Shape America defines curriculum as one of the four essential components of physical education. Quality curriculum in physical education can help improve everything from student engagement to the consistency of instruction.
But just because curriculum is an essential component of P.E. doesn’t mean it is as simple as buying a new textbook or rewriting a syllabus.
Quality curriculum in action has never had a one-size-fits-all solution. But, key indicators can help define and measure curriculum throughout physical education programs.
4 Signs Of Quality Curriculum In Physical Education Are:
- Curriculum Addresses The Needs Of Students
- Curriculum has a Logical Sequence of Subject Matter
- Curriculum is Flexible and Adaptable For Teachers
- Curriculum is Constantly Evolving
A Closer Look At Lewiston High School
At Lewiston High School, in Lewiston Idaho, the Physical Education Department has long seen the importance of curriculum evaluation and development. Lewiston teachers Christi Meyer and Jessica Shawley explained how PLT4M has become an important component of their programming. And as Jessica explains, it has never been a simple endeavor,
“There is no one set edition of a printed, published curriculum in which we can quickly just adopt and follow. It is with this freedom that comes a great responsibility to provide a quality, standards-based program for students.”
With that freedom, Lewiston set out to find the best fit for their 9-12 PE program. In that search, department chair Christi Meyer remembers how they decided to partner with PLT4M,
“We saw PLT4M as a valuable resource in our ability to deliver a high-quality curriculum. Our goal has always been to provide students fitness, health, and wellness experiences, and we saw PLT4M’s curriculum as our best opportunity to enhance that.”
By incorporating PLT4M throughout its physical education program, Lewiston High School has continued to enhance the quality curriculum offered.
1) Curriculum Addresses The Needs Of Students
Lewiston High School has a wide variety of PE classes available for students to take throughout their high school career. From first-year fitness classes to more advanced offerings, Jessica recognizes the importance of addressing student’s needs,
“Secondary physical education programs, especially at the high school level, are a critical last stop before adulthood for students to fortify their lifelong fitness skills.”
Because of that, Lewiston High School has shaped the classes offered to help empower steps towards lifelong fitness.
Classes offered at the school include:
- Total Fitness (General PE)
- DAYO (Dance, Yoga, Fitness)
- Elite Fitness
- Individual and Dual Sports
- Life Sports (Adapted PE)
- Lifetime Fitness
- Strength Training
- Team Sports
- Outdoor Recreation
Within almost all of these classes, Christi explains how the class goals and PLT4M’s resources have aligned in the mission of addressing student needs,
“What makes PLT4M unique is that they have something for almost every subject or unit we want to cover in our different classes. PLT4M’s content aligns with our mission to get students moving and active in different ways.”
Pictured above are two of the many different ways Lewiston High School set ups the gymnasium for PE class.
2) Logical Sequence Of Subject Matter
One of the biggest challenges in physical education is following a consistent progression.
From class to class and course to course, teachers aim to cover a lot of material. And because of this, teachers are left searching online for resources and materials.
While they might find a lesson plan or one-off fix, it often doesn’t fit within the logical sequence of what students have learned up to that point or what might be in store for the future.
At Lewiston High School, Christi describes how they have used PLT4M to keep a logical sequence throughout the entire program,
“PLT4M has clearly defined levels of content and curriculum. Because of that, we can match the lesson plans within PLT4M to our different courses.”
On top of that, Jessica has noticed how lessons and materials speak a language of consistency to students,
“The quality of instruction from PLT4M’s coaches is incredible. It gives students everything they need to perform the task, modify if necessary, and stay engaged! And the materials are appropriate to their age and experience”
Bonus Content! Check out a sample from PLT4M’s instructional library.
3) Flexible and Adaptable For Teachers
Anyone who has been in a classroom knows that things are constantly changing. Because of that, teachers need a curriculum that can do the same.
Christi sees this as one of the biggest advantages to using PLT4M,
“PLT4M does not limit us. It is actually the opposite. Depending on the class or the unit, we can easily use PLT4M to fit our unique goals.”
Different ways that Lewiston PE uses PLT4M include:
- Assigning follow along lessons that students do individually
- Making different materials like nutrition, yoga, or dance available via the PLT4M app as a supplemental resource for students
- Showing an instructional video to the entire class on a monitor before allowing students to work independently
- Logging strength training workouts and testing data
Beyond just the flexibility of how they can assign the curriculum and lesson plans, Jessica describes what it has done to help with diversifying what is offered,
“We find ourselves mixing and matching different core units in PLT4M. In a given week, students can be exposed to different types of lessons like fitness, yoga, dance, and more.”
4) Constantly Evolving
One of the most important pieces of quality curriculum is the ability to evolve with time. Too often, schools purchase something that is ‘cutting edge’ only to see it collect dust after a few years because it is no longer relevant.
Over the last few years, as Lewiston has moved into a new school building, they wanted to ensure that their curriculum evolves with their new space. Jessica explains,
“What has made PLT4M so great is that they take feedback from us as teachers and add new resources. For example, the new programs like Pilates are exactly what I was looking for. PLT4M’s ability to turn around new high quality materials is impressive.”
With the evolution of new programs and resources from PLT4M, teachers like Jessica can continue to shape and mold what they offer in class.
The Case For Quality Curriculum in Physical Education
Even though curriculum is considered an essential component of PE, it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Usually, the thing that gets the most attention and review is the state of the equipment. Teachers meticulously look over the PE equipment and decide what is in the most need of replacement or reordering.
But we know that physical education is about more than just the equipment in the classroom. While equipment review is a necessary exercise, what if the curriculum used in physical education got the same scrupulous evaluation?
A high-quality physical education curriculum addresses students’ needs, has a logical scope and sequence, is flexible and adaptable, and evolves over time. While the resources and application of curriculum may vary from school to school, the signs of long-term success are clear. Lewiston High School exemplifies what a quality curriculum in physical education looks like. So what can other schools learn from Lewiston?
Make time for curriculum planning like you do anything else in physical education. And it doesn’t have to take endless hours! Using PLT4M’s curriculum map, playbook, instructional videos and other resources, any teacher can manage their curriculum easily and know the resources are of the highest quality from certified professionals who also work with students.