Who am I really as a physical education teacher?
As a physical educator, I feel blessed to have a job that I am
very passionate about. I went back to school with a husband and
two children at home, and somehow graduated with honors. Before
I attended college, I used to dream about activities I would do
if I had the chance to teach physical education. I am here because
I acted on an ambition to become a physical education teacher.
It was a decision and an achievement that made me step out of my
box and get out of my comfort level. After graduating in 1992,
I was offered the job of my dreams in the Savannah R-III district,
more specifically at Helena Elementary School. I still remember
the first morning I went to work; I couldn't contain the
smile on my face on the drive to my first day of school. I still
smile as I drive to work after sixteen years of teaching physical
education at Helena. I still get excited about new activities and
ways to make my program better. Because of this, I think my teaching
is better than it has ever been. I continue to learn and change
as I grow professionally. I am very fond of the students I have
taught over the years. I refer to any of my students past or present
as "one of mine" and, I truly feel responsible for
their development physically and emotionally. When I see them as
adults with children of their own, I pray that in some way I touched
their lives in a positive way. I am proud of what I do and accomplishments
I have made in the field of physical education.
As a physical education specialist, what do I stand for?
As a physical education specialist, I live the lifestyle of a
healthy and fit person. I think it is paramount that students see
me work at staying fit and active in the community. I still climb
the rope once a year.
I believe my actions speak volumes over my words. I want to be
the person in a child’s life that tells him or her about
good choices and have him or her see me making good choices for
myself. In addition to traditional physical education, I teach
lessons in not sitting in front of the TV all the time, using sunscreen,
fastening seat belts, and wearing bike helmets. I feel it is important
to give them the necessary tools they need to use in everyday life
to be safe and healthy. As a physical education specialist, I stand
for being an example of health and wellness for students to emulate.
What is at the heart of my programming?
What key knowledge/skills
do I want students to own body/mind as a result of coming through
- Students have the vocabulary to describe being fit. Students
know the benefits of exercise. (increase in bone strength, sleep
better, look better, self esteem, energy level goes up, etc.)
- Students know the pathway to a healthy life: exercise, nutrition,
and healthy habits.
- Students know the fitness components and exercises that incorporate
them into their lives: Strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular
endurance, flexibility and body composition.
- Students know the difference between being fit and having sports
- Students know body positions (pike, tuck, straddle), and body
regions (core, abdomen, torso, trunk, thigh, etc.)
- Students know
basic bones, muscles, and the systems of the body.
The specific skills I encourage in my class are the following: Increased fitness levels from fall to spring through assessments
of the Presidential Fitness test and Project Fit testing, skipping,
jumping rope, long rope jumping, hula hoop, cartwheel, forward
roll, throw in opposition, drop kick, catch with hands, scarf juggle,
soccer skills, basketball skills, football skills, volleyball skills,
cup building, badminton, bowling skills and basic square dance
calls and folk dances
Behaviors I expect in my class are as follows: Power moves (being
polite and patient with one another), Teamwork, Cooperation, Communication,
Respect, Honesty, Doing the Right Thing, Trying no matter how difficult,
A broad-based curriculum with many challenges and experiences
is at the heart of my program. I teach the things I love and have
a passion for such are biking, backpacking, and skiing, as well
as traditional sports and games. Fitness testing takes place twice
a year at Helena and a print out is sent home to students in 1st
through 6th grades. The most important thing I want to accomplish
is teaching kids to feel good about themselves through movement
and to be good people.
Here are a few of my favorite teaching tools that are unique to
HEALTHY ME FOLDERS
My fourth, fifth, and sixth graders create portfolios in my class
called “Healthy Me”. Each folder contains the work
we do with paper and pencil along with physical assessments and
LEARN YOUR BONES
To learn the bones I say:
Wiggle your phalanges
Pat your patellas
Flap your humurus
Tap your sternum
Clap your clavicle
Elvis your pelvis
Shake your cranium
To encourage good behaviors I have a highlight area on the wall
called Highlight Hands, where students names go up for doing good
deeds and being respectful, helpful students. The names are on
a die cut that is sign language for I love you.
Power Moves are encouraged. A power move happens when students
are kind and patient with one another. Such as when equipment is
handed out I usually say to use power moves to get a jump rope
or ball, whatever the equipment of the day is.
Every year I sponsor three field trips. We have a bicycle field
trip, a snow skiing field trip, and this past year we added a backpacking
field trip to the schedule.
QUOTES IN THE GYM
Physical Education Word Wall
There is no greater glory for a man than that which he wins by
his own hand and feet
Sugar, Salt, Soda, & Sedentary=Poor Health
Let it Go!
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent
will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education
will not; The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence
and determination alone are omnipotent.
The ABC’s of Life
Helena Elementary PFA programming
Project Fit is used in the following ways:
CHART & CHALLENGE
I have a chart and challenge wall outside the cafeteria. I have
been adding challenges every year since I started Project Fit,
three years ago. The students are very excited to look the posters
over while in the hallway. It has been very motivational for them.
I have included photos of this year's wall to date. Remember
that this is the beginning of the year, by the end of the year
the entire wall will be filled.
Every Tuesday we have Team Fit for 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Students
earn punches on stations. Each filled card earns a different incentive.
PTO is sponsoring this program. Voluntary participation has almost
doubled since last year with 31 members actively participating.
The levels are as follows.
1st card: Strength rubber bracelet
2nd card: PFA monogrammed sock
3RD card: PFA kid sticker
4th card: white PFA T-shirt
5th card: PFA dog tags
6th card PFA basketball
7th card Blue PFA jacket
1st card: ribbon & certificate
2nd card: PFA gloves
3rd card: PFA stocking hat
4th card: Red PFA T-shirt
5th card: PFA dog tags
6th card: PFA basketball
7th card: Red PFA jacket
3rd Year: Not yet established, but will be similar
The heavy hoops are very popular in my classes. With the hoops
we play all sorts of games, but concentrate on the hula-hoop skill.
The weight makes it easier for students to learn. I have 95 to
100% mastery on hula hoop in kindergarten due to the heavy hoop
addition to my program. We hold many hula-hoop contests during
the school year using a variety of activities. This activity is
a favorite of mine and my heavy hoops are always close at hand.
TO CATCH A THIEF:
Equipment: Heavy Hoops, assorted bean bags,
Players: Teams of three
Teams start out with one player trying to sneak (run) down
to rob a treasure from the end of the gym and get back without
being tagged. If tagged, player freezes with hands in the
air until fellow team members can run down with the heavy
hoop and hoop the robber and all three run back together
to the starting line. Next player goes, etc. Taggers or "Policemen"
are one of the teams. Each turn gets a turn to be the policemen.
Have older students hold heavy hoop above their heads while
waiting their run to run. Add math by giving each treasure
a point value such as 2's, 5's, 10's, etc. Play music from
Mission Impossible, or Beverly Hills Cop.
PROJECT FIT CUPS
I have incorporated all of the games Steve Cox showed me at my
first workshop. “Earn a Stack” is very popular and
easily gotten into without much explanation. I use the cups with
sit-ups, laps, down and backs, and push-ups. This activity works
well if I have a little time at the end of a class but not enough
to start a new unit or game. If a class has been especially vigorous,
we may cool down a bit with a speed build, just to see how big
a group tower can get in a set time.
One of the most useful suggestions I use from my consultations
with Steve Cox is the “Smile Mile.” I can't
believe the improvements my kids have made in their mile times.
Here is an example of the card we use to document each
student's performance in the mile.
All participants who fill two station cards at Team Fit are invited
to a luncheon provided for them at the end of the school year.
Fancy invitations are given to the members and a special table
setting and decorations are made for the event. Of course, only
healthy food choices are served to the club members.
At the luncheon individual participants are honored for the most
dedicated and most number of cards completed.