Sheila Stasak

Sheila Stasak's

Teaching Philosophy, Program and Activities

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Sheila Stasak's Teaching Philosophy

I want students to have fun while learning! If they are having fun, and feel safe and respected, they will learn. I also feel that it is my responsibility to teach the whole child: socially, emotionally and physically. This is why I teach the Michigan Model Health Curriculumduring my physical education classes. Michigan Model is a nationally acclaimed school health education program. It facilitates skill-based learning through lessons that address both National and State of Michigan Health Education Standards. The PFA Curriculum is a nice blend of all that I try to accomplish. I love the PFA concepts of “Teamwork, Communication, and Cooperation”, “Yellow Brick Students" and being “Team Friendly”.

Todd McGee ClassI try to move each student as far forward as possible. My goal is to make them successful people, not just successful athletes. However, I do help promote and encourage those who are athletic to get better and become the best they can be! My adaptive PE skills are continually being challenged. We have quite a diverse group of students. I have students with physical disabilities and cognitive impairments. I try to work closely with our OT & PT staff to best meet the needs of these students. I’m fortunate to have my students from kindergarten through sixth grade. This allows me to work with them for seven years. I love seeing the growth that they make!

I also feel very strongly about teaching students to help others who are less fortunate. We have a variety of activities that the Barth students participate in to achieve this goal. Annually I conduct a Charity Spirit Week where we earmark a different charity each day as we have fun with spirit activities like pajama day or crazy hair day. Some years we include a Jump Rope for Heart event without giving student prizes. Our students also collect food items, scarves, hats and mittens, which are then donated to Goodfellows. The Barth community is very generous!

This year, in an effort to stress the importance of physical activity and education, we now call our program KINETICS-Kids Into Nutrition and Exercise To Increase Cardiovascular Stamina.

Our motto is now “Last Longer, Do More”. The PFA curriculum also supports KINETICS!

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How the PFA programs work for me

Teacher doing situpsWow! What an adventure this has been! From the moment I saw the grant, I wanted this equipment for Barth! Project Fit is such a great organization to be involved with. They almost wrote my grant for me over the phone. I’ve never had that kind of support and help before with a grant.

Our district agreed to install the equipment if we were awarded this grant, but when we received the news we decided to have our parent volunteers do the installation. I really appreciated being involved in every aspect of this project. There were times when the “guys” wouldn’t let me do anything to help, but I was still there!

We even had the students during their PE classes help move the mulch around. (see photo right) That was a blast!

This is my second year with Project Fit America. Over the past 35 years, I have switched between being an elementary classroom teacher and being a physical educator. This is my twelfth year back in physical education.
The PFA curriculum and Ken Chambless, my trainer, were like a breath of fresh air! I felt like a new teacher again, excited about all the possibilities. I’m still discovering new activities and ideas every time I go to my manual.

I also remain amazed at how hard my students will work for a few fitness cups! Their favorite indoor game by far is “Double Track Cup Attack.” I love having the “Stasak Specials.” We have also had fun with, “$10 and a Bone,” “Indoor PFA Bunco,” “Scooch and Crawl” and “Tummy Toughy.”

Now that we have our “Fit Pit”, we are definitely outside more often. It is incredible how much more running the students will do on our track when they know they can go to the “Fit Pit” when done. The station activities, like “Red, White and Blue” or “PFA Outdoor Bunco” are great ways to keep the students involved with the “Fit Pit”. I find myself doing more station activities even indoors now. Stations definitely keep students more active while in class.

Fitness testing in the fall and spring has always been a part of my PE program. These past two years I have attempted to test all first through sixth graders on all seven outdoor stations and the mile. Needless to say, it is very exhausting, especially considering the weather in Michigan! Next year I will try the following testing rotation:

  • First-Smile Mile, Step Test, Sit Ups, and Horizontal Ladder
  • Second- Smile Mile, Step Test, Pole Climb, and Horizontal Ladder
  • Third-Mile Run, Step Test, Sit Ups, Pull Ups, and Horizontal Ladder
  • Fourth-Mile Run, Step Test, Sit Ups, Parallel Bars, and Horizontal Ladder
  • Fifth-Mile Run, and All “Fit Pit” Stations
  • Sixth-Mile Run, and All “Fit Pit” Stations
Cups Skeleton - Muscles
Double Track Cup Attack
$10 and a Bone
Sheila Stastak
Outdoor PFA Bunco
Team Building - "The Snake"

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Medals and Mottos . . .

After each round of testing, I present each student with a fitness log to take home, which includes his or her weight, height and fitness scores. We also do a Medal Awards Ceremony, where I pass out Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Red Kong medals. Our school colors are red and white. The medals are made and strung on ribbon by our awesome parent volunteers.

Sheila Stastak

Sheila Stastak

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (Mascots and Dignitaries)
Presentation of Medals

Sheila Stastak

Kinetics Bulletin Board
Fitness Medals

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Chart and Challenge

This is our first year trying the Chart and Challenge. We are doing Noodle Hop, Pacer Challenge, Sports Hoops, Jump Ropes and the Shuttle Cup Challenge. Students practice and are tested during their Kinetics classes. Students that reach the gold level are then invited after school to try out for the Kong and Top Kong positions. The students are really excited!

Chart and Challenge
Chart and Challenge
Sport Hoops and Noodle Hop Challenge Practice
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Sheila's Additional Activities

S.T.E.P. (Students & Teachers Exercising with Pedometers) is a program that I developed and use with my third through sixth graders. I was frustrated because these students only receive physical education twice a week. In an effort to offer something for students to do every day, I developed this program. Students wear pedometers during every Kinetics class and also at lunch recess. At the end of use, they record their distance and steps. Periodically, I tabulate their steps and distances. Each student has a laminated footprint up in the gym where they show off mileage achieved. Every three miles they also receive pedometer awards. These incentives are chains, plastic feet, shoelaces, mileage charms, t-shirts and water bottles that we purchase from Our parent group, PTC (Parent, Teachers, and Community for children) financially supports this program.

Tennis Shoe Awards-Individual students K-2 are able to earn “Tennis Shoe Awards.” In an effort to reward good behavior, I give a piece of paper with a tennis shoe on it, to each student who behaves in class. Students write their name on the back and return the paper to me for the end of the month drawing. I purchase items that encourage physical activity; a variety of balls, jump ropes, hula-hoops etc. If their name is drawn, he/she gets to select something out of the shoe award box. I usually select a winner per grade. The PTC financially supports this project.

Adventure Challenge Education-Our local intermediate school district used to have an adventure challenge program that schools or business could take groups to. The activities of the program fell into three categories: 1) team building, 2) trust and 3) individual challenges. I was trained as a facilitator so I could train my own students. The program is no longer there, however, I still use many of the team building activities with my older students.

A great resource for activities is the book,
Team Building Through Physical Challenges
by Daniel W. Midura and Donald R, Glover.

Team Building - “The Snake”
A.C.E.S.-(All Children Exercising Simultaneously) - Every first Wednesday in May, the Youth Fitness Coalition, Inc sponsors ACES. It is an international event to promote proper health and fitness habits and has been labeled “the world’s largest exercise class”. Barth students have been participating for many years. Staff & students alike go outside and spread out in our parking lots to exercise. We time it to coincide with the rest of the world-10 am. If it’s raining, we stay inside and spread out in the halls.
Walk To School Day-This is another international event we participate in. This is usually the first Wednesday in October. However, the whole month is listed as International Walk to School Month. The purpose is to bring awareness to safe routes for walking to school in communities. Due to the fact that all of our students ride buses or are driven to school by parents, we use the subdivision next to the school. Fourth through sixth grades students who have permission from parents are dropped off about a ½ mile from school. Staff and parents walk with them to school. The students love it.

Family Fun & Fitness Night - Annually in February, I schedule a night where families can come for a fun filled night of physical activities. High school students run each event so that the parents can participate. Last year, the fitness cups were a big hit. This year our event (2-11-10) will revolve around the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. We will have ice skating on paper plates, curling with shuffleboard cues on carpet, ice “floor” hockey, and skiing with carpet squares down a ramp, just to name a few. We will Girls on the Run leaving for Racealso have a local chiropractor who will serve as our Olympic Doctor to make sure every one is able to participate. Participants will have the opportunity to win official Olympic merchandise during a raffle.

This year I started a Girls On The Run after school program for our fourth, fifth and sixth graders. It is a national program for girls that is designed to encourage the development of their physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual well being. I felt it was a natural compliment to the concepts that my students receive with the Michigan Model Health and Project Fit curriculums. I just love being a part of such a great program and a movement that is spreading. (See photo at right as Girls on the Run leave for a race.)

Ghostbusters - this is an all time favorite at Barth every Halloween. I scatter all my pylons around the gym. Randomly I hide ghosts (tennis balls wrapped in paper towels) under the pylons. I then turn the lights off (safety lights are still on) and play the theme song for the movie Ghostbusters as students take turns looking for ghost in Stasak’s Cemetery. I’m not sure what they like more, finding the ghosts or being able to hide them for the next group!

Supportive People That Have Helped - I would like to thank Oakwood Annapolis Hospital for sponsoring our PFA project here at Barth. It has turned into a great partnership. They have been very supportive of everything we do. We also had an opportunity to give back this fall when our students, parents, and staff participated in their annual Red October Run. We had over 50 participants, many who trained over the summer, who ran or walked a 3.1-mile race on a very dreary wet day. We look forward to joining them again next October

I also need to thank Mrs. Golka, our principal, and Gerilynn Baty, a fellow teacher, who helped me write our grant. Big thanks also to our awesome parent volunteers who helped install our equipment and who help throughout the year with whatever I ask for. Without them our program wouldn’t be as great! Also a big thanks to my Mom, who has spent many hours cutting ribbons and tying them on to our medals!

The only problem that I have is that I have too many ideas to try and not enough hours in the day!

Download Shseila Stasak's Philosophy and Lessons (pdf)

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