Physical Education lesson planning looks different this year with online, hybrid, and in-person learning models. As a physical education community, we are scattered across the board for how we are (or have been) delivering our lessons. Some of us have been virtual for several weeks, some are just starting virtually, others have been socially distanced in person, and some are socially distanced with no or limited equipment…

To top off the confusion some that have been virtual are now moving to in-person or hybrid and some that have been in-person are having to transition to virtual! The most unsettling of it all is that this carousel of decisions and actions doesn’t show any signs of stopping…

As these changes, confusions, and anxieties mount we find ourselves trying to plan twice as many lessons (one virtually and one in person).  However, if we take a step back, take a breath, and think about what we have been doing with the students we serve, we can likely see a lot of similarities between the two delivery methods.

For example, if we are in person, we likely have restrictions on things like the number of students working together, limited equipment (if any), different space, and possible adjustments in the amount of time we see the students. This sounds an awful lot like our virtual lessons doesn’t it? Limited socialization, little equipment, living rooms and/or bedrooms as teaching spaces, and much less “live” time spent with students.

So, rather than fretting about creating multiple lesson plans, let’s try to create lessons that can be used in BOTH settings. That way, we can create meaningful and manageable content for the students, as well as ourselves. This FREE template can be used when creating such lessons. This resource is perfect for creating new lessons or repurposing old ones! Below we will dive into each section of the Virtual/Hybrid Physical Education Lesson Planning Guide.

We are all familiar with learning targets, how to write them, and their importance.  However, we definitely need to consider our current circumstances.  Some questions to ask about our learning target(s) would be:

  • Is it meaningful for the students or just to us?
  • Is it manageable for the students AND ourselves?
  • What are our space and equipment restrictions?
  • How much time do we have to devote to this learning target?
  • Will we be able to assess the learning target?

This is laying the foundation for the lesson. There’s an old say, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” So, thinking about what is need for set up, what tools/resources, and how can we safely and effectively transition will save a lot of headache. Some questions to consider the physical education lesson planning:

  • What do we need to make the lesson most successful?
  • What will the students need?
  • Are there any resources we need?
  • Will the students be expected to be doing anything while waiting for class to begin?
  • How can we make transitions smooth and seamless?

This is a bit of a broad topic and is left a slightly vague purposefully to ensure we are able to fit it to our needs. This section encourages us to be cognizant of what we want the students to focus on, whether that’s a skill, cognitive topic, social-emotional, or any combination. With that in mind:

  • What is the focus of the lesson?
  • How can we ensure the student are aware of this focus?
  • Do we need to share any links, slides, images, videos, or other resources?
  • How might we need to differentiate our instruction?

Having a plan for grouping students whether virtually or in-person can save valuable time during a “class period” that may already be cut down.  Our lesson planner allows us to be able to predetermine groups (even if that is done by a random team generator). Even though this may be commonplace for us, we should still think about:

  • How many breakout rooms or groups will we need?
  • If we are virtual, should I preset the breakout rooms?
  • If we are virtual, are students required to have cameras on? What if a student is uncomfortable with having their camera on in their house/apartment/etc?
  • Who, when together, is most like to abide by spacing/equipment procedures?

The last word is crucial portion of any lesson. It brings the content, skills, and any other focal points of the lesson full circle. This is a time where we can check for understanding/learning, recognize SEL or Performance Character traits, give any reminders, and set the tone for the next lesson. Here are some things to think about in order to accomplish this:

  • What do we need to check for understanding? Exit slip? Questioning protocols (think-pair-share, fishbowl, fist-to-five)?
  • Should we prepare a poll question for a virtual setting?
  • How can we connect SEL/Performance Character to the learning target?
  • What do we want the class to know in preparation for the next session?
  • Are there any reminders the students need to hear?

An important thing to remember through this trying time is that students need meaningful movement opportunities and we need them to be manageable!  Hopefully, this tool is beneficial as we continue to navigate these trying times. If you or your department is looking for more helpful resources primed for virtual, in-person, AND hybrid settings, please check out our Athlos Movement & Character Program.

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