Angie Armendariz' P. E. Program

Angie Armendariz

Circuit Training Days
Weekly Health/Wellness Day
PFA Style Games
Adding Music to Fun
The Mini Win-Sum Olympics-Community Initiative
PFA Club Work Out Wednesdays
Other P.E. Support
Angie's Hints and tips
Angie's Philosophies

Circuit Training Days
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 exercises.

Weekly Health/Wellness day
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 can workout.

The Mini Win-Sum Olympics-Community Initiative
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 event.

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 stages.

Angie’s Hints and Tips
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.

Angie’s Philosophies
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 positive energy.

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.

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