Like many coaches and teachers across the country, once in a while I come up with what turns out to be a new and effective teaching strategy. New ideas often come to me while at professional conferences, reading online, or simply talking with colleagues. I then take the idea and modify it to best fit my teaching environment. One such idea I’d like to share with you is a take-home activity journal.
When my girls were in school, I can remember them bringing home a classroom journal. They had to spend time writing about a topic that had been introduced on in class. In physical education, I once heard a teacher talk about giving their students small stuffed animals to play with at home, then encouraging them to write about the experience in a journal. In one instance, the kids were even given permission to take the animal on vacation with them and write about it.
My version of physical education journaling comes from this idea. I call it “Fun With Buddy.” “Buddy” is a stuffed animal. It’s one of those monkeys with really long arms and legs that have Velcro on them. I was able to get these donated to my program and have acquired 12 of them. This covers all of our grade 1-3 classrooms. Our principal was able to find book money to get us grade-level appropriate books that support being physically active. I put together a journal with blank pages. Each page has a space for the kids to write about what they did with Buddy over the weekend. The pages also have a place for the kids to either draw a picture of what they did, or to stick a photo of them in action with Buddy. And to keep all the items secure, our Home and School Association (H.S.A.) donated string bags.
Assessing the skills and physical fitness of students with disabilities can be challenging. Most physical educators are used to assessing general non-disabled students, but many don’t have the know-how and experience of testing and planning activities for students with disabilities (especially students with severe/multiple disability). Assessment is vital for skill and fitness prescription and for students with disabilities individualized assessment is critical. The following information gives physical educators who teach students with disabilities many practical suggestions for appropriate motor skills testing and fitness programming .
General Guidelines for Successful Skill and Fitness Testing
Motivation can be a problem for many students with disabilities because they lack the intrinsic understanding and concept of giving “100%” effort. Physical educators may need to find extra motivating factors for students to perform at their potential. For example, in the long jump teachers could have students with disabilities reach out and jump to a buddy, jump out for a favorite toy, or jump over a colored rope. Students could also reach for a ball or toy during sit-ups and Sit & Reach tests or listen to their favorite music on a treadmill test for motivation. Motorized treadmills are excellent for cardiovascular endurance training and testing because they provide a “steady pace.”
Watch Free Livestream Keynote Video Now! This year we were fortunate to hear five talented individuals share how they view physical education as a part of the whole. Each keynoter shared different ways of thinking that were uplifting, transformational, funny, and inspirational. I have provided a few of my thoughts below on each keynoter with a link to their talks.
Five years ago my wife and I moved into a new house. It was first time construction for us and turned out a pretty intense experience. Fortunately, when we started two years earlier we knew what we wanted the finished house to look like. Together, we sketched out a design. We then got our doodles translated into construction blueprints and hired a contractor. We chose a builder after looking at projects he’d previously completed. The homes were attractive, beautifully built, and he convinced us that he could translate our vision into reality.
Turns out we were right. We love where we now live and guests routinely compliment us on the beautiful wooden cathedral ceiling, open floor plan, unobstructed mountain and water views, and the house’s overall appearance. To date, no one has yet commented on how well our home meets the latest ISO or ICC construction standards. Now obviously, it’s important to know and follow proper building standards. Our construction crew impressed us with their skills, knowledge, and professionalism. As the house evolved it was obvious to us they weren’t just making up the various steps, but knew and were following some sort of building standards. We weren’t much interested in knowing or checking these standards but noticed that from time-to-time someone else would.
Foundation checks, framing checks, plumbing checks, electrical checks and so on followed the site, drawing, engineering, and other approvals. Now I’m not a builder, but I imagine this heavily checkered list was intended to ensure the builders followed best practices and met national construction standards: Presumably all with our best interests as future home owners in mind. And following proper building protocol was mostly a good thing, except of course when a particular standard was prescribed, yet made no sense in our situation. In construction as in other life areas, it turns out sticking stubbornly to standards isn’t always the perfect solution.
Activity Provides Numerous Physical and Emotional Benefits
Physical education teachers who have spent decades teaching traditional exercise activities are now focusing on the vast benefits offered by climbing walls.
“Climbing walls are excellent for building upper body strength and improving balance, endurance and flexibility, as well as encouraging cooperation and team building with others,’’ said Pat Simon, coordinator of athletics and physical education for Milford Public Schools in Milford, Conn. “When a student makes it across the wall, it builds their self-esteem. It’s working out well at our school and this activity is catching on across the country.’’