Category: Elementary School

Within this category, essays and articles focus on effectively teaching children in the pre-school and elementary grades. It’s a great place to find teaching tips and get advice from experienced practitioners.

50 Million Strong: It Starts One Child at a Time!

50 Million Strong by 2029 is SHAPE America’s commitment to empower all children to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs (SHAPE America).

SHAPE America has a bold goal. But it’s one that all of us who teach physical education should be striving to achieve. If 50 million sounds like a huge number, it is!  And it’s easy to suggest it’s an unrealistic goal. But in honesty, it’s not so impossible to imagine success if we think about this goal one student at a time.

As the school year winds down and we break for summer, it’s a good time to think about our programs and how we can improve. Where can we add things that give our kids the best chance to be a part of 50 Million Strong? All of us who teach physical education do our best to instill in our students the idea that physical activity is good for them and that they can have fun at the same time.  So now, we need to ask ourselves “How can we make our programs even more effective?” The film I’ve shared below shows some of the things we are doing at Mott Road Elementary to help our kids join the “50 Million Strong” club.

Like many of you, we have students who get dropped off early before school begins.  A few years ago, we had the idea of opening the gym for an activity we called “Exercise for Excellence.” We wanted the kids to see that this wasn’t just free time in the gym. Instead, we wanted students to make the connection between exercise and their brains and help them realize that having fun moving each day can help them learn better.

The Death of Physical Education by 2029

Currently, approximately 50 million students are enrolled in America’s elementary and secondary schools. SHAPE America is leading the effort to ensure that by the time today’s youngest students graduate from high school in 2029, all of America’s young people will be “empowered to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs.” SHAPE America proposes doing this through its “50 Million Strong by 2029” commitment.

I am a pragmatic person working in the field of education. I grew up with both of my parents working in public education and I followed in their footsteps hoping to make an impact in the classroom. I have both blue collar and white collar friends from my childhood. For most of my adult life, while I’ve been teaching I’ve also worked in the outdoor industry. I’m knowledgeable about bikes, boards, and hiking gear and I love being outside especially on the water.  I also have two children who will be in school through 2029 and unfortunately, I don’t believe that on its current course 50 Million Strong will succeed.

Over the past two months I have watched two outdoor industry businesses close their doors due lack of sales and poor profits. The first business to close was the bike shop that I worked at in a small town. They had a great business model and great brands that supported the shop through the good years but as e-commerce grew they couldn’t compete with cheaper prices on the internet and now the lack of people’s interest in bicycling.

2017 National PE & School Sport Institute Update!

What: 2017 National PE & School Sport Institute
When: July 24-26, 2017
Where: Asheville, North Carolina

Just over a month remains before the start of this year’s National PE & School Sport Institute. Registrations are fast filling and the schedule is finalized. Take a look below at the amazing variety of presentation topics and the list of outstanding presenters. This year’s keynoters include Joey Feith, Greg Dale, Jim DeLine, and the entire Team PHYSEDagogy (Adam Howell, Naomi Hartl, Jonathan Jones, Matt Pomeroy, Sarah G-H, Collin Brooks & Jorge Rodriguez).

As always, the most important people at the PE & Sport Institute are the participants – you! This is your opportunity to learn from others, share your own ideas, and have a great time meeting new colleagues and getting together with your teaching and coaching friends in a warm and inviting setting. Earn 15 hours CEU credits. Learn more by visiting our website and also watch film of previous keynoters including George Graham and Jean Blaydes. Don’t miss this fantastic learning opportunity. Register now and join us in July in Asheville, NC for what is guaranteed to be a highlight of your summer.

Something to keep in mind…

I have been teaching for 35 years now.  I must say that the good has far outweighed the bad by a long shot! I have been very fortunate that I haven’t gone to a job every morning. I have lived a wonderful professional career! But after 35 years and counting, if I’m not careful there are things my students do that can quickly get under my skin. I was reminded of this the other day.

I am a sports public address announcer in my free time after school.  Between my local district, section, state and Syracuse University, I call more than 120 games a year.  These games are a lot of fun to announce and I look forward to each of them. This is my way to add a bit of a professional sounding touch to these games (at least I hope!).

I was announcing at a recent high school lacrosse game with our varsity football coach who was running the game clock. He is a National Board Certified high school social studies teacher. While he is a tremendous football coach, he is far from the stereotype.  He will honestly tell you that he is more pleased with the outcome of a great lesson plan than a great game plan.

50 Million – ‘Stronger Together’

This is a follow up to my (Feb. 6, 2017) “50 Million Strong by 2029 –It Starts with Us!” essay.  In that essay, I explained that I had connected a class of Pre-K Head Start students with twelve high school ‘PE Buddies’ in a special 50 Million Strong project – ‘Play, Learn, Grow’.  At that time, we were only a few weeks into our adventure together but had already received many positive comments.

The project ran on Tuesday mornings and into lunch time. These were green shirt days and moments of huge anticipation where young Pre-K students met and spent time with older PE Buddies.  As a result, over the course of this school year, we have become ‘Stronger Together.’

The ‘Play, Learn, Grow’ program was designed so each high school volunteer had one to two Pre K children with whom they were paired (Buddies). High school students helped to facilitate instructional PE lessons involving fundamental skills, integrated curriculum, inclusion, adherence to the school PBIS goals and just plain having fun during physical activity. Special bonds developed between all and these turned routine skill acquisition into magical experiences.