This was a whirlwind of a few days. My wife’s uncle died rather suddenly at the age of 76. Death is never far from my thoughts or life as I clearly remind you the reader of this incessantly. The viewing was Friday and the funeral was on Saturday. I then packed up and drove to the convention Sunday just in time to set up the powerpoint and A/V for the NJ AHPERD awards banquet. I was woefully underdressed not throwing any of my “good clothes” (not wrinkled) clothes in the bag.
The awards ceremony was nice. I had the utmost honor in watching Erik Meyer receive his Elementary Teacher of the Year Award as well as Chris Bacarella receiving the Distinguished Leadership Award. I value both of these people because they are genuinely nice people as well as extremely competent in what they do. It always makes my day go better when I engage with either of these fine individuals. Congratulations to you both!
The best part of every conference is meeting the people you have invested time and energy with in person. Sunday night Nick Endlich drove three hours in order to join along for the journey. We had fun catching up with legends like Jo Bailey and Nick Kline. The list of people I follow and engage with on Twitter in attendance is too extensive to list. I saw Judy Lobianco and hugged her with the enthusiasm that only Judy Lobianco can elicit. I had a lively conversation with SHAPE President Fran Cleland about the test pilot of a new national program. Here is the description of their new program:
“The test will measure the attainment of the National Standards for Physical Education which are critical to the healthy development of children and youth, including the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. The new assessment will be known as the National Assessment for Health & Physical Education, and will be powered by AIR Assessment’s online testing and reporting platform.” Link
What other state conference has the National SHAPE President and President-Elect and Jo Bailey?! Not so humble brag my conference brings it!
The first session I attended was Lynn Hefele’s session on How to Use Your Noodle. Lynn’s session was wonderful! She had some cool ideas that were so simple you thought to yourself why haven’t I been doing this all along? My favorite games were trying to hit a soccer ball with a pool noodle that was being dribbled or passed. Another game I enjoyed was attempting to disrupt a bean bag from being successfully tossed to a partner by swatting it with a noodle out of the air. I am always amazed by teachers who can show me things that are simple and fantastic. Lynn’s style was engaging and quite humorous. Lynn also writes children’s stories that she incorporates into her class. That is next level.
I split my next sessions going between Jo Bailey and Liz Burkhart. Liz’s ideas on how to teach self-growth and empowerment were cool. The idea of enjoying the journey and not the destination jibes well with both our philosophies. If we do not target the Social and Emotional parts of our students we are missing the boat.
Jo Bailey is a legend. She saved my life. Her presentation was typical Jo Bailey. I came, I learned, I was conquered. There is nothing like seeing a master at her craft. I do not use those words lightly. Her ability to delivery quality activities time after time is second to none. We went on scavenger hunts, put together puzzles, assessed how we felt about our skill level using various equipment, and put in participant choice and voice. Jo keeps you engaged by her enthusiasm and smile. She is one of the best in the profession and kudos to NJ AHPERD for bringing her back again this year.
I was bummed to have missed Doug Hallberg’s session. Nick Endlich has raved about it but we ended up having a PS AHPERD and NJ AHPERD meeting that I was unaware of.
I came back in time to watch Karen Petermann run her session. She had a boatload of activities and uttered a phrase that made me shine with delight. Her phrase was, “A personal IEP with Mrs. P.” That was perhaps the most brilliant thing said in any session I heard all day.
I finished up my day presenting Iterations of Game Play with Nicholas Endlich. I was a little nervous about it because of how many people could possibly be in our session. It turned out I had 18 participants. Have you ever heard the saying it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog? We had only one person who sat the whole session. The participants had a blast! I knew it was gonna be fun when they asked if we could continue to play Nick’s game instead of moving on to the next slide. This was the perfect opportunity to show them what shared power looks like. We could have ignored the comment and gone on instead I recognized that they were here to learn and enjoy themselves. They continued to play and have fun.
Our session showed three different activities and how to use the idea of builds or scaffold our instruction that allowed the students to end up driving the instruction. Hopefully, we impressed upon them the ideas of TGFU, builds, and the importance of creating that positive association with the movement.
I will close with my Grows and Glows of the day:
Glow: Registration and t-shirt booth ran smoothly and efficiently.
Grow: We should not limit access for people to enter the NJ AHPERD Conference. We should never be our own barrier to entry.
Glow: The presenters. Kudos for the QPE champions you bring in.
Glow: My participants. You rocked. If you were a wet blankets my session was doomed. You made my time as a presenter thoroughly enjoyable.
Glow: Ross Chakrian. It was a pleasure to meet you and I appreciate you coming to my session.
Glow: The five dollar food voucher offered!! What a great idea!
Glow: Balloons at the keynote. Guess who was hitting them during the announcements?
Glow: Getting to know my Executive Board better.
Glow: Dillon. Philosophy and all.