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.
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