A new Let’s Move! Active Schools interactive infographic is now available to help schools find physical education and physical activity resources, programs, professional development, grants, training and technical assistance. Please use the assets and messaging below to share the infographic via your newsletters, social media, emails, webinars and trainings.
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As health and physical educators, it’s easy to feel frustrated by school district politics or sense a lack of support for your teaching. I completely understand and as a middle-high school health and physical educator I’ve been there many times myself. However, I also often think that as teaching professionals we don’t give ourselves enough credit.
We are in the business of creativity. Health and physical educators are routinely challenged to think outside the box. We constantly need to differentiate our instruction (sometimes 5 or more ways within a single activity), adapt to a wide variety of skill levels in our classes, and simultaneously manage and try to teach more students in small spaces that would give most classroom teachers nightmares!
Despite these impressive talents, we too often allow ourselves to get focused on the funding, or lack thereof, within our district. We think, “It sure would be nice to have a bigger budget or PEP grant! I could have a variety of climbing gear, fitness stations, on-line portfolios (I do love the portfolios. . .but have never had to pay for them), outdoor recreation and challenge course equipment, and so much more!”
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.
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.
I just completed my ninth year of teaching. It’s officially summer! For me, summer is a time to go to the beach, visit as many playgrounds as possible, eat sno-cones and popsicles, watch movies, spend time with my family, swim, and attend #PhysEd conferences. I intentionally carve out a ton of time to improve my pedagogy. Before the school year ends, I think of 3-4 big things I want to accomplish over the summer in order to get ready for the next school year. This year, I’ve chosen three summer projects, each inspired by someone in the #PhysEd and sport communities.
Summer Project #1: Attempt to Create a Yearly Unit Plan
Creating a yearly plan is something I’ve always wanted to do, but have felt there were limitations within my schedule to create one. Students at my school are enrolled in physical education for three quarters and health for one quarter. Our class rosters change slightly at the end of each quarter/grading period. The students’ schedules can even change during the school year, which means they may change class periods and/or teachers. As a result, my students’ physical education experiences vary greatly. There are always going to be units, activities, and concepts my students miss.