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How  will PE Teachers navigate not being able to teach some traditional units in a secondary PE setting? No game play in volleyball, basketball, football,  softball?  How will the PE teacher that only taught these units in the past adapt and evolve to make it work for students? We cannot turn our back on the fact that not every PE teacher is advancing the same way through this pandemic. Many do not know about the SHAPE America Reentry Considerations: https://www.shapeamerica.org/advocacy/Reentry/K-12_School_Re-entry_Considerations.aspx. Many are not on twitter (follow @SHAPE_America) . Many are just waiting for their district to “tell them what to do”. However, all at once, I realized that this news about team activities is not necessarily an obstacle, but an opportunity.  

Our SHAPE America National Standards:  https://www.shapeamerica.org/standards/pe/ have pivoted away from team pursuits at the middle and high school levels for several years in favor of concepts such as invasion, fitness and student choice at the high school level that includes a variety of activities that are considered lifelong.  As we transform our curriculum and our environments, we need to support those PE teachers that have only known the team sport way of life and may need time to adjust to a new set of learning activities.  Some teachers will do this seamlessly and others may need to connect with vital lesson plans and learning activities. 

When we break apart the national standards, we find that many (not all) of the skills, concepts and cognitive knowledge that are foundational to these middle and high school units can be re-defined without a team game. We have to work backwards and ask ourselves: What were the learning objectives of a volleyball or basketball tournament in a 9 week PE Class that will now be lost?  To practice skills in a game situation with reactions to unpredictable situations on the court? To promote teamwork and communication? To forward the cause of the complex world of group dynamics? I encourage you to look at your lesson plans in years past to check that out. 

Adjusting our plans in PE has been something that our field has done for decades.  The book fair shows up in your gym as you walk into the building, a class trip no one told you about. It has happened to all of us. Specifically, picture a scenario that many of us have encountered through our high school PE teaching career. You are the Period 2 Volleyball teacher. You come into the gymnasium to discover that the nets are not set up. Do you take the time to put up the nets while your students sit on the bleachers? I hope not. You go to plan B. Volleyball without nets. How about this one: You look for equipment as you walk into your gym only to find out that another teacher is using it already. You send a student to that teacher to beg for a couple of basketballs right?  know. 

The moral to this story is that we can adapt. We can teach physical education under changing conditions and we can provide students with the competencies necessary to promote their journey toward physical literacy. The work is up to the teacher. 

The hardest work you will do this school year will be the work you do on your prep

We are, in some ways, all going back to college to learn about this “new” PE. Be willing to embrace your growth and ride your learning curve. As long as we remember we don’t teach physical education to students- we teach students physical education.  Kids first-then content.  Please always remember to take care of yourself, give yourself a break and remember how rewarding it is to do this work. You Got This!

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