What Students Should Learn in PE

SHAPE America’s PE National Standards define what a student should know and be able to do. States and local school districts use these standards as a platform to shape their own standards or adopt the National Standards to fit their needs.

Greg Bert and Lisa Summers wrote the book Meeting Physical Education Standards Through Meaningful Assessment where they summarize the National Standards. These 6 heavy hitters that they call the “Power Standards” are really what I want students to learn, know, and takeaway from my classes. In “kid friendly” terms they are as follows:

  1. How to move correctly.
  2. How to train themselves and others.
  3. How to be confident to participate in school and beyond school.
  4. How to be fit, get fit, and stay fit.
  5. How to play fairly.
  6. How to value movement.

When we teach our units, we need to teach more than just the skills of that unit, sport or activity, but teaching to the national, state or district standards as well, and making it relevant for students.

1. How to move correctly

Teaching this concept is important because in order to enjoy a sport or a fitness workout, they need to know the skill or activity and experience some success at it. Also, learning strategies of the game or sport such as the biomechanical principles, moving to open space, hitting to an open area, and concepts of offense and defense help us to be a more skillful mover. Knowing how to use equipment properly is another key component of this standard.

2. How to train themselves and others

I want students to know the 5 components of fitness, the FITT principle, and the many great benefits of exercise. This can be taught and applied in any unit.  Incorporating this information is paramount. Students need to know the knowledge behind “why” we move.

3. Being confident to participate in school and outside of school

Participating beyond their 12th grade year is really a major component of this standard. Loving to move, loving some type of activity to maintain health and fitness beyond school and into adulthood is my goal for students.

4. How to be fit, get fit, and stay fit

We utilize fitness test to set goals and see where we are at with our own fitness. We should not use fitness testing for a grade, as that isn’t fair. Testing our fitness isn’t always fun or easy, but it’s the only way we know where we are at. The Cooper Institute recommends the Fitnessgram® test, and has benchmarks set for advanced, proficient, partially proficient, and needs improvement per age level.  I always recommend a pre- and post-test, and to set goals. Setting goals for our fitness is a life skill.

5. How to play fairly

Spirit of the Game (SOTG) is a way we promote healthy competition. We can be competitive, but within the rules of the game. We can also self officiate. Managing games and our emotions are a life skill. Enjoyment of the sport or activity is what keeps people coming back.

6. How to value movement

This is the “fun”. We need to show students that movement is fun and why they should value activity for a lifetime. Keeping lessons novel is a great “hook” for students.

Teaching all of these standards in your classes, no matter what age level, really gives meaning to your teaching, Physical Education, and life. They are all life skills, and they are all important. Happy teaching!

One Response

  1. Teaching p.e in a place with few resources this is very important to the school and me as a teacher upgrading myself

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