Sunday, December 20, 2009

Senior C

We have adopted a new curriculum in our Physical Education classes. The new curriculum has been added to our Senior classes, and has been a huge success. I am teaching one of the new curriculum classes this year and I am really enjoying it.

The seniors, when they were juniors, selected the type of PE that they wanted for their senior year. They had three choices: Senior A (traditional), Senior B (competitive), or Senior C (individual). I am gong to discuss the Senior C classes because this is what I am currently teaching.

Senior C curriculum haa been based around the development of the individual within the context of an activity. The activities that the class takes will work on their individual skill development rather that the team concept. The activities that are offered are non-competitive oriented activities.

During the year the Senior C's take two marking periods of the individual activities, one marking period of Health and one marking period of the traditional PE. The individual fall activities include activities such as, tennis, golf, fitness, and outdoor recreation games. The winter activities have included yoga, pilates, cardiovascular fitness, and Wii.

We are currently in the middle of the second marking. We have been doing yoga for 4 and a half weeks, and the class has really enjoyed it. We ended our yoga unit with a guest yoga instructor named Mr. Rick Leonard. Mr. Leonard is a Sparta resident and owns Black Bear Fitness in Jefferson, NJ. He has given our staff in-service yoga classes, and is a huge advocate of education. The picture above shows Mr. Leonard with one of the Senior C classes.

The yoga portion of the new curriculum has been a huge success. The students have enjoyed learning the physical poses, breathing, calmness, and increasing their flexibility. They have all learned Sun Salutations and many other Hotha poses. It has been a lot of fun for me as a teacher also. I have enjoyed learning yoga, and about yoga. I have also enjoyed teaching a variety of new activities in our curriculum.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Follow Through

This blog is a follow-up to my previous blog working with students in Physical Education class and implementing technology to improve skill development.

My most recent activity unit in my Physical Education classes has been teaching my freshman how to golf. This is a new unit in our curriculum and it has been a lot of fun for the students and for me as a teacher. I was able to use the Flip Video Recorder to record students skill development throughout the progression of the unit. During the class I was able to record students working on chipping a Birdie Ball towards various targets. Each student was given a basic lesson on their stroke, and each student would continue to work towards mastering this skill. While students were working on chipping, I walked around helping students, and videoing them. After I recorded a student striking a Birdie Ball, I would then call them over to review the video. I would tell them where they need to change parts of the skill to improve the stroke. Once the student saw themselves perform on video, it became much easier for them to see what they needed to change to hit the ball with more accuracy.

Below is video demonstrating chipping in my class.

Below is another video of a student working on his stroke in class.

The video recordings have been a great tool to help students improve their golf stroke skills. The video creates an instant visual aide, in which the student can see what they are doing incorrectly, and compare it to what they should be working on to gain better accuracy.

I am thankful for the use of this technology, and am so glad that it works really well to help improve our students skills, confidence, and enjoyment of my discipline.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Throwing Assessment

I have recently been 'gifted' a Flip Video recorder for my Physical Education classes. My curriculum director, Daniel Sutherland, had purchased some of these educational tools for this school year, and I was a fortunate recipient of one of these awesome devices.

My plan for using the recorder is working out well. I am teaching a Flag Football unit and a Tennis unit this marking period with my freshman Physical Education classes. So, I thought I would try to video my students as they were working on developing their basic skills in these units.

Above in the video, you will see a young man who is throwing a football. I am able to analyze all the components of the throwing skill that can help him throw accurately and correctly while using proper form. The video lets me and the student see their own progression and improvement through each skill also. The football unit will end next week, and I hope to video each student again to demonstrate their improvement from the beginning of the unit to the end of the unit.

This piece of technology increases the learning curve in each activity. When a student sees themselves in this video, and has a teacher that can break down the components of the skill, it helps the student learn the skill quicker, and more efficiently.

I have downloaded the videos onto a website, so that I can erase them from the recorder, and have them permanently stored for analyzing.

Overall, this new tool has been fun for me, the students, and it has made me a better teacher.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Utilizing technology in Physical Education class is becoming more feasible. Our school is under major construction this year, and we are learning to be extremely flexible with space and time. Even with the strains of construction and inconsistent space each day I am still trying to incorporate some technology into our PE classes this year.

The first part of the technology implementation has all occurred because of a generous gift to the high school PE staff. Last year Judy Earl, a teacher at the Alpine Elementary School, attended the NJAPHERD convention in February. During the convention they raffled off the newest and latest Dance, Dance Revolution (DDR) game and Playstation. Judy won it! She retired at the end of the year, and offered it to the high school PE staff. This DDR set-up is worth over $4000!! We are so fortunate to have received this.

On Friday we ran our first Fitness Dance, Dance Revolution classes, and it was a huge success! The whole class was participating, and was really into the music and dances. There are two stomp pads that are hooked up to the Playstation. Two people hop onto these, the teacher picks the level of difficulty and music, and then hits play. The rest of the class is behind these two following the screen ques and doing the exact same footwork, on practice pads, as the two in the front on the stomp pads. When the song ends two new people step up onto the stomp pads and we set it up again and go. The students did not want the period to end. All the students increased their cardiovascular fitness, balance, rhythm, and had fun doing it.

I look forward to adding more technology into our curriculum. Maybe the Fit Wii soon!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

NJAPHERD Conference

Last week, I attended the New Jersey Alliance for Health and Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (NJAPHERD) annual conference. I had not attended this conference for 14 years, and felt that it was time to get re-inspired and involved on a local level again.

This conference was so inspiring and motivating. There were over 800 Health and PE Educators that attended from New Jersey. It was the most attended conference they have had. The keynote speaker, Christine Brennan, spoke to a standing room only crowd of intent listening physical educators.

The conference ran from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon, from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon. Every hour during the conference there were over 8 sessions being offered. I attended over 12 sessions in the time I was there, and each session provided me with hope and inspiration in my field of study. To witness the passion and message that different instructors, teachers, organizations, and vendors provided was truly motivating. Some of the sessions I attended involved marketing our discipline, nutrition and PE technology, HPV lessons, Adventure game activities, and dance, dance, revolution lessons. There were so many sessions that I wanted to attend, but could not because they were running at the same time as the ones I felt were most applicable to my district.

The conference has rejuvenated me, and provided some long lost hope that I can make a difference in what I am teaching. Whether people acknowledge that my discipline is one of the most important subjects or not, I realize that I need to continue fighting for what I believe. I take my job seriously because I realize the importance and positive affect it can have on our youth. I am glad that I attended this conference and I look forward to implementing what I have learned, and going back next year to attain more knowledge, rejuvenation, and hope.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What I Found Out...

Well, it sure has been a while since I have posted. Somehow my life got so busy that I wasn't even checking my own blog site.
Anyway, I thought I would just jot some information down regarding my heart rate monitor experience.
I invited faculty members to wear an exercise heart rate monitor during the the work day. I had thirty teachers sign up. They were very enthusiastic. I only have 15 monitors so I ran the testing on two dates. Mixed in with the teachers I had one Vice Principal and a school secretary.
All of the candidates filled out their pulse as many times during the day as possible. They also recorded when they felt stressed, told me the activity they were doing at the time of the pulse check, and if they had any caffeine. The results were interesting, and the teachers were fascinated with what they learned about themselves. Most teachers hovered around 78 beats per minute. There were a couple of outliers though. One of the teachers realized that her heart rate was really high during the day. She followed up with her general practitioner and she found out there is something going on with her heart (it is speeding up at random times during the day). She is having more tests done and will let me know exactly what is going on. Many of the other teachers realized that they need to bring exercise back into their lives. Over 10 of the candidates involved have joined a gym and or hired personal trainers. They told me that wearing the heart rate monitor gave them incentive to "get moving" again, and that it made them realize that they were not happy with the way their readings came out.
I also gave each participant a two-page document on what all the readings meant, and what different things they can do with a heart rate monitor. Two of the teachers went out and bought their own monitors for their new exercise regime.
So, in summary, I am really glad that I did this experiment! It was a lot of fun for me, and I was really glad to see the high interest level. I am also glad that this experiment has motivated a handful of people to take matters into their own hands and re-start an exercise program. I also am very thankful that the one teacher whose heart rate was really high went to a professional and found out why her heart rate was abnormally high.
All in all, it turned out great. Thanks to all those who participated!!

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Trial and Error

I am sorry it is taking so much time to get the results regarding the Heart Rate Monitors experiment. Part of the problem is that during the original "trial" experiment, I discovered an "error" on my part. I realized, after the fact, that the data taken needs a baseline which to compare it to. I forgot to incorporate a baseline comparison number. So, after the students took their heart rates, I had to go back and get each students Resting Heart Rate (RHR). The RHR is what the "test-taking" heart rates will be compared to.
I have also involved another teacher in getting the comparative results back, since I am unfamiliar with this area. One of the math teachers, Jim Jarrell, is having his AP Calculus class try to find any correlating data from our experiment.

In the meantime, I have decided to take this experiment a step further. Mike Gregory, the Principal at Mohawk Avenue School, suggested having staff members wear the Heart-Rate Monitors during their work day. Teachers go through various levels of stress during the school day, and I am hoping to see this represented in the fluctuation of their heart rates. I am hoping I can get twelve teachers to volunteer for this experiment. I will have each teacher record their own RHR, and then the day they wear the monitors I will have them try to record two times a period, during the nine-period day. I am also going to have them record the subject and material they are covering, and they are going to let me know if this was a teacher-centered lesson or student-centered lesson. Each teacher will also record their "mood", and any "excitable" moments, which will indicate why the heart rate decreases or increases. There are a lot of variables in this experiment and it should cause a variety of fluctuation with each teachers heart rate. I am looking forward to the teachers' experience and any correlations that are discovered.

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