Monthly Archives: August 2016

Physed Summit 2016

Have you ever met someone so enthusiastic to do something that it made you excited? Their zeal so contagious that you can’t help but be swept up into the wild unharnessed energy that radiates from them. You hear them preach and you realize that something special is going to happen for them and if you open your eyes and heart something special will happen to you as well. That very scenario happened to me on Friday night. The man whose words stirred my soul none other than Andy Hair (@MrHairPhysEd). Andy left a group of physical education and health teachers a Vox that made me tingle. The energy started in my toes and ended with a Ric Flair-like wooooo! The man from down under was so exuberant about the Physed Summit 2016  that the CDC stated his energy was more infectious than the Zika virus. He had the passion I needed to jump start my dying batteries.

I woke up Saturday morning excited to begin a 24-hour professional development rodeo that would leave me exhausted on Sunday morning. It started with two members of my PLN who I have hung with numerous times, Claudia Brown and Judy Lobianco. They both brought the fire and kicked off the Summit properly. Once the ball started rolling there was no stopping it. Presenter after presenter gave freely of their time and intellectual property in order to raise the profession.

The proverbial ball of professional development was gaining more and more speed and momentum. Hour after hour, presenter after presenter, the physical education and health community were receiving the highest quality of professional development you can get until the midnight hour struck. The “ball” hit the wall when it ran smack dab into the BlabberMouths. Two Brits and two Americans threw all professionalism right out the window and engaged in a banter that bordered on the comical. They discussed myths in education including homework, fitness testing, and learning styles. If you would like to check out their session click here.

The BlabberMouths session ended at 1 am and the heavyweights were sent in to resurrect the momentum that had previously been gained. Kari Bullis, Collin Brooks, and Naomi Hartl were able to put the Physed Summit train back on the tracks and heading in the right direction until 2 of the 4 BlabberMouths took center stage at 6 am. Their session was entitled Voice and Choice. No, it was not about a choir or Roe v Wade. It was concerning how teachers can leverage student voice and student choice to increase engagement and learning. If you would like to check out their session click here.

The Summit finished with MacKenzie Mushel Ellis, Dr. Stephen Harvey, and Jace Ferguson making up the ground that the BlabberMouths had once again squandered.

The online conference created and executed by the #physedagogy team was a huge success! It was not a success because thousands of people took their personal time to produce or consume, uplifting the profession. It was a success because students from all over the world will receive better pedagogy that can be directly linked back to the Summit.

One lasting thought for those educators who may read this blog but are not in the physed or healthed world. Check out this session on the 50 year history of literacy presented by Dr. Dean Dudley. It gives a fascinating look at how physical literacy can learn lessons from literacy.


Q1. What was your favorite session from the Physed Summit?  


Chain of Command

One day my superintendent walks outside and tells me a parent has written them a detailed letter of things that I had done wrong to their child. I was extremely lucky that this superintendent had been in the game for over 40 years and understood the chain of command. He told the parent that they would have to meet with me first. If they were not satisfied with the events of the meeting then he would step in.

This same scenario happens in education all the time. Parents and guardians skip right over the teacher and go to administration. They do not care about a chain of command or if there is a policy that lays out the steps explicitly in the student handbook. This has always perplexed me. Why would you not speak to the person you have an issue with? Is this indicative of our society that leaves comments on social media that they would never say to another person face to face? Maybe it is easier for a parent to speak to an administrator instead of the teacher. Perhaps they feel they will get quicker results going straight to the top.

In the case of my story, I met with the parent and they quickly found out there was a gross misunderstanding between their child’s interpretation and my actions. I would imagine that in most cases things would work out much the same way it did in my case if only parents would approach the teacher first. I understand in certain instances things need to go right to the top; however, those times are few and far between. Schools need to establish a chain of command that is adhered to, instead of just wasting away in the student handbook.


Q1: Does your school have a chain of command?

Q2: How has it been implemented?

Blab is Dead

I received the news that Blab died. Blab was a social media platform that allowed up to four people to video chat while others could use their Twitter handles and chime in using text on the side. It was a fantastic free site that really allowed me to take my professional development to the next level. Every Monday we would get together and talk about whatever professional development or educational idea what come to our heads. Now in the blink of an eye, it is gone.

While I was surprised at the quickness of its demise I was not worried. Jarrod Robinson (@mrrobbo), the foremost expert in physical education technology, had already warned us of becoming too comfortable in any one space in technology. Being a veteran of the technology game he has watched many technologies come and go. This is one of the reasons that I have a pc, laptop, ipad, iphone, and chromebook. I will always keep myself well versed in multiple platforms.

Based on the recommendation of Chris Nesi (house of edtech host), mentioned I should check out firetalk. I created my firetalk channel and went to work figuring out how this new platform works. My journey is no different than how our students learn today. I heard of a cool idea. I started to fool around with it on my own. When things got tough I asked other people how to make it work. After all that I read some blogs and watched YouTube videos and I was ready to go.

This journey reminded me that I need to remain flexible and not allow myself to become too comfortable with any technology because like life you never know what is coming around the corner.

Q1 What did you think of Blab?

Part 3 Evaluation

Part three of this three-part blog series will focus on evaluation. We have major problems with how we evaluate students. We will identify those problems as well as a solution to those problems.

Part two  of this three-part blog discussed how we respond to our students once we diagnose where they are in their learning journey. Part one discussed diagnosing student understanding or preexisting knowledge of the material at the beginning of the unit.

How do we evaluate our students? Dr. Dean Dudley, a professor at Macquarie University, questioned the way we evaluate. During his video he states the following about evaluation:

It seeks to assist learning based on norm referenced health standards. You may have come across a few of these– fitness scores, quantifying moderate to vigorous physical activity, and so forth. Norm referencing in educational settings is inappropriate for three reasons. First, it gives us no indication of quality. Second, we seek as physical educators, we constantly seek to improve learning in our students, not merely stabilize it or compare it to others. And three, we work hard to reduce the gap between our high and low-performing students, not to normalize it. On the other side of the coin, we have educational assessment, which has now been driven largely by standards-based assessment protocols.

However, these models are often nebulous in their descriptors and lack validity and reliability to defend logical progressions of student learning. They also have failed to accommodate the students that exceed the described standards. Both of these predominant models of assessments do not focus on the needs of the individual student. There are differing stages of competence and progression in the student’s individual learning growth. Nor do they focus on significant attention across multiple learning domains, let alone do it simultaneously.

What’s great about Dr. Dudley is that he isn’t someone who just complains about something and doesn’t bring a solution to the table. His solution is to use solo taxonomy as an evaluation method. “The structure of observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in student’s understanding of subjects.” link 

There are five levels that solo has the students identify their progress at:

  • Pre-structural – The task is not attacked appropriately; the student hasn’t really understood the point and uses too simple a way of going about it.
  • Uni-structural – The student’s response only focuses on one relevant aspect.
  • Multi-structural – The student’s response focuses on several relevant aspects but they are treated independently and additively. Assessment of this level is primarily quantitative.
  • Relational – The different aspects have become integrated into a coherent whole. This level is what is normally meant by an adequate understanding of some topic.
  • Extended abstract – The previous integrated whole may be conceptualised at a higher level of abstraction and generalised to a new topic or area.

I am going to end the blog here because I have very little knowledge of what solo taxonomy actually is or how to implement it. I am going to interview Lynn Burrows and Jo Bailey about solo taxonomy for the new series BlabberMouths 101.  The series takes the concepts we hear about and unpacks them for newbies like myself who have no knowledge and is overwhelmed when attempting to implement anything new. Jo and Lynn will take us through the process of where to start and any roadblocks that may arise along the way.

I would like to close out this series of the blog thanking Dr. Goodyear, Dr. Dudley, Mr. Vasily and every other professional who helped create the MOOC Outstanding Physical Education Lessons. You gave freely of your time and effort and the physical education community appreciates your dedication.


Q1. If you have participated in a MOOC what gave you the motivation to do it. If not why haven’t you?

Part 2: Feedback

Part two of this three-part blog will discuss how we respond to our students once we diagnose where they are in their learning journey. Part one discussed diagnosing student understanding or preexisting knowledge of the material at the beginning of the unit. Part two we will focus on feedback. Feedback is, in my opinion, the most crucial part of teaching. This is where students can get a clear understanding of what and where they need to improve.

Feedback is the fertilizer that allows the student to succeed at a higher rate.  A plant will grow whether you add fertilizer to it or not, just as a student will learn, whether you are a good teacher or not. The difference is if feedback is done well, students will learn more as in addition to feeling better about themselves during the process.  

Feedback is the art and the science of teaching. It is also what separates the good teachers from the great. The good teachers circle mistakes, shows the students what they did wrong, or gives them back their formative assessments with number or letter grades that show their students how far they have to go in mastering the standards. The student understands what they did wrong and knows what needs to be fixed.

The great teachers understand each student they teach. They know that art of giving feedback. The relationships they have formed with their students allows them to use humor, cajoling, sarcasm (not opening a debate here but never throw something out of your toolbox that may work), facts, video evidence, a hug, a positive comment ignoring the fact that they messed up on half the evaluation, or a push for the student to work harder because we know they did not try their hardest. They know that some students need to be given feedback in ways that keep their pride and ego intact. The student understands what they didn’t master yet. That is a big difference from knowing what you did wrong. 

The science of feedback means that teachers must have a system of documenting and showing the progress of their students. The feedback must be timely, specific, and be objective. There should be less of a good job, great effort, you made me happy and more of I noticed you did this or you worked hard and are now able to do __________. 

Feedback is where students are able to see what they need to improve as well as being given resources that will help them improve. What we don’t focus enough on is how the feedback makes the student feel. Was it deflating, embarrassing, or demoralizing? Would you notice if it was? The key is to give the students feedback that will aid them without them losing their love of learning. Needless to say, that is much easier for some students than others. I have had students that would melt down or say they sucked if I told them one thing they did wrong. Others would try harder no matter how hard I pushed them.

Think of feedback as the representation of self-efficacy. Does your feedback tell students how and where they can improve in a way that encourages them or is it a number or red pen highlighting their failures and showing where they don’t meet the goals that you set for them? Will the feedback push them to work harder or will it reinforce the preconceived notion that they stink at ________ and nothing they do will change that fact?


Q1: How do you attempt to see your feedback through your students’ eyes?

Q2: What are ways that you give feedback based on their cognitive assessments?

Q3: How do you give feedback on  your students’ psychomotor assessments?

Q4: How do you give feedback on your students’ affective domain?

Q5: What feedback are you the most scared to give students?