Physical Education Curriculum & Software #QPE

Archive for June, 2015

#Tuesday20s working on progression

Progression is one of the major training principles. This week’s Tuesday20s is one that we have posted several weeks ago. The reason we are re-posting the workout is to focus on progression. Progression takes place over a long period of time. The basic concept is that within your workout plan you are seeing improvements in your strength and endurance. So, start keeping track of how long it takes you to complete one round of the Tuesday20s workout. Over time you should see the amount of time it takes to complete one round decrease…progress from workout to workout! Progression!

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Oh the Places You’ll Go and The People You’ll Meet

oh the places ron blog

By: Ron Malm

When I was young I dreamed of playing pro baseball. My backup plan was to be a barber or a bartender. What do all 3 of these occupations have in common? Working with people! Quite simply, I am an extrovert. Connecting with people is my passion; that and learning about and sharing what I believe to be Quality Physical Education (#QPE).

For the past 15 years, I have had the incredible opportunity to travel the country and meet, dialogue and work with physical educators from every corner of the US. I have been to Alaska, all the way to Florida, Upstate NY, and to the border of California and Mexico. My work has taken me to REALLY big school districts – with hundreds of PE teachers (750) – and to very small school districts with 1 PE teacher. I have seen extremely affluent communities, where students drive golf carts to school, and communities so depressed that city parks do not exist and schools serve ALL students free breakfast and lunch. What do all of these experiences have in common? Unbelievably innovative, courageous, smart and flat-out awesome people!

This brings me to the title of the blog. Sure, I have literally hundreds of memories of the places I have been, but the ones I will cherish forever are the ones that involve thousands of #QPE teachers I have met. In the last 10 days, I have had the opportunity to connect with three such people, and feel compelled to share these stories for three distinctly different reasons.

The first connection I’d like to talk about involves a woman named Colleen, who has taught for 20+ years at all 3 levels. She is currently at Elementary, but strives to go back to teaching middle school students one day. She asked me to observe her teaching and give her feedback on what I saw that she could work on. This is courage! After over 20 years of teaching, this person is still willing to receive feedback and is thoroughly committed to getting better. This reminds me of what many physical educators ask their students to do every day: to never stop learning. Thank you, Colleen, for your courage to keep learning!

The second connection happened when I had the opportunity to listen to, and then meet, Crystal Gorwitz (@clearlycrystal). She is from Wisconsin and teaches Middle School. She was a keynote speaker at the SEA Summit Conference in South Padre, TX this week. I was amazed at Crystal’s drive to keep looking for ways to connect with her students. In the short time that I listened to Crystal, it became CLEAR that she would never stop striving to connect. She will use technology, costumes, humor, personal stories and more. It made my heart sing to see an educator who had one singular goal: to positively affect the students and the teachers she came in contact with. Thank you, Crystal, for your amazing ability to look at YOUR teaching through the eyes of YOUR students!

The last connection I’d like to share was with the person, whom I met at a deeper level – Dolly Lambdin (@dollylambdin). This was not my first time meeting Dolly; but over the past 3 days, I was able to witness what many other people may already know about her: she has an amazing ability to lead through pulling, NOT pushing. Pushing people to “see the light” or do what is in the best interest of #QPE is counterproductive to the end goal, and Dolly fully realizes this fact. Pushing people creates resentment. Nobody wants to be told what to do. This holds true for children, as well as adults. The first time I met Dolly, I did not know what to think, because she did not say much when I was around her. After more opportunities to talk to Dolly and watch her in group settings, it became evident that her leadership magic lies in her ability to pull you ever so gently to where you already know is the right place to go. Thank you, Dolly, for demonstrating great leadership!

If I could do it all over again, would I choose to play pro baseball, serve drinks or cut hair? Truthfully, yes – I would play pro baseball in a New York minute! However, in reality this was never going to happen, and therefore, the real answer is NO! The job I have is not a job, but a calling. It is who I am, and what makes me alive. Meeting the people I do makes me think critically about who I am and what I stand for. I stand for Quality Physical Education for ALL! I have strong opinions about where OUR profession needs to go, and I am not afraid to share those opinions with the people I meet; for it is because of the people I have met over the past 15 years that I believe and stand for what I do!

I want to thank all of the amazing #QPE people that I have met and all of those whom I have not yet met, but sincerely hope to in the near future.

Who Cares About Youth Fitness & Health? ME!

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By: Jabet Wheeler

In 1995, I got a job with the American Heart Association collecting donations and raising money for research and prevention. I didn’t do it because I believed so much in their mission as because I wanted to “live indoors, eat food, buy clothes”, etc…I needed a job and it was a solid organization with a good reputation. Along the way, during my 13 years in different capacities, I learned about the seriousness of heart disease, met families who were impacted and devastated by heart disease and stroke, and even had it creep into my own immediate family. This deeper understanding layered on the passion for the efforts as the years went by.

I also found that those afflicted with heart disease and stroke tended to stay in the shadows and not be as gregarious or stumping for the cause, as survivors of the other most common chronic diseases. Was it embarrassment because they “caused” their heart disease by not living a healthy lifestyle? Or maybe fear that they would lose their jobs because their disease had rendered them a weaker person? Were they concerned that there would be an increase in their insurance cost? All of these self-doubts were magnified for those who had multiple experiences and helped to keep the seriousness of heart disease and stroke less obvious and downplayed unless you were directly impacted.

For the last five years of my tenure with AHA, I worked in the “Youth Market” Division with my efforts specifically directed at, and for children. This is where it became obvious to me that preventing unhealthy habits in children before they start and teaching children about fitness and healthy lifestyles is a lot more effective approach than working to undo unhealthy habits in the older population (especially because as we grow older the habits, good or bad, become much more ingrained into our lives). That’s how I began “selling” the AHA’s youth programs, (Jump Rope for Heart™, Hoops for Heart™ and HeartWorks™), into school districts and PE Programs. In addition to the fundraising efforts embedded in those programs they also offered an academic component of promoting a life-long love of physical activity.

After the AHA’s Youth Market efforts and my understanding of youth health, it was an easy step to Focused Fitness and representing their programs, products and services to school districts across the U.S. I consider their unique philosophy of integrating fitness, health and nutrition academic concepts into every PE curriculum resource to be right on target…not only keeping student physically active, but also empowering them with the health knowledge they need to make better behavior decisions. This practice of including academic content right in with the lesson’s activities was dubbed “Content Fusion” by one of my customers and I love the phrase!

Some Physical Education Programs are not ready to take that step into Quality PE and have not yet embraced the idea that “Physical Education” is a curricular area and has the special ability not to just keep kids moving and active, but to teach them why it is important. The ideas and habits we instill in our children—especially when they are young—are the ones that will most likely stay with them long into adulthood. I think we need to take every opportunity to make sure we are sharing the “good” habits and explain the consequences so they can make their own knowledgeable choices.

To the Physical Educators who only want their students to play and their modus operandi is to develop the school’s best athletes, I say, “Please, hurry up and retire!” There are thousands of PE Teachers, newly trained in metacognitive academic and physical strategies, waiting to take your place, which would be the very best thing for those other 80% of your students who are sitting on the bench. I get so excited when I work with teachers and administrators who actually “get” the idea of QPE and take their responsibility to educate seriously. I only hope that my grandchildren are lucky enough to be guided by teachers and coaches who are not just worrying about their test scores or their athletic ability, but are teaching the whole child—mind, body and soul.

I am so appreciative of the AHA for giving me the foundation for understanding youth health challenges and best practices, and I am so thankful that I found a company to work for—Focused Fitness—that truly puts all of its efforts into doing what is right, but not always easy, for the benefit of our children’s current and long-term fitness and health.