Choice, Options, & Exposure – Middle School PE
Middle School Physical Education has always embraced its role in fostering students’ interest in fitness through various content and curriculum.
At Quimby Oak Middle School in California, home to 1,000 7th and 8th graders, the team of 5 PE teachers embrace a similar mentality. Kerry Ferrari, now in her 21st year of teaching at Quimby Oak, highlights the theme of exposure,
“We want to expose students to a wide variety of exercises, sports, and activities. Hopefully, they grab onto something they love. That way, they can stay fit and active, at the same time as doing something they enjoy.”
With rotating units every 3-4 weeks, the PE department could accomplish its goal of creating choice and options for students. Then Covid came, and many of the options went away.
Covid Comes Crashing Down
When Covid first brought everything to a halt, Quimby Oak looked to put a bandaid on for the two weeks they expected to be out. And like in many places, two weeks quickly turned to two months and longer.
While Youtube and other places had lots of great content to start, it lacked the accountability and structure that the department and school wanted.
Sam Spengler, also in his 21st year at Quimby Oak, felt the piecemeal approach just not working,
“I would find a good workout set up from Youtube or some website, and it was good for a day or two, but then it would end, and I would have to make up a whole new lesson plan.”
With the short term fixes not looking like they could be long term solutions, Quimby Oak set out to do some research.
Kerry found PLT4M in her exploration and brought it to her team with excitement,
“Seeing a resource that was organized, and a library with written instructions and millions of videos that show perfect form….it was a breath of fresh air. It was everything all in one.”
After a few meetings, the team decided that PLT4M would be a good fit for their Middle School PE Department and now had to put a plan into action.
Rolling It Out
With the start of a remote school year this fall, Quimby Oak chose to follow a synchronous teaching and learning model. The typical mixed class of 7th and 8th grade boys and girls now all meet for class via Zoom.
With PLT4M’s Intro To Fitness program, teachers will share their screens, play the lesson videos, and display the instructional notes. Students are tasked with different assignments and exercises they can perform while on the Zoom screen.
And for the teachers at Quimby Oak, the balance of Zoom, PLT4M, and their teaching has been seamless.
Now they can provide high-quality demonstration and instruction via PLT4M, see their students up close in the gallery view of Zoom, and provide feedback when necessary. Kerry sees it as an advantage in many ways,
“It is almost like we are one on one with students. I can spot students struggling and help them to fix and move correctly.”
And as class wraps up for the day, students are encouraged and asked to go into their PLT4M account to log their activity. This helps students get comfortable using technology independently and will track and monitor their progress throughout the semester.
(BELOW IS A SAMPLE INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO OUR INTRO TO FITNESS PROGRAM)
Want to see more of PLT4M’s content and curriculum that middle and high schools are using?
Structure + Choice
And while there were so many unknowns with a remote school year, the structure of PLT4M has been one of the most significant advantages for Quimby Oak.
Sam Spengler, who had first voiced his struggle with the spring’s lack of continuity, now feels in control.
“The lessons build on top of each other. Every day we know what we are going to do, and it builds from the previous lesson. It just makes a big difference in that we can build and grow lesson to lesson.”
Past just the lessons within Fit 101, many teachers are also taking advantage of the other options within PLT4M. For example, Kerry wraps up her Fit 101 lesson and, with the remaining time, taps into the Mastering Mobility program.
And as the school year progresses, there is much more for teachers to unpack within the PLT4M programs and modules!
What Comes Next?
While the options may have changed, the choices and opportunities within PLT4M still exist.
Even though Quimby Oak cannot teach or introduce the sports units right now, they are equipped for whatever the rest of the year throws at them.
“As far as staying fit and having students do everything they can with what they have, PLT4M has been a blessing. It makes it easy for us as teachers!”
Middle School PE will always be about choice, exposure, and options. As PLT4M continues to grow its curriculum and content offerings, middle schools can consider this a valuable resource in their library of tools!