Resources for Educators

Free resources for New Physical Education Teachers, Returning Physical Education Teachers, and School Leadership Strategies


The Importance of Movement in Education

"Learning doesn’t happen from the neck up; it happens from the feet up.

-Mike Kuczala, Author of The Kinesthetic Classroom

 Resources contributed by Michael Jennings

Michael Jennings has Master's degrees in Secondary Education: Curriculum and Assessment, and Exercise Physiology. He has nearly 10 years of experience as an educator and coach.

LinkedIn | Twitter 

New to Physical Education

In recent years, we in the physical education space, have lost our way.  A string of misguided priorities, a roll out the ball mentality, budget cuts, marginalization of our classes, and not to mention a glaring lack of desire youth have to be active has taken us off the track of what is best for our students.  Physical education is not just getting kids to move but teaching them how to move. There is a gap between the worlds of Physical Education and Exercise Science that needs to be bridged. It is for this reason that WE can and should redefine physical education!

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“Physical Literacy is the cornerstone of both participation and excellence in physical activity and sport. Individuals who are physically literate are more likely to be active for life.” – Canadian Sport for Life Physical Literacy Diagram

Physical educators are in a very unique situation with regard the physical, emotional, mental, and social development of young people.  If our district is K-12, a student has the possibility of being in our program for THIRTEEN YEARS. It is for this reason that a vertically aligned, developmentally appropriate curriculum is so paramount! All members of our PE staff should be using the same road map to offer what is best for each student at each stage of development.



Understanding the different types of movements that serve as prerequisites for physical literacy is extremely important for physical educators. Basic movements, as they relate to sport and life, can be broken down into three distinct but equally important categories.

1) Fundamental Movement Skills

2) Fundamental Sport Skills

3) Foundational Movement Skills

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A properly designed and efficiently completed dynamic warmup not only prepares the body for physical activity but can be extremely effective for teaching, practicing, and developing movement skills. An adequate warmup in PE should last between 8-12 and should consist of 4 primary sections, each of which should be engaging and properly monitored. Those sections are:

1) Thermogenic

2) Transit

3) General Mobility

4) Applied Movement

The buzz in physical education often circles back to the same few issues: obesity, sedentary behaviour, and overall lack of fitness.  Although these are extremely important and key concerns for the future, we often feel the pressure to solely focus on fitness, and unfortunately the fitness we focus on is only HALF of what we should be focusing on for our students!  Fitness is an umbrella term that, in reality, is split into two categories: Health-Related Fitness and Skill-Related Fitness each containing 5 and 6 specific components, respectively.

  1. Speed - ability to move quickly
  2. Strength - ability to move mass
  3. Endurance - ability to sustain cardiovascular activity
  4. Power - ability to exert force
  5. Flexibility - ability to maintain a good range of motion around the joints
  6. Agility - ability to move quickly, laterally
  7. Balance -ability to maintain upright and steady
  1. Gives you a better chance to discover the sport you love
  2. Exposes you to a number of different environments
  3. Helps prevent overuse injuries
  4. Prevents boredom and burnout
  5. Allows for a greater movement repertoire & skill transfer 

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We must ask ourselves this question when approaching a new group of students and/or athletes.  We know that growth and development is non-linear, and we need to embrace that fact to offer the best opportunities for success to the students/athletes we get to work with.  What are other questions we should find the answer to prior to taking on students?

We can’t move forward without knowing where we are.  Accurate, timely, and developmentally appropriate assessment not only drives instruction, but motivates students, validates our efforts, creates “buy in” with parents, and sells our product to administration and school leadership.

  1. Learn students’ names and something about them
  2. Make calls home and/or send a letter home to parents to introduce yourself
  3. Teach behavior expectations, display in class
  4. Collaborate with students to develop class norms
  5. Teach and practice key routines and procedures
  6. Introduce students to pieces of the Athlos athletic curriculum
  7. Develop a routine of communicating with teachers
  8. Develop individual and coaching staff-wide goals 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin


Lesson Plan Template

Lesson/Unit Planner

Block Planner



Dr. Nicholas Holt

Nick is a Professor & Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation at the University of Alberta. He also leads the Child & Adolescent Sport & Activity (CASA) Lab, and conducts Athlete Research focusing on Positive Youth Development through sport.

Nick's Twitter More about Nick

Experienced Physical Educator

  1. Fun
  2. Friends
  3. Fair Play
  4. Friendly competition
  5. Finishing the Season Better than I started 

 Learn more

  1. Lack of Free Play -> learn more
  2. Marginalization of Physical Education -> learn more
  3. Decreased competence of fundamental movement skills -> learn more
  4. Early Sport Specialization -> learn more
  5. Technology -> learn more
  6. Cost -> learn more

Differentiation is a key component of education, regardless of subject matter.  Growth and development and nonlinear. Being able to meet students where they are on their journey is an invaluable ability to have as an educator. There are 3 primary constraints to motor learning and skill acquisition: the athlete, environment, and the task. Each of these constraints can be analyzed and manipulated to offer students with the best opportunity for success.CLA Diagram

Reaching out and engaging parents and families is an extremely useful tool for the promotion of our programs, student motivation, development of physical literacy, and overall culture of movement and activity.  We can’t utilize parent contact only when behaviour is an issue, we need to flip the script and get parents involved from the start of the year and throughout the year.  


Parent Engagement Letter

Program Engagement Letter

More than just games.  More than just running laps.  The landscape of physical education has changed and so have the students in our classes.  Our physical education classes should be built around:

1) Promotion of physical literacy

2) Vertically aligned, developmentally appropriate curriculum

3) Incorporation of all movement skills

4) Incorporations of both health and skill related fitness

5) Integration of movement methodology

6) Cultivating a growth mindset

7) Differentiation for diverse performers 

8) Regular assessment and feedback to students and families

9) Recognition of social and emotional learning traits

Change can be very hard for some…Vying for vertical alignment within PE curriculum often means multiple teachers, schools, and grade levels might have to change some (or a lot) of their current practices.  How can we work through this resistance?

1) Go after the “low hanging fruit” first

2) Illuminate the path

3) Don’t lose sight of the mission, goals, or purpose

4) Highlight and celebrate successes

5) Engage administration and school leadership

6) Engage families

The idea of Long-Term Athlete Development and the American Development Model are frameworks or roadmaps for age & stage appropriate steps towards quality movement in sport and life. When implemented correctly, they can contribute to the culture of the school and academic performance of the students.

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The gap between traditional physical education and sports performance / exercise physiology is as large as it has ever been.  In order to provide the best physical education possible, we need to bridge that gap. The purposeful integration of opportunities for the development of foundational movement skills is a must in physical education.  Providing intentional practice with regard to sports performance, athleticism, and skill-related fitness is also crucial in a student’s physical literacy journey. 

Deliberate and strategic use of regular PLC time can cultivate the following:

1) Program norms

2) Program values

3) A shift from individual to team mindset

4) Sense of belonging

5) Short and long-term goals

6) Accountability

7) Ownership 

Social and emotional learning is baked into the day to day of physical education.  It is imperative that we as educators recognize and call attention to the 5 core competencies of SEL:

1) Self-awareness

2) Self-management

3) Social awareness

4) Relationship skills

5) Responsible decision-making

What can data do for us?

1) Drive instruction

2) Provide motivation

3) Self-evaluation & reflection

4) Advocacy for your program

5) Differentiate & individualize content/lessons

6) Evaluate effectiveness of teaching


What can data do for others? (students, parents, staff, school leaders)

1) Improves student motivation

2) Gives relevance to daily activities

3) Self-evaluation & reflection

4) Peer evaluation

5) Demonstrates importance of your program

  1. Meet your students at the front of the gym to welcome them to the P.E. space. Have their teachers wait in the hall to enter the gym to be sure that the first interaction with them is a positive one.
  2. Smile and address each student by name to welcome them.
  3. Interact positively with each student physically (i.e. high five, fist bump, hand shake), descriptive praise.

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  1. Competence - physical ability such as speed, strength, endurance etc +
  2. Competence - technical/tactical abilities such as dribbling, stickhandling etc +
  3. Character - mental/psychological ability such as respect the game, teammates, opponents etc.
  4. Confidence - mental/psychological ability such resilience, grit, mental toughness etc.
  5. Connection - social/emotional ability such as having fun, relationships with team mates etc PDF folder.

Make it fun! Each interaction fosters a love of the experience that inspires them to continue

  1. Get the principal and vice principal on board. Tangibly demonstrate the value of quality movement & sport
  2. No cut, fair play policy. This is the opportunity for discovery, learning and trying new things.
  3. Engage / connect with club coaches and associations. Invite them to work together vs. against
  4. Create the culture; vision, mission, goals & objective, core values, terms of use. And then implement!
  1. Developing effective working relationships with students
  2. Training students on how learning takes place in your classroom
  3. Protecting and leveraging time
  4. Anticipating student behaviors in well-designed lesson plans
  5. Establishing standards of behavior that promote student learning

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1) Know your mission

2) Brand your program

3) Advocate for your program

4) Promote OUTSIDE of PE

5) Show your worth

6) Be involved in your school

  1. 3-5 minutes in length
  2. All students participate
  3. Little to zero need for equipment
  4. Students are already familiar with the activity
  5. Activity promote deliberate skill development
  6. They are fun!
  1. Set up – How will you use your space?
  2. Transitions- How will students transition between different portions of the lesson?
  3. Instructions- What are the key instructions for the day’s activity?
  4. Cues/Feedback- What types of cues will you provide with your instruction? How will the cues get refined during the course of the lesson?
  5. Progression and Regressions- How will you modify the activity to differentiate for diverse performers?
  6. Debrief- How will you check for understanding at the conclusion of the lesson?
  1. Describe the routine, what you'll model, and why.
  2. Demonstrate the behavior. Break steps down to manageable, specific chunks. 
  3. Ask students what they noticed. Help them focus on the things that made the routine effective. 
  4. Ask a student to model the routine and repeat step #3.
  5. Ask for a student to model the wrong way! (It's fun, and helps students identify what you don't want to see) Make sure that same student demonstrates the correct procedures right after.
  6. Have students practice throughout the day.
  7. Provide feedback through error correction and recognition. 
  1. Design your vision
  2. Design your mission
  3. Define your core values
  4. Operationalize your values
  5. Define “slippery slope” behaviors
  6. Establish a strategic plan
  7. Develop a Yearly Action Plan
  8. Create Check-in Systems

Dr. Jean Côté

Jean is a Professor and Director in the School of Kinesiology of Queen’s University. He has recently examined the influence of different coach-athlete relationships on athletes’ outcomes. 

Jean's Twitter Some of Jean's work


School Leadership

Students who are regularly physically active are more likely to experience:

1) Increased academic achievement

2) Improved self-esteem & confidence

3) Reduced anti-social or disruptive behavior

4) Improved social skills

5) Improvements in overall physical health & well-being

6) Improved attendance rates

7) Increased attentiveness throughout the day

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  1. Ask kids what they want
  2. Reintroduce free play
  3. Encourage sport sampling
  4. Revitalize in-town leagues
  5. Think small
  6. Design for development
  7. Train all coaches
  8. Emphasize prevention —> Learn more

Physical education is the only class in the entire school that sees all of our students on a regular basis. By investing time, effort, and resources, we can use that to our advantage. By supporting and showing pride in our PE programs we can not only instill the importance of quality movement but also school norms, core values/beliefs, promote social and emotional learning, and much more. Physical education is more than just games and laps, it’s an invaluable vehicle to building a strong culture in our buildings!

Long-Term Athlete Development and the American Development Model are frameworks or roadmaps for age & stage appropriate steps towards quality movement in sport and life. When implemented correctly, they can contribute to the culture of the school and academic performance of the students.

Learn More about LTAD

Learn More about ADM

When an athlete begins, at an early age, to limit participation to a single sport and solely dedicates their time to that sport year-round.

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1) Who?

2) Why?

3) What?

4) When?

5) Where?

6) How?

1) Ensure coaches MAKE IT FUN!

2) Be involved!

3) No cut, fair play policies

4) Engage with club & community coaches – work together not against

5) Use PE to help create the culture (vision, mission, goals, values, etc.)

  1. Being patient, caring, and kind. Teacher dispositions greatly affect student learning and development.
  2. Knowledge and understanding of how students learn; different rates & individualized instruction approach
  3. An ability to develop trusting relationships in and outside of the classroom.
  4. Passionate, enthusiastic, dedicated to their subject matter & work. .
  5. Comprehensive subject matter knowledge. Just like the students; lifelong learners.

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  1. Driven by objectives
  2. Skill development focused
  3. Minimize wait time
  4. Follow the basic structure
  5. Use conditioning (when appropriate) effectively
  1. Fun
  2. Friends
  3. Fair Play
  4. Friendly competition
  5. Finishing the Season Better than I started 

 Learn More

  1. Lack of Free Play → Learn More
  2. Marginalization of Physical Education → Learn More
  3. Decreased competence of fundamental movement skills → Learn More
  4. Early Sport Specialization → Learn More
  5. Technology → Learn More
  6. Cost → Learn More

Glenn Young

Glenn boasts over 35 years of educational experience, specifically with elementary, middle and high school athletics. He is currently an Educational Consultant at Beaverton School District, and he is also a speaker for the Quality Coaching Collective. 

Glenn's LinkedIn Glenn's Twitter


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