Thanksgiving-Themed Lesson: Navigating Aquatic Education

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Updated: Aug 16, 2023
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Thanksgiving Themed Lesson in the Pool

Cassidy and I were the Group A leaders in the pool for KIA this past Friday, November 10th. Our theme was Thanksgiving dinner, and all the activities were food related. The theme utilized Thanksgiving food activities as well as letter recognition which allowed the participants to be cognizant of the SHAPE standards, follows the rules and parameters of the learning environment, and exhibits the established protocols for class activities. We chose these standards because they are important.

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It allows for the participants to be working together with each other in all the designated activities.

Engaging Activities for the Participants

Our activity, “Thanksgiving Dinner Scramble,” was the main focus of the lesson. It was highly liked by many participants, which increased their desire to complete the tasks on hand. This activity allowed students to have letter recognition of the different food types. The students were each given a word at the wall of the pool, and then they used different strokes learned in the warm-up to leave the wall. They kept using these strokes to find each letter of the word until they spelled the whole food item.

During the entire lesson, Cassidy and I switched leading roles so that way we could both instruct different activities. One of us would lead from the outside, demonstrating the task, while the other one would be in the pool affirming the task described.

Organizational Challenges and Solutions

During our lesson planning, we wanted to focus on following the parameters of activity protocol as well as letter recognition. This focus allowed us to reinforce listening skills as well as developmental strategies. Since our group was the younger group, we believed that letter recognition, along with different strokes, was beneficial. The participants listened to both the leaders as well as their mentors to complete the task at hand as well as find letters to spell their given word. Cassidy and I swam around in the pool noodles, which had letters taped to them, to correct some tasks as well as motivate participants as they found more and more letters.

The organization of our group activities was scattered throughout the pool space. Some of the mentors stated that this equipment distribution was challenging to their participants, which is a factor we can keep in mind for future lessons. To try and keep all of our equipment in one area, we stayed in the area to make sure that there was no drifting occurring.

Session Content/ Learning and/ or Physical Activity Experiences

In the warm-up, we instructed the participants to complete three different swimming tasks. These tasks consisted of the front crawl, the back float, and blowing bubbles. Although after observing this portion of the lesson, I feel as though it would have been more beneficial to only have the participants focus on one task to have a stronger focus on task completion. During the debrief, this was also brought up as an issue because there was not enough time for each participant to complete all their warm-up tasks.

Based on the feedback given by mentors in the debrief, I will have a stronger focus on safety. Our lesson did not touch on safety at all, which was a big concern to many of the mentors. The pool setting has a lot going on, and safety is often overlooked. After talking with some of the mentors as well as Kelci, I learned that Whales Tails is often used to establish pool safety during lessons. Now that I have this knowledge, I will incorporate it into my lesson to make sure that the environment is safe for all involved.

Reflecting on Instruction and Improvement

During our Thanksgiving dinner lesson, Cassidy and I utilized a variety of different teaching strategies. Utilizing both verbal and demonstrative actions allowed for all participants to be reached to increase their overall success. During my leading portions, I made sure that I was teaching from outside the pool so that way all the participants and mentors could clearly see and hear me while they were along the edge of the wall.

Another strategy that was utilized was intervening if tasks were not being followed through correctly. Some of the tasks needed additional demonstrations in the water for the connection to be made fully. Although many participants needed corrections, it was more beneficial to complete these corrections one on one instead of disturbing the entire group. The time between corrections allowed mentors to have time to try and correct the behaviors on their own with their participants, which in the end, is beneficial for their learning experience as well.
Instructor Behaviors

Overall, I feel as though this KIA lesson gave me unique experiences as well as teaching moments. This lesson was the first time that I had the opportunity to lead in the pool setting. This lesson was eye-opening because I have had no experience working in an aquatics setting. I learned that it was important to teach both in and out of the water. This allowed the mentors and participants to see and hear my instructions more clearly than if my voice was muffled at the water level.

The session opened my eyes to future aquatic lessons. I need to be louder in my instructional behaviors because I found that my voice does not carry as far as I thought. During my next lesson, I want to try different demonstration techniques to allow for a better visual representation for the participants to get a better understanding.

In the end, I believe that this lesson was only beneficial. It gave me insights on how to lead a successful aquatics program. Also, I learned different techniques that could be used that would be more effective for the variety of skill levels of the kiddos.

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Thanksgiving-Themed Lesson: Navigating Aquatic Education. (2023, Aug 16). Retrieved from