Sharon Ryan

Sharon Ryan's

Teaching Philosophy, Program and Activities

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Sharon Ryan's Teaching Philosophy

RyanI 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. 

Sharon RyanI 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. 

Cougar PawsWith 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.

Cougar PawsI 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 moving!!

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Pump Up Your Heart with PFA!!

Pump up Your Heart

During the month of February Northwest Rankin Elementary School is holding 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.


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Ice Cream and Cake by Buck Wheat Boyz

Ice Cream & Cake

I got this great idea from Amanda Martin (PFA Teacher).  It's a warm-up dance called ice cream and cake.  Very simple but fun!  Any week that someone in the class has a birthday, we do this dance and then that student gets to sign the big birthday cake in the hall.  My students love this and it's such a neat way to make everyone feel special!  The students who have a birthday over the summer will sign after we do the dance for 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!

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Basketball Addition

One Basketball Goal
Two Basketballs
16 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 (gym).
  • 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 the teacher.

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Just for $Money$

PFA Stations
PFA Dollars
Large 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 collect.  (See Rubric below) 
  • At any time at the end of a turn, the teacher can call out “count 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. :)

RUBRIC: 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.

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Super Stations

5 hoops
5 Jump Ropes
PFA Stations
8 Mats

Set up the PFA area with extra stations in between the stations.  The mats, jump ropes and hoops can be used here.  Each student starts 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 workout!

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Tallest Towers

Equipment Needed:
PFA Cups – as many as you have!!
Foam Dice


  • 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.

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Cups Chart and challenge
Chart and challenge Cougar Paws



Cougar PawsI 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.

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