Aqua Fun Academy
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Beware the Current

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will discuss water safety. Whether you are staying local and visiting the beach, headed up to the cabin, or going on vacation abroad. It is important be mindful and cautious about the type of water you are going to be venturing into.

swimming tip tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: here’s an example of a warning flag at the beach

When going on vacation at a beach, lifeguards will have red buoys or flags out to indicate which parts of the beach are unsafe due to waves and the strength of currents in the water. Even the most experienced of swimmers can be pulled under due to the strength of the current. Follow these signs as you would traffic lights. They are not guidelines, they are rules to protect you. Never underestimate the power of currents, and be extremely cautious about swimming in one.

Another caution to be wary of while at the beach are sandbars. Sandbars are areas of elevated sand at the bottom of the water, these tend to appear and disappear as one moves deeper into the water. Walking off of one of these can be shocking for all swimmers, specifically inexperienced swimmers, or those new to this phenomenon. Remember to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings, swim with an aid, or a life jacket, to keep safe when out on the water.

swimming tip tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Currents of the water can be dangerous, wear a life jacket!

Remember, no matter how calm water looks, there are also under currents to be wary of. These are often a product of “calm” looking water. The water happens to be moving at a startling speed. Always wear a life jacket when going into uncontrolled waters (ie: lakes, oceans, rivers etc). Do not just bring your life jacket with you, wear it. Treat it as your would a bike helmet or a car seat belt. It does not work if it is not on. Remember even the most experienced swimmers can drown, so swim smart and swim safe.

Until our next Swimming Tip Tuesday!Swimming Tip Tuesday

Tutor Thursday

Tutor Thursday: Meeting Students’ Needs

On this week’s Tutor Thursday we are going to discuss some of the methods we use to help reach primary students’ needs.

After reading Student Success, Differentiated Instruction Educators’ Package (2010), we have developed three steps that will help us increase effectiveness in meeting students’ needs.

  1. Differentiation to Help Students Demonstrate their Learning (Product)
    • We will make sure to provide a task that allows students to easily vary the complexity or the form of the task for different learners.
    • Some examples are:
      • Choice Boards
        • This structure provides students with choice but all the choices address the same learning goal and are evaluated using the same Tutor Thursdayassessment criteria.
      • Cubing
        • This structure differentiates instruction based on the students’ readiness, learning preference or interest.
      • Learning Contracts
        • This structure provides differentiation by allowing learning goals and evaluation criteria to be developed by the teacher and student.
      • Tiering
        • Creating more than one version of the task in order to provide different levels according to students’ levels of readiness.

Differentiated instructional materials allow students to demonstrate their learning to the best of their abilities, which would give me the opportunity to properly assess students’ new knowledge.

  1. Differentiation to Help Students Learn (Process)
    • In a differentiated classroom, teachers provide different instructional methods to help students learn.
      In our classroom, we make sure to constantly change up the instructional methods. Here are some examples:

      • Jigsaw activities, Think Pair Share
      • Graphic organizers
      • Checklists with clear learning goals
      • Anticipation guides, exit cards, thinking routines
      • Self and peer assessments

Differentiated teaching tools allow students to see learning from a variety of perspectives and give them the opportunity to succeed.Tutor Thursdays

  1. Differentiation to Enhance the Conditions for Learning (Environment)
    • In a differentiated classroom, students are frequently grouped and regrouped based on their readiness to learn a concept, interest in a concept, learning preferences in working with a concept, and environmental or social sensitivities.

The different group settings allow students to be in the best possible learning environment for that specific activity, which gives the students the opportunity to excel to their highest potential. We will make sure that students are given this opportunity.

(Differentiated Instruction Educator’s Package, 2010)

Thanks for reading this week’s Tutor Thursday!

Meeting Students' Needs

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Entering The Water

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will discuss water safety, specifically in regards to entering different bodies of water.

There are a variety of ways an individual can enter different bodies of water. When entering a pool the swimmer can slip into the water feet first in the shallow end (or deep end if comfortable in deep water). Conversely if the pool has steps or a ramp the swimmer can walk or wade into the pool. Wading into the water can also be used when going into a lake or ocean from land. Some swimming pools come with ladders as well to help lower you into the pool. These are all safe and effective ways of entering pools, lakes, and beaches.

Swimming Tip TuesdayIf a swimmer is at a lake or the beach and is jumping off a dock, it is important to look for signage indicating if there are rocks. As well as to be aware of the depth of the water, jumping into shallow water can result in major leg injuries and in worse case scenarios lumbar spinals. When entering unknown water, wading or slipping in is highly  recommended.

These tips are for swimmers of all skill levels. Often seasoned swimmers can miss important signage that can prevent serious injury. In swimming pools, be aware of no diving signs in both shallow and deep water. If a swimmer were to dive improperly into shallow water, it can result in serious spinal injuries. Remember shallow water is relative to pool regulations as well as the height of the swimmer.

Swimming Tip TuesdayDiving into shallow water is a skill reserved for properly trained individuals. Shallow diving is an advanced skill, though is always practiced in deep water and used in competition settings. Diving headfirst into water should be avoided unless the individual is properly trained. In addition, individuals should also be familiar with their aquatic surroundings.

Another safe entry for entering deep water swimmers are familiar with is a stride entry. When done properly it keeps the swimmer close to the top of the water, allowing the swimmer to enter without submersion of the head. This technique is also used in rescue skills to prevent loss of visual on the victim.

Remember to stop and evaluate your surrounding before jumping into water. Swim well, and stay safe, until our next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme Vendredi

Swimming Fit Friday: Go With a Buddy

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday we’re going to discuss getting active and the benefits of going with a buddy who knows more about the activity you’re doing then you do.

Swimming Fit FridayMany of us are guilty of being less proactive then we’d like to be. We speak about getting started but constantly push that day further and further away. We find different excuses as to why we haven’t made time or had time to really get into exercise.

One thing you can do is FIND that friend, we all have that friend – the one who is really into fitness.

That one friend who really, I mean REALLY likes to do a certain activity or excursion.

That friend who is always posting on social media about their most recent athletic venture!

Yeah, I want you to contact that friend.

Swimming Fit FridayWhen you contact this friend, listen to the most recent activity and without hesitating, ask if you can accompany them on the next one. Once they say yes, ask what do you need to prepare in terms of materials. Then erase any idea you had in your head about the activity because you will be wrong. Then go!

We have many people who are this friend. You can make adventures out of your exercises. Will it be routine, not at first. However it takes out the anxiety of trying something new alone. It gives you your own personal living guidebook on how to do this activity. It will change the way you view exercise. Because it will no longer be work, you will be planning your next adventure.

Going hiking, kayaking, biking, bird spotting, pigeon feeding, dog walking, Frisbee playing, driving into a rich area and going dream house shopping on foot. Those neighbourhoods are beautiful! Those are things that you could consider exercise…but I rather you find an adventure you like going on.

Unplug and get lost in this beautiful world while there’s still some green grass, some tall trees, blue skies and breathable air.

Anyway that’s my piece on going with a buddy, and I’ll be here next Swimming Fit Friday!

Swimming Fit Friday

I’m that friend! ME!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Minimize the Kick

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we’re going to focus on how to maximize our forward propulsion by looking at the differences in how we kick our feet.

Swimming tip TuesdayThe basis of butterfly is dolphin kick, it is from this movement that the swimmer generates most of their forward momentum. When beginners are learning this stroke, some instructors will put emphasis on splash to differentiate between the two different types of kicks.

Dolphin kick is a wave motion generated from the hips. The swimmer will do the following sequence when performing the kick.

1-push the hips down towards the pool floor.

1a-bend at the knees.

1b- keep the feet close to the top of the water.

This is the initial ‘S’ or ‘wave’ motion. Then the swimmer will…Swimming Tip Tuesday

2- push the bum up towards to the top of the water.

2a-straighten the knees.

2b push the feet down towards the pool floor.

This is the second wave, this motion will become seamless with practice.

As the swimmer performs 2b (pushing the feet down towards the pool floor) they will execute that push gently the first time, tapping the water and hard the second time, forcing the water down beneath them. On the second kick, the swimmer engages the arms and adds to the momentum.

We’ve spoken about the mechanics but how do we maximize this movement? The answer is to minimize the amount of splash we create in the kick.

As I have emphasized in the past to avoid drag we want to maintain a streamlined body position. Remaining streamlined allows for the water to flow around the body without creating drag and assisting with the swimmers’ forward momentum.

Swimming Tip TuesdayIn the case of Butterfly we want to maintain the motion of water around us to avoid drag. Due to the wave like motion of this stroke it is in the swimmer’s best interest to minimize disruptions to the flow of water.

When we create splashes, we change the movement of the water around the swimmer. Due to the change in direction of the water’s movement, the swimmer needs to work against these other currents being created by large splashes.

As a result it important for swimmers to practice the execution of this kick, with great power and a small amount of splash.

Keep practicing, and we’ll see you next time for Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Tutor Thursday

Tutor Thursday: Goal Setting | Aqua Fun Academy

This Tutor Thursday we are going to discuss education and the value of teaching goal setting to students. Goal setting is a fundamental skill which is applicable to various facets of life. We touched on the use of this skill on a Swimming Fit Friday. For more on that see the link at the bottom of the article.

Tutoring ThursdaysGoal setting includes the understanding of how to plan for short and long term goals, setting tangible and realistic goals, and taking the responsibility to act and then self-evaluate the results from each goal. Unfortunately, many teachers do not emphasize the importance of goal setting in their classroom because they are simply so focused on content-knowledge of their own course.

Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset: The new psychology of success, presents the idea that people lead their lives with one of the two types of mindsets: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. According to Dweck, the fixed mindset is “believing that your qualities are carved in stone,” while the growth mindset is “the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.” Moreover, Dweck expands on this idea and states: “the passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”

This idea of the growth mindset is the core for student success. If a student is able to have long-term goals and not give up on them (even if they fail a test in school and so on), the student will, by the end, reach his/her objective.

The key here is to incorporate goal setting and trial and error in the classroom as one of our 21st century skills as it is an essential skill for living in the world and it is omitted in most core courses (such as mathematics, science, etc). If a student is able to fail many times, but get back up and continue to search for a way of how he/she will solve the problem, then, we as teachers, have given the student the right preparation to live and work in the world today.

Now, the question is: how do we (the teachers) prepare the students to have this skill? And how will we assess that the students were able to understand and apply this skill to their lives?

Just keep reading, until next weeks’ Tutor Thursday!


In reference to the beginning of our Tutor Thursday I present to you, Goal Setting in Practice:


Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.


Goal Setting

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly Head Position

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we’re going to discuss butterfly and how our head position affects the power and motion of the stroke.

Before we get into the details, let’s look at the mechanics behind dolphin kick and how that influences the swimmer’s head position. The reason dolphin kick is important is because it is the foundation for butterfly.

Swimming Tip TuesdayDolphin kick is a movement mainly generated from the hips to propel the body forward. This motion is practiced with the swimmers head facing downwards towards the pool floor.

Dolphin kick happens to be a “legs only” skill, for new swimmers or swimmers who are not accustomed to blowing bubbles slowly, as well as swimmers who are not accustomed to holding their breath for long distances. Instructors notice that these swimmers will jut their head out of the water to breathe.

Though this response is normal for beginners, it can carry over into butterfly and cause some problems.

When a swimmer juts their head out of the water during butterfly this action disrupts their forward momentum. To correct this we want the swimmer’s head to follow the natural rise and fall of the chest as we engage the arms. Finding the breathing window comes with understanding the rhythm of the arms.

Pro Tip: Remember to breathe once the arms exit the water and enter the recovery phase, keeping your head close to the surface of the water.Swimming Fit Friday

By sticking to this pattern we can generate lots of uninterrupted forward momentum, which will improve our overall endurance for the stroke.

Swimming Tip Tuesday Summary: Avoid jutting your head out of the water when performing butterfly.

If you are interested in more competitive and competition oriented strokes check out Aqua Fun Academy’s ASAC program. The Link is provided below:

Until next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme Vendredi

Swimming Fit Friday: Exercise and Self Esteem

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday, we are going to discuss exercise. as well as how it can have a positive effects on our self-esteem. With ads and social media influencing our self-perception of shaping what is and is not of value. It can be increasingly difficult for people of all backgrounds, sizes, shapes, and abilities to hold onto what makes them amazing.

I would like to say that as a person you do not owe anyone health, fitness, or beauty. Exercise can provide a space to discover one’s passions, capacity for learning new skills, and overall growth.

Swimmimg Fit FridayTaking up an exercise can provide us with an out, it can take us outdoors, exercising can get us unplugged from ads and social media momentarily.

We can find excitement in our new abilities; from lifting your first weight, to running your first ½ marathon, to swimming in your first competition. Overcoming challenges has a positive effect on our mental state. The endorphins released into the body are responsible for feelings such as happiness.

I have also noticed that the confidence that comes with knowing you’re good at a skill has a way of translating intoSwimming Fit Friday other avenues of your life. It can become its own well in which we draw from to actively discover new passions.

Engaging in exercise can also give us new friends, or even and entire community. Joining a sports team, or league, having a weekly swim buddy, or a network of people at your pool. Being surrounded by amazing people makes us better.

Excelling at our exercise / sport of choice builds our perseverance, our character, and our self-esteem. Exercise provides us with a template for learning, it demonstrates to the individual that time and effort are fundamental in achieving our goals.

I challenge all of you to go out there and find an exercise, sport, or activity that feels good to you!

Until next Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Streamlining

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will discuss streamlining. Swimming is an efficient sport! The objective of swimming is to minimize as many unnecessary movements as possible to propel oneself through the water. In order to do this the body should remain in a horizontal streamline position.

Swimming Fit FridayWhen we raise our head up we break this horizontal streamline position, creating more drag. Note that “drag” in this context is the force pulling the swimmer backwards and ultimately down. Thus exiting streamline position by raising our head produces drag and causes the swimmer to sink. As a result of this it requires more effort for the swimmer to stay afloat and propel themselves forwards.

This is what happens: the body lowers starting from the hips and down towards the feet.

To prevent this specifically during strokes likes front crawl the swimmer must maintain a horizontal streamlined position. This can be done by keeping the head close to the shoulder when turning to the side to breathe. Ideally the swimmer should turn their head so their ear enters the water completely and their nose is parallel with the lane line or wall (dependent on which way the swimmer turns to breathe).

Swimming Tip TuesdayRaising our head up can also be create drag for strokes like back crawl and elementary backstroke. This is what happens: lifting the head up forces the swimmer to bend at the waist, and pushing the hips and legs down. This downward motion not only slows us down, but uses excessive amount of energy to propel us through the water.

To correct this one must relax the head in the water, allowing the ears to enter the water. As this is done, the swimmer should be able to see the ceiling directly above them. Maintaining this body position will allow the swimmer to keep their feet up with more ease during back crawl. Similarly during elementary backstroke, it is important to maintain the same head position as in back crawl.

To summarize: Try to keep your head and spine as still and relaxed as possible. Until our next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Tutor Thursday

Tutor Thursday: Universal Design for Learning

This Tutor Thursday we will break down the Five Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles.

“The aim of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to provide access to the curriculum for all students, and to assist educators in designing products and environments to make them accessible to everyone, regardless of age, skills, or situation” –Learning for All, Ontario Ministry of Education, 2013

Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an Ontario program with universal application.

The five principles are based on the core concepts of UDL: universality and equity; flexibility and inclusiveness; an appropriately designed space; simplicity; and safety (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2013).

  1. Use differentiated learning to give students the opportunity to show their understanding.
  • Meeting the needs of each student is an important part of the universal design for learning. By differentiating activities and assessments, students have the ability to show their understanding in a variety of ways. This allows students to maximize their ability to progress and reach their potential as well as it creates equity in the classroom.
  1. Be flexible and open to changing or accommodating student tasks, ongoing assessment, teaching strategies, and student materials.
  • Our students come with a variety of needs. It is important to use materials that vary in level of difficulty or form, and that are relevant for every student. Students should be provided with rich learning tasks that include problem solving, real-world applications, and social justice topics, where teachers are flexible to engage in such activities with the students.
  1. Minimize distractions, such as noise, behavioral distractions, and classroom setup.
  • It is important for teachers to be consistent with noise levels, behavior rules, and the classroom organization because it provides access to learning for all

    The five principles are based on the core concepts of UDL: universality and equity; flexibility and inclusiveness; an appropriately designed space; simplicity; and safety.

  1. Be clear when communicating expectations; ensure that all students understand.
  • In order to keep all learning styles included, instructions and expectations should be presented in a variety of ways: communicated orally, visually, and written (success criteria on the board). Learning goals should be constructed in collaboration with students and using student-friendly language. The teacher should also provide ongoing feedback throughout the assignment.
  1. Provide an inclusive and safe learning environment.
  • In order for every child to learn, they must feel safe both physically and emotionally. The classroom environment should teach students how to care for others and their belongings as well as how to respect one another. The atmosphere should be inclusive so that all students are able to learn to their full potential. Teachers should praise each student daily and issues that occur in the classroom should be addressed immediately.

Well that was the Five Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles. Until next Tutor Thursday!