The success of PFA at Thomas Manor Elementary School
stems from the impact a cohesive instructional team has on a physical
education program that advocates teamwork and the setting of personal
goals. Proper introduction of each station along with teamwork from our
colleagues is a vital part of this program. And the addition of the PFA
equipment has afforded the students a great tool for increased performance.
Students rotate from field stations -cardiovascular exercises, to PFA
stations-upper body and strength exercises, to blacktop stations-toning
This day is composed of health lessons and workouts.
Every Thursday students work out on the PFA stations and document their
activities on their fitness logs. During this time any child having difficulty
with any station receives one-to-one assistance from the coaches. Modifications
are put in place and other exercises are brought in to strengthen their
arms and legs as they perform using the PFA stations. As students begin
to see the benefits of the PFA stations and exercises, they look for ways
to compete or to challenge others.
PFA Style Games
I incorporate PFA stations into my traditional physical
education activities. Some traditional games such as dodge ball, Simon
says, duck-duck-goose eliminate a child. The child waits until a new game
starts which could take forever and there is less activity. When we play
these traditional games if the child is eliminated they have to go to
the PFA equipment. Through the PFA equipment these students perform station
exercises in order to boost their energy level and re-enter the game.
This allows students to be innovative and involved, instead of having
to wait for the next game to start.
Adding Music to Fun
The more agile students often want more of a challenge,
so I add music to the curriculum and bring out my camcorder. These students
are hams. They go bananas waiting to showcase their accomplishments for
others to see. Music motivates the soul and they do twice as many repetitions
and perform well at stations that once posed an "insurmountable"
obstacle. Singing, dancing and movement are contagious in our PE classes.
My younger students view the video tape of the third through the sixth
grade students performing and want to be a part of the exciting event.
My kindergarten through second grade students run from station to station
performing their exercises to the theme song "Rocky". They are
so pleased with themselves they strive to show the upper grades they too
The Mini Win-Sum Olympics-Community
This spirit of physical achievement is contagious.
Students, teachers, and administrators carry the Olympic torch inside
and around the school, the PFA equipment, and into the gym. The Olympic
Opening Ceremony unfolds with roller blading exhibits and the oaths being
read. The Mini Win-Sum Olympics arrive at Thomas Manor. PFA stations like
the pole climb, vault, step test, sit-ups, pull-ups, and modified pull-ups
form part of the mini Olympics. The event becomes a community initiative.
Community members help make colorful, laminated paper medals for all competitors.
Digital pictures are taken and posted on bulletin boards celebrating the
students' accomplishments, adorned with the appropriate medals. Participants
and coaches alike feel as if they are part of a true Olympics Event. The
closing Ceremony is the icing on the cake with ten countries represented.
Parents decorate the gym with colorful balloons and lighted rope, displayed
in the gym where the flame is extinguished. Students from all grade levels
wave their flags representing different countries with pride. As the Olympics
draw to a close the preparations start for the following year's Olympics
PFA Club-Work Out Wednesdays
Due to popular demand a PFA Club has been started
after school. Students in 2-6th grade use the PFA equipment and work out
Wednesdays for 45 minutes. Students carry fitness PFA log sheet and perform
their stations. Coaches mark off the exercises completed accordingly.
Students in kindergarten through second grade joined this club in January.
I see happy students improving and overcoming great obstacles. Programs
like Project Fit America help foster healthy lifestyles. At Thomas Manor
Elementary not only can all the students reach for the stars, they can
actually touch them.
Other P. E. Support
Our PE program has seen many wonderful changes this
year. We've inherited two new gems whom we affectionately call "coach."
They have been catalysts vital to educators. We also have many Kinesiology
students from the university learning how to utilize the PFA equipment,
so when they graduate they can apply for the PFA grant and foster healthy
lifestyles in the young lives whom they touch. We now have a clear direction.
We are now planning future activities using the PFA equipment. Events
such as a health fair, National Physical Education Day, Jump for Heart,
National Girls' and Women's Sports month are activities in the planning
Angie’s Hints and
If I could give someone hints and tips about working
with the PFA program there really is no magic formula or big mystery.
I will share the process I followed when first establishing our program.
I tried to test all my students on one station and found out that due
to time and different skill levels it would not work. I delegated duties
to my physical education assistant and other staff members. We tested
students in groups of five while the other students performed circuits.
Some of the circuits were cardiovascular, toning and stretching exercises.
When we blew the whistle four new groups of students would be tested and
others rotated to the circuit stations. The testing, monitoring, reteaching
and assurance of testing validity is crucial to ensure program success.
The PFA equipment has been an inspiration to the Thomas
Manor students in more ways than just physically. PFA is a great way to
help students get fit at their own pace. Their experience is very different
than mine. As a child I dreaded fitness day testing because I knew with
my body weight it would be impossible to pass the tests. It would be a
day of ridicule and torture for me. I did not see it as a buffet, a smorgasbord
of fantastical activities. I did not see it as a challenge. Thanks to
PFA my own experience as an adult is that I have practiced and made it
possible to perform tasks on six of the seven stations, a task that as
a child I was not able to do. I am living proof that as the energy level
increases along with your self-esteem you feel like you can accomplish
anything in life. PFA removes the clouds so that children can see, reach
and touch the stars to a better life. I am passionate about life and about
my role in helping our greatest asset, our children, to enjoy the many
plates life has to offer. I want the children to learn to partake and
to train and to live long healthy lives now and in the future. I have
the best job in the world.
I believe being an elementary PE teacher is the best
job. I have the opportunity to educate students, to be a role model, to
exercise and display a buffet of ideas in a spirit of fun. All of my students
have successful experiences throughout the school year. I strive to address
students with or without disabilities, with low and high skill levels,
those with coordination problems, and the agile, students with weight
problems and the high achiever who holds the world in his hands, and especially
the student with low self-esteem. As my students walk into my PE class
they are greeted with a smile and compliments. I am determined to educate
every child physically so when they leave my class they are radiating
By establishing a rapport with my students they will work
for me as I infuse enthusiasm and a belief in their ability. They will
attempt what before was outside their reach. They will achieve what was
not even dreamed. Just by encouraging, praising, or assisting a student
in an activity can be the stepping stone that leads to lifelong healthy
habits. In my vocabulary there are no such words as "I can't do it."
I will accept the following words: "I'll do the best I can."
My buffet is a nutritious display. In order for students
to become more interested in the smorgasbord of activities I must advertise
my meals. I constantly promote my program through colorful flyers, witty
bulletin boards, newsletters to parents, recognition in the morning announcements,
certificates, bookmarkers, music, student display and fun activities.
Through a well-prepared and decorative buffet, attractive to most finicky
tastes, all are drawn to partake. I then stand at the door eagerly waiting
to welcome the students. As students choose activities from the buffet,
I watch and guide them on the particular benefits of each plate, and educate
them on how these activities will help them gain physical and mental health.
Instruction must be dressed with containers full of patience,
trust, support, love, understanding, with strategies for reteaching, modifications
to taste, with encouragement and praise to add flavor. These containers
I use to help my students increase their self-esteem, self-confidence,
assertiveness, and knowledge on a well-balanced physical lifestyle. Each
child is an individual who possesses different strengths and challenges
as they strive to reach a goal. This recipe is the key ingredient in facilitating
a successful well-rounded program that caters to all.
After being invited, welcomed and taught how fun and exciting
physical education can be they don't want to leave. They keep coming back
to see a different display, a buffet of activities. I've enjoyed tremendously
working as a physical education teacher for fourteen years in the Ysleta
Independent School district. The drive that I have to teach at Thomas
Manor Elementary School is that as a child this was my home school. I'm
determined to make a difference in helping students maintain a healthy
lifestyle to live longer more fruitful lives. I am a living example of
the benefits of living healthy. People tell me I don't change, that I
look like a kid. My response to them is, "I feel like a kid and I
enjoy doing my job." The secret is that kids keep me young at heart.
to 2002 All Star Teachers Showcase