A Journey to Empower Students to be Active

This year I decided to start something new to promote physical activity outside of our physical education classes.

After school, many children join different physical activities and sports, however, many go home and spend their afternoon sitting with an iPad in their hands, playing games and watching movies.

Today’s digital world is changing the way students learn. As a consequence, children get sometimes exposed to lots of screen hours and it is not always ideal for their physical, mental, and social development.

In order to promote physical activity at my school, I decided to ask students to share any sort of physical activities or sports they practiced outside of PE either with their friends, or their families. I used a couple of hashtags, #fitwithfamily, and #fitwithfriends for students to share under these two bigs umbrellas.

All year long, learners could send me pictures of them playing different sports or being physically active. It was great to see the variety of activities they filled the end of their days, weekends, or holidays with.

I had students hiking with their families, riding horses, skiing down the slopes, playing soccer, badminton, ice hockey, basketball, etc. Others shared their climbing, ice skating, swimming, and running moments.

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This idea also involved teachers and the community. Some teachers shared their journey being “fit” with other teachers and friends, with their families, or both. Some sent the pictures through social media such as “Twitter”, “Instagram” or “WeChat.” Some by email or just hard copies.

I printed it all the pictures and posted them on the door of the gym with the name of the student, the class, and section. I also had all the names of sports and the physical activities printed so students learned new words.

Although it was a small project targeting, students, teachers, and the community, I feel that it had a great impact on students’ learning. One of the best parts of this project for me was to see students who were not always so confident in PE feeling so proud of themselves when others asked them for instance about their fencing or climbing experiences.

As a physical education teacher, I want to educate children to be physical literates who enjoy physical activity and are keen to participate and try out new activities. It is essential that they understand the importance of physical activity to lifelong health and well-being.

I made this little video with Flipagram trying to capture the essence of the project.

In addition, @katievhobbs, the wonderful elementary art teacher at our school and I did a little collaboration where she asked students to draw their “fit moments.” Click here to see the collaboration between Art and PE.

Be Prepared, Be Mindful, Be Inspired

A couple of years ago I met Andy Vasily, an international physical educator at APPEC, a PE conference in Hong Kong.

In his keynote, Andy told us some personal stories and how these events in his life changed the way he approached life, personally and professionally.

I totally relate to these statements. They are all equally important to me.

Be Prepared

As a physical educator, I am aware that my lesson can change dramatically just because of the weather, the students in that class or the mood I might have because of stress, lack of sleep, or any other thing. Just because of all that we have to be prepared and plan our lessons thoughtfully and accordingly. That doesn’t mean that it might not change last minute…

A few days ago I wanted to introduce my students the SOLO Taxonomy in order to make their learning more meaningful and make sure they were aware of what they knew or not in our Net Games unit, more specifically in the tennis skills. I guess I wasn’t exactly prepared myself and it really made me consider my teaching skills and abilities…

Be Mindful

How many times have you started doing something and moved on to something else before you were actually done? We live and work in busy worlds where there are continuous distractions. We always to achieve more and sometimes we put too much on our plate. I remember a teacher I use to teach with used to tell me, “If you are adding something into this, just think that you will have to take something off. We only got this much time, no more.” I like to say that I am an innovator and I consider myself quite creative, but that means that sometimes I get way too many thoughts on my mind at the same time, too many goals I want to achieve, too many challenges, and I end up not focusing. One of my goals this year is to work on being more mindful and focus on one thing at the time. I ended up putting my phone in my drawer and my iPad away and both of them in silence, so I would get no interruptions as I work on something.

Reflecting is another goal of mine, and it is, somehow related with being mindful. Just dedicating some minutes to think and write about my practices, what went well and what do I need to work on, change or adapt.

Be Inspired

As a life long learner, I like to find different sources of learning in my journey to become a better educator. I follow amazing teachers and leaders on twitter who inspire me every day. I work with incredible educators who are always trying to think out of the box to bring the best to their learners. I attend several conferences every year where I always learn something I like to apply right away so I won’t forget.

I listen and participate in conversations in “voxerpe”, more listening than participating though.

I read books with new approaches, such as the Cooperative Learning in Physical Education.

I do MOOCs and webinars.

I share my teaching and learning ideas to hopefully inspire other in twitter.

Thank you all who inspire me in any possible way, so make me every day a better teacher!

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Blogging…not always happening

A couple of years ago a colleague started “The AMPed Project” at our school, SIS. Autonomous, Mastered, Personalized. That’s what AMP means and

I wanted to introduced it to my kids so they could have time to work on “their passions.” As teachers I feel that  we should show our learners what we expect from them by modeling it so I had to think of my own AMPed project.

One of my passions is running, the other is to travel and explore different countries and their cultures, however, that’s something I do anyways, because I love it, so I thought that I should find a different project.

Often times I had thought of starting my own personal blog, to actually write stories about my trips, add pictures and places to even recommend friends or family to go to but never really started it. I thought about it as a great AMPed project and I started it and showed it to my kids.

Now, two years later, I look at it and I just realize that I started the project, wrote down a couple of blog posts, used it for my Cross Country Team as well, and never went back to it.

This year, one of my goals is to maintain a professional blog to reflect on best practices and learn from failure. As it seems to get hard for me to find time to write a blog post, I want to make sure I’m consistent and I write at least once a week.

Last year I found an article in twitter on giving basic tips for blogging.

Set Specific Goals. Realistic Posting frequency

Get Creative

Conquer your bloggers’s block

Create a posting schedule

Just get started

I’ll be using these ideas t keep my blog up and running.

Hopefully they’ll help you too!