The Ann Arbor Public Schools physical education program is a developmentally appropriate and sequential one. Best practice and ongoing assessment are used to plan lessons and activities that scaffold upon the previous year’s achievements. While the goal is for every child to meet grade level objectives, the focus is on consistent improvement from the level a child begins.
Kindergartners, first and second graders spend a good deal of time learning about personal and general space and how to move safely and effectively in the gym. This allows us to build a good foundation for simple low organization games all the way up to more complex activities. We explore many pieces of equipment, including balls of different sizes and weights, balloons, paddles, beanbags, jump ropes, and gymnastic apparatuses. We work on locomotor patterns - running, skipping, hopping, galloping, jumping, sideways sliding, leaping - and how they can be used to move from one place to another. Children also are introduced to basic health-related fitness concepts such as what their pulse is, how to find it, and how it relates to exercise. Additionally, we play lead-up and modified games that serve as an introduction to team sports such as soccer, basketball, and baseball. Third, fourth, and fifth graders are involved in more sophisticated activities that require increased cooperation, increased use of teams, smaller boundaries, and more rules. We also look for more smoothly integrated, mature movement patterns. Fitness concepts are expanded upon and students learn more about cardio-respiratory endurance and its connection to one’s overall health. Middle School PE tends to be designed more around the interests of the students. Additionally, as this is a time of increased physical / social emotional change in students, life-long health and fitness concepts are emphasized. The overall goal is to maintain students’ interest in physical activity and play and to provide them with the resources to help them make healthy lifestyle choices.
An added focus of PE at A2 STEAM is subject integration. It is exciting to see students gain an understanding of how math, science and engineering are all part of PE! Additionally, the one-to-one iPad component of STEAM allows us to add a technology piece into PE. Students use iPads to review cognitive concepts using platforms such as Kahoot! and Formative. Personal physical/ sedentary activity trends are tracked through Activitygram® surveys completed on iPads. Students also have the opportunity to use their iPads as a peer and self-assessment tool by videoing / being videoed. Older students have used iPads to read QR codes, create mind-maps to illustrate the connections between PE (the physical arts), science, technology, engineering, and math; calculate target heart rate; and create design ideas for the new gym that opened in February of 2016.