I was born and raised in Amherst, NY a suburb of Buffalo. I
have been married to my husband Michael for almost 13 years. We
have three awesome children who are actively involved in
soccer, piano, and art. They keep us VERY busy!! Physical
fitness and education have always been an important part
of my life in a variety of ways. In addition to my
own interests in track & field, field hockey, volley
ball, and golf, I actively participated in educating children
through community summer after school programs. These experiences
led me to pursue a degree in Physical Education which I
earned from SUNY College at Cortland (Cortland, NY). I
also pursued and received a master’s degree in special
education from Buffalo State College (Buffalo, NY). Since
then, I have lived and taught in three different states
including New York, Iowa, and my current home, Mississippi. Although
I presently teach at the elementary school level, I am
certified K-12 and have experience teaching and coaching
at all levels.
I was awarded my PFA grant at the beginning of the 2008 – 2009
school year. Receiving this honor has been truly
wonderful for my students, my school, and for me. I
have very limited physical space at my school and only
a classroom for indoor use. Both the PFA equipment
and my involvement with PFA has really helped me to reinvigorate
my PE program. I am so grateful for the opportunity
to have PFA backing me and for all of the support I have
received from them! It is an amazing organization
that has the best interest of America’s children
at the top of their list!
The underlying philosophy of my physical education program
is that it is imperative for students to understand the
importance of lifetime fitness and the benefits that come
with having a healthy body! In order to accomplish this,
it is crucial that students of all abilities experience
some level of success when it comes to PE. I encourage
this by emphasizing individual goals and I hold each student
accountable to participate at the best of their ability
with a positive attitude. I strive for my class to
be a fun place where students feel comfortable to explore
and learn physical fitness.
With each day, my goal is to communicate and demonstrate
the importance of a healthy lifestyle to my students through
a wide range of activities. While some of these activities
include team sports such as kickball and volleyball, and
individual sports such as golf and tennis, the majority
of my lessons focus on individual and team fitness activities. It
is through these kinds of programs that students will gain
a full and diverse appreciation for physical activity and
lifelong fitness. Importantly, I have designed my program
to accommodate students of all physical fitness levels
and ability, not just the “athletes”. Another
major emphasis of my program is to teach students to take
responsibility for their choices and actions, whether good
or bad to use or learn self-discipline and self-responsibility.
I am very proud of these aspects of my program because
I believe that they have a positive impact on the character
and fitness of these children as they develop into adults.
I have loved having the opportunity to incorporate PFA
into to my existing programs. It has been easy and
enjoyable to do. My students and I have taken full
advantage of the outside fitness area as we use it to help
strengthen and build healthy bodies! The students
especially love “station stars” which
we renamed “cougar paws” to be consistent with
our school mascot. The great thing is all of the
students have goals that they can shoot for and they aren’t
worried about what the others are doing.
The PFA core curriculum has been a tremendous
addition as well. Some of the favorite activities
at my school include Beat the ball covey style, Shuttle
cup challenge and Soccer battle ball! In
addition to these, I have had fun creating some new games
to complement the PFA. For example, “tallest
towers” is a fast paced fitness game where the students
are using their math skills while exercising. Most
of the games that I have developed are designed to integrate
the math and/or reading curriculum into the PE setting. I
try to do as much integration as possible as I know how
important it is to reinforce what the students are doing
in their classrooms.
Another aspect of PFA that has been a big hit with my
students is the The chart and challenges. We
have used this with activities from jump roping to spin
jammers and even balance boards! My students are
continuously asking me to chart a new challenge. This
has been a simple and highly effective way to get everyone
Pump Up Your Heart with
During the month of February Northwest Rankin Elementary School
a special event/challenge called Pump Up Your Heart With PFA!!! All
students in grades 2-5 will be given the opportunity to use the PFA area
during their recess time. It is a chance for them to get in an extra
workout and help to improve their personal level of fitness. The teachers
that are out there monitoring the area will give out 5 hearts per recess
slot to those students working the hardest. The students
can turn those hearts in to me and at the end of each week
5 names will be drawn to receive prizes donated by our PTO.
Ice Cream and Cake by Buck Wheat
I got this great idea from Amanda Martin (PFA Teacher). It's
dance called ice cream and cake. Very simple but fun! Any
someone in the class has a birthday, we do this dance and then
student gets to sign the big birthday cake in the hall. My
this and it's such a neat way to make everyone feel special! The
who have a birthday over the summer will sign after we do the
them towards the end of the year!
Hand Shake Movements To "Ice Cream And Cake"
Step, Step, Step, Slide With Clap
Put Your Hand Out In "Stop" Position
Drive Your Car (Steering Wheel Motion)
Move Around - Find Another Spot
Start Over Again!
One Basketball Goal
Polyspots – 4 each of 4 different colors
Object of the Game:
To score a greater number of points
than the other team.
- Divide the class into 2 teams
and assign each team 2 colors of polyspots.
- Spread all of the polyspots out in different places in
front of the basketball goal. Each team has been assigned 2
colors. One color will be for “2 point shots” and
the other will be for “3 point shots”.
- Have each team form a line at the opposite end of the area
- One player from each team runs to a spot of their choice
and shoots the ball. If they make it in the goal, they score
2 or 3 points depending on which color they shot from. If
they miss the shot, they score 0 points. The player
who shot then retrieves their own ball and runs it back to
the next person in line.
- Each team is responsible for adding up their score along with
PDF of this lesson plan.
Just for $Money$
bucket of play coins
Object of the game: To be the team with the most money
at the end of class.
- The students are divided into teams of about 4 per team.
- Each team starts with $1.50.
- To start the game, on the teacher’s signal one person
from each team goes to a PFA station and exercises for 30-45
seconds (the teacher will signal to stop). The teacher
is watching for good exercise (correct form, working hard,
etc…) When the teacher gives the signal to stop; the
students come over to the teacher and get their money! The
harder they worked at their station, the more money they
- At any time at the end of a turn, the teacher can call
your money!” The students need to work
together to add up how much they have collected. The
teacher may do a “walk around check” where
he/she double checks the student’s adding. If
the adding is correct, they get a “bonus." If
it is not correct, they must pay the teacher a set amount
(I usually collect .25 or .50).
- At the end of class the team with the most money is declared
the winning team!! However all students are told that
if they have over a certain dollar amount that they have
done an outstanding job. :)
Just For $Money$
.01 – Student does not move to station quickly. No
attempt made to exercise.
.25 – Student moved to station quickly. Student
performed exercise but without correct form.
.50 - Student moved to station
quickly. Performed exercise
with good form but was not consistent with correct form.
$1.00 - Student moved
to station quickly. Performed
exercise with perfect form, used form consistently, and performed
as many reps as possible.
PDF of this lesson plan.
Set up the
PFA area with extra stations in between
the stations. The mats, jump ropes and
hoops can be used here. Each student
at their own station. They will rotate every
45 seconds on the teacher’s signal.
The main idea here is circuits (very similar
to that of Curves for Women or a pacing room at a local gym). When the students are at a PFA station,
they should be working hard and trying to pump out as many reps as they can. Each
station focuses on different muscles. When they are at the mats, these
are their “resting” stations where they should still be demonstrating
continual movement but can be marching, jogging, etc……
This circuit training lesson provides continual movement and stresses working
at one’s own pace or level. The students all get a great personal
Download PDF of this lesson plan
PFA Cups – as many as you have!!
- Divide the class into 2 teams – One team on each side of the room,
gym, or outside area.
- At the center of the room, gym or outside area, place hula hoops with 2
dice in each hoop.
PDF of the lesson plan
I would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous support of Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Mississippi. Blue Cross Blue Shield has truly lived up
to their mission “to improve the health and wellness of all Mississippians”.
This effort is reflected in the more than 1.5 million dollars Blue Cross and
Blue Shield donated in order to bring the PFA equipment and program to our
state. In addition, I have been extremely fortunate to have the support
of my building Principal Mrs. Kara Killough as well as the support of the classroom
teachers and Northwest Rankin Elementary PTO.