Past, Present & Future

Physical Education, Health Education & Education Outdoors National Conference, 2017

Papamoa College, Papamoa, Bay of Plenty


Hapaitia te ara tika pūmau ai te rangatiratanga mō ngā uri whakatipu

Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations


The NZ Curriculum (2007) and the Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (2008) highlight the vision for our students to be connected, confident, actively involved and lifelong learners.  The conference provides the opportunity for educators to share their practice and celebrate and enhance this shared vision.

The 2017 conference theme “Past, Present and Future” allows us to learn from the past, remembering inspirational educators such as Bob Stothart, celebrate our current position and challenge our future direction.  Across the conference programme, workshops on a wide range of topics and themes provide the opportunity for us to learn from each other, which widens our views on HPE and the world around us; and refines our teaching practice so we can do the very best by our learners.

 – Rachael Dixon and Vicki Nicolson (NZHEA), Margot Bowes (PENZ), Libby Paterson and Fiona McDonald (EONZ)


These are my reflections on what has been another outstanding conference.  I can only speak for the workshops that I attended – there were many, many more that I would have loved to attend.  Many thanks to all those who attended and especially to those who presented either keynotes or workshops.

The conference ‘meet and greet’ on a Sunday night is always a fantastic opportunity to connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues from near and far.  Looking for a way to describe the  HPE community in NZ, I straight away thought of whanaungatanga – “relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.”  The evening was a joyous occasion of hugs and kisses as people caught up with people they hadn’t seen perhaps since last conference, or even the one before that; people who had only previously ‘met’ on twitter, now finally were able to meet kanohi ki te kanohi; and introductions to new people to the HPE community were made including the new PENZ CEO Richard van der Jagt.  


Day tahi of conference began with a pōhiri, as is the custom in Aotearoa.  Delegates were ably guided through this process by Nichola McCall, PENZ Board member.  The Papamoa College Kapa Haka group did an outstanding job welcoming the manuhiri to their kura.  Delegates were well represented by Wally Rifle, Kings College, who performed the whaikōrero on behalf of the manuhiri.  Following this process of joining together, we all gathered for some kai.


The welcome from Papamoa College Principal Steve Lindsey encouraged us focus on students at the centre of learning – an important concept not to let go of during our time at conference and beyond.  To set the scene for conference and introduce the theme, we heard from three keynote speakers on Day tahi.  While introducing the speakers Susie Stevens urged us to ‘learn from the past to prepare for the future’.


Learning from our Past – Professor Ian Culpan, School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury

  • “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think”
  • The role of Humanism in HPE is about the development of people – we must never let this go: HPE is needed for Human Development, and our NZ HPE learning area is well regarded around the world
  • Does HPE exist to implement government agenda to ‘control’ the body?
  • Can Bodies and Human Nature be normalised? If so what is our role?
  • As Bob Stothart would say “Let’s be forever watchful” – “engage in political debate”


Celebrating our Current Position – Cameron Smith, Scots College, Wellington

  • Physical Education is about education, not physical outcomes
  • Are we celebrating or marginalising socio-critical thought in HPE?
  • Acknowledged the role of HPE departments and individuals and their contribution to the HPE community
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes


Challenging our Future Direction – Helen Tuhoro, Principal, Tarawera High School, Kawerau

  • Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • Authentic, local, engaging curriculum – curriculum fits the environment
  • We have to resist the urge to tell students what they ‘need to know’ – don’t give the kids the final product of our thinking.
  • Know your students, whānau and community – ako
  • Focus on the key competencies
  • E kore te tangata e pakiri i runga i te wai marino – A person who remains in calm waters will never get strong

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 12.00.26 PM

‘A Second date with the Salmon’.

It was a privilege to present on Day tahi with Susie Stevens.  This was an opportunity to revisit the 1999 HPE Curriculum document, and in particular to think about how we actively bring life to, and make meaning of, the Underlying Concepts in our teaching and learning programmes.  We also explored the Achievement Objectives in our learning area, and encouraged each other to think critically about how we know that our students are learning.  Another important document is the 2007 NZC, and it is important that we think and discuss with each other questions like ‘how does HPE contribute to the vision, values, and key competencies of the NZC?’ ‘What does Effective Pedagogy (p.34-35 NZC) look like in HPE?’  Thanks to those who attended this workshop, the kōrero was inspiring and the movement was joyful!

The PENZ AGM was an opportunity to celebrate the resilience of the HPE community, and to thank those who have worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure the survival of our subject association under extremely adverse circumstances.  Special thanks to PENZ President Margot Bowes, Board members Sue McBain, Nichola McCall, Kane Wilson, Natasha Powell, co-opted Board members Professor Ian Culpan, Professor Lisette Burrows, Associate Professor Alan Ovens, PENZ Patron Trevor Garrett.  Thanks also to our new CEO Richard van der Jagt, and new office manager Claire Waring for your extremely hard work in recent months.

It was a privilege to be nominated for the PENZ Board this year and to be successfully elected to the board along with Katie Spraggon, from Manurewa High School.  I am looking forward to the many exciting opportunities ahead.


Day rua keynote from Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner:

  • Shout out to Tauranga Boys College PE department for positive role they play in boys lives
  • What does diversity actually mean?  We have a responsibility to educate our students about the true meaning of multiculturalism.
  • Young people don’t see colour, we learn those behaviours from our environment; prejudices and intolerances grow from small seeds of hate.
  • Inclusion is about making people feel like they belong… more difficult to enact than to talk about.  You feel like you belong when you see yourself represented.
  • Give nothing to Racism.
  • Being a kiwi is about being connected with our land.
  • Building relationships… asking the questions.


Making Learning Visible for improved student outcomes for priority learners in HPE (Hobsonville Point Secondary School) – Jayne Dunbar, Elizabeth Samuel, Anne McKay, Kylie Thompson and Margot Bowes

  • The person doing the talking is the person doing the learning.  Need to make the shift from monologue to dialogue.
  • How do you know that students have understood the feedback that you give them?
  • How would you identify priority learners in HPE?  What data would you have?  Success in PE is very complex.
  • Story Hui is an awesome tool for thinking about our learners – what do we know about them?  Importance of whanaungatanga.
  • Cool idea to support learning – ‘draw’ notes (instead of writing notes) when listening to someone speaking.  Then compare with another person; this affirms your learning and also provides insight into different perspectives.
  • SOLO hexagons to support learning conversations.
  • Success criteria language – good, great, awesome.  Students want to know what they need to do to become awesome.

Visible learning

Practical applications of gamification in PE – Carl Condliffe, Rongotai College

After listening to Carl’s presentation at conference last year about gamification, this was a great opportunity to see some of the game mechanics in action.  I like the use of avatars in practical activities, and really like the use of narrative with the escape room task.


PENZ Award winners:

  • Outstanding New Professional Award – Mallory Bish, King’s College and Georgia Dougherty, Tamaki College
  • Outstanding Physical Education Award – Te Puke High School HPE department
  • Te Iho-Takaro Ringawera Award – Professor Ian Culpan, Professor Lisette Burrows, Associate Professor Alan Ovens


NZHEA Award winners:

  • Emerging Leader award – Annie Macfarlane, Tamatea High School
  • Life member Award – Dr Jenny Robertson


Planning and valuing joy, play and intrinsic motivation for movement – Susie Stevens, University of Canterbury

Take off your shoes and socks, and go outside for 5 minutes … use your senses, what do you feel?  How do you want to move?

One of the key provocations for me during this workshop was the idea that perhaps we only see play, and joyful movement, as a reward, and not as an inherent part of planning for our teaching and learning programmes.  Do we only see our learners playing and being joyful in their movements when we give them a ‘free period’?  How can we be more mindful of the importance of the joy of movement and value it enough so that it is evident in our teaching and learning?


Day toru…

Community Consultation – what do you mean it’s required? – Vicki Nicolson, Principal, Port Chalmers Primary School

  • Think of the consultation process like the Spiral of Inquiry; scanning – what are we noticing? Etc
  • Some great questions for asking various groups in your school community – students, staff, whānau, community partners etc
  • What does our school do well in helping students maintain or improve well-being?
  • What could we do better?
  • Are you concerned about any part or aspects of Health Education being taught?


‘Challenging the Status Quo’

Another privilege to present with my colleague Ryan Clark, and shake up people’s thinking with regard to PE being about Physical Education or Public Embarrassment.  Fundamentally this will come down to how well we are enacting the Effective Pedagogy found on pages 34-35 of the NZC.  Sometimes there is a tendency to get caught up in some fairly traditional teaching practices, especially when it comes to athletics, cross-country, swimming, gymnastics etc.  It was fantastic to see people thinking and reimagining what learning might look like if we are to apply the effective pedagogies.  Many thanks to Debbie Wilson and her students at Fergusson Intermediate, Upper Hutt for allowing us to share your story and hear your voices.


Keynote, Mike King – Mental Health Educator, The Key to Life Charitable Trust:

  • His aim ‘to forever change the way people feel, think, talk and behave in relation to mental health’, ‘to reverse the population trends of depression and suicide by effecting positive social change.’
  • Talk to the young people and talk to the communities – bring them together.  The young people know the issues and they know what they need to solve them, they need to be given the opportunity to be heard, and to be part of the solution.
  • It is a crime that people in NZ have to ‘prove’ that they are feeling suicidal before they can access the support they need.
  • Teachers don’t worry about teaching, please just care, and have high expectations for all learners.


“Physician, writer, and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) saw the spiral shell of the nautilus as a symbol of intellectual and spiritual growth.  He suggested that people outgrew their protective shells and discarded them as they became no longer necessary:

‘One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.’

It is as a metaphor for growth that the nautilus is used as a symbol for the NZC.


My mind has certainly been stretched by the keynotes, workshops and conversations that I have engaged in at conference this year, and I am looking forward to how I might apply my new learnings in my context.  I look forward to sharing more with you, and hearing from how you too have had your mind stretched and what new ideas you are going to implement as a result.


Ngā mihi nui.


Good Takeaways

When we (the Wellington team) are planning our PLD sessions with teachers we are always mindful of the concept of a good ‘takeaway’ – something that might be new to teachers that they haven’t seen before, or a reminder of a strategy or a tool that they haven’t used in a while.  Something that they can take away and use with their learners tomorrow, or next week, or in planning their next unit of learning.  These might be a digital tool, an active education strategy, a ‘theory’ activity, or a practical physical activity – or if we are lucky and have time all of the above!

A couple of weeks ago, we ran a day long workshop for our schools.  We were stoked that all 16 of our schools, across primary, intermediate and secondary, sent at least two people to attend – all up we had 34 teachers, DP’s and Principals come along.

The objectives for the day were to explore the following:

  • What does a Physically Educated student look like?
  • What does visible learning look like in HPE?  How might I collect evidence of learning?
  • What might my practice look like?
  • What does this mean for my school?

Plus also have fun, and build and strengthen connections across the Upper Hutt Cluster.

On arrival to the venue we provided a large variety of sports equipment out on the turf and encouraged people to drop their bags inside and come out and PLAY.  They didn’t take much encouragement, as it was a beautiful February morning.  Play mostly consisted of throwing around a frisbee, and some backyard cricket.

After our karakia and waiata we introduced our key note speakers – two Year 13 PE students from Heretaunga College.  It is important for teachers to listen to and reflect on student voice, and later on in the day we also used a video of a collection of student voice from Year 1 students through to Year 13 students.  This served to remind us all why we are here – that we are trying to improve outcomes for our young people and to help us understand how to do this we need to hear from them.  The Year 13 students spoke about their experiences of PE across primary, intermediate and secondary; about what they valued, and about what they felt needed to be challenged.  They valued teachers who made learning in PE fun and encouraged everyone to participate.  They valued lunchtime and after school opportunities to be physically active, and also the opportunities these provided to build and strengthen student relationships and teacher-student relationships.  They felt that many of their experiences in primary PE were about “running around and letting off steam rather than learning skills… it was all about getting fresh air”.  One said that for her, primary school PE was either a game or fitness.  For both speakers their biggest challenge to teachers was to consider how they could structure PE to be more inclusive of all learners.  One spoke of her experience through Years 7/8 and having to undergo operations which limited her mobility; she asked that teachers think about how they can include kids who are injured rather than leaving them sitting on the sidelines.  The other said that as a ‘sporty kid’ she had never stopped to consider ‘how demoralising it must be for kids if half the class is bragging about winning and you are on the sideline feeling responsible for your teams loss’.  She said that games that were very fielding and batting based did exclude those less able or less interested, as it was very easy for them to just stand to the side and be overlooked.

Next up, as a bit of an ice breaker and a way to start unpacking the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, we introduced our first Active Education strategy.  This was a quiz and traditionally we might have got people in groups, then sat them together in their groups to answer the quiz ‘How well do you know your HPE curriculum?‘ (Thanks to Rochelle Keown for the quiz!)  Instead we sent them out with a map to find where each question was, and then at each station before they were given the question they had to complete a physical activity, literacy, numeracy or problem solving challenge.  (‘Minute to Win It‘ provide great ideas for physical activity challenges).

Next we pulled out the good old Y-chart.  Teachers were asked the question “What does a physically educated student look like (what do we expect them to be able to do), sound like (what language are they using), feel like?”  They completed this brainstorm in groups of 4 in their sector groups – primary, intermediate, secondary.  The feedback generated great discussion and was a valuable opportunity for teachers across the different age groups to hear from each other.  Does being successful in NCEA Level 1,2 and 3 Physical Education align with the messages we give our young people about their level of success in PE in Years 1-10?  Does what we have brainstormed align with what we are explicitly planning for and teaching in PE in Years 1-10?

At the end of this teachers were asked to consider the questions:

  • What does this mean for me and my teaching practice?
  • What small change might I make as a result of this mornings activities and discussions?

Following on from this we did the ‘HPE Curriculum Traffic Light Activity’.  Teachers were each given a copy of the HPE AO’s from Level 1-5 across the four strands.  They were asked to reflect on their own practice, in regard to the planning and delivery of PE and in doing so, highlight AO’s they were confident their students are learning and also areas which are not currently being targeted explicitly.  Green – very confident.  Orange – somewhat confident.  Red – not confident.  Once they had completed this they were asked to look again more critically at the AO’s they had highlighted green and ask themselves:

  • How do you know your students are learning the ‘green lights’?
  • What evidence do you have of student learning and achievement?

This was when the really rich discussion and ‘lightbulb’ moments happened.  Teachers noticed that for many of the AO’s that began with ‘participate’ or ‘experience’ or ‘develop’ they could highlight the first half of the AO green because they were providing the opportunities to do the ‘active’ bit, but the second half that might start with ‘describe’ or ‘identify’ or ‘discuss’ they could only highlight orange or even red because they were missing the ‘reflective’ bit.  They noticed that Strand B: Movement concepts and motor skills contained a lot more ‘greens’ than the other three strands.

From this we segued into choosing one AO – Positive Attitudes.

  • What might this look like at different levels of the curriculum?
  • How will we know if our kids are learning?  What evidence might we look for?

We modelled a range of learning activities including play, creating your own games, ‘role play’ during physical activity (how do others respond when you give someone the role of being a ‘disruptor’?)  But most importantly we modelled the reflective questioning that needs to take place to make learning visible for our learners in HPE.

Teacher workshop

The last part of the day was for teachers to be reflective; to begin to process their learnings and think about their ‘next steps’.  What does this mean for my school?

  • Challenge – with your school buddy identify a challenge related to planning and implementing quality PE experiences in your school.
  • Problem solve – buddy up with someone from another school.  Have a solutions focused kōrero to move forward with your challenge.
  • Support required – identify what internal and external support is required.
  • Reconnect with school buddy and share ideas generated from conversations.  Access Google+ Community and document your challenge, solution, support, and…
  • Next steps – what are your next steps?  What are the next steps you require from
  • Comment on one other schools post.

The Google+ Community (modelling the use of a digital tool for collaboration) will provide an ongoing platform to discuss ideas and share resources.

Since the workshop it has been inspiring to go into schools and see the small but effective changes that teachers have made to their practice.

  • “My students are really enjoying the varied approach to fitness. We are focusing on the behaviours and skills that are required to play and participate in a group and they are experiencing more success, which is making them feel more confident in all areas of the school day.”
  • Teachers that attended the workshop have run whole staff meetings using the Curriculum Traffic Light Activity
  • One principal who attended has run a whole staff meeting using many of the activities that we ran on the day of the workshop.
  • A teacher  has created a space on her classroom wall and has put the HPE AO they are focusing on – around it students are unpacking what it means and what it will look like.  They use this as a reference for learning conversations.

Erins wall Fraser Cres

  • A teacher did the Y-chart with her Year ⅚ students – what did they think that a Physically Educated student looked like, sounded like, felt like?  This generated some fantastic discussion.
  • A teacher has been trying working in small groups with his class in PE – sometimes he lets students choose groups, sometimes he picks the groups to encourage working with others of different abilities etc.  He is making the learning of interpersonal skills explicit and allowing time for reflection.  He has found that allowing the kids to make up their own games and work with others they wouldn’t normally has been great for setting up class culture.

I applaud all of these teachers who are so willing and enthusiastic about improving outcomes for their young people, and I thank them for their time and energy in learning how to improve the planning and delivery of quality PE experiences for their learners.

“The most valuable resource that teachers have is each other.  Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.”

– Robert John Meehan

#nzhpechat Creating a supportive learning environment

It was a privilege to moderate the first #nzhpechat for 2017, and engage with so many enthusiastic and inspiring educators.  Here is how it played out…

Welcome! Who are you and where are you from? Ko wai tō ingoa, nō hea koe? What has been a highlight for you so far this 2017 school year?

Thanks to these amazing educators for contributing to this chat.  The responses to the questions in this blog is a collation of their awesome ideas.

  • Debbie Robertson – HOD Health and PE – ChCh. Highlight – teaching my Year 7’s a sense of belonging in their new school.
  • Georgia Dougherty – I am a 2nd year HPE tchr in East AKL, highlight so far is seeing all my students from last year again 🙂
  • Rachel Colby from Stonefields School. My highlight: connecting with a new group of amazing learners at my new school.
  • Hanchen Johnson, Levin. Highlight so far for 2017 is teaching at my school for the second year so relationships are established
  • Rachael Dixon from Christchurch; full time student-ing.
  • Grace Goodall – HPE teacher @ Welly Girls’. Highlight = meeting all my new students/colleagues. Low light=traffic in2 CBD 😩
  • Mallory Bish – 2nd yr from East Auckland highlight = familiarity of students from last year
  • Jo Smith from Kapiti/Welly. Highlight is my Level 2 class…they’re already stepping up!
  • Sally Hart – highlight, seeing students forming great relationships with their Kaiarahi… purposeful selection, akonga and staff buzzing
  • Hayden Viles from Takapuna Grammar. Enjoying the challenge of becoming a dean and making connections between pastoral & curriculum
  • Nicola Richards from Christchurch.
  • Natasha Low from HPSS in Auckland.

Talking about Classroom Culture tonight.


So let’s start off thinking about the WHY. Q1. Students learn best when….?

  • they are engaged and have opportunity to take ownership and direct their learning; teachers co-create learning experiences based on interests and make it meaningful and real; they are interested in the given tasks
  • teachers know who they and what makes them tick; they know you care; meaningful relationships
  • they know you as person and not just a teacher (relationships)
  • safe learning environments are created; when they feel important, safe and valued; they can share ideas & take risks & feel they are valued
  • Authentic, relevant, empowering, r-ships…
  • they have opportunities to PLAY, Freedom to explore, be CREATIVE, share their learning with others
  • when they are able to connect with people, ideas and place.
  • when they feel safe to challenge themselves, not afraid to make mistakes and feel part of a +ive working enviro.  How do we actually know that students feel this way though?  Ask them. What helped you to learn today? What more could I (Teacher) do to support your learning?  I think that you can feel their confidence increase, by their willingness to share their own ideas.  noise, excitement, sweat & tears! Students questioning the process, reflecting on disappointments, joy of success
  • And here is what the NZC had to say… (p.34)


Q2. What are some specific examples of how you build relationships with your classes and within your HPE departments?


  • Starting the year with Adventure Ed unit and spending breaktimes playing with learners informally – Got to get on their level! I’ve also asked them to teach me Māori (I’m American) to help make connections.
  • last yr for my hardest class I got them to create a playlist of music we played in the gym, they felt very spesh
  • sharing yourself with students, finding out about students identity, whanau, connections to each other, perspectives, values…
  • lots of trust, ABL, communication, team building. Listening is a big focus too…we do this for few weeks as impt
  • Lots of ABL games! Try and show the students I am human too and can have fun! I feel we need to do more as a dept.
  • ABL activities such as fruit salad and questions that allows students to anonymously share personal info with you
  • I have been doing the Helium Pole ABL activity with groups of teachers – hilarious!
  • Full Value Contracts have been something we (my Ss & I) have gone back to this yr- has been positive so far. ABL as always
  • Human connect 4 is one of my favorites and played first 1/2 sessions on plus bodyguard – breaks down barriers…
  • include in decision making eg course outline, create times for sharing, discussing, reflecting and not just being content driven
  • set the scene and provide a snapshot of what students can expect for the year. Lots of fun, ABL and co-op games. Learning students names!
  • Use TPSR (Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility) activities and introduce concepts early to get them caring about each other

Q3. How do you go about building relationships with whānau and the wider community and why is this important?


  • Termly activity nights where whanau can come and participate with learners, teacher vs learner games, fortnightly comms
  • I have started the year by emailing all parents to open communication lines – have had some great responses back
  • I call each of my tutor classes caregivers and introduce myself, regularly stay in touch re: attendance etc, have conferences
  • Relationships with students whanau and wider community is important to create a partnerships between home and school.  How do we move from relationships to partnerships? Is there a difference?  partnerships involve constant communication, common expectations & working together to enhance student learning.
  • Ringing/ introduce yourself to Whānau students family. Using community in learning programmes.  Do you have some examples of how you use your community in your learning programmes?  primary schools to come to college to experience coaching by senior students. Local athletes as Speakers for sports academy,
  • we have yr level parent evenings, tutors call parents, PDP with student, tutor and parent and online communication..
  • We start with IEMs, individual education mtgs between hub coach, hub students & their parents, 30min, great to set-up the yr.
  • I email parents 2 intro myself and provide an outline of what Ss can expect this year. Let parents make contact if they need

Q4. How do you create an environment where students cultural identity is welcomed, celebrated, nurtured and connected to their learning?


  • Have my students teach me about their cultural identities/language and make connections in lessons
  • Include in their cultural practices/traditions/games/values
  • Model & position self as a curious learner. Co-construct activities with students & learn about their experiences, strengths, fears, hopes, culture
  • through creating opportunities to share and bring their culture & identity into the class
  • ultimately for all these things to happen students must feel safe +supported & this should be done by building relationships first

BYOQ. Finally tonight time to source the expertise in the ‘room’… what questions do you have for your #nzhpechat colleagues?

I am struggling to co-create experiences – do you have any examples/suggestions of how you do this?

  • Find out what your Ss are interested in, what do they want to learn, what contexts excite them, provide choice

Do you have any cool activities to describe/demonstrate the importance of listening? I’d love to include into ABL


  • play a simple game eg put 10 passes together and then add rules 1 by 1, must count passes aloud correctly, can’t return a pass
  • I have a good one for name game which requires listening, it’s called four on a couch.

Do you ever provide students in Health or PE with ‘free time’? Why/why not?

  • Think of it as ‘freedom to explore’ and if it is purposeful then yes absolutely.
  • Yes! Freedom to connect concepts & form new ideas. It also is an insight into what/how Ss want to learn
  • I think it provides opportunities for students to make new friends by connecting through interests too
  • I do for my lower level classes who struggle to stay focussed for a long period of time. Or also a reward for working hard
  • Me too! I’ve decided this year to have 2-3 challenges during ABL lessons, & if completed successfully then free time

What are the best PD seasons you have attended? And why were they thre best?

  • Anything that is PD for teachers, BY teachers eg. EduCamps, #WellyHPE workshops. PENZ conferences, ConnectedPE Conf
  • Not HPE specific but mind lab is pretty amazing
  • Practical applications made by teachers for teachers @phys_educator has AMAZING resources!
  • Also, @mrrobbo is coming to NZ to do PE & Tech workshops. Auckland 8 May
  • Twitter chats! Because I interact with others, challenge my ideas as well as others, & pick up resources

What are you most excited about trying/doing/implementing in 2017?

BYO ABL – If you didn’t share this as part of Q1.. tell us what some of your favourite ABL resources and games are.

  • #minefield Great start to the year observing how groups operate, the roles individuals play and group dynamics. (A.S91336)
  • Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil
  • Anything that encourages the students to challenge and share their ideas! The square paper challenge is always fun! (Students have to keep folding the paper in half and still fit the whole group on the paper)
  • Class photo, calculator, name time, turnstile, blindfold tent pitch, confused muse…so many games!
  • I love listening/command games like captains coming/Mr Viles says, Buddies up, Squistle tag, number shape maker
  • Activity to develop listening, teamwork, communication – Life with the Wright Family
  • Great resources for ABL – two books that are a must have – Silver bullets or Cowtails and Cobras – Karl Ronke.  Also project adventure – go online for their activities & also go to and select adv activities in PE. is another goodie.
  • ABL games and activities for Effective Communication via Hayden Viles

This was a great chat to start the 2017 school year and I hope that this summary will prove to be helpful.  Thanks again for the opportunity to connect with you all.

Celia Fleck

PE Curriculum Facilitator, University of Auckland

Being Connected – thanks ConnectedPE

This week has been full of opportunities to connect online with Physical Educators from all over the world, thanks to Jarrod Robinson and the Connected PE Online Conference.  I have loved listening to what amazing things people are doing to ensure quality physical education and physical activity experiences for our young people.

I haven’t had a chance to watch them all yet, but these are some highlights from those I have watched so far:

Making Physical Education Addictive – Andy Hair

Loved his quote – “Be Different – not so you stand out as an educator, but so your kids get an experience that is unique to them.”

He talked about the importance of fun, freedom to explore, and creativity in PE lessons.

He gave some fantastic examples of using provocations to begin units of work and really tap into students curiosity.  Examples were Dude Perfect and Angry Birds for target units.  Throughout the units of work it was emphasised to students that it was all about trial and error and that it was okay to fail over and over before achieving success.  There was an emphasis on reflection to grow knowledge and success.

Lessons took the format – Driving question, learning intention, success criteria, challenge activity.

“We are not teaching children to pass a test.  We are educating children to be successful in life.” – Andy Hair


The Physical Educator as a Resource for the Classroom Teacher – Mike Kuczala

This session resonated with me, because it connects with the work we have been doing as part of the Sport in Education Project and in particular the work that Craig Reddington, Kaikourai Valley College, and Karen Palmer, Queens High School are doing with regard to Active Education.

With many high schools in NZ moving to longer teaching periods, the ability for all teachers to incorporate active learning pedagogies is critical.

Mike talked about the 6 Brain Principles that support using movement/physical activity in the classroom:

  1. The brain responds to novelty
  2. The brain responds to movement
  3. The brain is always trying to make meaning
  4. The brain thrives on concrete experiences
  5. Emotions help the brain remember ‘experiences’
  6. The brain needs social and environmental interaction

He then went on to talk about why movement enhances the learning process:

  1. Provides break from learning
  2. Enhances episodic memory (memory association)
  3. Provides opportunity for implicit learning
  4. Provides an opportunity for differentiating instruction (through different learning styles)
  5. Sensory engagement
  6. It’s the best available manager of state
  7. Provides motivation and the meeting of basic human needs

Check out the following for further inspiration to get your students moving:

TED-Ed “Why sitting is bad for you” – Murat Dalkilinc

2017 5 minute per hour challenge (Primary age)

The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and learning through movement


Using Data to inform Teaching Practice and Student Learning – Pat Coleman

This was a great presentation that encourages us to expand the concept of what counts as ‘data’ – think beyond the numbers.  (Do we perhaps need to use the word evidence more?)

There were lots of practical ideas through out the presentation and these were some of my favourites:

Plickers – provides data on a class level, and also at an individual student level.  What do we as a class need to go back and address?  What gaps are there still in the students knowledge and understanding?  I loved the application of Plickers as an exit card – in the photo below the Plickers stuck to the wall and as the students pass on the way to the changing rooms they turn their own numbered Plicker to the orientation that represents their answer.  Then the teacher can scan the wall and get instant feedback.


Quizizz – this is very similar to Kahoot!, students get points for speed and accuracy of answers, however the advantage this has over Kahoot! is that it can be accessed at anytime.  The teacher sets up the ‘game’ and then once the students have the code they can take the quiz when it suits.  It could be built into a practical lesson as a ‘station’ where students take time to reflect on learning, could be taken in the classroom, or at home.

SOLO taxonomy and QR codes – Pat gave a great example of how he had used SOLO in his Sport Education unit.  Throughout the unit all students had to at some point take a turn at the five different roles, and there was a SOLO rubric for each role.  This was all on the wall of the gym and students had to place their number next to the SOLO level they considered themselves to be at for each of the roles; when they moved up a level they then had to scan the QR code on the wall to fill out an explanation/justification  of why they had moved up a level.  SOLO provides feedback for students about their learning and makes it clear what they need to do to progress to the next level ie. next steps in their learning.


Disrupting Traditional PE – Finding your Passion and Purpose through Play – Will Vreugdenhil

This was so on point, and again really resonated with me due to the work that I am doing with Primary and Intermediate teachers at the moment and challenging them to rethink their teaching practices in PE.

So where does the disruption lie between Traditional PE and Innovative and Modern PE?

Teacher centric -> Student centric

Movement focused -> Understanding focused

Units of Sport -> Conceptual units

Fitness testing (comparing to standards) -> Fitness testing (measure against self)

Repetition = mastery -> repetition is isolation of mastery

Competitive -> collaborative

Teacher determines pace -> student determines pace

Only certain ‘mold’ of student/athlete experiences success -> everyone succeeds

Designed to free up other teachers -> designed for student learning

Technology is the devil -> Technology is our friend

Students treated the same -> differentiated



“Research has shown us that human beings are born with an innate desire to explore, experiment and imagine new possibilities.” (Wagner, 2012)

“The start and end of purposeful PE is play, but it isn’t in my opinion a panacea.  We must watch the children in our care play and then decide how best to support them” (@ImSporticus)

Passion is not just an emotion.  It is the drive to push forward, to try something new, to master a skill or reach the next level.  Passion is usually a product of play, where success was experienced and confidence grew.  Passion is more powerful when intrinsic.

Purpose evolves from passion and play.  It is an intrinsically motivated state, reinforced by passions.  It is about making a difference.


So some quick ‘Innovative PE’ suggestions from Pat:

Give students choice between being in a competitive group vs a non-competitive group: the expectation of the competitive group is that they are skilled and have a mindset of competition, the non-competitive group is not about winning, but participating with purpose.

Integrate technology with a purpose.

Allow for more thought/reflection time.

Co-create with students – which rules would you change and why?

Let students choose what they want to be assessed on (from a range of options)

Be empathetic – give students a ‘day off’


Of course another highlight of the week for me was being able to present during the Connected PE Online Conference on ‘The Value of Sport in Education’.  Thanks Carl Condliffe for suggesting I give it a go and supporting me with the preparation.

Interestingly during this same week of celebrating being able to be connected globally, and seeing the immense benefits, I spent some time in a room of educators who still have a level of anxiety with connecting and collaborating with others online.  We were introducing this group of people to the safety of collaborating within a closed group on Google+ Community; but even within this relative ‘safety’ they expressed their fears about what people might think, how people might respond etc.  We had some great dialogue about the value of the different online platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Virtual Learning Network, blogging.  It was a great reminder to me that it is important not to dismiss people’s anxiety, and to remember how I felt when I first entered the world of Twitter.  It was also affirming for me to realise how far I have come – from contributing to twitter, to moderating twitter chats, writing a blog, and this past week for the first time presenting at an Online Conference.  Another facilitator and I talked about how now our fear is not that people will respond when we post something on line, to that people won’t respond!

Thanks again to Jarrod Robinson and the Connected PE Online Conference for the chance to access FREE professional learning and connect with Physical Educators the world over.

Health and Physical Education, NZC and school values

When the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum was introduced and schools began exploring the key competencies – relating to others, participating and contributing, thinking, managing self, using language, symbols and text – our secondary school Health and Physical Education department began unpacking the KC’s through a HPE lens.  What might these KC’s look like in a HPE setting?  And probably more importantly how might our curriculum area contribute to the deliberate teaching of the KC’s?

Then many years later our secondary school engaged with Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L), and through a process of consultation with the school community we introduced four school values.  Again our HPE department took the time to consider what might these values look like (sound like, feel like) in a HPE setting?  And, how might our curriculum area contribute to the deliberate teaching of these values to our young people?

It will not surprise many of you that the HPE curriculum area is perfectly positioned to bring to life the key competencies (in fact, I have often been heard claiming that the key competencies ARE the Health and Physical Education curriculum), and this is also true for the vision, values and principles of the NZC, and of individual schools.  Sport is also a perfect vehicle for deliberately teaching and celebrating these competencies and values.

This past week or so, I have been privileged to facilitate teacher only days in primary and intermediate schools with a focus on the Health and Physical Education curriculum.  In each case we took the time to unpack the essence of the HPE curriculum against one or a combination of: their school values, the Tātaiako cultural competencies, the key competencies of the NZC, Guy Claxton’s learning muscles, and in the case of a Catholic school, their missionaries framework.  This was a valuable opportunity for these teachers to engage with the HPE curriculum and for them to consider it in the context of their school environment.

I would highly recommend schools, syndicates, learning hubs, departments, take the time early in the school year to unpack their school vision and values (or that of the NZC) through the lens of the Health and Physical Education curriculum.

Athletics – challenging the status quo

In my experience with primary and intermediate schools over the last year, it would be fair to say that almost every school I am working with has ‘Athletics’ sitting somewhere in their PE programme.  When I ask why they are teaching athletics for six weeks, the school will inevitably respond with ‘to get the students ready for the school Athletics Day’.  And if I then ask the question ‘what is the purpose of the school Athletics Day?’, inevitably the response is to select students for the inter-school Athletics Day.  Very little consideration is given to the place and purpose of Athletics in the school, or to the learning that may or may not occur while athletics takes place during curriculum time, and there is very little, if any connection to curriculum.  In most cases it is doing something because that is what we have always done.

In term four last year I worked with some Primary schools (year 1-6) to challenge them to consider different ways of teaching the fundamental movement skills required for athletics activities.  These activities were taught to me by some Athletics NZ staff and they align with the vision that Athletics NZ has for young people’s experiences in Athletics.  Initially I had observed teachers trying to teach five year olds baton changing, and lining them up beside the long jump pit so that they could all have a go, one at a time, jumping in the long jump pit.   So my challenge was to provide these teachers with some alternative activities to ensure their learners were more active, could experience a more playful style of learning, and therefore have lots of fun.

Here are some examples of some jumping activities that I did with Year 1-3 students:

Year One (they love a good narrative!)

Focussing on jumping, hopping, balancing.

“Today we are going to pretend to be some animals that jump, hop, and balance.

What animal stands on one leg?  Let’s all pretend to be a Flamingo.

The Flamingo is getting tired standing on that leg; let’s swap legs.

Now the Flamingo is getting hungry; can you stay balanced on one leg but bend down and touch the ground without losing your balance.  Now try that again balanced on the other leg.

Can you tell me the name of an animal that hops or jumps?

Show me how a kangaroo jumps.

Show me how a frog jumps.

Show me how a rabbit jumps.

Can you think of an animal that hops on one leg?

Let’s practise – hopping on our left leg, now let’s practise hopping on our right leg.


I can see a pond of lily pads; let’s all go and be frogs on the lily pads.  Show me how you can jump from lily pad to lily pad.

What are some different ways that we can jump from lily pad to lily pad?  

Two feet -> two feet.

One foot -> two feet.

One foot -> same foot (hop)

One foot -> other foot (leap)

Which help you get the furthest?  Have a go at some ways that you haven’t tried yet.

What do we need to think about when we are landing?

Soft knees.


Year Two

Focussing on jumping and landing.

What sports and games use jumping?

What do you need to do to jump a long way?

Scene: River (using skipping ropes to show the bank); crocodiles in the river (can use cones as visual)

LJ = take off 1 foot, land 2 feet and arms out in front, knees bent (riding a motor bike)

Start with standing jump – ask ‘How could we generate more power to jump further?’ -> run up.

Adaptations: Add challenge by making one end wider to give students opportunity to jump greater distance and discuss the importance of running up to the jump and the take off on one foot landing with soft knees body weight forward.  Add in cones to gain height in jump. (student run up distance in years –eg: 8 years = 8 mtrs)


Year three

Modified high jump activities:

The Scissor kick skill is most similar to what fundamental movement skill?

  • Kick is the fundamental skill used (think drop kick movement)

TC (Teaching Cue) – Toes to the sky (increase hip movement)

TC – Push arms up (driving)

Remind student’s legs don’t need to be straight – bent knee is easier and best

  • Students work in pairs with a skipping rope on the ground and practice scissor   kick over the rope
  • Practice in groups of 3 with the skipping rope alternating taking turns two people holding “How high would you like it?” Challenge by choice.  Swap out the person holding the rope.


  • High Jump activity (using rakau balanced on the top of witches hat cones) – allows students to jump from both sides (important that they practise kicking leading with both legs)


In term one this year I am working with an Intermediate school to challenge some of their practices.  They have their school Athletics Day in week 5, and they are taking each of their Syndicates to camp in weeks 6-7.  These were non-negotiables in designing a focus for PE for term 1, and this is what we have co-constructed together.





In the place of ‘daily fitness’ I am encouraging teachers to take their class out for an ABL activity each day to reinforce the achievement objectives and the key learning.  

Some examples include:

Feet together

Group size – 5-6

The aim of the activity is to be the first group to cover a set distance (10-15m), with the limitation being that they must remain at all times with the sides of their feet in contact with the sides of the feet of the people on either side of them.

Allow time for groups to practise and develop strategies.  You might like to offer groups some hints after a while if needed.  

Some hints to use include:

  1.     support each other physically, socially and emotionally
  2.     get tight
  3.     move half your feet each step, every person moves one foot each time


Once you think they have all had sufficient time to practise, line them up on the start line and set them off.  Watch each group carefully, if they break contact at all, they have to go back to the start line and start again.

Helium Pole

Group size – 5-6

Equipment – tent pole/bamboo pole/rakau (1 per group)

Group lines up along either side of a lightweight pole and takes up a position facing one another with arms outstretched and with the pole balanced on the backs of their index fingers.  Aim is to not lose contact at any time throughout the activity and attempt to lower the pole from standing position down to the ground level.  Honesty is a key as at all times those fingers need to be in contact with the pole and underneath the pole.  Not as easy as it sounds!!

Skipping Challenge

Group size – any

Equipment – Large skipping ropes or long climbing ropes

Objective is to get the whole class through the turning rope one at a time uner the following conditions:

  • The rope must not turn without a person in it
  • The rope turners must also go through the rope (optional)

Extensions you can include after they successfully complete the first challenge is:

  • Each person must enter and jump the rope once before exiting
  • Get the entire group to run through on one turn of the rope
  • See how many people the group can get jumping at the same time.  Can either enter one at a time, or can run in altogether and count the number of jumps a group can complete together.


I asked teachers what some of the challenges were that they and their learners faced when teaching Athletics?

  • Lack of coordination
  • Lack of confidence
  • Too much standing around waiting to ‘have a turn’
  • Learners were on show all the time; everyone watching them when they have their turn
  • Lack of student agency
  • Boring


This is an example of a lesson that teachers could use for the vortex to address some of the challenges above.




There is a long way to go in terms of challenging some of the Athletics practices in schools to ensure that quality physical education is taking place.  Small steps 🙂


*This blog is my own, hence I write it in the first person; however I would like to acknowledge and also pay credit to the team of mentors that I am working with that contribute to this planning and professional development for teachers.

Why is Quality Physical Education important?

During my years of teaching in the Secondary school sector I have often been asked to justify the Health and Physical Education curriculum; most often this was in response to changes to timetable structure and therefore having to advocate for equitable time for HPE as per other ‘core’ subjects, or wanting to introduce new HPE courses and having to justify their worth as they might draw numbers of students away from other curriculum areas.

In the past year working more with primary and intermediate teachers, the challenge has been getting school leaders, teachers, and school communities, to see the value in quality physical education for their young people.  In an environment where teachers are doing their best to deliver the NZC, and at the same time meet the demands of National Standards, it is unfortunate but true that Physical Education is often the learning area that ends up at the bottom of the heap.

So I have begun gathering some ‘ammunition’ for when people ask the question ‘why is quality Physical Education important?’

This is by far my favourite response…

“Physical education is the most effective means of providing all children and youth with the skills, attitudes, values, knowledge and understanding for lifelong participation in society.”  The Declaration of Berlin 2013 – UNESCO’s World Sports Ministers Conference (MINEPS V)


There is often the perception that physical education is only about providing young people with the skills, attitudes, values, knowledge and understanding for lifelong participation in sport or physical activity; when in actual fact the learnings that take place during quality physical education experiences are preparing young people to be good citizens who are able to contribute to their own well-being, the well-being of those around them, and of wider society.

Further more…

“Quality Physical Education:

  • is the most effective and inclusive means of providing all children with the skills, attitudes, values, knowledge and understanding for life long participation in physical activity and sport;
  • helps to ensure integrated and rounded development of mind, body and spirit;
  • is the only school subject whose primary focus is on the body, physical activity, physical development and health;
  • helps children to develop the patterns of and interest in physical activity, which are essential for healthy development and which lay the foundations for adult healthy lifestyles;
  • helps children to develop respect for the body – both their own and others’;
  • develops understanding of the role of physical activity in promoting health;
  • contributes to children’s confidence and self esteem;
  • enhances social development by preparing children to cope with competition, winning and losing; and co-operation and collaboration;
  • provides the skills and knowledge for future work in sport, physical activity, recreation and leisure, a growing area of employment.”  Results and recommendations from the World Summit on Physical Education

UNESCO advocates for quality physical education policies all over the world as a tool to contribute to 21st century education and drive inclusion. The infographic illustrates the benefits of investing on quality physical education policies in opposition to the cost of NOT investing.


The recent ERO Report on Wellbeing for Young People’s Success at Secondary School has reinforced the importance of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum in supporting student wellbeing, and in turn student success.  It also highlights the importance of connecting learning areas with ‘sport, culture and leadership opportunities’.

Schools are in a unique position, utilising their HPE curriculum and co-curricular sports, to establish a culture where physical activity is valued, and student wellbeing is nurtured. Hauora (wellbeing) is one of the underlying concepts of the HPE curriculum. The benefits of physical activity on people’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing is well documented.

“According to the World Health Organization, engaging in physical activity through play, games, and sport gives young people natural opportunities to express themselves, develop self-confidence, relieve tension, achieve success, and interact with others as well as learning about the spirit of solidarity and fair play (World Health Organization, 2003b).

Team games and play foster students’ development of social skills and provide opportunities for them to learn group membership and leadership skills, attitudes, and behaviours. Physical activity can build students’ character because it provides opportunities to develop values such as dedication, honesty, courage, and fairness.

Participation in a range of physical activities encourages students and young people to take on challenges. Physical activity also offers them opportunities to develop resilience and realise their potential to excel within the scope of their own abilities.

Research, including that by Shephard (1997), Linder (1999; 2002), Tremblay et al. (2000), and Dwyer et al. (2001),has found that children who are more physically active demonstrate higher levels of academic achievement.

More recent New Zealand research undertaken by Clinton, Rensferd, and Willing (2006) confirms that students who are well nourished and engage in regular physical activity are in a better position to bene t from opportunities to learn.” Physical Activity For Healthy and Confident Kids’: Guidelines for Sustainable Physical Activity in Secondary School Communities (MoE, 2007)

The key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum align perfectly with the philosophy and content of the Health and Physical Education curriculum.  Physical Education provides a rich, relevant and meaningful context in which to explicitly teach the key competencies.

I could go on, quoting evidence from multiple sources but for today’s blog this is where I will leave it – the human body was made to move and quality physical education provides opportunities for people to experience the joy of movement.