Newly Announced Curriculum for (Virtual) P.E.

Some new improvements have been introduced for virtual physical education.

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As the second marking period of virtual school at Stuyvesant comes to a close, we can look back and see how teachers and students have struggled during this period of virtual learning. Many teachers, whose previous highest level of experience with technology was struggling to scan in textbooks at the beginning of the year, were thrown into a new hostile environment of trying to figure out the seemingly endless ways to mess up using Zoom or Google Meets. This rapid change resulted in many teachers accidentally muting themselves for 20 minutes while students hesitated to tell them, being unable to figure out screen sharing, or even banning themselves from their own Zoom call.

But no class has suffered more during this period of change than physical education.

To see most of the class half-heartedly swinging their arms back and forth as a form of “exercise” as an unenthusiastic teacher halfway to blowing their brains out supervises is quite a sight. Not to mention, of course, there are the handful of students whose cameras are pointed so high it’s obvious they don’t want to be seen or so low they only want certain parts of their body to be shown. There are also students whose cameras “aren't working.” Clearly, there are many improvements to be made to virtual physical education that Stuyvesant P.E. teachers tried to tackle in their newest curriculum announcements for the third marking period:

Square dancing: Students will participate in various traditional dances by either participating with family members to encourage some good, wholesome family bonding or through assigned partners in Zoom, in which they will practice their own parts of the dance and pin one another’s screen.

Rollerblading: Students will be required to purchase rollerblades and skate in various shapes around areas in their homes. If the student cannot afford the materials, they will simply pour water on their floors and slip and slide around or use socks on wooden floors.

Softball: Students will practice hand-eye coordination by swinging objects in their homes in order to try and hit the ball being thrown by their teacher. Extra credit will be given for breaking computers. Students will also hold their hands in front of their webcam to practice catching.

Weightlifting: Students will use overdue textbooks as weights to perform weightlifting movements like bicep curls, tricep extensions, and the overhead press.

Basketball: Students will practice shooting by taking different designated objects and trying to make them land a certain distance in front of them. Shooting form will be monitored via spyware in order to determine participation grades.

Another addition to the curriculum hopes to solve the issue of students having their cameras off by encouraging alternate means of participation. During physical education, students will now have the option to log into Talos on their laptop or phone and have the movement of their devices tracked and entered as participation. Students will be expected to pick up their devices in their hands and move them as they do physical activities. Another option is that students with no cameras will be required to turn on their microphone at all times so teachers can record every class and make sure students with no cameras are making the appropriate grunts indicative of exercise.

In summation, the curriculum thus far seems promising. Looking ahead, Stuyvesant hopes to see increased enthusiasm and participation in virtual physical education.