Distance Learning In PE – School Spotlight

Distance Learning In PE – San Benito Haybalers

Whether you have been a teacher for 1 year, 10 years, or 30 plus, remote learning is probably new to you. Everything that you have developed as a teacher from lesson plans, assignments, and assessments needs to be shifted and done so quickly. 

Brian Decarli, PE Department Chair at San Benito High School in California, was faced with the reality that everything was going to have to be online. 

“In theory, it is easy. You give out work online, students complete it, and they get it back for you to grade.” 

And while in theory it might sound easy, Brian knew that distance learning was going to be a challenge for everyone involved. To have the best chance at success, Brian looked to keep things simple, engaging, and fun. 

Simple – Less Is More

To make the most of a tough situation, Brian knew that less was more. Before the San Benito Physical Education staff scrambled to create hundreds of complex lessons, Brian encouraged the group to consider how much students would be dealing with at home. 

“Most of these kids are at home and probably have to take care of younger siblings while their parents work. And they have all sorts of other subjects piling on work to get done. If we want to help our students in this challenging time, we have to keep things simple and engaging.” 

To keep things simple, Brian decided to turn to an app they had used throughout the school year before COVID-19 changed everything.

Putting PLT4M To Use 

“We had used PLT4M, and I knew it would be the right fit for our entire population of students. We could quickly get over 1900 students set up on the app, and they had access to everything they needed.”

With PLT4M’s Remote Fitness program, San Benito students had everything right at their fingertips via the app. Better yet, all of the teachers were on the same page and not all working in different directions. 

“Everyone quickly got access to PLT4M’s Remote Fitness program. And because every activity has a video, it is simple and clear for students. Everything is modeled visually and explained so we knew every student could feel comfortable while at home without us as teachers there with them. It leveled the playing field for all the different types of learners.” 

Want to see how your school can utilize PLT4M during remote learning and the regular school year? 

Keeping This All Fun 

And while everyone had access to the workouts via PLT4M, it certainly did not guarantee that students would naturally jump into action. To keep it fun and engaging, Brian created ways for teachers and students to all get excited and stay positive together. 

“With PLT4M, we could create leaderboards and have different challenges that students could participate in. We also created some fun weekly awards that will go out to students.”

The awards fit two categories, and both require students to get working out at home. One lets students show a quick clip of them completing a workout out at home, and the other had them show themselves getting active with their family. The winners would get the “Haybaler Award” in honor of the school’s mascot. 

So to help lead the way in both fitness and fun, Brian grabbed his camera and showed himself and his two sons getting in on the action. 

“We have to lead the way here, and so I wanted to show my students that we are all staying active at home. Me and my two boys were squatting in the garage!”

Leading The Way 

Past leading the way for his students, Brian is excited about what opportunities this has presented to lead the way in the larger school itself. 

“We invited our school board and administrators to join the PLT4M app as students so they could see just how much our students had access to. It has been a way for us as the Physical Education department to show just how ahead of this we have been with training programs and educational resources.” 

As many schools and teachers have had to shift their semesters completely, Brian and San Benito Physical Education have shown that you do not have to reinvent the wheel completely. 

“Of course, this is new to everyone, but if we keep it simple and have fun, our students and teachers are going to have a positive experience in these crazy times, and that is what matters most.” 

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