Lesson Plans, Clubs, Associations, and Teaching Philosophy
|Through the development of programs like "Smile Miles," PACER Club, and Station Stars, I have been able to get more kids moving outside of my class than were moving before. A brief run-down of the programs is as follows:|
I have run a Station Stars Challenge each year since we received the PFA program three years ago. The first year we did Station Stars there was excitement right from the start with a National Record for the pole climb! Sylvia Johnson, a fifth grader, broke the existing record and did 22 trips on the pole climb. It was awesome! The local newspaper came out and did a story on Sylvia and the race was on! All the kids wanted to do Station Stars--they all wanted a National Record. Thankfully, PFA established criterion and techniques for each station so that kids could use goal setting and many children could be recognized for the performances which were noteworthy even if it was not a National Record. Check out the Kong Record Holders.
The PACER is a 21-level running activity that is part of the PFA program. The activity uses music and a timed cadence. the kids begin the activity jogging from one side of the gym to the other where they stop and wait for the "go" signal and jog back to the other side. This continues and the timing between the "go" signals becomes shorter. The children continue until they are so tired they can no longer run or they miss the signal. We did a PACER during class one week to give kids the chance to qualify for PACER Club time. The children who could make it to level 10 in class are now coming before school one day a month with other children in their grade level to do a PACER run before school. We are charting their progress through a wall chart in the gym which they get to sign when they reach certain levels. There are about 40 children in each grade level--second through fifth--that are attending the PACER Club before school. It makes me ecstatic that I have 160 kids excited about coming to school early to run for 30 minutes!
Smile Miles is a recess activity for students and teachers. I have measured different distances around the school campus where kids and teachers can walk, jog, or run. To be a part of the club, all they have to do is choose to do "Smile Miles" during their recess time and log their distance. Once a child has jogged 10 miles, they are recognized by having their name on the club poster in the hallway. Each increment of 10 miles after that is recognized with a sticker. I have fifth graders who have run over 100 miles and at least 20 students who have completed over 40 miles! The kids have even started doing Smile Miles at home and having a parent sign off on it so that they can increase their mileage! There are teachers who have reached ten miles on the club poster, and classes that are doing it together. It is great to look out the window during my lunch period and see kids jogging around the soccer field and teachers right behind them!
The Jesse Wharton Jumpers is a North Carolina state demonstration team for The American Heart Association. We are one of five teams in the state of North Carolina that travel to schools promoting the Jump Rope for Heart Fundraiser. The team consists of 32 children in third, fourth, and fifth grades who perform a list of skills to make the team. The jump rope team has created a craze for jump rope at our school. Some children practice all year to make sure they have the skills mastered for the next year's team. Once selected, the team travels to about 25-30 schools in our area giving our performance and getting kids excited about Jump Rope for Heart. We also perform at local malls and community festivals, we visit assisted living facilities, and perform at our school for PTA and Field Day.
The jumpers were invited to work with a program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro called PROJECT EFFORT. This program based at UNCG uses physical education to teach personal and social responsibility to under served youth. As a graduate of UNCG's Master's program and former director of this club, I was asked to bring the jumpers to UNCG for a series of lessons on jump rope skills. The Jesse Wharton Jumpers were teachers modeling and giving feedback to these club members. It was a great experience.
The team has also been able to attend state conventions and conferences. For the past three years, some of the jumpers have attended the NCAAHPERD state convention with me. They have given performances at the American Heart Association Awards Breakfast each year as well as teaching jump rope skills to physical education professionals who attend the teaching sessions. They truly are remarkable!
My relationship with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro assists with physical education programming as well. Aside from working with special programs like PROJECT EFFORT, beginning this year I will be working with and mentoring students teachers. I will be a cooperating teacher for two student teachers this spring. I foresee this to be a great experience to get new ideas as well as helping the field of physical education by working with a pre-service teacher. In addition, last year methods students from UNCG's teacher education program came to Jesse Wharton to work with my classes in doing a fitness practicum. I assisted them with lesson planning and the like as well as providing them feedback and modeling when working with my students. It was really interesting to see all of their ideas as well as the excitement exchanged between these undergraduate students and my students. It was great for everyone. My relationship with UNCG keeps me fresh and motivated, and I really appreciate that. It also gives my students the opportunity to be exposed to different teaching styles within the physical education setting.
My relationship with The American Heart Association is strong and has a significant impact on my programming. In addition to providing opportunities for the jump rope team, which I have already discussed, it provides a wonderful opportunity for all of the students at Jesse Wharton School. Each year I conduct a Jump Rope for Heart event in which each student in our school is involved. It gives them a chance to realize the importance of doing something for others as well as the importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle. UNCG students and parent volunteers are there to share the experience with the kids. It is a fun and meaningful week at our school.
All of these special programs and events would not be possible without the help of many important people and relationships. Fostering and nurturing relationships is critical to quality programming. Some of my support people include: fellow teachers, principal, parents, The American Heart Association, and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Fellow teachers have a great impact on the frequency of use with the outdoor equipment. I offer different incentives for using the equipment such as gift certificates and extra P.E. time so that the teachers can receive something for making the effort for their students' fitness.
Support from the principal and assistant principal are critical to program success and I have been very fortunate. Our current principal was willing to work with me and request that ALL teachers use the PFA equipment on one of their days of recess during the week. In addition, administration has been flexible with use of the facility for before or after school programs so that the kids (and I) have access and a place to work on fitness through these special programs.
Parents have been so helpful in transporting children to and from these before and after school programs. Without them the kids wouldn't be able to get there. Parents are integral in the success of events like Jump Rope for Heart and Field Day. During Jump Rope for Heart, parents volunteer to come in and be a part of the event with their children and assist in turning long ropes for the kids to jump.
Field Day is an event involving three days, 900 students, and almost 50 staff members. Classes rotate through stations playing cooperative games and activities in the morning and in the afternoon we meet in the gym to watch the jump rope team and do line dances together. What an event!
Aside from the obvious support the relationship with Project Fit America has provided me and many other physical educators in this country, I have had the wonderful chance to deepen my relationship with the Project Fit America program. Project fit America has given me the chance to travel and provide in-service training to some newly acquired PFA schools. It has been a wonderful chance for me to share my enthusiasm for PFA with teachers who have just received their grant and help them make the program work for them in their setting by modeling activities and giving them tools to excite their community to get involved with Project Fit America.
I believe that children inherently enjoy movement and love activity. I believe it is my responsibility to foster that enjoyment by exposing them and “turning them on” to as many different kinds of physical activity as possible. Their experience with physical activity should be a positive one as a result of their involvement in my program so that when they think of physical activity, they think about something that is fun and makes them feel good! It is my hope that they will choose physical activities over things like television and video games in the future. Having a diverse program ranging from development of game and sport skills, fitness, cooperative work, juggling, to dance and gymnastics to accomplish this. Having a variety of activities increases exposure for the kids to a number of activities and helps to ensure that each child will be involved in something they really love.
Of greatest importance, however, is how kids feel about themselves and others through physical education and how they treat one another. Physical Education provides a rare and special medium in which to teach personal and social skills to children. These skills transcend the school environment-they are life skills. My students know the meaning of the terms “team friendly” (think about what is good for the group, not just what is good for you) and “yellow brick student” (someone who is a leader and a friend to everyone including the teacher). Teaching these terms and using these terms helps to create an environment in the gym which is positive for everyone.
I also use what I call “chart and challenge” to help kids feel proud of their accomplishments and receive recognition when they achieve something great. I use sticker charts and posters in prominent places around the school to display the names of kids that have achieved mastery in various skills during different units.
I strive to have a program that reaches beyond the one day a week that I see my students to really make a difference in their fitness levels. “Beyond physical education programming” is critical to making the difference. One of these programs in an after school jump rope team. The popularity of this jump rope team has grown each year and now kids are choosing to jump rope during recess and after school to work on their skills.
Project Fit America has made a significant impact on my extra programming. Classroom teachers are taking their students out the use the equipment during the school day during recess time and I have been able to establish some new programs.
I feel so fortunate that my school received the Project Fit America grant three years ago. Through my involvement with this program, I have experienced significant professional development, and have become a more effective educator. It has allowed me to begin going beyond physical education class to really make a difference not only in the fitness levels of my students, but their lives as well.
This unit can be as short as 3 class periods or as long as needed to get through all of the individual skills. Fourth graders will have a great deal of difficulty with level three skills and the unit should be modified to include levels one and two primarily. This unit is not developmentally appropriate for kids under grade 4. Children in grades 2 and 3 should work primarily on skills in level 1 and may master some skills in level 2. The unit can be modified by making different posters for these classes.
The key element to this unit lies in the wall charts and posters. Make three large posters (one for each of the three levels). List the skills at the top of the poster. Once a child can perform ALL of the skills for that level with correct form, they can be checked off (observed) on that level. Once checked off, the student is allowed to sign the poster. At that point, the student can begin working on the next level skills for check-off or they can perform peer assessment on another student who needs to be checked off on that level. All students need to begin with level one skills regardless of their previous experience or skill level.
The neatest thing about this unit is the element of peer assessment. Seeing the students in leadership positions with one another is really neat. In addition, they are learning to recognize physical skills and their critical elements when seen in a physical performance. Great teaching and coaching. When not in the leadership role, the kids are focused and work independently and use goal-setting to get to the next level.
You will see a great increase in the average skill level of your students' jumping ability.
Lesson 1: Introduce, explain, and demonstrate level one skills. Student independent practice of level one skills. Explain posters and check-off procedure. Allow students to practice and check off level one skills with any remaining time.
Lesson 2: Quick review of level 1 skills. Introduce, explain, and demonstrate level 2 skills. Student independent practice and check-off of level 1 and 2 skills (students select practice level based on check-off).
Lesson 3: Quick review of level 2 skills (level one if needed for small group). Introduce, explain, and demonstrate level 3 skills. Student independent practice and check-off of levels 1, 2, and 3.
**Tips for outfield team: good passes, pass to the person closest to you, pay attention, "build up, don't tear down" (encouragement not criticism if a mistake is made).