First of all, please let me thank Project Fit America for their efforts in teaching today's youth to be active and fit. Your program has made an incredible difference in my students' attitudes towards leading active and healthy lives. Thank you for allowing us to become a small part of the Project Fit America Program.
I have been an educator of fitness since 1994. I have taught children from age 1 all the way up to 15. From 1995 until 2001 I owned a franchised and nationally known children's fitness business call The Little Gym. With it, I learned to teach the youngest of students how to have "fitness fun" in many different ways. During this time, I discovered my first teaching philosophy: Have fun! No matter what the subject is, kids just want and need to have fun while learning. My goal has always been to make what I am teaching FUN.
Since 2001, I have been a physical educator at Newnan Crossing Elementary School where I am blessed to teacher over 1,000 students. Obviously, with that many students whose ages range from 4 all the way up to 12, my teaching philosophy became more than just having fun. Yes, I still consider having fun as rule number one in all my classes, but some other things have also become part of my beliefs. Creativity is a very important element to my units. When I learned about Project Fit America, and everything it involved, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me. Project Fit America trainer, Steve Cox and his lessons have made a huge impact on my students' fitness learning. Shuttle Cup? Pacer Challenge? Break Out? All very creative activities that I immediately jumped right into have seen nothing but success from my students ever since. In my philosophy, creativity is the secret to a good, quality and fun physical education program. From our Haunted PE to Reindeer games to our Family Fitness Nights and beyond, teaching fitness in a creative way almost always leads to my students having fun. If they had fun it must mean they were active.
Newnan Crossing received it's Project Fit America grant in 2003 with sponsorship from the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation. Since that time, I have implemented the Project Fit America program in almost everything I teach. In the Fall and Spring our students enjoy participating in our Station Stars program. We will record any score the students wish so that they have a target to try and beat. We do not compete against each other, only ourselves. That said, I do post up top performers onto our Project Fit America Station Stars display in the gym. We have already had a few students reach Kong levels (national Project Fit America highest scores of all schools in the country) and I am sure you will hear from many record holders in the near future who attend Newnan Crossing School. Parents, students and staff are all encouraged to make use of our "Fit Pit" as we have name the outdoor Project Fit America station equipment. Our school family has used it during recess, field days, evenings and weekends. We are very proud of our "Fit Pit" and the use it is getting. Most of us can't remember what the school was like without it!
Hoops for Heart and Jump Rope for Heart:
I am very proud of my students' work and efforts with Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart. Every January I speak with the student's about heart disease and stroke. Heart disease has played a major role in my life thus far. I have lost many loved ones as a result of heart disease and I realize how important it is to educate our kids about ft. Each year I encourage all of our students to participate and nearly all of them do. They now realize its importance. They also learn a little about helping your fellow man. We are very proud of our work with the American Heart Association.
2006 Disney Teacher Awards Nominee: I have been nominated to receive a teaching award given by Disney. This award is given each year to celebrate creativity in the classroom. Nationwide, Disney will honor 45 teachers as Disney Teacher Awards Honorees for 2006 and four will be selected as Outstanding Teachers. Wish me luck!
CHALLENGES: Another great benefit our school has received from the Project Fit America program is all the challenges we participate in. From the first time Pacer was introduced to our students, challenges are what's on their mind. Having over 1,000 students, you can imagine all the differences our kids have. Tall, short, skinny, overweight, fast, slow, strong, weak, we have hundreds of each. The great thing about our challenges, EVERYONE can be successful, not just the ultra athletic. Our kids love the Pacer Challenge, I have seen amazing things from kids I would never have thought I would see. The shy, un-athletic students I use to beg and pry to get on the gym floor are now running, willingly to strive for that bronze, silver or gold Pacer Challenge recognition. Many have made it. I am a strong believer that kids enjoy competing against themselves. That is exactly what Pacer does. It allows them to gain success without having to beat the most athletic kid in the gym. I conduct the Pacer Challenge 4 times during the school year in our regular physical education class. Students are also allowed to come in after schools to these "pacer weeks" to try again. I post up all of our bronze, silver and gold level achievers I the "PE Hall". These lists stay up all year and are updated each time we have new Pacer Challenge events.
Since our initial Pacer Challenge, I realized how much the student's enjoy this type of personal competition. We now conduct a jump rope challenge, hula hoop challenge, shuttle cup challenge and a shuttle cup relay challenge throughout the year. During January 2006 I will introduce some basketball challenges to go along with our Hoops for Heart unit.
Many of the activities and games I learned from Project Fit America trainer, Steve Cox have been put to great use in our physical education program. BREAKOUT has become such a huge hit that I parents asking about it. They have told me that many students play it in their neighborhoods, churches, at scouts and many other places. BREAKOUT is our # 1 requested activity at school. Hearing that is the #1 neighborhood game brings a smile to my face.
Project Fit America's Fitness Cups and cup building activities have become a regular activity in our gym. We use the Project Fit America Fitness Cups with all our students. We have double track-build days as well as other cup building relays. Our younger kids enjoy using the cups to make letters, spell words, and even do math with them. We have received many compliments from classroom teachers on our cup activities. As stated earlier, our students love the shuttle cup challenge. We post our shuttle cup winners on the "PE Hall" as well.
This year we introduced our kids to Project Fit America's T. C. C. Concept. Teamwork, Cooperation and Challenge. I put up T. C. C. flyers all over the campus before the first day of school. The kids had no clue what it was. When they came to their first P.E. class, I taught them the concept. As the year went on, more and more of our kids will mention T. C. C. during activities. Our kids also know about the "yellow brick student." Our yellow brick students are easily found and I am blessed with many.