Monthly Archives: September 2016


Have you ever reflected on something and realized if you changed one simple idea your lesson would have worked out sooooo much better? The past two weeks (read more here) I have focused the bulk of my attention on creating and fostering relationships between my students as well as between myself and my students. I have been using different teamwork/cooperative activities to help the students work on communication, cooperation, and problem-solving. The lessons were fun, engaging, and overall successful. We were able to authentically speak about introverts verse extroverts and how boys may have the tendency to be louder or more assertive than girls. This brought us to the point that everyone has ideas on how to solve problems or meet the objectives.

There was something absent though. We were talking the talk but not necessarily walking the walk. They discussed how to work as a team but they weren’t executing teamwork skills at a high level. What was the missing piece? Then the lightbulb went off. I hadn’t given them the steps or scaffolded how to engage in teamwork. There was no gradual release method being implemented. I figuratively threw them in the water and said go swim. Most students were drowning.

It was then that I realized the one simple change that I could do that would make a world of difference. I gave them steps on how to work as a team. This ensured that everyone had a chance to see teamwork in action and truly understand what it looked like.

I started out by giving them 5 steps.

Step1: One person must state what the problem/objective of the group was. Once they finished step one they were to stand up or give me some signal they were ready for step two. I required a check in before they could proceed to the next step to ensure 100% they were following along.

Step 2: Every person had to have a chance to either give their idea, agree with someone else’s idea or state that they had no ideas of their own on how to solve the problem/objective. I did this so that every student quiet or loud had a chance to give their idea and make a contribution to the group. 

Step 3: The group had to choose one hypothesis they believed would work the best. I allowed them to vote or use any other fair way to choose the attempt at the solution. I was worried this would be a problem. It wasn’t 

Step 4: Attempt to solve the problem using the voted on solution.

Step 5: If the solution worked reflect on why it worked. If it did not succeed discuss why it didn’t. Sometimes execution of the solution was the problem. If that was the case they could choose to use the same hypothesis and fix the problem. If the group wanted to go in another direction due to the loss of faith in the original solution they could choose to move on to the next most popular solution.

Some of you may be shaking your head and wondering why I didn’t have a system set up like this from the beginning. I honestly had not realized that students may not have been trained on how to work in groups before. Now that I reflect, that one change could have made my whole unit much better.

Q1: How do you introduce teamwork to your students?


As the Pendulum Swings

Last year was a step backward for my journey as a teacher. My students received a quality education where the standards and grade level outcomes were explicit and well delivered. They covered more of the curriculum then they had ever covered before. Yet there was a huge missing piece. That piece was love. Love of learning, love of movement, love of growth, love of life, and most of all love of my class. Like the rest of education, I had let the pendulum swing too far in the wrong direction. I was so worried about being taken seriously that I had forgotten who I was as a teacher. My instruction became of a higher quality yet my relationship building fell off. I would imagine that last year I had the most amount of students ever who did not enjoy coming to my class for the pure joy of movement. They came there because it said so on their schedule.

This year I have been rededicating myself to getting to know each child on a much deeper level. I want my students to feel that I value them as tiny human beings not just as an athlete in my class. There are a variety of ways I am going to accomplish this. 

According to Psychology Today, “When teachers touch students platonically, it encourages their learning”. That is why the first two weeks of school I have been sitting with my prek-1st-grade students on the floor and asking each one of them if they would like a hug or high five. When I see students walking down the hall I ask if it’s ok that I put my arm around them. In the past, I have shied away from physical touch because I worried about being seen as creepy or that I would make students feel uncomfortable. I believe by asking them if they would like a hug that alleviates their fear or any misconceptions that may arise.

The second part of relationship building I am working on with my students is their relationships to each other. I have dedicated the first two weeks to games and activities that will have my students using teamwork, cooperation, and communication. These games are fun and easy. They are tied into the standards but I am sacrificing mvpa (moderate to vigorous physical activity) time. I am not bothered by this in the least, though. The benefits of creating and strengthening the relationships between the students and myself as well as each other far outweigh any movement time they may lose in my eyes. 

Another part of relationship building that I am attempting to improve is my student’s relationship with the content. My questions are making them think more about how what they are doing in my class will help them outside of school. I started to do this more as an exit ticket last year but we have a loooong way to go. As you can tell from the image below we are still attempting to go beyond the literal skills of the activity when we are analyzing it for personal growth outside of phys ed. There were a couple of students who were able to make genuine connections to the outside world. We will dissect the answers as a class and see if as a group we can make outside connections that approach a deeper level.


  1. What is your favorite way to build relationships with your students?
  2. What is your go to when encouraging students to build relationships with each other?
  3. What is your view on physical touch and students?
  4. How do you connect your students learning with the outside world?
  5. Who is your go to when you need help with relationship building?





Beliefs and Thoughts

I am keynoting at CUE Nevada on October 1. (Please come to the conference!!!) I started to mull over some different ideas that would work for me during the keynote and I came across metacognition. Thinking about thinking.  One of my favorite quotes about metacognition is by Gandhi. ghandi

The only problem was the more I thought about this the more I disagree with him that beliefs become your thoughts. How can I believe something that I have never thought of before? How did it become a belief? Did I just start believing something without really understanding it?

I believe that thoughts may become beliefs. I have tons of thoughts that I don’t believe. Most of my thoughts, to be honest, are complete trash and unworthy of being typed onto this page. My beliefs, on the other hand, have been debated or discussed with other people.


I stumbled across a quote from the great Deepak Chopra. How do we get to the point that we believe the thought is a truth? In other words, how do we turn our thoughts into beliefs?

The answer to that is our Personal Learning Network. This could be friends, family, adults in education, students in education, people we hate on social media, people we like on social media, books we read, or any other litany of ways we have our thinking pushed.

Q1: Do you believe that thoughts shape beliefs or beliefs shape thoughts.

Q2: Where do you get new thoughts from?

Q3: How do you make sure that your thoughts or beliefs are truths outside your reality?

Q4: Tell us about a time when your truth or belief was shattered. What happened?

Q5: Who do you follow on social media that pushes your thinking?



What Am I?

I have two parallel lines intersected by two slanted perpendicular lines. Words grouped together with no spaces suddenly have their power raised exponentially. I have united a country and taken down a government. (link) I have saved people from danger after mass shootings. (link) I have shed light on travesties of justice allowing people to be live reporters. My power knows no limits.

People use me to engage in serious discussions or to mock the idea that precedes me. Sometimes I am read by millions yet others times only my creator has ever seen me. My genius lays in my simplicity. Anyone can create or use me. I do not care about your race, gender, religion, sexuality or any other way humans use to group each other. I only care that people use me.

I have a dark side to me as well. People use me to spread hatred and spew vile threats at others. They use my power for evil. I notice but am unable to stop them. I am a tool to be used as desired.

I am a mainstay in Poe’s law. I can change the entire meaning of a group of words simply by adding the word sarcasm after me. I allow a depth to 140 characters that wouldn’t be possible without me.

I have the ability to make people laugh as well as cry. A well-timed use of me can create laughter that makes milk shoot out of your nose. I can accent a punchline much like the mannerisms of a comedian.

I am not proud or egotistical. All I ask is that you use me as desired.

This blog was written directly as a response to @carmelhealth blog.