Physical Education Curriculum & Software #QPE

Archive for May, 2015

What is your button?

ron watch

By: Ron Malm

I am losing right now and I do not like it one bit! Many of you know that I cannot stand to lose. I think it is genetic; therefore I feel obligated to blame my mother (JK mom).

Before I tell you what my button is, I need you to think of your button (If you are thinking to yourself, what’s this weirdo talking about, just give me a couple hundred more words).

I believe that everybody is motivated to move. What motivates you? Are you motivated to move because it makes you feel good? Maybe you like the way it makes you look? Do you enjoy being around friends? It is possible that you are motivated to move by all three of those reasons. (Maybe you are motivated by a challenge…understanding my blog post is quite challenging)

I felt that it was my job as a Physical Educator, and now as a Workshop Facilitator to figure out the participants’ button and push it. Why is this so important? Simply put, finding the button allowed me to connect and make the experience meaningful (I applaud you if you are still reading this blog).

It is my opinion that making a connection is what creates the optimal environment for learning. It links the teacher and the learner and produces trust that each is acting in the best interest of each other. This in turn allows the participants to feel safe and if they feel safe they are willing to stretch and grow. Hence, the button has been figured out and pushed (In the event that you are wondering what I am losing at, I am now going to share)!

Recently, my wife and I purchased activity trackers. As soon as we returned home the game was on! Every day the game starts over. Who has the most steps by bedtime? I have gone so far as to go for a run at 9:00pm just so I could beat her, only to find out upon returning that she ran in place the entire time I was gone. Argh! Guess what motivates her?

I will be the first one to tell you that I need to stretch and grow, so I got to go, my activity is low and I don’t want to lose!

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The Story of the Un-Fit Kid

unfit kid

By: Yuliya Davis

Do you recall Adam Marshall’s post from April 29, titled “Fitness Knowledge for Everyone”? It brought to light the issue of the nutrition and fitness knowledge disparity that really struck a chord with me. In the story, Adam talked about his lifelong love of sports and movement, his positive experiences as a school athlete, and his work as a personal trainer and fitness professional. With that, Adam also described the struggles that he witnessed: teenagers and young adults (barely out of high school) seeking professional fitness and nutrition help to try to get their health back – with mixed success. Why were they in that situation? What about the Physical Education they should have received as children? And in the back of my mind, as I read Adam’s post, I realized that I could have very easily been one of those people.  So I decided to tell their – and my – side of the story.

The issue of sharp division between the “haves” and “have nots” in the context of nutrition and fitness education is not new. Thankfully, this is not a heavy, in-depth discussion of the existing disparities, but rather a quick tale of how access to knowledge transformed the life of an overweight, uncoordinated, and insecure kid – me. As you read my story, I only ask that you allow yourself to be open and curious – and to ponder the why’s as they present themselves.

I was born and raised in Southeastern Siberia, Russia. That’s right: the scary place we all heard about with bitter cold winters, old prisons, bears, and… a normal Western city, not unlike many here in the United States. I went to a small school, studied all the usual subjects, and hated Physical Education (PE), which in Russian is referred to as Physical Culture (in a literal translation). I was overweight since early childhood and due to family circumstances and other factors outside my control, didn’t get much chance to engage in active play or spend a lot of time using playground equipment outside. Thus, I entered school lacking proficiency in many essential motor skills and fundamental movement patterns. Our bi-weekly PE class very quickly became sheer torture. We ran laps around the old gym – or the track around the school – and then worked on sports skills for Russian favorites such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, and lapta (a version of baseball). Being that I lacked many basic motor skills, I wasn’t successful in trying to figure out how to use an implement or become proficient with a ball. Instead, I watched the kids who were good at sports get better, while those of us who weren’t went largely unnoticed and got poor grades. Luckily, I still liked to move – especially when there was music – and my parents signed me up to attend a dance studio.

I was thrilled, but after the first few lessons, my excitement somewhat faded. It was very difficult – and embarrassing – trying to keep up with my agile peers, who were not overweight. And while I diligently worked on steps and techniques that helped me become more coordinated and comfortable with movement, my weight held me back and kept me from being able to successfully compete. It was at the end of the school year at the age of 12 that I got truly lucky – my aunt gave me a book. It was one of those oddball Reader’s Digest hardcover compilations (Reader’s Digest was just becoming popular in Siberia), and it had a Health and Fitness section. Being that we just got tested, and I, once again, was classified as significantly overweight, it was an auspicious coincidence that the Health and Fitness section caught my eye – and changed my life. Looking back, there wasn’t any extraordinary information in the book – just the basics – but the basics were enough.

I learned about energy in/energy out (it felt like a revelation!), macro and micro nutrients, calories, energy content of some of the common foods, intensity levels, and some of the ways to improve fitness through simple exercises and lifetime or daily activities. Believe it or not, I actually remember most of what I learned that summer, because it was so important and helpful to me, because it made so much sense in my life, and because I wished that I would have known it earlier. Next year, I returned to school and dance a different kid – fit, healthy, confident, and happy. I never became proficient in sports – our PE classes didn’t allow the opportunity to go back and re-build missed skills – but I went on to become a regional dance champion and a successful power lifter.

Fast-forwarding a few years into the future, I ended up moving to the United States, got married, and became a parent. I was able to help my son avoid weight issues, develop good nutritional habits, and share my love of movement and exercise. I now work to further Quality Physical Education (#QPE) alongside an amazing team of dedicated educators at Focused Fitness. We help provide kids with movement opportunities and the access to health, fitness, and nutrition awareness. We help teachers gain the knowledge and skills they need to guide their students toward a healthy, happy, and active life. Why do I do it? To make sure that no kid’s health and happiness has to depend on luck or the chance of stumbling upon the right book at the right time. My 12-year-old self would be very proud – as am I!

#MoveInMay: National Fitness & Sports Month

Group Of Children Running In Park

By: Cherie Harrington

Welcome to the month of May!  In my world this means: Cinco de Mayo celebration, Mothers’ Day, parades, birthdays, holiday, hiking, yard work, picnics, kayaking and more J

Speaking of May – the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has dubbed May as the National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.  They want us to make physical activity part of our life! My opinion of the us? It means everyone between the ages of 2 – 99+ years.

If you are already physically active, I want to ask you how often you change it up. How often do you talk to your students about altering their physical activity? My goal this month is to participate in 2-3 different activities – step out of my box and my “normal exercise environment.”  To you, the social media audience, I commit to complete the following activities prior to June 1st:  pull out- buckle up-cover some distance on my roller blades, experience hitting golf balls and probably chasing quite a few of them down, and get wet with swimming indoors.

My challenge to you – try 2 different activities this month.  Yes, it’s alright if the time you spend being active is something you have participated in, but not for quite some time.  Here are a few options: archery, Frisbee, racquetball, juggling, dancing (ballroom, line, folk or square), boxing, jump rope, yoga, kickball, arm cycling, rock climbing and bicycling.  Please stay safe, but have fun!

Share your experiences in the comments below this entire month. I am super excited to hear how you ensure that May truly is the National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

Share your PE Techno-Savvy!

robot  playing soccer

By: Jabet Wheeler

In today’s technology age, PE instructors not only need to be sound in skill development and content knowledge, but also techno-savvy to support the new approaches to learning. Regardless of the mixed reviews regarding the value of “distance” or “online” courses we can be assured that there will be more and more school districts adopting these practices. There is also a plethora of other technology uses that have crept into the gymnasium including; teaching from tablets, recording student fitness scores on your smart phone, utilizing the newest activity and heart rate monitors, interactive video activity leaders and on and on…

To be competitive in the Physical Educator job market and highly evaluated in our own positions, in addition to modernizing our curriculum, we also need to make sure that the Physical Education profession is up to date on how to meaningfully integrate technology in support of student learning. We need to become more purposeful; be content experts AND be technically sound.

We’d love to hear some of your “winners” and “losers” in bringing technology into your Physical Education classes so we can all learn from each other’s successes and avoid the mistakes. Are you embracing new technology and why or why not? Share some of your recent experiences and tell us how they worked out.