Monthly Archives: February 2015

Growth Mindset

This was a huge week in the life of #slowchatpe.  The first event that occurred was the response to the blog I had written about entitled Help Me, Help Me by Doug Gleddie.  Specifically he responded to Question 3 that read: “Q3: Should physical education teachers be physically fit barring medical reasons? Why? #slowchatpe”.  His response was enlightening, detailed, researched based, and game changing.  I always assumed that an obese person was not physically fit. This is because they don’t look like the typically “fit” person.  He showed pictures of ripped athletes on his blog. I would argue that most people think of a fit person as being on the thinner side with some sort of muscle tone and not like professional athletes, but I digress.

His blog enlightened me to a huge surprise.  I was a “weightist”.  “Weightism: “…the assumption or belief individuals of a certain weight or body size are superior – intellectually, morally, physically – to those who exceed the ideal weight or body size.” (Morimoto, 2008)” I was definitely that. I didn’t feel that I was smarter, or morally above other people, but I did feel that physically I was better than them because I work hard to stay in shape and obviously they did not.

The article went on to talk about two ladies that were heavy that danced and ran.  I was still not convinced that I was wrong though. His point was that that I was only concentrating on looks instead of, “…complex skills, active living in the community, health behaviors, or other parts of the PE curriculum”. He was missing the point though that people see an obese person and assume they do not practice what they preach.  I mean an obese person has to be sedentary and eat unhealthily correct? Isn’t that why they are obese?  I was still not totally convinced by his response so I googled it. Can an obese person be in shape? This article popped up from Fitness Magazine.

The article changed my whole perception of what a physically fit person looks like. I already knew that you could be skinny and out of shape. Could you be obese and in shape? This says it all:

Consider the group of athletes recruited for a recent study at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. All of them are seriously accomplished, having participated in multiple Ironman competitions, marathons, or distance cycling events. And all of them are obese, with fat making up more than 30 percent of their body weight. “From a cardiorespiratory standpoint, they are very strong and very healthy,” says the study’s lead author, Santiago Lorenzo, PhD, a cardiopulmonary researcher at the institute. “They have outstanding endurance and are comparable in fitness to fellow athletes of normal weight.”

Hold on!! An obese person could participate in multiple Ironman competitions, marathons, or distance cycling events!! Holy shnikes my view of what fit looked like was terribly askew.

If the story ended here it would be awesome. #slowchatpe did exactly what it was supposed to.  It lit a debate and encouraged others to challenge my beliefs.  This is exactly what I want from the chat. I want to constantly grow and become better than I was yesterday.  The story doesn’t end there though.  The conversation popped up on my Voxer group today.  I already knew about the research so when people were talking about how it looks to be obese and a physically education teacher I knew that I should stand up and say we can’t judge a book by its cover and have research to back that statement up.  I did just that but during the debate this vox came through: LISTEN.  If that didn’t make you rethink how you look at other people I don’t know what will.  Here is her second response to the group: LISTEN. This was heartbreaking to hear.

Doug I would like to thank you for going the extra mile and forcing me to defend my position. You blog response forced me to do more research and that is how we evolve as people. Conversation, dialogue, debate, or arguing respectfully challenges people to think on a much deeper level.  I now know with scientific research backing my beliefs that what a person looks like cannot determine their fitness level.  So tip of the hat to you Doug and the wag of the finger to those that read this and don’t change their thinking.

Q1. What do you do to show your ss that you model physical literacy? #slowchatpe

Q2. Why is it important that ss understand the struggle to stay active? #slowchatpe

Q3. How will/do you change ss mindset that fit=looks? #slowchatpe

Q4. Who in you PLN challenges your statements or assertions? #slowchatpe

Q5. Do you believe it is important to challenge other people on Twitter or Voxer? #slowchatpe


Voxer: Push Your Pedagogy

I waste a lot of time on Voxer. I listen to entire conversations that have little to no impact on my lessons. I do not mind. I miss days at a time because there are just too many voxes from too many people about too many subjects.  I do not mind. People talk about grilling meat and eating buffalo wings. I do not mind.

I do not mind because the conversations that organically flows from pedagogy, to technology, to engagement of students to some tangent that has nothing to do with the conversation, and then back again to education because they yield nuggets of gold that I am willing to sift through the river of voxes to capture them.  One of the biggest nuggets came from Lynn Burrows. She stated that she doesn’t use the common terms for moving in different directions that most physical educators do.  We call the movement zig zag directions.  Lynn uses the terminology of acute angles, right angles, and obtuse angles.  This little crossover from math to physical education is what I am always on the lookout for.  Every lesson I plan I will now ensure that I attempt to organically infuse cross-curriculum standards or interdisciplinary information into my teaching.

I do not mind that Rafranz Davis is a fiery passionate woman.  This week she found an injustice in a slavery simulation game that I found racially insensitive at its best.  It was unsettling to see a game go into development with funds from our own government.  Funding for this odious game was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. What I learned from her outrage and our conversations (me being corrected), was that my lessons should infuse culture in it as organically as it does math or reading.  I use George Washington Carver to teach about legumes. This brainpopjr video is a great lesson for the students to see a black scientist and make sure that our students understand how there are successful minorities in all fields of life.  I will make a conscious decision to explicitly teach cultural literacy in my class all year long and not just when it is highlighted in February.

I do not mind listening to experts in my field speak because I know that eventually there will arise a statement or an idea that will influence my teaching. The last example of this was Nick Spencer stating that his go signal was the phrase “never smoke”.  How awesome is that to reinforce a concept that we want kids to master outside of school thousands of times over the year?  The students will consciously or subconsciously internalize that.  If one student in the life of my teaching turns down a cigarette because I had created a negative associate with it than it is worth that small switch in my teaching vocabulary.

I do not mind dedicating a lot of my spare time to Voxer because I want to be great. Yes I said it to you in plain text. I want to be great.  The only way to become great is to find the greatest people in the world and latch on to them. Create a relationship where you can pick their brain and do what they do.  If I take the best from everyone I meet and implement their greatness into my teaching than I will become great.   This week I made progress toward becoming great.

Q2: What is your favorite way to get pd? #slowchatpe

Q3: How do you infuse cultural literacy into your class? #slowchatpe

Q4: How do you infuse different subject area content into ur lessons? #slowchatpe

Q5: What is a trick of the teaching trade ts should know? #slowchatpe

Please Do Not Silence Me on Twitter

This is a great post about live and let live

Heart of a Teacher

The grandest lecture hall on campus.This post was triggered after reading a few blog posts lately about how “twitter is not the same as it was a few years ago” for educators. There’s no need to mention any names, partly because it’s unnecessary and because there are actually a few blogs out there saying a similar narrative.

These blogs tell educators that Twitter is not as small as it was a few years ago when they joined . That twitter is not about learning and connecting, but rather it’s about self-promotion and self-brags. That people retweet compliments of themselves from others, or retweet their own work that people share etc etc.

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I May Have Helped Change the World

I just came back from SHAPE America’s (Society of Health and Physical Educators) Eastern District Conference. I went there with two goals. The first goal was to spread the message that anyone that teaches students needs to become connected. My second goal was to learn more. I accomplished both goals. Here is the story of my conference.

I arrived at the conference at 8:15 and met Kevin Tiller. Kevin is a physical education teacher I met on Voxer and I consider a valued member of my PLN. This was the first time we had met in person but the hello hug just came naturally.  We walked into a session that was starting and learned immediately. I went to a couple of other sessions and then headed to lunch.  When I came back from lunch I started hitting the social media infection campaign hard. I was that annoying guy who would say hello _______ (after reading your name card) and ask if they were on Twitter and Voxer.  This didn’t stop for the whole conference.  Thursday afternoon I hit up a couple of more sessions and was riding the natural physical education and health high.  I was getting people connected and having a blast. Thursday night I hit the gym up and briefly saw the comedians. The events that were scheduled had people involved and sounded like a blast. Time for bed.

Friday I woke up super early and hit the ground running. My first session was about how to infuse common core into my class. The presenter didn’t have a projector so I had him email me the presentation, dragged it into nearpod, and had the room use the code to login.  If you present a ppt to a class or as a presentation you need to use this or something similar to this. The day went on and I was learning. I ate lunch and went to my first afternoon session.

We were all sitting there when someone walked in and said it was cancelled. I immediately stood up and said I would do my Saturday session if people wanted to stay. I didn’t have a projector or a speaker but nearpod saved the day again and my session went well. People walked away understanding they need to be connected and that tech in PE and Health should be used to make our lives easier.  Friday night was fun and I couldn’t wait to present on Saturday.

Saturday morning started and I went to a Health session where I learned so much about teacher from Mary Connolly. She was presenting her book Skills-Based Health Education. Her philosophy and lessons jived perfectly with my teaching style of being active, infusing literacy skills, and group activities. I would highly recommend you attend a session of hers.

Next up was Kevin Tiller’s session. I was stoked to see my PLN in action. His session was nothing less than stellar.  I participated in games and activities that were fun and active. The best part is I didn’t know most of them.  What really wowed me was his website that he runs.  It has everything you could ever want.  He reviews apps, demonstrates dances, has FREE printable resources, and the list goes on. If you teach you have to check it out. Here are some posters for you gym that are in kid friendly language and FREE! (link) His session rocked and I was starting to get excited for mine.

The next session I went to was about finding the least common multiple of two or more numbers using body movements.  This session was run by a sophomore at Towson University name Rachel Jones. Her idea was genius. I will break it down into its most simple form. One partner needs to repeat a movement pattern to a two count.  The other partner will do body movements to a three count. The students can pick the body movement as long as they are original movements (not repeated within the sequence) and they both end their counts with the same movement. I was a two so my first movement was a squat and the second movement was standing like a pencil. My partner was a three so they had their arms above their head, than reached out across the side like a t and, the final movement was standing like a pencil. Rachel started counting. After every count we would pause and see if my partner and I where identical. This didn’t occur until the 6 count.  That is because 6 is the least common multiple of 2 and 3. If you want this clarified hit me up and I will explain it better.

Now it was time for my session. Listen to my session:  My big chance to explain to the SHAPE world why we needed to be connected and how we could use technology easily in PE and Health. It was the last session of the conference and ten people showed up.  Didn’t matter I know the power of two (thanks MANAN) which is explained here.  I had two black women who taught Health ask me if they should stay. I was so happy to see two people that were double minorities in my tech presentation because I am reading Rafranz Davis’s book The Missing Voices in EdTech. I implored them to stay and they did. I also had two University professors in my session. This meant that my message was going to reach thousands of college students if I did my job correctly.  Oh and Kevin Tiller attended as well.

I did my best to have my group realize why being connected was so important. Access to free resources and experts is a cornerstone of education.  I railed against SHAPE America charging for webinars when there are so many people offering professional development for free. The Phys Ed Summit is being offered for free!! Physical Education teachers from around the world are doing an interactive online webinar on February 21st for free!! Why has SHAPE America not endorsed and embraced this? Before I go on my tangent here the session went well and you can listen to the whole thing here.

I was relieved when the session ended and I believed it went well.  Two ladies came up to speak to me after the session.  One lady very politely asked my how could SHAPE get better. My answer to her was to stop charging for webinars. I was not rude but may have been slightly obnoxious.  During the conversation the other lady informed me that I was speaking to Dolly D. Lambdin who is the President of SHAPE America. After my initial worry that I had offended her, (she assured me I hadn’t), I gave ideas on the direction that I thought SHAPE should head towards.  Here are my thoughts about this subject.

If the mission of SHAPE is really to “to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance, and sport” than we should be doing a better job of completing our mission.  Here are some of my ways to that.  The first way is to offer every resource we can find for free as well as promote it. All SHAPE has to do is find out what people are doing already and run public relations for it.  Teachers are bypassing shape and creating pd on their own for free. Use what they are creating and put it on your website.  There are GHO being recorded and posted all the time for free. This should be on the SHAPE website.  Assessments, projects, and lesson plans are being created and shared for free! SHAPE needs to tap into this and start to realize they should be in charge of collecting and posting this information.

Dolly asked me a great question that all organizations ask.  How do we raise money? This was a point where an idea that Nicholas Endlich and I fit had discussed in depth before. Members of SHAPE would run mini conferences at their school they could raise money for SHAPE. The idea is that we could run thousands of mini conferences where we would charge participants 20$.  That money would go to SHAPE.  SHAPE would provide the hosting member a 50$ gift card to Flaghouse or Gopher. The conference would consist of everyone bringing one lesson that they feel no one has ever saw before.  Every participant would be required to present and hand in a lesson plan.  Each presenter would get 15 minutes to explain their game and demonstrate it.  The audience would be active participants while they were not presenting.  It costs SHAPE nothing, the schools get great pd for their teachers for $20, the host gets $50 towards equipment.  It is a no brainer. I will tell SHAPE this now.  If you miss the boat on this idea it will start popping up on its own.  There has already been great feedback from the Physical Education community about this.

Conference review:

Things that sucked: the wifi in the hotel (needs to be researched beforehand), the lack of promotion of a twitter hashtag, the lack of promotion of free coffee in a secret room, scheduling the future leaders meetings during sessions, not recording every session and posting it, not collecting presentations and posting them online, not having people go from room to room taking pictures and posting them online, Rooms were too small for some of the sessions, Not enough people there, If this is a regional convention, where was everyone?, State conventions have way more people.

Things that rocked: The people that presented, the people that attended, the people that planned the conference, the college students that came and participated, getting connected with people, learning more about Health and PE, nice to be able to stay at hotel where convention was.

Q1: Why are you or aren’t you a part of your state and national organization? #slowchatpe

Q2: What does your professional organization do well? #slowchatpe

Q3: How can your professional organization get better? #slowchatpe

Q4: What do you do to make your profession better? #slowchatpe

Q5: What is the best conference you ever attended and why? #slowchatpe

Share the Land (Guess Who)

This post is going to challenge my ability to stay positive and not throw shade at other teachers. I don’t believe that teachers should create lesson plans and sell them to other teachers. This is something that makes me so mad when I hear about it happening. Teachers should share their lesson plans for free. We are a profession where I truly believe creation is rarely if ever truly original. In addition, we all are in it for the same reason, to make a positive change in students’ lives. Selling our lesson plans runs counter intuitive to that goal.

I am not a hypocrite. (in this case)  I am part of a physical education and health group that has about 40 people who have shared their lesson plans. I have included my plans in that shared folder as well.  If anyone needs physical education or health plans I will be happy to share them with you. I have created global projects with @nicholasendlich and @mradampe that we have shared with the world for free. We are also working on another groundbreaking project that will help physical education teachers introduce and teach bodyweight exercises to their students.  We will be sharing this as well for free.

Here are some of the reasons that I believe selling lesson plans are wrong. The first reason is that we are in the profession of sharing and collaborating. Selling lesson plans goes against this. It creates roadblocks for teachers and the last thing we need is our own professionals making our jobs more difficult.  The second reason is that if you create lesson plans for your job they belong to your district and not you. For example my physical education plans are really owned by my district. “Works made for hire (a work “made for hire” by an employee and certain kinds of commissioned works) are considered to be authored by the employer or the commissioning party. So if your boss asks you to write a report as part of your job, the company you work for gets all the copyright protection that would otherwise have been available to you.”  (  If you don’t believe me read this NEA article that cites instances where districts have actually sued teachers who have sold their teaching materials and won! (

Another common reason people give is that purchasing lesson plans saves the teacher’s time from having to create their own.  We all know that time is money so in actuality teachers are saving time and money by purchasing the lesson plans.  This is a great argument if you rule out the fact that these plans should be posted for free and should cost the teachers nothing!  This would save teachers even more time and money.

Teachers are all scraping by in life. I work four different jobs during the year to make ends meet. My family does not heave wealth nor taste. (hope you understood the reference) I have three children and two dogs.  My student loans are mounting and my cars always need fixing. I get what it is like to be poor and struggling. This still does not excuse the fact that selling lesson plans to other broke teachers does not advance our profession. Educators should support other educators and selling our ideas hinders not helps our profession.


Q1: Why do you believe ts should or shouldn’t sell their lesson plans? #slowchatpe

Q2: Where are the best sources to find free lesson plans? #slowchatpe

Q3: What do you create that you share with the world? Where can we find it? #slowchatpe

Q4: How do you make extra money or cut costs to make ends meet? #slowchatpe

Q5: What people are creating free educational tools that people should follow or know about? #slowchatpe