At Mosinee High School in Wisconsin, the physical education program has transformed its courses to empower student choice. Students can choose from courses like yoga, swimming, weightlifting, sport and fitness, and adventure fitness. The goal is to inspire students to find lifelong fitness options through physical education. As a result, Mosinee has seen a rise in participation rates and increased levels of engagement. See how Mosinee High School has built a student choice physical education program.
Why Student Choice Physical Education
When Danelle Ley first started at Mosinee over 22 years ago, the school had a very traditional approach to physical education. The 9th, 10th, and 11th grade classes focused on sports, games, and activities in the gymnasium. But Danelle says that this approach wasn’t working,
“I noticed a lot of students sitting out and not wanting to participate. Some students liked sports and games, but it clearly wasn’t for everyone.”
As a result, Mosinee set out to revamp the entire physical education program with the hopes of engaging more students. Danelle and others envisioned a program where student choice fostered higher participation and a better learning experience in physical education.
Now, Mosinee has developed a student choice model of physical education that PE teacher Ben Gotz says is changing the way students experience fitness,
“Our goal is to give students tools to succeed outside of school in the world of fitness and wellness. With our student choice model, we know we are getting students active, hitting the standards, and most importantly, building lifelong confidence via physical education.”
Student Choice Options At Mosinee
Throughout the evolution of the student choice model at Mosinee, Danelle says the physical education courses have grown and changed with the times,
“We want the courses to be reflective of our students’ interests. The long-term goal is to give students options that they can take with them beyond high school.”
Now, the physical education program offers an impressive slate of different courses. All courses are semester-long, and classes meet five times a week. Ben says that this adds an extra layer to student choice that has proved to be helpful for students,
“If students love a course, they can take it multiple semesters and continue pursuing the specific type of fitness they enjoy. But if they want, students can try new courses each semester to see what other options they might like.”
Below are the physical education courses currently offered at Mosinee High School. Click on any of the tabs to see the course description.
In this class, students will gain knowledge in the components of various sports including performance/ strength training, offensive and defensive strategies and understanding official game rules. The course gives the student the opportunity and necessary tools to understand and experience each sport from all perspectives including a player, a coach and an official.
This course is designed for beginning to advanced level students. Students will learn about training principles related to strength, power, speed, agility, and endurance development. They will develop individualized training outcomes, and follow programming designed to meet those goals. We will collect fitness levels throughout the semester, and work towards improving in healthrelated and skill-related fitness components. Students will complete pre and post-testing, video analysis and strength and conditioning workouts.
Students in this class will experience lessons designed to increase overall fitness related to aquatic activities, improve their basic swim stroke, and develop life saving skills. The course curriculum will combine Wellness standards with Red Cross course work.
Wellness lessons will focus on developing personal water safety, diving, and fitness-related skills. The Red Cross material will be taught in conjunction with the Mosinee YMCA, and will focus on life guarding, CPR, and first aid skills. ALL students will complete the Red Cross Certification programming, and have the option of paying for Red Cross Certification in Life Guarding, CPR/AED, or First Aid.
Note: Student must be 15 years old on or before the end of the lifeguard course to be certified through the Red Cross.
This course teaches basic PaSaRyu and Hapkido techniques to students. Students will be taught strategies and techniques to avoid dangerous situations. Students will also be instructed in the techniques of self-defense, stretching, conditioning, anatomy, pressure points and basic techniques. The philosophy of martial arts will also be part of this class. Students will have the opportunity to earn different belts as they master the steps of each level.
This is an ALL LEVELS yoga class. Yoga is a great class for those students who are looking for a noncompetitive physical activity and environment, individual personal fitness, relaxation and stress management, improvements in cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and weight management. The class is based on the following styles of yoga: Power Vinyasa: A vigorous and challenging practice that emphasizes increasing strength, balance, and flexibility, to improve physical performance. Yin: Slower paced yoga focusing on mindfulness and increased flexibility. Yoga Body Bootcamp: Hybrid of yoga and high intensity fitness based exercises combined.
Intermediate and advanced poses, including arm balances and inversions, will be blended into daily classes to offer challenges to the advanced yoga students and those who choose to repeat this class.
It is required that students seeking to take this class have successfully completed a semester of our Yoga class first and feel confident, safe, and strong throughout the classic Vinyasa flow. Advanced Yoga class is a continuation of Yoga class, where students learn additional poses, explore more complex movements and sequences, including arm balances and inversions, layered over solid foundations. This class is a strong, fast-paced class designed to build strength. A total body workout that creates longer, leaner muscles and a body with more mobility and increased power.
Disc golf, roller-blading, kayaking, golf, climbing, snow-shoeing, orienteering and geocaching, strength training and cardiovascular fitness and climbing are the basic units for this course. Activities may vary each semester due to weather and other activities will also be introduced in this class. It is designed for the student who likes the outdoors and a variety of activities in their workouts. Students will learn proper techniques, safety and injury prevention, benefits of each activity/exercise, and other topics. This class stresses lifetime activities and fitness. Students wishing to participate in this class must have a high level of responsibility and mature behavior.
Supporting Student Choice With The Right Resources
To support student choice in physical education, teachers need to blend their strengths and expertise with the right resources.
For example, Danelle has a 200-hour yoga certificate and feels confident leading and instructing yoga classes. But because the goal of the course is to expose students to different variations of mat fitness, she turns to PLT4M as a resource so that she can incorporate pilates,
“I knew pilates would be an excellent addition to the class, but I never taught it myself. The students love the follow-along instructional materials, and it allows me to incorporate something I would have otherwise avoided.”
While PLT4M has proven to be an excellent addition to teaching fitness options like Pilates, Mosinee originally started with PLT4M to help support the weightlifting courses.
Ben says a key component to successful student choice in physical education was finding ways to motivate and engage students,
“Beyond just offering different choices, we want students to buy in and be excited by what they are doing. PLT4M helps personalize workouts and gives students feedback that elevates the weightlifting experience for high school students.”
In addition to personalize workouts and motivating students, Ben says a key element to PLT4M has been the library of different resources that Mosinee students and teachers can turn to,
“It makes offering student choice much more achievable. We have all the tools within PLT4M to make physical education a success.”
Key Takeaways on Student Choice In Physical Education at Mosinee
While Mosinee High School is considered a small school in Wisconsin, they have found a way to make a big impact on students’ physical fitness and wellness. Better yet, they have achieved this without having to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they have shaped and molded their courses to meet the needs and interests of their students.
Danelle, who first set out to develop more student choice in physical education, is proud of what the program offers to students,
“The classes are geared towards our students. And the students have selected and picked their classes, so they have ownership in what they are doing. It creates fun and highly engaged classes that in turn give students the tools for lifelong fitness in their worlds.”
Student choice doesn’t mean a free-for-all all, especially within physical education. But with the proper structure, resources, and teachers, student choice can empower a more fulfilling physical education experience for all.