30-Day Challenge - Writing

Day 4 – Phases of Development

eLearning has derailed our usual curriculum.  I am so grateful that our school is working with us on this.  I would be doing more banging of my head against a wall, if we were trying to carry on with usual units and assessment and just trying to do it all remotely.  

We are not remote educational experts, but we are doing our very best to try and provide meaningful Physical Education and Health opportunities.  This has lead us in a series of steps or phases as I see it:

Phase 1: Panic, then a full-on grab for resources.   Look them up, search them out, plead, steal, ask and stash away.  I wish that we had spent more time thinking more about how we might start eLearning but we were off out the gate so quickly and probably could have done a much better job of slowly putting content out and doing more checking of systems, support and communication.  

Phase 2:  How on Earth will we teach PE online?  What were we doing when all this began?  Should we continue on or completely change up? Fitness.  We’ll all do some Fitness stuff.  Once the students started sharing that it was an avalanche of content and not enough time (from the MS as a whole, not specifically PE) we paired back, then we paired back some more.  Fitness was the first push out and then we went with Health content plus Choice menu of games, challenges, wellness and meditation options for students to take what worked for them.

Phase 3: Unit Re-building.  We took units that had worked for us and rebuilt them to be eLearning possible.  This included Health, Dance and our Fit and Well Unit – it has been really free-ing to be able to try new things that will work both in Zoom sessions but more commonly asynchronous and to really consider what the focus of the learning, thinking and doing could look like beyond what we see in our usual classrooms.  

Phase 4: Report Writing – this has been my least favourite activity but also one that has allowed me to reach out to students and colleagues to talk more about students and our concerns and really switched on students – they aren’t at all the ones that were in these places when we were in person at school.  I have found report writing hard, and it is one space that we need to do more conversation as we head towards our final academic report to families – this is important as we develop more Units and how to collect evidence and connect with students to try and offer them everything we can so they can be accountable but also the best chance to be successful in the space they are in right now. 

Phase 5: New Unit building.  I have really loved talking with mentors about a New Unit opportunity – Passion or Challenge unit that allows students to undertake something for themselves that is Movement focused and will require them to have a plan for how they intend to improve in that or learn it over the 30 days.  I am super excited about this.

And this leads me to the picture at the top and the article that it has been come from (I have read the abstract and the interpretation in the diagram, and that was enough to pique my thinking). Adolph and Hock have studied Motor development for infants, but I feel that this abstract could just as easily sum up Motor development and refinement for all of us – I am hopeful that my students (possibly through the lens of this time at home or in a Movement focused 30-Day challenge) will see that to grow a new skill or Movement (ex. to learn to do a handstand, or juggle 3-balls or skateboard) that they will need to work with all four:

Development of any motor skill and movement is embodied – they will need knowledge of what they can do and be able to discern what is safe and what safe-risks they can take.  When refining we need support, and we need to know which part of our movement is not accurate and we must practice and play around to feel it out and put it to muscle memory.   If they are injured or physically unable to move in a certain way, we will need to come up with other forms of movement to ensure they can still move and build self-confidence in and through movement.

Movement is contextual to its environment.  The environment here will be so different for all of my students as they are spread out all over our World – different seasons and surroundings.  They will have to work within their families context and rules.  But I am excited that maybe after 30-days they will come away with new movements in new environments to share and then build on as they take things to a new functional level!

Motor development has sub-culture – Krechmar talks about this a lot – it is something I hope to write more about this week too.  The culture of Movement can include its origins or history and the way that we talk about it.  It can be the evolution of what it has looked like over time and how it has come to be where it is now (as we learn more about it, as more people get involved and do it, and how rules or norms change and the movement evolves too).  Movement is enriched by the time we spend with it both on our own and with others.    

As we ‘do’ more we can then ‘do’ more – and as we grow and learn from that experience, we are allowing ourselves to grow as confident movers.  I love the idea that as my students take steps to try new skills or refine movement patterns, they will have to engage in thinking and exploring the way they will refine or learn something and question their abilities, practice, method and success in it.  I also hope that they will learn from the failures they experience and find others to talk this through within their journey.

There are many phases to learning or refining things – from the Panic (how are we going to do this?) to the Planning and Evaluating and ultimately coming away with something New.   What an amazing life we get to lead.  

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