Hybrid Wellness – Challenge Accepted

Hybrid Wellness – Challenge Accepted

Students are consumed by screen time throughout their entire day. Whether they are remote or in school part of the week through a hybrid model, students now spend a large portion of their schooling in front of a screen. 

Now more than ever, fitness driven Physical Education is essential to our student’s lives.  Students need to get up and move but should be able to do so effectively and safely. Right now, we have an opportunity to educate and empower students to stay physically active.

And while that sounds simple enough, Physical Education is also facing the same challenges other subjects face within a hybrid setting. 

The Challenge 

At Canton High School, we are operating in a hybrid model that allows us to see half of our students in person two days a week, while the others are at home logged in remotely. On Wednesday, everyone is remote. Then the students switch for the other two days, allowing everyone the chance to be in-person and remote for some portion of the week. 

In our wellness department, we spent a great deal of time discussing how we could mold our curriculum and content to ensure students in-person and at home had the same opportunities. We wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to move away from their screens, get up, and be active. 

We had to recognize that most students at home would not have access to any form of fitness or weight equipment. And for those at school, we had to consider the immense amount of safety and health precautions we would have to take with the equipment and space we would use. 

The Answer

The use of PLT4M to help facilitate our Physical Education while students learn remotely and in-person has proven more valuable than gold this school year. Regardless of the day and setting, we can provide students with a high-quality resource to engage in physical activity. 

In previous years, we had predominantly used PLT4M within our Personal Wellness class (read more about that class here). And in our other courses, we had many offerings ranging from team sports, recreational games, yoga, Zumba, and much more.

For this unique year, we decided to utilize PLT4M in every class in at least some capacity. In our Personal Wellness offering and our other robust class offerings, we knew that facilitating movement and exercise was more important than ever. Our students needed to stay physically active, and it was our goal to help empower that. 

Personal Wellness In Action 

Our sophomore personal wellness class has always been structured to set students up with a foundation of fitness. We have roughly 25 students in each class, now with half of the group in class and half at home. 

For the roughly 12 students in person, they now come to our gymnasium and have their own dedicated fitness station. Previously we had been in our fitness center, but to create enough space and separation of students, we took equipment and moved it into our gymnasium. Each station has a cardio machine, jump rope, medicine ball, PVC pipe, dumbbells, light lifting bar, and foam roller. Students are still required to wear their masks throughout the class and have access to cleaning supplies to wipe down and disinfect any equipment they touch and use during a session. 

From here, depending on the student, they can tap into the PLT4M app and perform either the Fit101 or Fit102 program (This depends on experience and progression. See more on this from my first article). When needed, they can grab the equipment that the programs suggest. The app guides students through a workout while the teacher can move about the gymnasium and give students more tailored feedback and instruction. 

Our students at home are not to be cut short or left out because of their lack of access to equipment. These students are still required to log-in and be present for the same Personal Wellness class, but remotely. 

For these students at home, we like to give them some choice. They must either complete a Nutrition 101 assignment (cognitive) or get up and move via a Fitness Anywhere program (activity). We still can achieve all our goals of Personal Wellness with this hybrid model, as nutrition and autonomy have always been key components to the class. 

When students are completing their work at home, they can unmute themselves at any point and ask the teacher questions.  The teacher carries a tablet around the gymnasium to seamlessly keep one eye on the remote students and one eye on the in-person students. 

From here, the students switch to either being in-person or remote depending on their cohort, but the continuity PLT4M allows is tremendous. No matter where the students are, they still have access to the same instructional videos, notes, and resources that PLT4M has assembled throughout the programs. 

Check out how PLT4M can help you take on the challenges of Physical Education.

Other Wellness Classes 

Past our sophomore Personal Wellness class, PLT4M has been a critical component of our hybrid learning in other courses. 

When students are in school, our different wellness classes can still teach things like tennis, pickleball, and recreational style games. But because we are hybrid, those same classes also have students at home without any access or ability to participate in these units. 

Therefore, we broadened our use of PLT4M and the Fitness Anywhere program into these classes as well. Now our students at home can tap into the PLT4M program and continue to be active. In this setting, they can use the technology and screen when they need instructions or reminders, but most of their time is up and moving. We needed to foster activity at home, and PLT4M is helping us achieve this. 

Past just the high school, we have opened up the use of PLT4M to many of our younger students down at the middle school level. We currently have roughly 1,500 students actively engaged in PLT4M in some capacity. 

What Challenge? 

While most probably look at a hybrid model of Physical Education as nearly impossible, at Canton, we have taken that challenge head on with the assistance of PLT4M and are conquering that challenge each day to help excite, engage, and empower our students in both phases of learning. 

Despite the common challenges that arise, our students have stayed physically connected to wellness through PLT4M, helping them mentally connect with the rest of their school day. 

Even in a remote and hybrid setting, we can connect with our students, help them to push away from the screen as much as possible, and still provide high-quality Physical Education. 

Challenge? What challenge!? The use of PLT4M and it’s versatile programming has allowed us to dominate the challenge of providing effective, efficient, and connected Physical Education. Whether you are entirely remote, hybrid, or in-person, you can take this challenge on to! 

Adam Hughes Canton High School

MEET THE AUTHOR:  ADAM HUGHES; B.S., M.S.ED, CSCS, BMC, CPT

  • Health and Wellness Teacher
  • Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • PLT4M Coaches Club Ambassador

Check out Adam’s Bio to read more about his background in strength and conditioning and education.

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