Keeping Kids Moving with Lower School PE

Lower School students are staying active during distance learning, thanks to our wonderful Lower School Physical Education Teachers Sue Orlando and Jim Lohr. Students, teachers and even family members have embraced and enjoyed the many physical activities and movement opportunities provided, some of which are even demonstrated in videos featuring Beasley fourth graders.

Just before spring break at a faculty meeting, Orlando and Lohr learned that remote learning was a possibility. Ever the proactive planners, they jumped into action, and the very next day they asked a handful of fourth graders to demonstrate gross motor activities, animal walks and other movement skills and exercises while being video recorded for possible future use. They were able to produce four videos within the 25-minute recess break available. These videos have served as a great tool for implementing a familiar and fun PE curriculum in this new distance learning environment. Check out the video below of fourth graders demonstrating gross motor skills.

Orlando shared about how they have adapted the Lower School PE curriculum to the distance learning environment. “Usually, we begin every Beasley Physical Education class with a 6-10 minute warmup practicing movement skills and motor activities. After the warmup, we move into our sports-specific skills, like throwing, catching, dribbling, volleying and playing games in group situations. With remote learning, our students’ homes don’t necessarily have all of the equipment and numerous students that Jim and I are privileged to have in the gym; thus, we have adapted quite a bit. Our remote learning program is focused on getting the kids moving at least 60 minutes each day. We provide many opportunitiessuch as kid-friendly workout videos, dance videos, a monthly calendar with daily activitiesand students and their families can choose what works best for them to achieve 60 minutes of physical activity each day.”

Orlando also provided some insight on their process in revamping the Lower School PE curriculum. “It’s times like these when you really appreciate MICDS’ investment in professional development for faculty and staff. Jim and I attended last year’s SHAPE America Convention, and we fortunately made some great contacts who we have stayed in touch with, especially now as many of us are all facing the challenge of implementing distance learning. Many of us are sharing resources online and brainstorming ideas with teachers from all over the United States. Jim and I spend many hours researching activities that will benefit our students and keep them active.”

Similar to the rest of the Lower School curriculum, teachers, students and family member(s) are supporting the students’ learning by collaborating in the Seesaw learning platform. For PE, Orlando and Lohr ask students to send in pictures, videos and comments about the activities. Orlando remarks, “It has been awesome to see the students doing workouts with their families. It is fun to see brothers and sisters doing the workout together. We have seen dads with their kids doing the Kylo Ren Star Wars workout with lightsabers as props, a mom and her son racing against each other down a field, and a dad and his son doing the Super Mario Fitness Challenge (and by the way, the student scored more points than the dad!). For me, these videos and photos of students and their families have been a highlight of the distance learning (or rather, teaching) experience thus far.”

Lower School parent Jonathan Eggers shared his sentiment about the experience. “Sue Orlando and Jim Lohr are doing a great job of offering a variety of fitness activities to Lower School students. Our kids especially enjoy working out to the videos of MICDS fourth graders demonstrating various movements. Our family also likes learning about the kid-focused, online fitness experiences that are available. In addition to participating in PE activities, we make a point of getting outside every day with family walks, or with the kids riding bikes or scooters, etc. Sometimes it’s a nature walk, other times the kids race each other. It’s good for all of us!”

Please enjoy a few photos and videos of the Lower School PE curriculum in the distance learning environment below.