David Day and Arista Ryback, the Physical Education/Health Education (PE/HE) team at Nelson McIntyre Collegiate (NMC), received the Outstanding Team Collaboration Award in the Province of Manitoba’s Excellence in Education Awards.
Day and Ryback have reimagined physical education programming to align with the school’s goals and vision of creating self-directed learners, creative problem-solvers and active citizens using a project-based learning approach. Together, they conducted research and developed a model of physical education that allows students to choose from a variety of two-week themed blocks that fit with their interests and schedules. This also includes a variety of physical education blocks such as canoeing, hiking and martial arts, that are completed on evenings and weekends.
To make the year-long PE/HE model work, Day and Ryback each developed blocks based on their area of expertise. In collaboration with the divisional Information Systems Department, they identified the best way to track students’ progress. The new model encourages student input and provides a greater range of activities to choose from. The year-long physical education model allows for deep inquiry, skill development, and understanding; and for the growth of soft skills such as time management and goal setting. The emphasis and measurement rubric has also shifted from performance to effort, which has increased student engagement. With the arrival of the pandemic in Manitoba, the model was updated to include outside PE experiences and activities. Even during cold weather, student attendance and enthusiasm remained high.
By working together, Day and Ryback were able to successfully reinvent the mindset and practice of the school’s physical education/health education program.