Monthly Archives: May 2015

Need to Step Up My Pedagogy

I watched the greatest video of two physical education teachers (@MrHairPhysEd @andyvasily) explaining how they unpack invasion games. What? Unpacking? I had no idea they had even moved! This made me really question my pedagogy.  Am I going deep enough for my students?  How is my teaching the most efficient?  Are students really understanding concepts and the skills that I am teaching them?  Come with me as I explore my pedagogy and identify where I can improve my teaching.

The first term we hear about is Game Based Learning.  “Game based learning describes an approach to teaching, where students explore relevant aspect of games in a learning context designed by teachers. Teachers and students collaborate in order to add depth and perspective to the experience of playing the game.” (source)  My students do explore aspects of games that I design in a learning context.  I use small sided games to keep the action moving and give the opportunity for as many students as possible to be engaged and empowered.  Students play the games I design and then we stop so the students can improve the game that I have created. We then play this new game that has taken a direction that I may not have anticipated but I am still comfortable with the knowledge that we are mastering a grade level outcome that was predetermined.

Do I gamefy my class? Is my class set up for gamification?  No.  “While similar, to game based learning, gamification is a different breed of learning experience. Gamification takes game elements (such as points, badges, leaderboards, competition, achievements) and applies them to a non-game setting. It has the potential to turn routine, mundane tasks into refreshing, motivating experiences.” (source)  I do not care about competition, badges, leaderboards or any other type of external motivations in my class. My sales pitch to the students is simple.  Physical literacy and nutrition are the basic building blocks of happiness. If we can master moving and eating, our lives happiness is just the blink of an eye away.  Every dimension of wellness and Gardner’s intelligences can be enhanced by physical literacy and nutrition.

So does my pedagogy include Inquiry Based Learning?  “Inquiry” is defined as “a seeking for truth, information, or knowledge — seeking information by questioning.” Individuals carry on the process of inquiry from the time they are born until they die. This is true even though they might not reflect upon the process. Infants begin to make sense of the world by inquiring. From birth, babies observe faces that come near, they grasp objects, they put things in their mouths, and they turn toward voices. The process of inquiring begins with gathering information and data through applying the human senses — seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling.” (source) Yes. Yes I do. I don’t do it because I was taught that way or I fully understand what Inquiry Based Learning is.  I do it because children have a natural desire to explore.  My first real planned foray into IBL was when I asked the students to help me figure out how to efficiently switch my jump rope from backwards to forward when I turned 180 degrees. I could see the wheels turning! Little did they know that @PE4Life_Spencer has the greatest jump rope videos that show 27 different videos on how to jump rope!

“Inquiry is an umbrella term that covers a number of other approaches to teaching and learning. Teaching practices that utilize a disposition of inquiry learning include:

problem-based learning: learning that starts with an ill-structured problem or case-studyproject-based learning: students create a project or presentation as a demonstration of their understanding

design-based learning: learning through the working design of a solution to a complex problem”

I need to really to reflect on my pedagogy and decide how I can change to make me an even more effective teacher.  I am not well versed  enough in TGFU, Solo Taxonomy, Inquiry Based Learning, Primary Years Program, or any other specific pedagogy of teaching.  I do know that this summer I will be well enough versed to change the way I teach to become a more efficient and effective teacher.

Nick Spencer shared a great resource for Physical Education teachers to really reflect on their pedagogy.

Q1. What style of teaching do you use? #slowchatpe

Q2. Did college teach you pedagogy? If so what did they teach? #slowchatpe

Q3. What would make you change your pedagogy? #slowchatpe

Q4. Have you ever taught against the way you thought best? Y? #slowchatpe

Q5. What are some resources that people can use to find new pedagogy resources? #slowchatpe


How I use social media in professional development using the SAMR model

How I use social media in professional development using the SAMR model.


1- Substitution
Social media acts as a direct professional development substitute with no functional change.

2- Augmentation
Social media acts as a direct professional development substitute, with functional improvements

Social media allows for significant direct professional development design

4- Redefinition
Social media allows for the creation of new direct professional development tasks, previously inconceivable.
This model is one of the models that show teachers the different levels of incorporating technology in class. I am going to walk you through how I use the SAMR model using social media for professional development. The most basic level is level of SAMR is substitution.  The best example of this would be listening to podcasts or watching webinars after they are completed.  I can sit in a room and listen to a speaker or I can sit in my basement and listen to a speaker.  Either way social media is not changing my pd. I am replacing face to face interaction with a computer screen or a speaker. This is a great way of getting professional development on your own time.  Just like using SAMR in the classroom, substitution is not always a negative thing.  Webinars and podcasts allow me to learn from people all over the world and on my own time.

The next level of SAMR is augmentation.  The greatest example of augmentation would be Google Hangouts Live.  I can watch the speaker, be in the hangout live, and backchannel during the event with people from all over the world.  This not only uses social media as a substitute for being in a lecture, it allows people to interact who would not previously have the opportunity to before social media.  Social media acts as a direct tool to substitute for sit and get professional development with functional improvements.

Twitter and Voxer are the sm tools u use to reach the level of modification in terms of professional development.  Twitter and Voxer chats allow me to reach experts in various fields.  Now we have multiple education experts involved in professional development.  I can learn best practices from multiple people at one time and using a new medium.  I am not sitting in front of a computer or in a room. I can participate anywhere in the world.  I am not getting information from just one lecturer I am interacting with multiple experts and can ask insightful or clarifying questions.  Professional development has now undergone significant task design.

The final level of the SAMR model is the one that really changed how my professional development was undertaken.  The first example of this was using Voxer to create the National Lesson Plan Creator.  This website drove my professional development by forcing me to understand the national physical education standards and create the perfect lesson plan template creator.  The second example redefinition was the creation of So You Think You Can Balance and So You Think You Are Fit.  @mradampe, @nicholasendlich, and I used Voxer, Twitter, and Google Hangouts to create a brand new way to exercise and balance in classrooms anywhere in the world.  The final way that I social media for redefinition is through a Voxer podcast.  This was a chat that physical education teachers had with Mike Kuczala.  Mike is a co-author of The Kinesthetic Classroom Teacing.  We watched his TED talk and discussed it with him during an hour Voxer chat.  Jorge Rodriguez cut and spliced the audio to make a podcast.  All three of the examples listed above uses social media for the creation of new tasks that was previously inconceivable.
My question to you is how are you using social media to reach the modification and redefinition level of the SAMR model?  Are you using it to just replace sitting in a room or are you using it to create new professional development and growth opportunities for you and your colleagues?

Q1. How do you use social media to substitute for old school pd?

Q2.  How do you use social media augment old school sit and get pd?

Q3. How do you use social media to modify your pd?

Q4. How do you use social media to redefine your pd?

Q5. What are the best examples of redefinition using social media you have saw?

Expand My Thinking

Today is Mother’s Day and I had come across this tweet from one of #educrushes Dr. Amanda Stanec.  (educrushes know no gender or age ie Charles Cooper)


Dr. Stanec is one of those people in my PLN that carries weight.  I will tweet her questions about best practices in physical education, gender questions, and general life questions.  Her answer really does shape the way I view things.  There was little surprise to me that she would continue to expand my views with her tweets.

I have become more and more aware that I see things as I want to see them instead of from various viewpoints.  This is why my PLN is so varied.  Check out who I follow. You will see all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations and people from all walks of education.  I follow lawyers, teachers, administrators, Tim Ferris, advocate groups, Board of Education members, and parents.  I follow people who will interact with me or expand my thinking.

The reason I follow this variety of people is that I want to fight against group think.  Echo chambers where everyone pats everyone on the back and talks about how great everyone is bothers me.  It bothers me because this does not make me better.  It inflates my ego which as most of you know doesn’t need much massaging.  Some of the most popular chats seem this way to me. I jump in their chats and see superficial answers to superficial questions.  I want the hard hitting questions.  I want the tweets that make me go, “Wow I never thought of that!”

It is not easy to follow people and groups that you may disagree with.  It is even harder to interact with them.  This does not make them wrong though. It makes you question yourself and them.  The biggest question is why does this bother me?  If you can reflect on that you can achieve personal growth.

The final thought I want to leave with you is how I handle my Twitter feed. I keep my followers small.  I want to interact with you and know what you think and why.  I want to see your tweets and read them.  I want to click on your links and see why you felt it was important to share that out with me.  Your part of the bargain in this Twitter relationship is to interact back with me.  If I tag you in something I want you to read it. If I ask for your help I want you to help me not just retweet it.  If I unfollow you it is because I don’t feel that you are living up to your part of the bargain.  I will click on your links, read your blogs, or listen to your podcasts because you are part of my PERSONAL Learning Network.  I would expect you to unfollow me as well if I am not upholding my part of the relationship.

Thank you to everyone who doesn’t let me speak without challenging me. Who says hey think about this. For those that care about my growth as well as their own. Thank you for helping me become better at my job and life in general.

Q1. Retweet and tag #slowchatpe something you read recently that really made you think.

Q2. What book have you read that changed you views on the world?

Q3. What podcast expanded your mind?

Q4. What band/singer makes you think when listening to their music?

Q5. How do you deal with stress?

No Respect

What subject is the Rodney Dangerfield of the education world? What subject has more to offer across a wider spectrum of the curriculum than any other class?  What teacher is told that they are getting no money for their budget? What area is given more and more students until their class size reaches an unimaginable size of 125 students? The answer is physical education.

This week on Voxer the question came up of what is your class size.  I heard numbers that topped out at 125!  How can this be considered best practices?  I am expected to assess every student during every lesson.  How does an administrator expect this to happen when there is only one certified physical education teacher in the class?  The message you are sending that teacher and the profession as a whole is that we don’t matter. We will heap more students on you because you can supervise them on an open field.  The issue here isn’t the ability of the teacher to supervise, it is the ability of the teacher to teach, assess, and give corrective feedback to 125 students every class.  The worst part of this is these numbers are at elementary schools! Can you imagine having to teach 125 kindergartners how to do anything? The class must be constantly interrupted with bathroom requests and shoe tying breaks.

Other physical education teachers tell me they get no budgets at all. No budgets. As in $0.00. In addition to being unable to purchase equipment those same teachers are unable to attend professional developments.  The teachers have to take personal days and pay their own money to attend workshops.  What kind of message is administration sending to those teachers?  We don’t value you or your subject. That is the message.

The 21st physical education community is ahead of education in every way shape and form.  They are using technology at much higher levels than anyone else in education.  Are you ready to disagree? Tell me the last teacher that used a drone to get footage of your class during an activity! You can’t. It is being done in Texas.  Tell me the last time a non-physical education teacher used qr codes, augmented reality, and Google Forms in one lesson. You can’t.  It is being done in Pennsylvania.  Tell me the last time a teacher used math, science, literacy, music, and movement in a lesson. I will tell you it is being done in physical education classes all over the country and the world.

We hear about people of color getting suspended and being in more trouble at a higher rate than their white counterparts for the same behavior. (   I guarantee you if you did the research you would not find this inequity happening in physical education.  Physical education classes are set up so all students can succeed. Most children, regardless of race, come into physical education with the love and appreciation of movement.  This is because we are biologically programmed to move.  We think better standing then sitting. ( Our brains are more active during and after exercise than sitting. (  Physical education is the great educational equalizer.  Physical education teachers know how to engage and empower students of all shapes, sizes, races, religions, genders and any other identifying characteristic.

The evidence shouts that physical education is the gum under education’s shoe.  Why is this so? I believe that it is because people think you don’t have to have a skill to teach physical education.  Art teachers are artistic, music teachers are musical, and shop teachers are good with their hands. Every special besides physical education has a skill that is clear to an observer.  The art teacher paints, the music teacher gives lessons, or the shop teacher fixes engines.  Most physical education teachers don’t work out with their classes every day.  (some do)

The skill we possess is the ability to connect every subject to ours while teaching physical literacy and lifetime fitness and wellness. This skill is just as important as any other teacher’s skill if not more. What is the point of being college and career ready if you have poor nutrition and aren’t active.  You are a disease waiting to happen.  Research shows over and over and over again that nutrition and exercise are the two of the greatest things you can do to prevent disease. (not smoking is number 1 which you learn in physical education class as well!)  Where are students learning how to be active and healthy? In physical education class.  Where are students learning not to smoke?  In physical education class.  Where are students understanding how to move and why it is important to?  In physical education class.  If you care about students and you care more about them being happy and healthy than what they score on a test you will support you physical education teacher having a budget, normal class sizes (20-30), and make them feel that they are an equal part of your staff.

Q1. What is the largest class size you had? #slowchatpe

Q2. Is your budget the same, equal, or better than your peer’s (comparable area)? #slowchatpe

Q3. How is your subject valued in your school? How do you know? #slowchatpe
Q4. What do you do to show your staff that you are an intricate part of the school? #slowchatpe

Q5. What do you do to show your stakeholders that your subject is a necessity? #slowchatpe