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Staying active during the school year

As the weather turns colder students and staff are making the transition from having gym classes outdoors to indoors. With each changing season comes a different set of activities and skills to learn.

Callyn Roberts, physical education (PE) teacher at Washington High School said she has a curriculum she tries to use for every term, but it has too much material to get through in one year. She said the staff are currently trying to figure out the best way to divide the activities up and group them together to ensure everything gets covered.

Students are required to take a PE class for at least one quarter of the year. She said many students take it as an elective and therefor many are repeat students.

A flowchart is presented to the students during scheduling to allow them the choice to pick which class they would like to attend. She said freshman and sophomores are lumped together and take a basic course.

She said the curriculum has the games divided into categories such as net and wall games, invasion games and striking and fielding. She said each unit has multiple games that are taught to students to help get them moving and trying new things.

“We want to give them a broad range of activities so they can find what they like doing,” she said.

Janet Conrad, a PE teacher at Stewart Elementary in Washington, said there is no curriculum for the Kindergarten through second-graders she teaches. Instead, she finds resources online that alight win the SHAPE National PE standards.

“When we have to be inside for PE, I begin with a warm up involving 12 exercises with cardio, strength, and flexibility movements. I try to do games with coordination, teamwork, following directions and teach skills for units such as basketball, tumbling, rackets and yoga. Kids enjoy relays and fast paces activities inside to run off as much energy as possible,” she said in an email.

Conrad said the students are assessed on their skills while they are involved in the activity. She said this allows her to see if the students can perform the skills naturally.

At the high school, students are graded on a fitness test at the end of every term. Roberts said she also utilizes this time to talk about the body, how it functions and preventive health care. She said the health classes cover this, too, but she feels it’s important to hit home with students why getting healthy young is important.

Conrad said she too tries to implement talk of healthy habits during class, but mainly focuses on making sure the students have as much exercise as possible during the 30 minutes they are in her class twice a week.

Roberts said her high school students have paper tests they are given at the end of every unit. She said the department is currently working to create a rubric for the skills they are tested on, not just the knowledge.

She said the grade is currently based on effort, not skill, but would like to see that change. Staff will be cognizant of students who are less athletic than others, she said, but through this change they will be able to keep better track of how they are improving.

Sophomores are able to elect for unified PE, a class that gets students involved with helping the special needs students during class. She said the class allows for students to develop a one-on-one relationship with fellow classmates and positive development happens from both.

Junior and seniors can elect to take strength and conditioning class, geared toward weight lifting, team sports, geared toward competitive games or lifetime activities. She said the lifetime activities class is geared toward students who are less competitive in nature and just want to exercise. She said the workouts range from yoga and Pilates to heavy cardio.

“I see a lot of kids that are not super competitive and they’re not super skilled in the different games so they don’t like being in classes with the super athletic competitive people,” she said.