In 2007 the British Columbia Ministry of Education (Canada), mandated that there must be at least 150 minutes of exercise built into all students school schedules. This was a wonderful step forward in the overall understanding of exercise and the wonderful impact it can have on our lives.
From the slideshow above I thought I would give a window into the world in which I have come to know and try to promote to my students. Each room has intentionally been left without any real equipment set up simply to demonstrate that sport and exercise are really only dependent on the space in which they are conducted in. Literally anywhere can be used for a place to exercise, but rather than go into an extensive collection of images of the world around us, I felt I wanted to stay with what I work with most often.
Exercise makes daily life for students plainly put, better! Understandably some of our youths hate activity, but I believe that to be in the context in to which they have been exposed to competition, or rather the pretense of competition which has lost sight of the true meaning of the word. Competition has come to mean essentially beat your opponent, where its Latin roots clearly show that it is when two or more parties come together to take part in an activity and push each other to become better, not to win, but to attain a higher level of performance. (Dictionary.com)
I have found a much higher level of engagement and participation since informing my students that they are graded on personal improvement and not on a comparison level. I have also moved away from traditional sports where the discrepancy between the students at times can be night and day and really is a killjoy. Moving to non-traditional sports and activities has made an incredible impact on the self-confidence of the students and those of whom were perhaps not confident in a sport like basketball and chose just to try and hide off to the side are now leading in areas like dance or yoga. Students are finding that when they start on a level field, sport and exercise can be quite enjoyable. Those students that are very strong athletes find that they have no problem picking up the sport or activity, but are also challenged more because everyone is at a similar level. Added to this is that students are on a very fast rotation schedule of the sports, so they get more of a sampler and there is not enough chance to widen the skill gap. This has truly made teaching Physical Education a much healthier and more fun environment to be a part of.
The best part of it all is that after 8 months kids are more excited to come to class and the enthusiasm is infectious. This process has further been supported by involved parents. They are seeing that there children are interested in sport and wanting t try more. Less time in front of the TV and more time outside playing. All in all looking at these images, I hope you see what I see, a blank canvas to create a life-long love for sport. This is my opportunity to make a difference and impact my students' lives.