Posts Tagged ‘PE teachers’


Developing a Learning Roadmap – What Is It and How Can It Help?

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Teacher sitting in front of eager students

A learning roadmap is a corporate technique that’s becoming more and more popular in educational institutions.

In the corporate world, it refers to an individual plan for your career and professional development, and in schools it’s much the same. At its simplest, a roadmap will identify milestones that the district, school, educator, or individual student should achieve. Those milestones are broken down into clear steps and components to achieve those milestones.

The learning roadmap can be especially helpful for students and educators to navigate physical education together. But how do you create a learning roadmap, and more importantly, how will it help with your physical education classes?

Developing a Learning Roadmap

A good place to start when developing your learning roadmap is by unpacking the national standards for physical education. With this approach, you can identify the actions of the curriculum outcomes and break them down into smaller parts.

Breaking down each physical education goal into individual components can make it easier to track a student’s progress and to understand where they need to improve. You can even break the learning roadmaps down into visual rubrics that explain in detail what defines progress. This way, you and your students can clearly see the different levels of physical education activities and what is required for each one.

Turning Goals into Components

So, how might you break physical education activities down into clear and effective components?

If the curriculum requires students to participate in 60 minutes of daily exercise, they’ll have to learn how to exercise first. To begin with, they’ll need to learn the basics, from good posture, to running, to throwing. Then, they can mix these basic skills together into different movements or activities, like playing baseball or even a game of tag. Creating a roadmap will allow you to guide your students through this development and inspire your lesson plans along the way.

Another curriculum requirement might be that students showcase fitness literacy, the evidence of which being that they can “demonstrate, with teacher direction, the health-related fitness components.” You could break that down into a spectrum, from a level one student who “cannot list or define the components of fitness,” to a top-level student who “can list the components of fitness and can provide a basic definition of each.”

In this example, the priority becomes teaching the students the components of fitness and their definitions. It helps if you focus your lessons on these components to ensure students reach the overall objective of improved fitness literacy.

How a Learning Roadmap Helps

At the end of the day, a learning roadmap should help schools meet the needs of today’s physical education students and prepare them for their future. This planning tool can be used as a flexible, forward-thinking accompaniment to the traditional curriculum.

As a physical educator, building a learning roadmap will help you define goals for your students, which can be broken down into components that will shape your lesson plans. This will steadily improve students’ understanding of fitness, as well as their overall fitness literacy, ultimately empowering them to take control of their learning. After all, when students have something to work towards, they make more visible progress.

One of the more long-term benefits of adopting a learning roadmap is that students will be ready to bring those skills out of the classroom and into the real world when they graduate. In that sense, the technique comes full circle to the corporate world from where it originated!

Contact SPARK today to speak with our knowledgeable team about other physical education innovations you can incorporate into your classes.

 

Add These 7 Things to Next Year’s Equipment Wish List

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

PE teachers holds a stopwatch while a young girl climbs a wall

Today’s educators are beginning to recognize the connection between physical activity and cognitive function in the classroom. This means that all teachers, not just physical educators, are searching for new resources that might help them to encourage brain-boosting movement throughout the school day.

One of the best ways to make sure that students stay engaged during PE lessons and other academic experiences is to have the right resources at hand. The following items are some of the best, most effective pieces of equipment that you can have on your wish list. Here, we’re going to introduce you to a range of items and offer ideas for how you can use these products to cultivate a healthier school culture.

1. School Smart Coated Foam Balls

When it comes to essential resources for any physical education class, it’s hard to overlook the value of foam balls. This School Smart set includes a range of colors, perfect for bouncing, throwing, catching and volleying with racquets and paddles.

During early childhood, when children are most engaged by colors and sensory experiences, a collection of School Smart coated foam balls can help educators to plan lessons like “Bounce and Catch.” These lessons can help children develop basic motor skills, while introducing them to colors, numbers and more.

2. Volley SuperSkin Flying Discs

Perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, Volley SuperSkin Flying Discs come in a range of colors and feature peel-proof, super-durable skins for a longer lifetime in classrooms. These discs work perfectly either as part of standard throwing and catching games, or as part of a game of “All-Run Flying Disc Baseball.”

All-Run Flying Disc Baseball is a great way to get students of all ages working together to pass and throw discs between members of a small team. This game encourages teamwork, boosts aerobic ability, and helps to build up endurance, too.

3. Sportime Stopwatches

A simple set of Sportime Timetracker stopwatches can help students and teachers alike track their progress during timed games and races. Educators can share these stopwatches with students to encourage them to set their own fitness goals.

One particularly good use of the Sportime stopwatch is for Social Studies Fitness Relay lessons. Being able to view the amount of time each student spends within different fitness relay sections can help to encourage a balanced development of skills.

4. Sportime High School Fitness Station Pack

The Sportime High School Fitness Station Pack is a comprehensive collection of equipment designed to get students moving, and it comes with a SPARK digital curriculum, too! The collection includes foam balls, cones and exercise mats, ideal for building new high school lesson plans.

The Sportime Fitness Station Pack could be a great way to start introducing students to new skills, like yoga. With the mats in hand, and some yoga content cards, students can learn how to manage stress and improve flexibility with simple yoga poses.

5. Poly Enterprises Classic Game Cones

Cones might seem like a simple resource, but they often make up a fundamental part of most team-based games in a physical education lesson. These Poly Enterprises Classic Game Cones come in a variety of sizes and colors to suit any lesson plan.

Cones can be a vital part of a STEM Fitness Training session, helping to create different activity stations for students around the room. With STEM, children can get active, while learning facts about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

6. School Smart Parachute

The School Smart Parachute is a high-quality piece of equipment, complete with a drawstring carrying bag for easier storage. These parachutes are a fantastic way to encourage collaboration through team-based games, while promoting coordination and rhythm in PE environments.

Students can use parachutes to play “Parachute Switcheroo,” a recess, after-school, or lesson-based program for students that teaches coordination and teamwork. In Parachute Switcheroo, students learn how to cooperate, focus, and organize themselves as part of a group.

7. Pull-Buoy No-Kink Hoops

The Pull-Buoy No-Kink Hoops are lightweight and durable hoops that use a special formula to avoid bending and breaking. These 30-inch options are ideal for educators who want to create lesson plans based around gymnastics, aerobics and teamwork. A single set contains a range of colors for students to choose from.

One great way to boost your lesson plan with No-Kink Hoops is to introduce your students to “Cooperative Golf” or Kin-Ball. This exciting game is a great way to keep kids active, while teaching them how to work together toward a universal goal. What’s more, this activity is a great way to teach children about games played throughout the world.

Your Equipment Wish List

Chances are your wish list will depend on your existing resources and the new lesson plans you hope to implement in the year ahead. But, by implementing just a few of the suggestions outlined above you could find new and engaging ways to keep your students active, both inside and outside of PE lessons.

6 Strategies for PE Teachers to Stay Inspired Over Summer

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

PE teachers

Summer break isn’t just a great opportunity for your students to relax, enjoy some sunshine, and come back to the classroom feeling refreshed. Summer is also a great time for you, the teacher, to discover new and effective ways of expanding your skills, updating your lesson plans, and acquiring resources for the year ahead.

It’s hard to understate the importance of a good physical education program. In an era where children are becoming progressively less active, today’s physical educators need to be constantly searching for new ways to get youngsters involved in healthy habits. From attending conferences to earning a new certification, we’ll cover 6 inspiring ways that you can prepare for the new school year.

1. Pinpoint Areas to Improve

The first step in upgrading your PE program involves looking back over the previous school year and considering both your accomplishments and challenges. Chances are you’ll find at least a few lesson plans that need improvement. While these plans might only need a little tweaking to meet with the modern standards of active education, consider looking into new resources and tools that you can use to upgrade the experience for your students.

While you’re researching resources, try to go beyond the lesson and think about other ways you can promote a healthier lifestyle for the children you teach. For instance, could you get parents involved and ask them to follow up with PE concepts at home?

2. Head to Conferences

Conferences, workshops, and networking events are still some of the best places for educators to expand their knowledge and make some crucial connections. During a conference, you could learn all about the latest health and fitness regulations in your area, and discover new ideas to get students moving.

Beyond the seminars and classes that might be available to teachers, you’ll also be able to build your knowledge through the conversations you have with other educators, who may even be able to give you some advice on where you can improve your lesson plans.

3. Watch TED Talks

TED talks aren’t just for scientists. Technology, Entertainment, and Design videos are an incredible resource for PE teachers who want to expand their knowledge and learn about the latest developments in the educational space. These talks come from teachers, CEOs, and even athletes, all sharing their insights into physical education.

One particularly good TED talk titled, “Run, Jump, Learn! How Exercise can Transform our Schools,” covers how exercise can raise test scores, reduce problems with behavior, and upgrade student wellbeing. This talk by Dr. John Ratey could give you the inspiration you need not only to enhance PE classes, but also to create a culture of physical health throughout your school.

4. Develop New Skills

Though PE teachers may be eager to learn new skills, it’s difficult to find the time for training in between classes and lesson plans. The summer represents the perfect opportunity for accessing new knowledge and skills, which will help upgrade your classroom environment.

You could read books about how to improve your teaching methods. Alternatively, you could learn about new activities you can then introduce into the classroom. You might also consider upgrading your knowledge of yoga, or learning about the different games played around the world.

5. Earn a New Certification

The best way to take your understanding of a new skill even further is to earn a new certification. PE teachers can use the free time they have during the summer to expand their own education and improve their resume. For instance, you might consider becoming a SPARK certified instructor.

Certified instructors with SPARK get the opportunity to engage in a short, yet effective period of intensive training, designed to improve early childhood lesson programs. After 12 hours of training, successful candidates are eligible for a graduate credit straight from San Diego State University.

6. Stay Informed

It’s safe to say that the world of education is constantly changing. As scientists and researchers discover new facts about the way children learn and the importance of physical activity in combination with cognition, it’s likely that the PE landscape will evolve too. The best way for educators to stay ahead of the curve is to make sure that they’re always reading the latest case studies, white papers, and articles in their industry.

The more you learn about the changing state of physical education, the more you can adapt your lesson plans accordingly. You can even collaborate with other teachers in your school to create an education plan that combines movement and academics more effectively.

Be Inspired this Summer

Summer is a great time for PE teachers to explore their skills, update their lesson plans, and expand their knowledge. In fact, every fall should be an opportunity to return to your school with more information than you had when you left for the summer break.

For more inspiration, check out our exciting lesson plans.

15 Reflection Questions for the Physical Educator [INFOGRAPHIC]

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

three gym teachers stand and smile for the camera

Just like our students, educators should never stop learning.

As the school year comes to a close, reflect on your year as a physical educator — areas where you shined and areas you can improve, to help both you and your students get the most out of the year ahead.

Here’s the physical educator’s checklist for self-reflection

An infographic displaying how teachers can reflect on their school year to prepare for the next one

Share This Infographic On Your Site

Spend Time on Past Successes

  1. What was your best teaching moment of the year?
  2. When did you implement/learn/experience something new?
  3. What did you improve upon this year that you are proud of?
  4. In what areas did you achieve last year’s goals?
  5. What was your most notable growth as a physical educator this year?

 

Consider the Challenges

  1. What was your worst teaching moment of the year?
  2. What challenged you most?
  3. What do you feel you need to improve upon next year?
    Choose one curriculum, one interpersonal (student or staff), and one professional element.
  4. Where did you fall short of last year’s goals?
  5. Where do you feel there is still room to grow as a physical educator?

 

Gain Clarity on the Goals Ahead

  1. What did you learn from your best/worst moments this year?
  2. What plans do you have for your professional development and continued education?
  3. What specifically do you plan to improve upon next year?
  4. What can you do to improve your students’ experience and engagement levels next year?
  5. What did your students struggle with most last year, and how can you improve their success in the year ahead?

Just a few moments of introspection on the year can help you highlight and celebrate your successes, and take note of how you can continue growing next year.

Brought to you by SPARK | http://www.sparkpe.org

Thoughts on Classroom Management from a Seasoned PE Teacher

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

This last Wednesday we hosted a webinar on Classroom Management Strategies for Physical Education (if you didn’t watch it Click Here to view the recording) and had over 700 people participate.

One of the great things about sharing strategies and techniques with so many passionate educators is that we sometimes hear back from other teachers that wish to share their own ideas. We recently received an email from one attendee who had some advice on what’s worked for her in the past, and we wanted to share them with you.

The thoughts/strategies below are from Karen Bagby, a Physical Education Teacher at Garner Elementary in North Liberty, Iowa:

  • The “when before what” is critical.  This is one of those teaching tips a new student teacher learns fast!
  • Instead of sending out a letter to all parents in my school, I put a blurb in the first school-wide newsletter.
  • I emphasize that when disciplining a child, talk and treat them as “if a parent is standing right beside that child”.  Makes you really think about what you are doing and saying.
  • I do utilize a “behavior ticket” for that “new student” who doesn’t yet quite have the expectations mastered.  The child fills out the ticket and what happened, as well as the teacher, and then I “file it” in my office.   I tell the student I will keep it as long as things improve.  If not, I will send it home and confer with the parents.  Have only had to do 2 over many years and neither went home.
  • A child who has continual “challenges” has a secret signal with me (could be just eye contact with me touching my ear lobe).  That lets the student know he needs to settle down or remember expectations.
  • The teacher needs to be upbeat and have a great attitude and BELIEVE in what he/she is teaching!  Kids are motivated by our enthusiasm and daily attitudes.  Also, music is a HUGE motivator!!!!  I play music with almost every lesson…..
  • Plan modifications ahead of time for your special needs students.  They deserve success at their level.  Also, get their input ahead of time for suggestions for up and coming lessons…..
  • Concerning time-outs, I do this, too.  But, I do NOT go over to the student.  He/she must come to me and tell me he/she is ready to get back into the activity.  That way, I am not giving the student any attention for negative behavior.  Should he/she choose to remain “out” for the remainder of the class period, we do chat before dismissal.  My system:  first infraction is a warning, 2nd is a time-out, 3rd is time-out for the class period (our classes are 25min.).  should it happen often, a behavior ticket goes into place.  Any physical contact, principal involvement – zero tolerance.
  • I have a “reward system” I have used for years and years.  Super effective.  Class calendars and traveling trophies.  At the end of each class, the class signals (0,1, or 2) with their fingers how we did following our guidelines.  If great, a 2 goes on their calendar.  After the “calendar” is completed (would take a month with all 2’s to fill it), it comes down and a new one goes up.  A trophy goes to the classroom teacher’s desk for a week.  I actually travel about 12 trophies!  Kids will live up to your expectations and want to please!  At the end of the year, 2 classes (1 for 3-6 and 1 from K-2), those who got the most stamps on their calendars, get a “pe party of favorite activities, a healthy snack, school-wide recognition, and certificates for home!
  • I never use drinks as a reward.  They all should always get them, in my opinion, when they need one (which is at the end of class).  Instead, kids love to please and I have come up with many, many hand/body “gives” (such as the sprinkler, motorcycle, firecracker, etc. to celebrate accomplishments/showing great behavior/kindness that happen throughout each lesson.
  • I also like to challenge kids at the beginning of lessons to such as let’s see how many of you can say 3 nice things to 3 different people?  How many of you can share the balls with others?  How many different friends can you  untag during the course of this game?  Then, recognize those you did with a show of hands and a hand jive!  Sometimes, I have kids point to those who helped them out.  Always, with partner activities, they do high-fives and or friendly knuckles,  or the like…

Now Hear This!

Monday, September 28th, 2009

How’s your voice? No, I’m not suggesting you practice singing in the shower and try out for American Idol, I’m talking about the health of your speaking voice.

For many of us, our voice is our livelihood. To be effective teachers, we must speak often and for long periods of time each day. If you’re a Physical Education teacher, it’s easy to get into the habit of speaking loudly, or even shouting to be heard. Of course, this is a no-no on more than one level..

Too many of our colleagues suffer from vocal nodules – or worse – and the cumulative effect over time can be really impactful.

A recent article in USA Today, listed these preventative suggestions:

• Sip lots of water – but avoid alcohol and caffeine
• If you smoke – quit. And avoid second-hand smoke
• Humidify your home
• Use a microphone when possible
• Speak softly, but don’t whisper
• Take frequent speaking breaks
• Consider voice training
• Avoid singing or speaking when your voice is strained

Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, Chair of Otolaryngnology at Long Island College Hospital says,
“Few teachers with hoarseness ever see a doctor or speech therapist, and many could benefit.”

He goes on to state that anyone with persistent hoarseness should find out what’s causing it.

Friends and colleagues, many of you are “vocal athletes.” I hope you’ll take good care of your voice so you have a long career in teaching, or on stage with Ryan Seacrest if that’s your true goal!

Anyone have a related story to tell? We’d love to hear your thoughts – just “speak up” by typing, not shouting and straining your voice…

-Paul Rosengard