VIS Monthly Focus

Physical Education 

Looking back at over the last couple of years, physical education at VIS has come a long way in promoting authentic opportunities for transdisciplinary learning. Have you ever thought that you could learn math through physical education? Yes, you can at VIS! 

What is transdisciplinary learning?  "Transdisciplinary learning builds bridges between teachers as well as between subjects areas. By connecting mathematics and physical eduction we access learning through multiple perspectives and make it relevant and engaging."  
- Colin Powell, VIS PYP Coordinator

Physical Education Philosophy Statement 

Research states that physical education must be articulated in terms of conceptual understanding, skills and attitudes. When we develop this kind of approach, it is called physical literacy. With this research in mind, we developed the following philosophy statement:

Physical education at Vilnius International School provides a holistic understanding of how body and movement develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and conceptual understanding. In our space, learners plan, act and reflect to seek to understand and care for physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.

It's not the age or skill that matters but the will and ambition.” - Artem Kornev, grade 8

Advanced Trends in our P.E. Programme

In our work with the physical education expert Mr. Andy Vasily, we learned about the progression of physical development across childhood. With our youngest learners, we have looked at the complexities of play and understand that it is crucial for motor, social and emotional development. An extension of play in Grade 1 is Active Learning. These are activities that combine critical thinking and motor skills.

In order to put into practice our philosophy statement and our understanding of physical literacy, we improved our curriculum. We developed our five units to be a combination of all three strands - identity, interactions and active living. 

Our units include teamwork, sports adaptations, handball, Olympics, cultural movement, invasion and strategy games, individual pursuit and team sports.

In developing physical literacy, a big shift has been towards student-centered and student-driven learning. In this type of learning, teachers lay the foundation and provoke students to take control of their learning, make choices, and plan for their participation.

Celebrating our Cultural Movement Unit 

What does this look like in the gym? In our current unit, Cultural Movement, we incorporate each component mentioned above. First, all PYP and MYP students worked in groups to draft stories demonstrating the theme of ‘change’. Then we provoked students to think about the role of culture and identity and incorporate it into a choreographed routine using elements from three cultural movement genres. These genres were introduced to the students by "peer experts".

In order to celebrate the diversity and talent among our own student community, 12 students shared their expertise from a range of movement genres.  Student experts Elizabeth (grade 7), Felicija (grade 5) and Urtė (grade 8) graciously taught MYP students the positions and routines of ballet choreography. Carlotta (grade 8) introduced capoeira routines. Daina and Sophia (grade 4) shared their poise and passion for ballroom dance.  Ailbhe (grade 10) invigorated us with Irish dance sequences. Gymnasts Viktorija (grade 10) and Neda (grade 2) showcased their agility and flare. Martial arts experts Roman and Matt (grade 10) gave lessons in karate and judo.  Hip hop classes were facilitated by Rokas, Nojus, (grade 10) and Oskaras (grade 7); and break dancing was introduced by Artem (grade 8). 

The student-led classes provided opportunities for students to demonstrate leadership, creativity, risk-taking, athleticism, open-mindedness and respect. Please take an opportunity to view this short video celebrating our mission to become cultural proficiency human beings through movement. See video here:

"I discovered that teaching is a very complicated process which goes far beyond what it seems from a student’s perspective." - Victoria Bakshinskaite, grade 10
I was surprised how positive everyone was. Everyone was so welcoming and open about the dance and the culture, and I definitely enjoyed it!” - Ailbhe Noonan, grade 10

A Fun and Challenging Place to Learn

A major result of the developments in PE program is student engagement in the learning process. We have seen independent learners showing leadership and students taking risks; we are observing creativity through student choice and voice where critical thinking complements physical goal setting and planning. All of this makes the gym a fun  and challenging place to learn. 
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