New Innovations in Instruction
The Oyster Bay High School physical education program received a makeover this summer in the form of a new curriculum, focusing on differentiation of activity and lifelong health and wellness. The effort was spearheaded by Mr. Charlie Rizzuto and Mr. John Brush.
To ensure that students are exposed to as many activities as possible during their time here at Oyster Bay, activities like Rugby, Jai–alai, Broomball, Netball, Golf, Spikeball, Ki-o-rahi and Quidditch have all been added, as well as many others. Some of those games may sound familiar, while others may be new to most people, which is no accident. When the new curriculum was being developed, the department looked at a variety of factors when choosing the games and activities.
One major goal of this addition to the curriculum is to teach the students a wide variety of fitness exercises that can be done with little or no equipment. As a TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise) Certified Instructor Mr. Brush plans to focus a lot of the fitness unit on the many different exercises that can be done with that piece of equipment. As per Mr. Brush “The TRX is a very light weight, and compact piece of equipment that can easily be taken almost anywhere a person can go, giving them the opportunity to experience full body workouts in places where they normally might not be able to.” Learning how to properly execute exercises with this piece of equipment will give our students one more opportunity to continue to improve their lifelong fitness.
The department first looked at activities that are most popular at the club or intramural level on many college campuses. After students throw their caps in the air on the front steps of the high school in June, some go on to play sports in college, but most do not. If they are going to be active at their new home, they are going to play club or intramural sports, or workout on their own time.
Introducing the students to games that they will have the opportunity to participate in while they are away at school will hopefully increase the likelihood that they will feel confident and competent enough to join in. This will not only lead to increased physical fitness, but also a broader social group and enhanced levels of mental and emotional health. Rugby and Quidditch (the game from the Harry Potter books) are two of the more popular activities on many campuses, along with Ultimate Frisbee (which is also in the curriculum) and some of the more traditional sports like basketball and volleyball.
Next, the idea of leveling the playing field and creating an inclusive atmosphere was explored. No one in Oyster Bay High School is a varsity netball player, or is going to college to play jai-alai. With the addition of activities like those, it places all of the students on similar ground. Although netball is similar to basketball in many ways, it is different enough that the basketball players in the class will not dominate activity time as easily. The game naturally levels the playing field with little to no additional modification needed.
The new curriculum also exposes the students to games from all over the world, which is important to their overall development. Ki-o-rahi, not being a native game to the United States, creates a lot of opportunity for class discussion and cross curricular learning. Tchoukball, cricket and rounders are some examples of other world games that are also in the new curriculum.
Lastly, games that the students may be exposed to on their own time were also written in. Spikeball is very popular amongst teens, especially at the beach during the warmer summer months. Games like Spikeball were added in the hopes that if all of the students had some experience playing the game, they will be more likely to join in when they see it being played.
More traditional games like basketball and soccer will still be played, but they will be more of a focus with the 7th and 8th graders. Mr. Rizzuto provided a couple of examples as to how the traditional games will be utilized.
“In my classes, I will use the more traditional games as part of my units. I can use football as a way to slowly lead into rugby, or I can combine a netball unit with basketball and allow the students to compare and contrast all of the elements of the two games. I also allow my students to play more traditional games during choice days.
Every so often I create a general lesson objective that can be incorporated into a variety of activities and allow groups of students to choose anything that they would want to play that day, as long as it fits the objective. On those days you see a lot of basketball and soccer being played, with the occasional scooter race sighting”
The games were not the only thing that has been updated. The fitness concepts being covered have been sequenced from 9th through 12th grade as well. The goal of the fitness portion of the curriculum is that every student will be able to write a fitness plan for themselves or someone else, pertaining to specific goals. The ability to understand how to create a fitness plan that will improve your overall wellbeing is invaluable, and when a student graduates from Oyster Bay High School, they will be able to do just that. In 9th and 10th grade students will explore concepts such as specificity, progression, overload, energy balance, target heart rate, using exercise to manage stress and various ways to warm-up.
In 11th and 12th grade the students will expand their knowledge base to understand different muscle fiber types, rest and recovery, cardiovascular functioning, high intensity interval training, nutrition and the difference between muscular strength and muscular power. The internalization of these concepts will give the students the tools necessary to live healthier, more productive and injury free lives.
In addition to games and fitness concepts, the new curriculum has also added project adventure to the agenda. During project adventure units, students will engage in individual, small group and large group challenges and learning experiences. They will demonstrate personal and social responsibility by playing games, analyzing challenges and climbing structures. When asked about students that may feel uncomfortable with certain activities for whatever reason Mr. Rizzuto said, “Adventure can be challenge by choice. Allowing students to challenge themselves in an individualized way alleviates some of the hesitation, while still allowing the benefits of the instruction to occur.”
In addition to the new curriculum, Mr. Rizzuto has ventured out into some unique territory by creating his own Health and Physical Education (H.P.E.) Podcast to be broadcast globally. “There are a few really good health and physical education podcasts out right now, each one providing a great deal of information pertaining to a variety of topics in health and P.E. The one drawback to each is that most episodes are pretty long. It takes me a long time to listen to each episode not only because of the shear length, but also because of all the times I pause an episode to reflect on something that was just shared. I am lucky enough to be part of a pretty extensive professional learning network, so I asked them if they thought there was a need for a H.P.E. podcast that focused on one thing each episode, with no episode being longer than five minutes in long. The feedback I received was very good and with that the HPE Quick Tips Podcast was born.”
Each episode will share one tip in regards to teaching health or physical education in any capacity. Tips can range from classroom management practices, to lesson design and assessment, and anything else in between. Although Mr. Rizzuto will host every episode, he will not necessarily be the one sharing the tip each time the podcast airs. “I am going to have health and/or physical education teachers from various states and countries on as guests to share some of their best practices.
I am pretty excited about the idea of hosting a podcast for two reasons. First, I love sharing, I think the more people share the further our profession will progress. Second, every time I host an episode with a guest, there is a good chance I will get a new tip that I can bring to my students.”
Mr. Rizzuto is hoping that the podcasts first episode will air before the new year.
Mr. Rizzuto created a series of Gif's to show warm-up and stretching techniques
Straight Leg Walk
Lunge with a Twist
Lunge With a Reach
Raise Body Temp
W.U. Strength Builders
Push Up Modified
Negative Push Up
Warm Up Games