Monthly Archives: September 2019

The Blinker is the Indicator of Success

The other day I was having a fantastic conversation with a friend about using a turn signal when driving. Some of you may call it a blinker while others use the term indicator. The more we talked the more I wondered if you could use someone’s use of a turn signal as a gauge of their communication in a relationship! I am personally not a great communicator in my personal relationships and it was not lost on me that I don’t always use my turn signal when driving either.

In my professional life, I am much better with communication, especially with my students. I am new at my school and they have typically started their year off with fitness testing. One student asked me why we haven’t done fitness testing this year. In response, I asked her and the class what my philosophy was. They said to have a positive association with the movement. This proved to me that I had communicated clearly my philosophy of Physical Education to them. I followed the question up by asking how many students liked fitness testing. About two to four students raised their hands. I asked how many students did not like fitness testing. Over half the class or about 12-15 students said they disliked it. Knowing that I am not mandated by the state to do this and it is in direct opposition with my philosophy it was an easy decision to not engage in this practice.

This is not a knock on fitness testing. If physical educators have done research and honed their philosophy down where fitness testing is an integral part of their program they have to do what they have to do. It just doesn’t fit into my philosophy.

Being clear with our students about the why behind my decisions will help them understand the importance of Physical Education. In school, my blinker is always on. I want my staff, my administrators, the parents, and most importantly my students to know why we are doing what we are doing. A blog you may find interesting that goes deeper into this idea is called Walk the Walk by Dr. Ash Casey. He states that we have to have, “purposes evident in our programs.”

My final thought is that we need to have our philosophy’s finely tuned.  Judy Lobianco calls it the elevator speech. This involves us having to read, write, listen to podcasts and continue to learn about our craft. After all how can we use our blinker if we don’t even know we need to turn?

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Team Building Through Physical Challenges

This year I have taken my services to a new district. The grades that I will be teaching are 4th-6th. The first day I saw the students and I smiled because I truly felt like I was where I belonged. The racial makeup of the student body is much more representative of the world than my last school.

diversity

My district administrators have clearly stated multiple times that we as teachers need to build relationships with the students as well as create opportunities for the students to build relationships with each other. One way the school is doing that is breaking each grade in half and creating 6 houses. These houses of about 150 students each will be engaging in various team building activities for one period every six days. The house leaders will be organizing and running these activities with input from the various non-tested areas. This means that Art, Music, Physical Education, Spanish, and Health will all be collaborating. The creative energy that will be harnessed has my juices flowing!! Imagine the possibilities!

In my physical education and health classes, we will start the first unit with team/cooperative games. This unit is imperative to my goal of creating an atmosphere where everyone, including myself, wants to be there. I will be relying heavily on the Human Kinetics Book: Team Building Through Physical Challenges. Not only does the book give you ideas it also has videos showing how to do the activities and challenge cards that you can print out to run the activity. I will reflect on the unit in a future blog.

Finally, I would like to leave with you is the introduction slides that I used when introduced to the students. I was able to summarize my philosophy for both health and physical education in 6 slides which you can find here. My challenge to you is if you had to explain your philosophy to parents, staff, and students what would it be? How do you communicate the goals of your program in a simple yet effective manner? The why matters!

Have a great new school year! I can’t wait to share the highs and lows of my new journey!