Well it is that time of year again! If you are like most PE teachers you have spent another fabulous summer being active and enjoying the great outdoors with family and friends. Sadly, it’s now over, and time to get busy prepping for the new school year. Here are a few things to check off your To Do list.
CREATE A YEARLY PLAN
Not looking forward to spending all your Sunday afternoons planning what to teach each week? Well, the Yearly Plan (YP) is the way to get it all done up front. This isn’t to say there won’t be some adjustments along the way, but it’ll save you many hours throughout the year. Not only that, it also ensures you will cover all the content needed for each grade level. Here are a few things to consider when creating a YP for your school:
- Standards and Outcomes: If addressing state or national PE standards is you top priority, you will want to create a Standards-Based Yearly Plan. Going through the outcomes for each of the grade levels, decide which assessments you will use to measure your students’ current levels, then which activities you will teach to address those needs.
- Facilities and Equipment: Due to the reality of often sharing space and stuff, you will need to keep this in mind when writing the YP. For example, if there is only one track, you won’t want all 7th grade classes doing a Track and Field Unit at the same time. Rotating units on the basis of facility usage is both quite common and necessary.
- Weather: It’s tough to teach flying disc activities when it’s crazy windy, and you wouldn’t want to be doing jump rope on a blacktop when it’s 100° outside. If you use outdoor space much, like we do in California, you’ll need to keep weather in mind as you plan.
- Team-Teaching: If two or more teachers are team-teaching PE, that needs to be figured out before you write up your YP. For example, if three 5th grade teachers want to “specialize” in one type of sport unit for three months it might look like this: Ms. Sanchez teaches Dance, Mr. Anderson teaches Cooperatives, and Ms. Ng teaches Football. The YP shows all three for three months, with students rotating from teacher to teacher each month. Be sure to keep facilities and equipment in mind when selecting units.
- Unit Plans: As part of a YP, you will need to have Unit Plans to schedule which activities you will teach on which days in order to address the standards and have students reach the outcomes for their grade level. Thinking about outcomes to be reached will help you write your Unit Plans. It is nice to mix it up in each unit so students get a variety of activities each month. For example, while focusing on throwing and catching most days, toss in a few dance lessons on other days to keep it fresh.
READY YOUR LESSON PLANS
Prior to each week you’ll want to pull out the lessons needed for each day and each class. If you haven’t written lesson plans in the past, start now and keep them. Tweak them each year as necessary.
GET YOUR EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS, AND MUSIC SET
If you didn’t do an inventory at the end of last year, shame on you. Just kidding! However, you should do one now so you know what you have and what you may need to order.
Before each unit, go through your lessons to ensure you have all required equipment. If you don’t, see if you can substitute something else, or possibly borrow from another school. (“You loan me a KIN-BALL® and I’ll loan you a parachute!”) If that doesn’t work, either order it, or change your plans! Once you have your equipment together, put it all in a cart (or two or three) so it’s ready to go and other teachers know you have dibs!
Be sure you have your music prepped and ready to go, as well. Make a playlist for each unit so you’ve got it all in one spot. Students always appreciate new, fresh music (clean versions, of course) they are hearing on the radio.
It’s always a good idea to begin with the basics each year by covering your expectations, consequences, routines, etc. Follow this with team-building activities, which help to establish a positive learning environment. This is when you introduce and reinforce social skills, and promote cooperation and trust among your students. (It never hurts to revisit these throughout the year!) Follow your YP and make adjustments as you go.
By doing some extra prep now, you’ll save yourself a lot of work throughout the year. Who knows, maybe you’ll have time on the weekends to do some playing yourself! Golf, anyone?