Book Review By: Deanna Baxter, High School Physical Education
One of the biggest challenges that we face in the Physical Education Department is motivating students to want to participate and improve themselves physically. Freshman Girls PE classes are required to complete the Presidential Physical Fitness Testing four different times throughout the year. In the past, I have had the students collect data and chart their scores for each test. My hope was that this data collection would help motivate them to work hard in class so that they would improve their scores on the next round of testing. This process simply wasn’t the motivating factor that I had hoped it to be. Like any teacher, I began to brainstorm new ideas. One of my colleagues introduced me to the idea of Gamification and recommended that I read the book Explore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera.
With the help of the book study on Explore Like a Pirate and collaboration within the PE department, we came up with the idea to gamify the Presidential Physical Fitness Testing. Each Girls PE class is a team and competing against the other classes. I take the class average of each test and the results are visually shown on a bulletin board. This method has been great motivation for my classes. It requires them to work as a team. The students are more likely to encourage each other to work hard because they know their scores are dependent on their classmates.
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