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Continuous Learning: Students Keep Moving With PE Teachers

Continuous Learning: Students Keep Moving With PE Teachers
Shawnee Mission School District

What does Physical Education look like as the Shawnee Mission School District engages in Continuous Learning? Here are a couple of examples from Shawnee Mission School District PE teachers.

LeAnna Kemp, Rhein Benninghoven: Each Wednesday, fifth-grader Bo Bronson makes sure to tune into a live fitness class with her teacher, LeAnna Kemp.

“One of my favorite subjects is gym and I like being active,” Bronson said. “I think it’s cool how she wants to be here for us and help keep us active.” 

The live fitness class, led by Kemp is one of the most popular events of the week for the Benninghoven Knights. More than 200 people, including students and their family members join Kemp for class.

“It’s a way in real time to see everyone moving,” Kemp said. “I’ve had parents send pictures or videos from their kids and it so fun to see. It doesn’t feel like much, but I’m glad to provide something where I get to talk to them and guide them in fitness activities.”

Throughout the week Kemp also provides multiple activities to keep students healthy and active. Each day, she posts a daily challenge, like dribbling a basketball, walking or jogging upstairs, or a series of different exercise moves. Many of the challenges feature a local landmark, giving students an opportunity to guess where she is. She also has recommended activities for students and their family members to complete and encourages students to log jogging and walking distances.

“I’m trying to do my best to provide my families as many choices as possible and hopefully they can find something that works best for them,” Kemp said.

Elyse Caspermeyer, Hocker Grove Middle School: Wanting their students to work toward the goal of 150 minutes of physical activity a week, Hocker Grove PE teachers  have been providing a variety of ideas for their students. Using videos and slideshows, they are sharing workout ideas and demonstrating.

With each activity, they provide an alternate item list in case some items might not be easily accessible.

Don’t have traditional items for indoor bowling?  Use some water bottles. Want a fun challenge while working on hand-eye coordination? Try the toilet paper spatula flip game.  

“Many students told us they made plans to challenge each other and would FaceTime friends from class and challenge each other to participate, which is so cool,” Caspermeyer said.

The PE teachers are also posting weekly health tips through videos and social media to encourage students to follow. So far they’ve encouraged students to practice handwashing and have shared tips for how to stay hydrated. Students have submitted photos and videos demonstrating how they have taken on the challenge.

Caspermeyer points out that she hopes students are noticing how teachers are learning and challenging themselves through this time, too. Multiple middle school PE teachers are recording their efforts to stay active and sharing them with students

“My hope is they can see us working hard with them and trying the activities with them,” Caspermeyer noted. “Exercise is so important in general but is truly one of the best ways to clear you mind and prepare your brain for learning. Though PE may look very different, I think the biggest take away for us is learning to adapt and taking some of these new games and activities we have borrowed, created, into our classes when we are able to return to the physical classroom.”

Providing students choices and ideas for staying active is playing an important role in Continuous Learning, Kim Barney, assistant director of curriculum and instruction said.

“Engaging students in physical education activities that they can do at home during Continuous Learning supports the goal of helping students understand the importance of life-long fitness and the health benefits of being physically active throughout their lives,” Barney said. “In addition to helping students stay active which is important for their physical health, exercise also helps with stress management and is good for students’ mental health which is very important during this time of uncertainty."