JCPS gym teachers use ‘virtual field trips’ to encourage exercise amid virtual instruction

The teachers turned the cameras on themselves and showed their students a myriad of physical activities in YouTube videos.

Louisville P.E. teachers find way to keep things fun with students learning online

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Amid virtual instruction, a trio of JCPS physical education teachers found a way to teach gym class through a screen and have fun while doing it.

Marian C. Moore School teachers Traci Bush, Chris Kenney and Kyle McKune told WAVE 3 they wanted to encourage students to be active while learning online.

“What we knew we were not going to do was have kids exercise on video,” McKune said. “We are more interested in getting kids to love activity and not create a negative memory.”

Instead, the teachers turned the cameras on themselves and showed their students a myriad of physical activities throughout Louisville in “activity tour” videos posted to YouTube.

In each video, filled with funny outtakes and set to popular music, the educators introduced students to traditional sports like golf and bowling and other activities that couldn’t take place in a normal class period like BMX racing, disc golf and trampolining. During the fall semester, a video was used each week to begin class periods, encourage discussion and inspire exercise through fun.

“We made fools of ourselves but that’s all for the entertainment and enjoyment of the kids,” Bush said. “They were like man, Ms. Bush you are so bad at that [sport], but you’re having fun. And I was like guys this is what it’s all about.”

In fall semester class evaluations, nearly 77% of students in Bush, McKune and Kenney’s PE classes found the virtual gym instruction “better” than their other NTI courses. Kenney said he owes that student feedback and engagement to the activity tour videos.

“I think one of our ideas when we were doing this was to try and take kids out of the house, to get moving,” he said. “To see us outside of school was important to them because they got to see our personalities.”

JCPS will return to in-person learning through a hybrid schedule starting with elementary and middle school students on March 17. McKune said the virtual class videos would be used in the spring semester as needed.

“Our primary focus though still is for kids to have fun, and then if we can get them to learn something, they have to have fun before they can learn,” he said.

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