If I had a million dollars, I'd build you a school.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer Camp: Personal Learning Using Sports

My first summer camp job, back while I was still in college, was teaching swimming at a sports camp at my old high school. While the camp certainly focused on teaching athletic skills in the various sports that were offered, the main goal of the camp was to use sports as a means to teach important life skills: teamwork, sportsmanship, the value of practice and hard work, and so on.

Each class, regardless of the sport, began and ended with a warm up and cool down in which the kids were asked to set goals for the day and then evaluate their performance. In swimming these tended to be more individual goals. "I will swim a full length of the pool without stopping." "I will put my face in the water." But in the team sports there was also an emphasis on group skills. "I will congratulate an opponent on a good play." "I will pass the ball to a teammate."

Because of these warm up and cool down times, the experience of sports was much more about process than about result. I have tried to maintain that emphasis as a coach at the middle school and high school levels. I have coached an undefeated state championship volleyball team, as well as multiple teams who have not won a single game, and a little of everything in between. Hopefully what all those experiences have had in common for the players on those teams was an emphasis on having fun and on getting a little bit better every day. As in the classroom, it has been a good day at sports practice if you have improved, and maybe learned a bit about yourself in the process.

2 comments:

Melissa B. said...

Sports are a really good way to teach kids organization and self-respect. I know that organized sports have helped my 2 daughters turn out to be awesome young adults! BTW, The Scribe is back online, and we're hosting the Silly Summer Sunday Sweepstakes again tomorrow. Please come by and Share the Caption Love!

blue said...

You should check out Bayard and their series of StoryBoxBooks, AdventureBoxBooks and DiscoveryBoxBooks.
There's lots going on too:
This Month Storybox has guest illustrator Helen Oxenbury featured.

There's a Readathon happening in UK and Ireland - http://discoveryboxbooks.com/readathon.php
There's a Ghost Drawing competition in AdventureBoxBooks assiciated with the Polka Theatre ( http://www.adventureboxbooks.com/competition.php )