Introducing PLT4M in My Classroom

  • 5 October 2021
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Hi fellow P.E. teachers!

 

After incorporating PLT4M into my classes for the last 3 years, I’ve fine tuned the way I introduce PLT4M to my students. It can be challenging to learn a new online tool yourself, while simultaneously teaching your students how to use it! Below I’m sharing my latest approach for introducing PLT4M into my classes:

 

 

  1. Introductions and expectations

 

The first day of school can be exciting and nerve wracking, and it is my job to make sure that the students feel comfortable right off the bat. I start by introducing myself, including:

 

  • My background (something personal about me)

  • Why I’m here

  • Why I teach

 

Next, I’m going to explain the goal of the class. I teach 3 different courses: Strength & Conditioning, Foundations of Weight Training, and Women’s Fitness. Each course has different goals and objectives, so I like to make it very clear what they signed up for, so that they understand what that class is all about, and what they can expect to gain from it. 

 

  1. Building trust & creating a safe environment

 

During that first week, I make it my goal to learn all their names. And, I make sure to learn something personal about each one of them as well. Now, they know something personal about me, I know something personal about them, which I view as the foundation of a trusting relationship. If my students trust and respect me, they’re going to work hard for me. That’s really my goal in that first week. 

 

  1. Registering for PLT4M

 

I don’t necessarily introduce PLT4M on day 1. I prioritize getting to know my students, and setting expectations for my class. When I’m ready for my students to sign up for PLT4M, I have them do it during class time, right in front of me. That way, I can help answer any questions that arise during registration. I jot 3 pieces of information on the whiteboard:

 

  1. Bookmark App.plt4m.com 

    1. I have students register with their computers. They are welcome to access PLT4M from the App later, but many of them forget that PLT4M can also be accessed on a computer. Since we are a 1:1 school, I make sure they start their PLT4M journey on the computer.  With the PLT4M web address up on the whiteboard, I instruct them to access the site, and to bookmark it. 

  2. My school’s Join Code

    1. Next I instruct my students to enter my school’s join code where prompted, on the Registration screen. Since we are a Google school, I encourage them to utilize the Single Sign On option. This is also why I start with computers—so students can register with their school email credentials. Students then follow the prompts to complete their registration. 

  3. Which Group to join (varies by class)

    1. I like to group my 3 classes separately. This allows me to grade easily, because I can pull grades for one class at a time. I also leave my groups set to “public,” that way, students can add themselves (and I don’t have to do it!)  I label my groups like this:

      1. 2nd Hour - Foundations of Weight Training

      2. 3rd Hour - Women’s Fitness

      3. 4th Hour - Weight Training

 

Note: I’ve found it helpful to project my computer screen, and create a student profile for myself, while the students follow along with me. To do this, I use a different email than the email I used to create a staff account. I can create and delete a “student profile” as many times as I need to so that each of my classes can follow along with me. This helps to avoid dozens of questions I typically get surrounding registration. 


 

  1. Digital Citizenship

Being a 1:1 school, students are online ALL the time, therefore it is extremely important that the students know how to properly engage online. I take this opportunity to discuss how their PLT4M profile is a representation of our school, and  I set a few expectations regarding their PLT4M profiles:

 

  • Is their profile photo appropriate?

    • The profile photo must be an actual picture of themselves. If they don’t want to use a photo of themselves, I allow them to use our school mascot. At this point, I allow them to grab their cell phone (if they have one). They typically have more photos saved on their cell phone, so they can easily choose one of those photos, and get to know PLT4M via their phones. 

  • Did they capitalize their first and last name?

    • Sounds silly, but this is important 

  • Did they enter their grad year correctly?

    • This provides me with another way to organize and categorize the students. This is also helpful when it comes time to remove the graduated students at the end of the year. 

  • Did they enter their athletic or Phys Ed status?

    • This gives me another piece of data that I can sort students by

  • Did they enter Height & Weight 

    • This allows us to use Lb for Lb leaderboard, and is another data point they can track for themselves.


 

  1. Getting to know the App - Scavenger Hunt

Lastly, I want them to get comfortable navigating the app. I want them to view PLT4M as a valuable tool for themselves. In previous years, I set aside 20 minutes for students to just play around with the PLT4M App. This year, I took it a step further and created a PLT4M scavenger hunt. This forced them to navigate through different parts of the site, and introduced them to everything PLT4M has to offer! Below are some example scavenger prompts:  

 

  • You just completed 15 air squats in a minute! Log this new score into PLT4M. 

→ This shows them where and how to track their fitness metrics

  • Your teacher has an important reminder about your next class. What is it?

→ This shows them how to check for announcements on the news feed. Be sure to post something on the news feed prior to the scavenger hunt.

  • You’re ready to begin your workout. What is your assigned workout(s) called?

→ Be sure to assign at least 1 program to your groups. This shows them where to navigate to access and log their workouts. 

  • Your classmate left their device at home and needs to share your device to access their workout. Go to your workout tab, and add them to your Rack View

→ This introduces them to the Rack View feature

  • Now that you’ve logged your Air Squat score, see how it compares to the rest of your class. 

→ Be sure to create an Air Squat Leaderboard for your class. This introduces them to the leaderboard page. 

  • Explore your Exercise Tab! The exercise tab gives you full access to a library of fitness movements and educational videos. Use the category filters and the search bar to find the following:

    • You’re working on your deadlift form. Can you find a video that you can reference to help you with this exercise?

    • You’re curious about hydration and the role it plays in your training. Where can you learn more about this?

    • You’re interested in working out during school vacation, but you don’t have access to a gym or any equipment. Can you locate any at-home workouts?

    • You’re interested in trying Yoga for the first time. Can you locate any introductory yoga lessons? 

 

I might manipulate the scavenger hunt for each class, depending on how I want that class to use the app. For example, I may give my weight training classes more prompts to explore features such as leaderboards, and entering/viewing progress on their max lifts. For my more introductory classes, I may prompt them to explore the Exercise tab more, so that they can get familiar with searching and finding the resources they need to learn new movements. 

 

The scavenger hunt has been my latest tweak to rolling out PLT4M in my classes, and I highly recommend doing something like this!

 


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