At the beginning of the school year my students run into the gym and enthusiastically ask, “Mrs. G-H, what are we doing today?” We stop and have a quick class discussion about how physical education isn’t just about playing games. It’s about learning, too. The next day the same students run into the gym, and with smiles on their faces ask, “Mrs. G-H, what are we learning today?”
In October my school has parent-teacher conferences. I have the opportunity to visit with parents for 15 minutes. Many of them ask how they can encourage their children to be more active outside of school. Others share that their child won’t talk about what they are learning in school. They say things like, “Well, she gets good grades, so I know she’s turning in her work, but she won’t tell me what she’s learning in class.”
I teach students in middle school. They love talking about themselves…just not with their parents. I share this list of conversation starters at conferences (and on my school website) and remind parents the questions can be used to talk about any subject area.
- Tell me what you learned in P.E. today.
- Tell me about the best part of your P.E. class.
- What was the most challenging thing you did in P.E. today?
- What skills are you working on in P.E.?
- What are you doing differently from last year?
- Tell me how we can incorporate your learning in P.E. into a family activity/outing.
- What was the best thing your teacher asked you to do in [activity] today?
- Did any of your classmates do anything funny?
- Who did you play with today?
- Can you teach me something you learned today?
I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about this list. One parent wrote, “I had no idea my daughter enjoyed doing yoga. Now we’re taking a class together and I’ve noticed that she talks to me more and more each day about anything.” Another parent said, “My son learned how to play team handball in your class. He says that he’s really good and I didn’t think he could play any sports!”
Has your child told you about their learning experiences in PE? Sometimes you just have to ask the right question.
This list was inspired by Scholastic’s “10 Questions to Ask Your Child About His Day at School” article.