Standard 3: bPortfolio Post

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3. Differentiation – The teacher acquires and uses specific knowledge about students’ cultural, individual intellectual and social development and uses that knowledge to adjust their practice by employing strategies that advance student learning.

 

My interpretation of this standard is that it is necessary for teachers to use pre-assessments wisely and to inform future lessons. Delivering a lesson that is suited to the needs of the students in each class is vital to the students acquiring the knowledge being taught.

 

The following link will open a copy of a lesson plan that provides opportunity to differentiate instruction for all students. Also attached to this lesson plan is an explanation of how differentiation is built into the activities and presentation of the lesson.

Scatter Tee Ball Lesson Plan

During instruction of the skills, modelling, verbal explanations, and mimicking are used to provide examples for students with varying learning styles. The warm-up activity serves as an opportunity for the teacher to provide individualized feedback to the students during a non-competitive activity. This warm-up provides practice with each of the key skills to enable each student a low-pressure situation to become more comfortable and capable of performing the skills. The main activity of this lesson provides each student the opportunity to further develop the skills at their comfort level. Each student will be provided the opportunity to practice each skill multiple times and the teacher has the opportunity to provide individualized feedback during and after the activity.

 

I am continuing to modify past lessons and ideas for future lessons to provide opportunities for differentiation. In a subject that has many large-sided activities required, it is sometimes difficult for each student to have the same experience, though it is possible to give each student the opportunity to have the experience they work for. I have made it a habit to encourage students to simply practice the technique as taught, and to give their best effort during activities. If each student puts forth their best effort, they will all be provided opportunities to succeed in my classes.

 

A change I will continue to make is similar to the sentiment in the last paragraph. My hope is that I can modify lessons I have taught, and felt successful teaching, in the past and make sure they provide the best opportunity for my students to acquire the skills I am attempting to teach them.

 

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Standard 4: bPortfolio Post

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Standard 4.3 Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Learning Activities – All of the learning activities are suitable to students or to the instructional outcomes, and most represent significant cognitive challenge, with some differentiation for different groups of students.
My interpretation of this standard is that not only does a lesson need to be suitable for all students physically, but it should also promote cognitive development as well. Differentiation is important within a lesson plan because many students will possess different physical and cognitive skills from their classmates.
The following link will open a copy of the lesson plan I recently taught to a 2nd grade class:
This lesson provided the students as much cognitive challenge as it did physical challenge, if not more. Consistent with the name, the activities in this lesson aimed to challenge the students’ cognitive, physical, and cooperative skills through “impossible missions”. None of the missions could be completed without the use of all three of the previously mentioned skills. Students quickly learned that running ahead on their own left not only them at a disadvantage, but also their teammates. I am comfortable saying that nearly all students both asked for and provided help for another student at one point in the lesson. This lesson provided challenges that every student was able to provide input and assistance toward completing. This differentiation allowed all students to participate in the same activity at the same time without being at any sort of disadvantage.
A challenge I faced while teaching this lesson was having the ability to “be in more than one place at a time”. While a teacher in a classroom works within a much more controlled space (ideally), physical education teachers often work in a space that can span dozens of yards and filled with the ambient noise of the outside world or the echo of a gymnasium. At one point during the class, I was working to assist a frustrated student with strategies for cooperating with a teammate, when another student made clear her feelings about another student breaking a rule of the activity. My first thought was to decide which issue was more pressing, and also which was more important: cooperation of students or enforcing high expectations to the students? It occurred to me, and has been reinforced through reflection, that both issues were important. I decided to handle the issues in chronological order, though I do not know for a fact that this was the correct choice.
But do we ever?

Standard 7: bPortfolio Post

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7. Families and Community – The teacher communicates and collaborates with students, families and all educational stakeholders in an ethical and professional manner to promote student learning.

My interpretation of this standard is that it is necessary for the teacher to initiate communication, between all invested parties, to make sure that there is a complete understanding about expectations and progress of the student. It is also important to notify teachers and students of any changes that may possibly affect anyone involved.

The following link will open a copy of the letter I sent to the families of students who I would be teaching through my student teaching internship. This was sent out prior to my student teaching to notify families that their students would be taught by a new adult, though it would often be in the presence of their regular teacher.

Hello Primary Division families

Because I had prior experience working at the school I am student teaching at, it was important for me to include that information. My hope was that if the parents were aware that I had been at the school for a period of time already, that they would be more comfortable with my presence in their child’s classroom. For many of the families, they had already met me through my experience with this school and their summer and coaching programs, so my aim was to remind them of these interactions. Finally, it was important for me to send this letter to them a week prior to my student teaching internship so that if there were any concerns, they could be handled with time to spare.

I am currently working to improve relationships with parents in a face-to-face manner. At my current position, I do mostly “background” work with parents unless I am coaching or working at the summer camp program. I have been taking advantage of interacting with parent volunteers during the day and with parents picking of their children at the end of the day.

As a result of sending this letter, I was notified by parents in person and via my mentor teacher, that parents and students were very excited to have me teaching with my mentor teacher and that they were willing to support my experience if I needed assistance. It was a very encouraging experience and helped calmed my nerves in regards to the need for parental support.

A change I had hoped to make to this letter was to include my professional email address so that I could have further interactions with parents. I was informed though, that it would be best for my mentor teacher and the head of the Primary Division handle regular communication initially so that there was not a break in communication.

 

 

 

Standard 5: bPortfolio Post

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Standard 5. Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being.

My interpretation of this standard is that both the learning environment and the lesson plan should create an optimal situation for all students to learn. Especially in Health and Fitness classes, differences in ability are very visible. It is important for the teacher to create an environment where the competition is not based upon individuals ability levels being pitted against each other.

The following link will open a copy of the lesson plan which I created that both challenges students to do their best, but does not create a competitive environment that students are uncomfortable being in.

Fitness Circuit LESSON PLAN

The learning target and objective of this lesson makes it clear to the students that they are to complete each station to the best of their own ability. Comparing scores is discouraged and any taunting is unacceptable. The description of each station includes a clear example and demonstration of the skill so that each student has at least a basic understanding of what they are to do. A basic understanding for all students helps minimize the chance of students taunting one another. The clear expectation create an environment where a student’s personal best is acceptable and the goal of personal growth is embraced.

While this lesson demonstrated that strong expectations will help mitigate any temptations to taunt or tease another student, many other Health and Fitness lessons can easily become more competitive. I am working on developing clearer expectations for all lessons and for my classes in general.

As a result of this lesson plan, I learned that strong expectation can make challenging (and sometimes frustrating for the students) lessons possible. I was able to teach a lesson that took no less than 35 of the 45 minutes of class, without having to cut any of the quality instruction from it.

The implication of this for student learning is that I can challenge the students to truly push themselves and to gain as much from the lesson as possible. This also demonstrates that with clear instruction and expectations, students of all skill levels can succeed in Health and Fitness.

The only change I would make for the next time I teach this lesson is to make sure that I give immediate feedback to each student throughout the period. The scores they record give them a future goal, but I would like to make sure each student knows one thing they did well and one thing they can do to improve.

 

 

Digital Citizenship Poster

The following link will allow you to view the Digital Citizenship Poster that I created in regards both ISTE Standard 4 and an important topic within the Health and Fitness education field.

http://edu.glogster.com//glog/49166542

This poster is targeted at parents of incoming students. This poster would be available to parents prior to a curriculum night or similar occasion. The goal of this poster is to prepare and (hopefully) convince parents that the curriculum I will be teaching during their child’s health education. Because this topic (inclusive sex education) can be controversial, I am hoping this poster may allow parents to take time to think about their concerns and to approach me with a well formulated question of concern, rather than to be caught by surprise.

This poster is simply made and contains blurbs of facts found in this article:

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2013/06/21/67411/lgbt-inclusive-sex-education-means-healthier-youth-and-safer-schools/

Getting in SHAPE: Professional Development for Health and Fitness Educators

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Triggering Question: (ISTE Standard 5) As a Health and Fitness educator, how can I continuously improve my professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in my school and professional community while promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources?

Source: http://www.shapeamerica.org/ (Links to an external site.)

Summary: SHAPE America (also Society of Health and Physical Educators of America) is the most well know, and wide-reaching professional society for Health and Fitness educators. This resource offers information regarding the most recent news in health and fitness education, to opportunities for professional development. There are also state-wide SHAPE websites that can offer information about Health and Fitness education in a particular state (in my case, Washington). This resource is a go-to for all health and fitness educators, and a great resource for educators of other subjects to find out more about their health and fitness peers.

 Response: As a Health and Fitness endorsement, it is vital that the information I provide to students is accurate and up-to-date. This is particularly true in regards to the health education aspect of my endorsement. Our understanding of the human body is ever changing and evolving, as is the way we educators teach our students about it. The legalization of marijuana use and the e-cigarette craze have created the need for updated health education. A continuing evolution of the acceptance of varying sexual orientations, and the differing health risks that may accompany the varying sexual behaviors have created a need for students to be provided a rider range of information.
How might a Health and Fitness endorsement stay on top of all of these changes? The resource shared above provides further resources for health and fitness educators in regards to everything an educators will be expected to teach about. This resource also provides information on national and state conferences for educators to hear new information “straight from the horse’s mouth”.
The SHAPE resource also provides information on best practice in regards to the newest trends and best practices in physical education.
To best use this tool, an educator should regularly monitor (weekly, monthly, etc.) aspects of the site that most interest them or that are most pertinent to what they are required to teach. While this resource will not end all searches for new information, it does provide a place for health and fitness educators to visit and participate as part of the greater health and fitness community.

Leading By Example: Demonstrating ethical behavior through inclusive sexual education.

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Standard: ISTE Standard 4

Question: As a health and fitness educator, how can I demonstrate understanding of local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in my professional practice, when teaching health curriculum?

Resource: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2013/06/21/67411/lgbt-inclusive-sex-education-means-healthier-youth-and-safer-schools/ (Links to an external site.)

Summary: This article is written on the topic of sexual education in schools, and how traditional “sex ed.” misses the mark. The author writes about the need for sexual education in schools to provide accurate information and information that is inclusive of the LGBT community. Whether a policy maker wants to believe they exist or not, there are children who are sexually active in their early teens, both straight and part of the LGBT community. The article continues to touch on the benefits of a well educated youth in regards to sexual health. The article concludes by offer sources of support for teachers seeking further information and resources for teaching an inclusive version of sexual education curriculum.

Response: The importance of this article is not exclusively in the subject matter being taught, but in the importance that it is being taught, and also how it is being taught. I feel lucky to have had a professor, during my studies at Eastern Washington University, that was brave enough to take on the misconceptions of not only many of her students, but also many of her peers. These misconceptions were often that, because the teachers (or those studying to become teachers) did not believe in a particular way of life, or sexual orientation, that they should withhold important information about such things from their students. The thought that students they taught may be homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, etc. changed teachers from advocates to opposition.

The same people who passionately shouted “Yes, of course we should provide our students the most current information about drug, alcohol, and tobacco use!” “Yes, we should provide our students the most relevant information about proper exercise and consumer health!” followed those statement up with “But, no, I don’t believe that students should be taught about homosexual intercourse and the risks that come with it.” “No, I can’t believe that homosexuality, transsexuality, bisexuality, etc. are not just phases my students need to move past.” The professor who taught my Sexual Health class, painted a picture in a brand new style for many of the other students, and at times for myself. For many of my classmates, the information was too different from what they had learned as children.

Slater states that “Sex education is only legally mandated in 22 states plus the District of Columbia. Of these, only 12 mandate teaching about contraception, and only 7 require that the information be medically accurate.” If data were to be found on the percentage of schools that teach an inclusive Sexual Education curriculum, the number would be even lower than the percentage of states (14%) that mandate Sexual Education to be taught. Long story made short, we are failing our students.

If a young boy passes through his Health Education class and learns that there are health risks associated with heterosexual sexual intercourse, what happens if he engages in homosexual intercourse? Will he know that STD’s and STI’s can still be transmitted? Will he know that a condom is still a useful tool?

To better serve a larger population of our students, a comprehensive, inclusive sexual education curriculum needs to be taught nation wide. A teacher needs to provide his or her students with information about sexual behaviors of all forms. It is vitally important that each student leaves the classroom feeling that their needs have been met, and having a better understanding of the needs of their classmates. As teachers, it is important to model ethical behavior to our students. For Health and Fitness educators, we can do this by showing respect to all of our students equally, and providing each and every student with the information and dignity they need to live happy and healthy lives.

Resource:

Slater, H. (2013, June 21). LGBT-Inclusive sex education means healthier youth and safer schools. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2013/06/21/67411/lgbt-inclusive-sex-education-means-healthier-youth-and-safer-schools/

 

 

Innovative Education: Health and Fitness meets the Digital Age

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Question:

How can I, as a Health and Fitness educator,  demonstrate knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative educator in a global and digital society?

Source:

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/geocaching-kids.html

Summary:

This article provides information on not only what geocaching is, but also how, as a parent, it is best to begin geocaching with a child/children. The article begins by introducing the reader to the basics of geocaching and provides links to support the reader in choosing and using a GPS Receiver. “Using billions of dollars of military hardware to find Tupperware hidden in the woods.” is a joke provided to explain what geocaching is. As the article progresses, “quick-tip” videos are provided as well as suggestions on what to bring geocaching, how to find a cache, what to do when a cache is found, how to hide a cache, and much more. The layout and design is simple enough for a middle school student to guide their parent through (or vis versa).

Answer:

What better way to integrate an active lifestyle with digital society than through geocaching? With a quality introduction to the use of a GPS device or map and compass combination, students in middle school on, will be able to get out and explore the world around them. With a basic understanding, and resources to further education, students will be able to bring home their enthusiasm for geocaching and participate with friends and family. To make best use of the technology available, teachers would dedicate a unit to the introduction and use of a chosen geocaching device (school funding may be easier to come by, by integrating units of multiple endorsement areas into a geocaching adventure). Caches would be set up around the school grounds and used as examples of how to first locate the cache’s general area, and then to be intuitive and creative in finding the cache itself. Contrary to competitive sports, this activity provides hours of physical activity, creative problem solving, and team work at the participants own pace and difficulty level.

Basic safety and orienteering skills would be incorporated to this unit to further enable students to participate in this activity outside of school.  With the popularity of geocaching in the Pacific Northwest region, thousands of geocaching coordinates, of varying difficulty, are available. With a simple Google search, students and their families can choose caches that work best for them and their level of experience with orienteering. My goal as an educator is to use units, such as geocaching, as a “gateway drug” to exploring the beautiful environment of this region. A simple taste of exploration can quickly spiral into a deep admiration and love for an active lifestyle and the outdoors. Considering the amount of independence that middle school students tend to desire, an activity that simply requires a base knowledge and simple tools (a compass and map can be used) to allow students to safely explore and learn on their own is a powerful tool for those who are responsible for teaching them.

Citation:

Geocaching with kids. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2016, from

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/geocaching-kids.html

Using Contemporary Tools to Maximize Learning in Health and Fitness Class

My question was:

How can I, as a Health and Fitness educator, design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences regarding health and fitness through assessments that incorporate contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning and develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the student ISTE and State standards?

My resource:

http://www.pyfp.org/assessment/free-materials.shtml

Citation:

Assessment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from

http://www.pyfp.org/assessment/free-materials.shtml

Summary:

This source, conveniently, was the first link to appear when I researched “health and fitness assessment tools”. Some of you who had similar experiences in P.E. as children may find the title “Presidential Fitness Test” to be a bit nostalgic…or it may invoke feelings of shame or embarrassment. To summarize, this test used to consist of a handful of tests, with expected scores which students performances were compared against. The athletic kids would score high, the less athletic kids would score low. No attention was paid to progress, it was a simple “your score versus our expectations” situation.

Thankfully, the contemporary version of this includes support for students and teachers to help struggling students improve and understand why their improvements are important to their health. The tests themselves seem to be very similar (Curl-Up, Trunk Lift, Push-Up, Flexed Arm Hang, Back-Saver Sit and Reach, Shoulder Stretch, etc.) to the ones I remember, but the support for and emphasis on improvement (rather than a “pass or fail”) is encouraging. This source allows for the educator to integrate techniques and suggestions from the PFT into their curriculum without having to reinvent the wheel.

My Answer:

To best use this resource, a teacher should carefully think about how their current curriculum might fit in with the goals of the PFT. The modern version of the PFT uses traditional fitness testing that more athletic students will likely perform better at initially than those who are less athletic. To cure this, the teacher can test regularly and have students monitor their progress. The students should compare their current score against their previous score and then reflect on how to improve their score further.

As is best practice, students should not be encouraged to compare scores with other students. That is the major short-falling of the PFT, the national scoring comparisons/expectations. Not only will this discourage the students who need to improve their fitness most desperately, peer-to-peer comparisons can demotivate the more athletic students. The belief that one is at the top of their class is like a double-edged sword.

Finally, students should be prepared for the tests with occasional practice. No student, in any subject, should be tested on something they have not had the opportunity to practice. A teacher should schedule dates throughout the year to have “practice tests” or “trial runs” for the students to become comfortable with the tests.

While the practicing of this resource occurs in the physical realm, the PFT website offers digital support. The support comes by way of suggestions/directions for conducting the PFT and also for how to support students through the process of seeking improvement. This aspect helps fit the PFT within the ISTE Standard 2 as well as Health and Fitness standards.

EDTC 6433: How can my middle school students use technology to enhance their understandings of health and fitness concepts and technique?

Question: How can my middle school students use technology to enhance their understandings of health and fitness concepts and technique?

Answer: If someone were to create a venn-diagram, with Health and Fitness Education on one side and Technology Education on the other, the middle column would likely be left more empty than full. I would tend to agree with this result if it were addressing the use of the “latest tech gadgets” in a physical education unit. What many forget, though, is that most Health and Fitness endorsed teachers in middle schools are responsible for teaching health and wellness based curriculum.  Online resources can be extremely useful to a teacher trying to assess where his/her students prior knowledge reaches.

Resources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention offer interactive games and activities (http://www.cdc.gov/bam/gameroom.html) that test a students knowledge of various aspects of health. A teacher can use this resource, and those like it, as a pre-assessment that is more entertaining than a traditional, pen and paper assessment. A quick reflection (e.g. Which topics/questions were the most difficult for you to answer?) after completing a few of the online activities will provide the teacher with the ability to better differentiate his/her instruction from class to class, and possibly from student to student.

While these resources are not perfect, and do not cover all that is involved in a human’s physical and mental health, they do allow for the teacher to put more effort into how to use the information gathered rather than how to gather the information he/she needs. A lack of time is one of the most common excuses used when people are not performing at their best, teacher or not, and online resources provide pre-made tools for teachers to utilize.