MS All Star 2010

Beth Hewitt

Teaching Philosophy, Program and Activities

Beth Hewitt's Teaching Philosophy

White River ElemI believe that every one of my students can achieve some level of success in Physical Education.  The extent of the success may vary but I strongly encourage all of my students to strive to achieve personal and realistic goals. I often remind my students that Physical Education is for everyone, not just the athletes. That mindset has been instilled in my students and it fun to watch them strive to become more aware of their own level of fitness.

 I also believe that a P.E. class should be a safe, encouraging, and friendly environment that is conducive to learning.  In order for this environment to exist, respect for yourself, others, equipment and the teacher must be followed.  To reinforce a positive atmosphere I award GYM RAT buttons that encourage my students to make good choices.  Gym Rat buttons are awarded daily to a student in each class that I have found to be demonstrating a “Life Skill”.  “Life Skills” represent our school wide Character Education Program.  Throughout the year every student will receive this award.  I always save the last 2 minutes of class to honor a student for something special I noticed in class that day.  It could be for displaying “friendship” to a classmate or for displaying “perseverance” by not giving up on a fitness goal.  Those are just 2 examples of behaviors I expect to see in my classes.  This quick “awards ceremony” assures that each class ends on a positive note.

 Age appropriate activities also fall in line with what I believe makes a successful Physical Education program.  I believe that grades K-2 are ideal ages to build hand-eye coordination, locomotor skills, beginning sports skills as well as simple fitness concepts.  My students in those grades love the station approach to P.E. as they have the opportunity to participate in several activities.  Attention spans are short and the variety keeps them alert and moving.  These skills prepare them for higher level game experiences in the upper elementary grades.  Grades 3-4 are ideal ages to teach team building skills, game situations, and “Chart and Challenge” for fitness.  Project Fit America has come up with innovative and positive ways for students to chart their progress. The certificates, the ribbons, the charts, are all highly motivating. My students love the challenge that Project Fit America has brought to our school.

White River ElemLastly, I believe in making it fun.  It’s Elementary P.E.!!! It is so fun to turn on the music and mold all that energy into purposeful movement that kids enjoy. I focus on keeping instruction short and to the point so my students have more time to move.  I am fortunate to have 45 minute classes that often result in happy, sweaty kids!  Keeping with the theme of fun, I also enjoy showcasing my students with Gym Shows and Field Day.

The combination of respect, encouraging atmosphere, expectations, age appropriate activities and keeping it fun, have combined to be my philosophy for a productive and energetic Physical Education Program.

My Background

I have always enjoyed athletics and P.E. classes during my elementary, Jr. High and High School career.  That guided my decision to become a Physical Education Teacher.  I earned my Bachelor of Physical Education degree from Purdue University in 1993.  I have also earned  graduate and continuing education credits through classes taken at Ball State University and Indiana University.  I have had the opportunity to have taught at the high school level, middle school level and elementary level.  I am currently in my 15th year of teaching and loving every minute of it!  I have been blessed to have spent the last 9 years of my career at White River Elementary in Noblesville, IN.  I currently teach grades K-4.

Activities that I have been involved in during my career:

Basketball Coach : Varsity Assistant, Freshman Coach, Grades 7 & 8, Elem
Garrett Community Youth Tennis Coordinator
“Character Counts” guest speaker
Hamilton County Community Tennis Association After School Coordinator
Hamilton County Community Tennis Association Volunteer of the Year
Jump Rope Team Coach
Running Club for Elementary
Cup Stacking Club Coordinator
Jump Rope for Heart Coordinator

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How we became PFA's first school in Indiana

KickoffKickoffAfter several years of conducting fitness testing with my students, I came to the conclusion that I needed to do more to improve our arm strength.  Then, while on vacation to see friends, in Olive Branch, Mississippi I was introduced to an outdoor workout facility for elementary aged students called Project Fit America.  I found it at our friend’s local elementary school. 

I loved the simplicity of the equipment and what purposeful activity could be done at recess and in a Physical Education Class.  I could see our arm strength “sky rocketing” with such a facility. I wrote down all the information and one year later, White River Elementary in Noblesville, Indiana became Indiana’s first Project Fit America School.

  I gathered a team of myself, our principal, PTO President and a very involved parent to create a proposal to our local hospital, Riverview.  Stacey Cook helped to guide us and the hospital administration agreed to fund the project with our PTO agreeing to pay for installation.  Our program was then underway, beginning with our Media Event on May 9, 2009.  What an amazing day for White River Elementary and our students!

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How we use Project Fit America at White River

White River is now in it’s second full year of implementation and what a 2 years it has been!  Our students are enjoying all of the benefits Project Fit America has to offer.  The outdoor equipment or “outdoor weight room” ,as my students like to call it, has had a direct impact on our fitness scores. Just as I had hoped, our arm strength scores have shown significant improvement over the year and a half year period.  The combination of taking my classes out for a quick workout and the availability at recess has made a difference.  I often remind them that they have 2 opportunities a day to “workout’ and 3 if they have P.E.  They love it because it is fun and it is their own!  How many elementary aged students can say that they have their own “age appropriate” workout room at school?

The core curriculum guide has become a staple in my lesson planning.  The combination of unique indoor and outdoor equipment keeps this program very versatile, especially needed for Indiana winters. This program was really “brought to life” when my trainer, Kim Berg, visited White River during it’s first semester of implementation.  She brought great games and the energy needed to get my kids “fired up’ about PFA.  She even gave us some ideas as how to incorporate a basketball into the “Cha Cha Slide” for our annual Physical Education Program. 

Some of our favorites from Kim:

  • Ice Cream and Cake
  • $10 and a Bone
  • Pacer Challenge
  • Tummy Toughy

The Pacer Challenge has been a HUGE Success at White River!  This year, we have started to “Chart and Challenge” this aerobic activity.  We have levels of GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE with KONG and KING KONG levels to come later this semester.  I have also discovered that my Autistic population of students especially enjoy this activity. While running a mile can be a challenge for many students with Autism, this activity seems to keep them moving as the “beep” consistently keeps them engaged in this cardio activity. The repetition and constant movement seems to fulfill a need that some of my autistic students are seeking. 

Pacer Challenge Adaptations for Autistic Students

  • Make sure they are not too close to CD player as “loud” can be unsettling.  I have them on the farthest point from the CD player.
  • Depending upon the fitness level of the student, I shorten the length and use tape to make it so it can be seen clearly.
  • Consistent reinforcement is also encouraging.

Gary Martin, my 2nd PFA trainer, visited White River Elementary during the second semester of our 1st year of implementation. I was looking for was some new activities that could be used after a quick station warm-up in our “outdoor fitness room”.
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Favorites from his in-service were:

  • Bucket Blitz
  • Tennis Ball Challenge
  • $10 and a Meal

PFA is used daily in my lesson planning.  I really appreciate how this curriculum is developed to enhance a Physical Education Program, not attempt to change it.  I use the outdoor equipment in stations and we work to improve our strength, flexibility and endurance. Hula Hoops are a huge hit as well.  We even incorporated those into a our annual Physical Education Program by hooping to “Round and Round: from Alvin and The Chipmunks – The Squeakquel."

Along with Fitness Testing in the Fall and Spring here are a list of a few favorites from White River Elementary that carry the spirit of Project Fit America.

  • Money Ball (Download PDF)
  • Bingo Field Day
  • Fast Feet
  • Hot Box (Download PDF)
  • Station PE Activity: Rock-Paper-Scissors Olympics (Download PDF)
  • Jump Rope Challenges (Download PDF)
  • Super Hoop
  • Pacer Challenge
  • Stack and GO! (Download PDF)
  • WOW Words (Words of the Week) - I developed this list of words to coincide with my curriculum.  Each word has it’s own week and is placed in the school’s weekly activity guide.  These words are also used as bonus words on weekly spelling tests in the classrooms.  Lastly, these words are used on my message board, posted in the gym and discussed in my class.  Art, Music and Technology also have WOW words. Download PDF of WOW Words WOW 2010 and WOW 2011

The lessons included here are some of my favorites because they keep kids moving  and some even incorporate math to tie in with classroom state standards.  I see that as double BONUS!  Some I have developed and some I have picked up from various sources.

Overall, PFA has provided White River Elementary with the missing link to our program.  In the first year of implementation, 45% of our students increased their mile times and 22% of our students increased their arm strength throughout the year. We are looking forward to more great outcomes from PFA this school year!
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Support

White River Elementary and I would like to thank the three organizations responsible for financially supporting Indiana’s first Project Fit America Program. 

  • Riverview Hospital (Pat Fox – CEO)
  • White River Elementary PTO
  • Recreation Unlimited

I would also like to thank several people for their assistance in securing this wonderful program.

  • Bob Harvey (principal)
  • Cindy Green (PTO President)
  • Lori Faust (artistic creations)
  • Stacey Cook (PFA)
  • Deb Sigman
  • Kim Berg
  • Gary Martin
  • White River Elementary students and staff

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