on and land dynamic level one tricks, but also be able to participate or participating three weekly sessions as an engagement goal. Participating in a demo day, we'll talk about that later on as an engagement goal, and contribute to our huddle conversation. So those are kind of like our recap conversations at the end of the session to talk about how we've learned and what we can take away from that session and play elsewhere in our life. Level two is a skater level. So again, this looks at being able to, to achieve different tricks, okay, so unlock different tricks that you're able to do, and be able to land a beginner combo at Demo Day, but also participating three demo days participating in skate competition, and then in leadership goals, being able to find a friend that you can bring to a weekly session and help organize a demo day. Level three was the threshold level. So again, unlocking different skills, but in terms of the engagement goals, so being trying your best to podium or podium, reaching the podium, landscape calm and participating in the full season. So that means every weekly session, and a demo day throughout a summer. And then in terms of leadership goals, being able to lead a weekly session and to help organize the skate camp. And then finally, the legend level was being able to land an advanced camo a demo day. Join the Organising Committee, as part of the engagement goals judge at a skate competition is another one, create one new skate ton initiative. So being able to grow the community and your own personal way, and lead a school session. So be able to go into KCA to help lead the school sessions and teach at this gate cap. So again, these goals were kind of targets that I want to set for the students. But as you can tell, there's a progression there that helps students grow not only from a skills level, and obviously go deeper into the way that they're engaged in the community. Also grow their leadership skills by put by kind of scaffolding what leadership looks like, and putting them in more and more challenging situations or putting more responsibility on their shoulders, so that they can step up and help grow the help themselves grow as leaders and help grow the community in positive ways. So I talked a little bit about weekly sessions and demo day. So the community group was going to be built around for different types of events. So obviously, we have a weekly session, that happens once per week, at a weekly session, you know, there's free equipment rentals. So if people don't have boards, they can show up and be able to access boards, have some music going, have a supervisor there with first aid, and also have those huddle conversations that involve that kind of mentorship, debriefing and meaning making at the end of each session. Now, I talked about demo days early on demo days happen once a month, and they're like a weekly session, except this is a day where you have the opportunity to level up. So as organized with members and out a demo day, you have to be able to land the tricks that you said that you've been working on all month in order to try to unlock your next skater level. So that was like the day that you're kind of working towards. So it's kind of like a short term goal. Once a month where you can go in try and learn these tricks so that you can try and work on to unlocking the net or reaching the next level up. I want to host two skate competitions per year one in the fall one at the start of the year. Hammer. And again, the reason for this was to create like a really authentic environment for students to be able to celebrate their their skateboarding skills and set a challenge that was within their region and create something that's, that's a pretty big part of skate culture. But also to create something that would require multiple members to be involved with, and and coordinate with. So putting youth in charge of helping organize a skate competition. And obviously, being able to provide prizes, and seventh, just raise the awareness of what's happening in skateboarding within our community. And then finally, once a year, we want to organize a skate camp. So where, again, this is really about that servant leadership role, or focus, where we would have members who are at the the furthest end of the spectrum until in terms of skill and leadership, teach lessons at the skate camp, and welcome younger skaters into the community. And help them feel great and help them feel welcome and help them understand the culture that we're trying to build within skate town. And, and bring it all to life. So I was really passionate about skate town, as you can probably tell, and I put a lot of work into this thing. I was really excited about it. And that's why I was pretty bummed when it never happened. And honestly, it never happened, I got the timing wrong, I got the timing wrong, it was looking back, what I could have done is start a little smaller, and then build from there. But in my typical fashion, I kind of went in guns and blazing, tried to go bigger go home. And it just involves so many moving pieces that it was just a tough time to make everything come together. That said I was pretty bummed about it. But when you pour your heart into something like this, even if it doesn't work out, that's, that's never time that's wasted, because you still learn, right, and you still have all this work now that you can use to build upon and start gaining early wins with whatever you're focused on. Next. It's like when you when you sit down to write a research paper, if you sit down without having done any research before, and uh, you know, you're just staring at a blank page, it can be a really heavy lift to get going. But if you have a ton of notes prepared, if you've done all your readings, it's so much easier to work from there.
Joey Feith 17:30
And I'm really grateful because a situation presented itself to me, that allowed me to take what I already started building for skate town, and transfer it into a brand new focus where I was able to make it all come together. So that situation was one day, John Bustin who's one of the shout out to John. John, I don't know if you actually listen to the podcast, but I'm giving a shout out here. John Bustin is one of the phys ed teachers at Kings County Academy KCA, which is a school here in in Kentville, and he reached out to me because John talk to schools KCA, another school called Cambridge School. and I both schools had access to skateboards. And these were skateboards that were purchased through a grant years before before he arrived at those schools.
Joey Feith 18:22
And they just kind of sat in the equipment room because John himself didn't know how skateboard. Nobody else at the school was, was leaving any skateboard programs. So just kind of sitting there. So he asked me if I'd be interested to come into his middle school phys ed lessons, and teach some skateboarding and listen at this point, like, I was in the process of trying to get my teacher certification. And because I had such an itch to teach again, okay, I missed being in the gym, I miss being with students. So somebody's gonna ring me up and be like, Hey, do you want to come teach PE and do something freakin awesome with them? I'm not going to say no to that.
Joey Feith 18:54
Okay, so I got very, very fired up. And I was super pumped to get going. And I started right away to plan this curriculum. So John told me Well, what we agreed upon was that I'd be able to go in every Monday for four Mondays in a row. And what he was going to do is he was going to shift his schedule around so that he would not have any of his regular spares, so that we could fit as many of his classes in as possible. So we were able to fit 10 middle school classes into those Monday. So it was 10 lessons, 30 minute lessons back to back to back to back. Which by the way, 30 minute lessons are wild, okay. Remember that? When I was at St. George's, I had 75 minute blocks, which is a lot compared to 30 minutes. But it was really fun to be able to kind of grapple with that problem of like, okay, how do you teach a super effective lesson 30 minutes, and I was able to have a blast doing that.
Joey Feith 19:44
So the first thing I want to do is kind of figure out okay, like, what do I actually have to teach these kids? What am I going to be focused on? So I pulled on those skater levels that I had focused on and when I was putting skates on together, and I created this poster called the career mode levels and this is one 100% Inspired by Tony Hawk Pro Skater, but basically here it was four levels. So it was the skate Foundation's level which would be really the main part of the curriculum for these, these these four lessons, and then skater level threshold level and legend level. And at this scale skate foundations level, we had six key targets that we're going to focus on. So the targets were I can correctly identify the different parts of a skateboard, I can fall in a safe and intentional manner, I can push and glide in a straight line with balance for at least 15 meters will be able to ride your board for 15 meters, I can tic tac and afford direction while moving around obstacles. I can perform a basic toeside turn and I can perform a basic hillside turn. And I'm going to post all of these these visuals and everything in the newsletter that's going to serve as a show notes for this episode. And then the skater level Thrasher Level Level Angel legend level each have three skills that students could try to focus on once they've shown that they've reached all the skate foundation targets. So skater levels was like the skills were being able to learn a body variable being to a hippie jump over a bar, and land the bunny hop at the threshold level, which none of the students worked on threshold level or legend level skills. But threshold level was being able to manual for at least three meters, land and all the while in motion and land the shovel while in motion. And at the legend level, it was be able to land the front side one at a backside 180 and land a half cap. And what I did is on the poster, I added QR codes underneath each of these skills to videos that I found on YouTube of demonstrations on how to like break down these skills and perform them. So tutorial videos that the students could use. And when I was talking to town about it, we had this idea of and we're I'm hoping this still happens but blowing this poster up and putting it at the skate park so that a lot of the kids who want to go and continue to work on these levels could go ahead and do that. So that was kind of like the extent of the skills that we're going to be working on.
Joey Feith 22:01
And then I what I wanted to do next was to create a learning roadmap, which is the student friendly qualitative rubrics that I create my teaching to guide my students learning. And this was going to be the first time that I was going to create a learning roadmap not around the shape America outcomes. But around Nova Scotia is learning outcomes for physical education, which are a bit of a mess. I'm not a huge fan of them. But I've rewritten them and presented them differently so that they're a little bit more teacher friendly. And the two outcomes that we're going to focus on. The first outcome is being able to self direct your learning and progress. And the indicator there was there was mainly focused on understanding and valuing the role of practice and persistence when trying to learn new skill, and then the other outcome, we're going to focus on what had to do with confidently engaging in a variety of active pursuits. And the indicator there was developing and applying a variety of skills necessary for engaging in forms of active transportation. So I figured skateboarding kind of fell within that realm. Specifically, though, for the roadmap, the indicators that built around so I translate those those Nova Scotia outcomes into, I can ride a skateboard with confidence, and I can teach myself a new skateboarding skill. And the indicators for riding with confidence were, I can write a skateboard outside while navigating around obstacles. I know the cues for riding a skateboard both in a straight line and while turning, and I understand how to prevent injuries when riding a skateboard. And then on the teaching yourself and your skateboarding skill, the indicators where I can perform a basic skateboarding skill that I choose to practice. I know a few, three to four skateboarding skills that are appropriate for my skill level. And I understand the role that practice and persistence play in learning new skateboarding skills.
Joey Feith 23:50
So with kind of the skate foundations mapped out with this learning roadmap mapped out, I went in, and I started planning our lessons. And like I said, I planted four lessons. And the ultimate goal for these lessons was to help kids feel comfortable skating at the skate park, because like I said, we have this beautiful skate park. It's right across the street from the school. And I really wanted students to be able to feel it, they could take advantage of it and have fun with it on a daily basis. So each lesson basically had its own theme. And I built the lesson around that theme with the first one being all about bailing, okay, how to fall safely and kind of intentionally when you have to get off your board as quickly as possible. And the reason I want to focus on this first was I knew that a lot of kids were going to be really nervous about skateboarding. And they were they were super apprehensive a lot of them some of them were like, just wild about okay, they want to go right in and they were pumped and they just want to get skating right away and regardless of where they were in their, their competence level of They're just going for it, which was a little terrifying for for myself and John, at first, but we got used to it. But the other, the other group of students, they're, they're really nervous, you know. So I want to make sure that we were making falling as as safe but also as fun as possible. So I want my students to leave this first lesson with knowing what baling means, which means getting off your skateboard, either intentionally or unintentionally. So, our turn ends, knowing three types of bales or run out where you run off your board. Okay, if you're rolling, if you're writing and you need to go off the board fast, you can run out, a roll out. So if you were to fall forwards, learning how to maintain a roll, so that your momentum is going forwards and not straight into the ground, where you're going to absorb all that energy into your body, and it's going to be painful, I told the students falling doesn't hurt, what hurts is going from moving very fast to suddenly stopping, that's what hurts. So if you're able to keep moving, you're able to, to limit some of that, that pain and some of that, that energy that would be hitting right into your body. And the third bell were slide outs when you're falling backwards, okay, being able to make sure that you're kind of pushing back as you fall so that you're sliding on your bum. And then I want my students know, the cues to to baling safely. So making sure that you tuck your chin, make sure that you keep your limbs bent and make sure that you keep moving as you fall. So either rolling or sliding. The first lesson also focused on just introducing the skateboard. So being able to know okay, like what parts of the deck, what's the grip tape? What are the bolts, because we're going to be using the bolts a lot to know, you know where to place our feet on the board. And when we're writing and also to identify the nose and the tail, the boards that John had all had white bolts on the nose, so it's easier for the students know. And then finally, I want my students to leave the lesson knowing what stance or where So are they goofy? Are they regular understanding the difference between the two? And, and understanding, okay, this is how I write a board. So we started the lesson off just with like a what, why how, and then I just did a dynamic warmup to get the kids moving. So when we were done, the warm up, I then brought the students in this is where we did a quick discussion on safety and momentum. And I walked the students through, obviously, the first line of defense in keeping yourself safe on skateboarding, which is wearing protective gear. So make sure you have a helmet on. If you have access to pads, it's definitely a good idea to be wearing pads, knee pads, elbow pads, got wrist guards, that's also great. And making sure that you are ready for what is surely going to happen at some point, which is you're gonna bail and know how to do that. And then I gave a demo on how to run out, roll out and slide out. Now, like I said, one thing I want to do is I want to make sure that the students were having fun with bailing that it wasn't something they were terrified of. I want them to fall as often as possible as safely as possible. And to have fun with it. So all I did is I set up a couple lines of mats on one end of the gym, and on the opposite end,
Joey Feith 28:09
I set up a bunch of cones, and then I invited the students to get in line behind the cones. I just put one board at each station, okay, so each kind of relay station, so that the students so that I can make sure the students were comfortable on the boards, okay, so that they weren't kind of goofing around with the boards while people were skating. And then all the students had to do to start was they got to run up to the board to the mat, sorry. And once they got to the map, they had to basically belt they had to throw themselves onto the mat and practice doing a rollout. So trying to kind of roll and keep your momentum going in a forward direction so that you're not absorbing all that energy. And then I took the board that was at each station and I put the boards in Primo, so like just on the on the wheels, okay, so that the boards kind of like like, standing absolutely. You see the top wheels. And then they have to jump over the board and roll out there as well. So the kids are having a blast with this, you know, we had music going, we're having a ton of fun just falling, I'm letting them be goofy with it. Again, I just want to get their jitters out and, and not being nervous about potentially falling on your skateboard. And then from there, what I did was we broke down the two stances. So understanding that goofy sense means you're leading with your right foot, honestly, your right foots on the board and your left foots you're pushing. And then regular stance is the opposite. So leading with your left foot with your left foot on the board and your right foot pushing. And what I asked them to do the cue I asked them is that imagine you're about to slide on a sheet of ice. Okay, so if you're running up, you're gonna decide which foot would you put forward and that's most likely your lead foot. I also show them the whole like sounds your feet together, have somebody push you in your back and whichever foot moves forward first, catch your balance. That's usually your lead foot as well. And then I walked him through the different parts of the board. So the deck so letting them know where the nose and the tail are the grip tape, so I'm helping them understand why there's grip tape on the top of the board. So you got a bit of friction, and you can feel the board underneath your feet. And then the bolts to hold the trucks to the board and using those bolts as cues. So making sure that when you're about to mount your board, all right, you've got your lead foot on the board, you're covering the back two bolts of the four bolts are on the nose of the board, okay, or towards the nose of the board. And you're pulling the board back so that those bolts are right underneath your your hip, and your other foot is obviously on the ground beside you. And then giving yourself a nice big push. Okay, as you get ready to ride, push, and then getting your back foot to cover the back bolts and turning your front foot so that your feet are pointing perpendicular in a perpendicular direction to the direction you're rolling in. So once we kind of got that the students were already set up in their lines. And then it was just question of getting them on the boards and trying to, uh, you know, just push him on the board, maybe give two pushes them on the board, try to ride all the way to the mats. And then as soon as you did feel comfortable doing it right all the way to the mats hit the mat and perform a rollout which some students were able to do. And they had a blast doing it. And that was it. For the first lesson, we did a quick review, what are the three types of bells were the three keys to keeping yourself safe, what who rides goofy who rides regular. And and that was it for lesson number one. Like I said, 30 minute lessons go by so fast. Okay, if you teach 30 minute lessons, you know this. But I think that setting those those learning targets at the start having a very clear idea of what it is that we're going to do just led to the lesson ultimately being really effective, and the students having a ton of fun with it as well.
Joey Feith 31:51
So in our second lesson together, this is where we're going to learn how to like actually ride the board with a focus on being able to perform turns. So what I did is I set up our White House. So again, our what was how to ride a skateboard with confidence, the why was being able to feel comfortable riding your skateboard as a way to experience all the joy that comes with skateboarding. And then the How was being able to ride for 15 meters know how skateboards, trucks work, and be able to perform both a heelside and toeside turn when riding. So with those targets in mind, what I did is I set up the gym so that basically there was two big U shapes around the outside of the gym. And those were going to be our turning practice zones. And then the space inside those U shapes, were going to be the 50 meter practice zone. Because I already saw it last class that there were some students who felt totally comfortable writing already, and they were ready to start practice turning, whereas other students need a little bit more time just to get comfortable on the board. So once we kind of got into into the setup, and all that we reviewed, Okay, where did the safety cues when you're bailing? So understanding that there weren't gonna be math today. And there's a chance you're gonna fall in if you fall, you know what to do, because we practice this. And then students just let a total like, picked up where we left off last time. So if they felt they want to practice to 50 meters, they could go into that, if they were ready for the turns there, they would go into that. So to help them understand how to turn, that's where we talked about the trucks. So being able to understand how, you know, the, when you're looking at the trucks, you've got the axle, obviously, you've got your bushing there. And that's what's going to allow you to get the board to turn and to do so you have to apply pressure to the rails of the board. So you have your toe side rail, which is the side of the board where your toes are, and your heel side rail, which is the side of the board where your heels are, and being able to shift your weight onto either those rails is going to force the trucks to bend, which is going to make the board turn. So once we kind of went over that the students went out, they practice their turning Okay, or if they will need to continue to work on the 15 meters, it could do that. If they want to practice or turning, they wanted to use shapes and kind of way their turn. And this was a really good opportunity to talk to students about you know what it's like waiting for your turn. And when you know that it's your turn to go. Because a lot of times when kids show up to a skate park, they're intimidated by the space. And you know, they might not have that courage to be able to call next and get themselves out and practicing. Okay, they're just gonna let people keep going because of whatever it may be. So I want them to know that like if you're sitting there waiting, and it's your turn to go, you call it you call next you say okay, I got next, and you go for it. Alright, you don't you don't you got to take space sometimes when you're when you're skating. And we also use this as an opportunity to talk to students about what it means to snake so being able to so stealing somebody's turn or cutting in front of somebody in a way that affects their turn. So what I did is on the board like I said, I had the what why how and then underneath that I had four skill, focus options. So ride 50 meters heels, I turned toes I turn and slalom, because eventually I set up a slalom area in the middle. And then as students were focused on a skill, I just asked them to go to the board, write their name underneath the skill that they were they were working on, and then go back out to practice. And if they mastered that skill, want to go focus on another one, they'd write their name. So the goal was to try and get as many names as possible across the board. So that I knew that a lot of students felt comfortable with their turns with their writing, and, and everything like that. And then, towards the end of the lesson, when we were wrapping up, we had a quick conversation just about the idea of persistence and practice in skateboarding, it's obviously can be a super frustrating sport, all right, and you get to experience our frustration on a regular basis. So being able to kind of roll with that frustration and, and push it to the side when needed or use it to challenge yourself is the way to go when you're trying to continue to improve and grow as a skater. So that was the end of lesson two.
Joey Feith 36:03
And that gets us to lesson three. Lesson three was all about choosing your right challenge. So what I did is I created like a mini skate park kind of environment within the gym, I divided the gym into four key areas, one was a turning zone, so kind of like an L shape around the outside of the gym, where students can continue to practice their turning, I kept the 50 meter practice on because some students just want to continue to practice writing, we had a slalom practice zone where I had cones set up. And I also created kind of tunnels, all right, using pool noodles. So the students could and I set them to different levels so that the students could try to carve and go through the tunnel. So just getting comfortable, you know, shifting their body shifting their level and everything while they're riding the board. And then the free skate zone was a place where I set up a couple low bars so students can practice their hippie jumps. So hippy jump is when you're rolling towards a bar or chain. And you jump so that the board passes underneath the bar, and you go over the bar, and then you line back on your board. Now, I was very surprised at how many students have wanted to focus on the hippy jumps. And how well they were able to apply a lot of the cues that we worked on during bailing, because a lot of them were baling pretty hard, actually, when we were working on those hippie jobs.
Joey Feith 37:30
But this again, this idea of like persistence and practice kept coming up. And we had a lot of really great conversations along the way. Now, in the lesson, I was really focused on, obviously supporting all students, but my goal is to make sure that by the end of the lesson, that 15 meter practice zone was empty. And to a degree, the turning practice zone is why I wanted to make sure that the turning zone was was empty, because I knew this was less than three or four and less than four involve taking kids to the actual skate park. So I want them to feel comfortable enough to be able to just ride their board, so that even if they did nothing at the skate park except just kind of like right around, that they still felt that they were able to engage in the place in a meaningful way. So that lesson we again, we talked about sneaking and we talked about persistence. We were I felt that the students were ready for the next lesson.
Joey Feith 38:22
The following week on the being a rain day. So we wound up canceling the lesson pushed it back a week. But that would have been great because when we finally got to our fourth and final lesson, it was beautiful outside, it was like this perfect, perfect day. John and I were outside, we had music going outside the kids walked over from the school, it's literally across the street. And I wrote down a couple different options. So just challenge ideas for them. So every from for like Tic tacking to you know going riding down the dips to just trying to perform a whole loop around the park. Our there are like some quarter pipes at at the at the park as well. So there was a couple of like drop ins that the students could do that they had to show me first that they're able to do a drop in like a small level before they've tried to qualify us. But we did have some students working on that as well or at least trying to go up on the quarter pipe and trying to trying to turn and go back down the skatepark day honestly was one of the most memorable, positive and just lovely days that I've ever experienced in my career as a teacher. It was such an incredible experience to think that these kids who many of which were terrified of being on boards just four or really 330 minute lessons ago suddenly had the confidence that they need to be able to participate at the park and have fun with their friends. The way that they support one another I forgot to mention it earlier, but during lesson three, I taught the students that, you know, like if you see somebody land something for the first time, or if you see somebody Bill hard, you know, you give like a couple of taps, if you're bored, you tap your board, like on the ground, okay? So let them know that you're watching them, you see them, you're cheering them on, and you're there for them. And it was nice to see those kind of moments kind of like organically present themselves at the skate park. I went around, I helped students, but most of all, like I was just trying to take photos and videos, one of my biggest regrets and all this was that I didn't take any photos or videos of the students during our first lessons together, so that they could see how far they were able to come. But it was just an incredible, incredible day, I'm so happy with how it turned out. And I'm just grateful that we were able to provide that to the students and so many of them. Afterwards, were telling me that they were coming out skating on the weekends with their friends, that they were saving up their money to buy a skateboard. It was just an incredible, incredible experience. So those are my four lessons in skateboarding, kind of the breakdown of how this all kind of came together.
Joey Feith 41:06
As I was planning everything, and, and, and kind of putting things together here and reflecting on my experiences, I wrote all of these lessons up on on Phys. Ed, you and I wrote my final reflection there as well, so that I could share that with our community members. Two things kept coming to mind. So the first one was, how are the features of meaningful PE present in these lessons? So those features being challenged personal relevance, motor competence, fun, social interaction, and delight. And seeing how, okay, not only are, are they present, kind of I want to say unintentional, because obviously I was thinking of this as I was planning the lessons, but kind of organic kind of way, trying to think about, alright, what would it look like to try to add value to each one of these features? And how can we go about that? So how can we get this help the students become more aware of the features, planned the lesson, so they put more emphasis on specific features, and just trying to, like, lean into this approach in order to make this as meaningful as possible. And I, and again, I do think that it was a really, really meaningful experience for the students, obviously, was super meaningful experience for John myself. But the fact that there was such a resounding positive response was was really incredible. So that's something that like, I'm like, okay, so I think that a big reason why this unit was such a hit, was the fact that those features were so obviously president in each one of those lessons. And I'd be curious to know what it would look like to to lean into them even heavier in the future. The second thing that kept coming up was, how can we create stronger connections to community and visit so obviously, I've seen, I've seen Hooray, and Andy, Jorge Rodriguez and Andy Vasily, out of their school house in Saudi Arabia do incredible things with community connections in their cycling program. Ty Riddick has an amazing blog, in which he shares all kinds of different ways that he's achieved this. And there's so many other teachers on Twitter were, like me enthusiastic about the meaningful PE approach and and how to bring it to life and physical education. But you know, when we brought the students to the skate park, that for that fourth and final lesson, I told him that the goal here today was for them to take this concrete danger zone of a place, or a which is how a lot of them had perceived and why they never went to it, and leave that little 30 minute lesson, feeling that it had been transformed into their own personal playground, as Scott kretchmer would say. And trying to think about, okay, if we're able to achieve this in like, two hours of instructional time, how can we help students grow additional personal playgrounds in other areas of the school? So I thought that was really interesting. The The other thing that that came up in terms of community connections was that that connection to our local skate shop, so Inigo who is the owner of I got skate as a parent KCA and when I told him what we were doing, and I was sharing him the write ups and everything, he was obviously super pumped, okay, is obviously very passionate about skateboarding. And you know, I was able to say like, there's a lot of kids told me that they're interested in buying Boris, could you offer any kind of discount, and he had this massive discount, like almost 50% off. So instead of like, the boards being like, 120, they were like 69 bucks or something, which is awesome. And just being able to think when when when it comes to creating those kinds of partnerships, so obviously, like partnerships with like, like, commercial businesses can go a long way in terms of trying to find ways of of reducing some of the barriers that In the way of students now, $69 is still a lot of money for a lot of families and a lot of kids, all right. But just to know that, okay, there's, there's ways to, to achieve this together, that we can try and help lower some of the barriers there. And the last part of the community connection was, I'm a proud member of KCS PTA and so the Parent Teacher Association, and as well as the SAIC, the School advisory council. And as I was putting these lessons together, I was sharing some of the resources that I was creating in our PTA groups. So the career mode poster, so families want to use that at home if they want to print it out. So they had a copy the the learning roadmap so they could see what skills were working on. It was really great getting to connect with families through that PTA group, and helping them see the magic that was happening in Phys. Ed, because I shared all the photos and videos I took with their kids as well. And getting them excited about skateboarding as well. I know that right now in town, there's a group who are organizing a skate hers plus a program, which is to get female athletes, female, identify athletes, girls and women interested in skateboarding, get them out skateboarding in an in a in a community group that they feel comfortable in, which I was very excited to hear about. But you know, like to be able to link what we're doing in phys ed class to that skaters program and possibly getting some, some moms and some sisters or whatever it may be to get out and participate in that program.
Joey Feith 46:35
I just thought was really exciting. So just thinking about how can we design other units where we there's a very clear focus on making meaningful connections to organizations within the community. And honestly, I think the launching point for all this was the relationship with the Parks and Recreation Department. Because like I've said, in essays and other places, I really feel like your local parks and recreation department is like the parallel universe to your physical education program. Because of the phys ed program is about helping students live as many adventures as possible. The Parks and Recreation Department is out there creating the context in which those adventures can happen, be at trails, be at skate parks, public pools, whatever it may be. Parks and Rec, obviously, is doing a lot of work there to to make this happen. And oftentimes a lot of the goals that they have, because I applied for two parks and rec jobs. So I was very aware of the roles going on going in, I have a significant overlap with a lot of the goals that we're trying to achieve and visit. So I highly recommend you reaching out to your Parks and Recreation Department to see what they've got going on. And see how you can work together to create these meaningful experiences for your students that ultimately will get them engaging in their community in meaningful ways.
Joey Feith 47:50
So what's next for this? Well, I still dream of SK8TOWN. I think that the enthusiasm that we saw in the skateboarding lessons was incredible. I'm glad that we were able to do it through the school because it gave as many kids as possible an opportunity to participate. You know, a lot of kids that probably would have been like "nah, skateboarding is not for me" brings up for me, probably would have never signed up and never got to experience it. So doing it was that was amazing. But I still I still clinging on to that skate town. I think it's just I love the name so much. But I'm still clinging on to that skate town idea of creating a community group that would focus both on skateboarding and servant leadership, and help create a space where every student feels or every kid feels that they belong. And that they can go on skate. And like I said, I want to continue to learn about making those those meaningful connections to the community. And I'm excited about all of this because I finally got my teacher certification here in Nova Scotia, I've started subbing I've been in the classroom, which was a blast. I've been in phys ed lessons, which has been amazing. Like it just helps me feel like I'm coming alive when I'm teaching. So I'm really grateful for that. So hopefully, my goal is to try and see if I can land a small contract here so I can continue to do the work that I'm doing through ThePhysicalEducator.com by continuing to feel my passion for teaching as well, and create experiences that ultimately are going to help kids get the most out of life.
Joey Feith 49:15
So yeah, that's it for this episode of The #PhysEd Show podcast. If you found value here, here are a few ways that you can share that value of others as well. First, be sure to subscribe to the show on your podcast platform of choice and if possible, leave a review that will help others want to listen in as well. I love reading the reviews for the show and I know that they go a long way in helping other listeners make the decision to add the phys ed show into their weekly podcast rotation. Second, let me know on Twitter what takeaways you got out of today's episode? Is skateboarding something that you feel like you could bring to your PE program? Is there anything that's getting in the way of you doing so? Is there any advice that you want or need? You can hit me up on the physical educator dot coms account which is at phys underscore educator. That's p h, ys To underscore edu CA, T. O R. Once again, I just want to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the time, energy and attention that you committed to this week's episode. I know that everyone has so much on their plate. So trust me that knowing that you're willing to make a little bit of time to listen in means the world to me, everyone, this has been a blast. Okay, I was really excited to be able to share what I was doing in skateboarding in this in this way. Thanks so much for tuning in. Once again, my name is Joey fight from the physical educator.com Thanks for listening and happy teaching.