Physical Education Curriculum & Software #QPE

Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

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.


Why I do what I do?

By: Ron Malm

Whatever it is that you do, you do for a reason. I teach because I want to educate others in areas that I believe to be important. The highest calling that I believe exists is one in which we are educating others, and helping them move forward in their life, the right way.

Recently, I was made aware of a very special person in my life that has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). I met John Oakley when I first moved to Spokane. He was like me, an elementary PE teacher. Matter of fact, I took over at his school after he moved to another school. All the students would tell me, “you’re not doing it like Mr. Oakley” or “Mr. Oakley did it this way”. That was just fine with me, since I wanted to be myself and not be like someone else… that is until I got to know Mr. Oakley.

The best way that I can describe the current situation with John is that “life is not fair” and “suck it up, buttercup”. Why these two sayings? Because these sayings encompass how I see John! In all the years that I have known John, I have never heard him complain that “life is not fair”. Instead he simply figures it out and “sucks it up”. If you would like to see for yourself what kind of man John Oakley is, I would ask that you watch the above video he made to share his story.

To be clear, I do want to be doing it like Mr. Oakley, for even now, he continues to show me, and many others how to move forward in life, “the right way”.

Thank you John!

Cindy Won!


Congratulations to Cindy Ferek and Turner Ashby High School! On Monday December 8th, 2014 she was awarded the Farmer’s Insurance Thank A Million Teachers grant totaling $100,000! None of this would have been possible without Cindy’s passion for biking, her students, and a healthy active lifestyle. Furthermore, Cindy’s dream of winning this grant would not have happened without all of you, and your support in voting for her over the past two months. Focused Fitness Trainer Alex O’Brien had this to say about Cindy and the award:

Monday was emotional for Chuck Mansley and myself. This has been a long time coming for Cindy. She started out writing grants 17 years ago to acquire a fleet of bikes. She has a fleet now and this money will be used to build a fitness trail surrounding Turner Ashby High School. I think the reason it was so emotional for me is because I’ve talked with Cindy quite a bit along this #thankateacher journey. Each day I would log on and vote because I knew that my vote mattered. Bottom line, this money is going to improve health and fitness in kids…that is a game changer for me, and I can’t be happier for my friend. It just goes to show ya that you have to shoot for the stars. That way, even if you fail, you’re on top of the world.

Cindy’s news story can be found by Clicking Here, or check out the cindy ferek press release. In case you missed it, check out the Chuck Mansley interview with Cindy before the voting had even begun, over two months ago.

Congrats Cindy!

Leading by Example

Learn and Lead crossword puzzle

By: Alex O’Brien

Growing up my Mom, Dad, family, teachers, and friends would give me advice on what to do, how to do it, and why it should be done a given way. I listened…sometimes, and I still listen today…sometimes. Listening is seemingly easy to do, but executing and applying what I hear can be a bit more daunting. Modeling after what others do is much easier for me. As an example, if my physical education teacher told me how important running was, but I never saw that teacher so much as slowly jog, the idea of how ‘important running’ is might not stick in my head. Similarly, if I’m told to eat healthy by someone finishing their third Red-Bull and bag of Hot Cheetos I might not be caught running to the vegetable isle. In short, monkey see monkey do.

I’ve had the esteemed privilege of knowing Ron Malm (COO of Focused Fitness) for a little over five years. I first met Ron when he was leading professional development training in the Idaho district I was teaching in. I have since got to know him on a much deeper level. From the first time I met Ron I felt an intrinsic need to gain his acceptance. I wanted him to see me as a Quality Physical Education (#QPE) teacher. It was the way he carried himself. He was humble, knowledgeable, relevant, and he lead by example. In working with Ron here at Focused Fitness I have been lucky enough to train across the country with him. Inevitably I have conversations with teachers about Ron’s passion, energy, and his desire to help teachers and students live healthy, active lives.

Last week an email came across my inbox from our head of HR that speaks to exactly what I’ve mentioned above. It is a message from teacher in New York who saw Ron present at a conference she attended. I reached out to the teacher, Colleen Martin, and asked if she would be OK with me sharing her comments. She immediately replied, “You can definitely use that on your social media…and again I can’t say enough about Ron and his passion and enthusiasm!”

Leading by example is what I try to do every day because I know that speaks more than any words can. Ron Malm leads by example and is a beacon of light for #QPE. But, don’t take my word for it; my opinion is probably a little biased anyway. This is what Colleen had to say.

I recently took a workshop with Ron Malm and I have to say that I was truly inspired by his overwhelming passion for the profession of Physical Education and Health. His enthusiasm was contagious and I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to have such a great experience! I would love information on your products. Is there anything you can send so that I may review it with my department with the hopes of purchasing one of your amazing programs? I am not sure if this message will ever get to Ron, but in the event that it does, please let him know that I was inspired by his enthusiasm and passion for our profession.

Today, wherever you are and whatever you are doing I encourage you to lead by example. Be a beaming beacon for what you stand for and believe in. Your words are important and they will be heard, but your actions…your actions can change the world.

Living in the Moment

posted: associated press

Lauren Hill is a college freshman basketball player at Division III Mount St. Joseph. She has an inoperable tumor pressing down on her brain. This story posted by USA Today moved us here at Focused Fitness. We hope that where ever you are today, you live as if it were your last. Smile, laugh, and be thankful for the time you have. Lauren, you are in our thoughts and prayers. You are an inspiration. Click Here to read the USA Today article.

Apollos Hester- It’s an attitude…

Apollos Hester is an inspired high school Football player. In his post-game interview with Lauren Mickler he talks about football and life. This young man is happy, healthy, and always smilin’!

Education is the Miracle

Taylor Mali is a teacher, and an inspiration to the profession. He has many wonderful poems but we wanted to share this one with you in the heat of summer. Why? Because as teachers summer is often the time we step out of the classroom (not all of us of course) and live a different life. Sometimes we take on a life of another job or use our time to spend with family, to finish unfinished projects, and maybe, just maybe, some of us even find time for ourselves. Although most don’t need motivation to get back to work and start a new school year,  a poem to inspire can’t hurt. As Mr. Mali puts it, “Education is the miracle and I’m just the worker. I’m a teacher. And that’s what we do.”

Focused Fitness wants to wish you the best this summer, because you deserve it! Thank you for making a brighter tomorrow everyday!