I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to attend a Physical Education Conference this summer in Asheville, NC – The National PE Institute. I have been to a few Phys Ed conferences in the past, but I must say this one topped them all.
The breakout sessions were really hard to pick from, I found 2-3 that I wanted to see in each time block. The one’s that I did attend were jam packed with useful ideas, practical tips and motivational content to help us all promote quality Phys Ed in our programs next year. The Keynote Speakers were all extremely inspiring and each of them had great thoughts about the future of Phys Ed and some changes that are needed in order for us to reach the next generation of kids and teach them to be Physically Literate.
However, I must say that the most important aspect of the conference for me was getting to shake hands, share beers and have meaningful conversations with like minded teachers who are all passionate about Physical Education and becoming the best educators they can possibly be.
I will definitely be trying to make it back again next year for the 2016 conference.
Here are my Top Takeaways, Notes and Action Items from The PE Institute 2015:
If you aren’t following any of these Keynote Speakers on Twitter and subscribed to their blogs, then get on it, they are some of the best thought leaders and content creators in the Phys Ed arena worldwide, so go give them a follow and subscribe to their blogs.
I’ve included a summary of my notes below, with one action item from each Keynote Speech.
Keynote 1: My PE Superpowers
- By – Jarrod Robinson: The PE Geek (www.thePEgeek.com)
Jarrod gave us a great reminder in his speech that we all have many ways to overcome the struggles, failures and conflicts that we experience when teaching. It’s important to realize this and use these 7 “superpowers” or strategies to improve our teaching and work towards providing our kids with quality PE programs.
- Connect – don’t be an island. Use Voxer, Twitter, Blogs, Skype, Google Hangouts and Conferences to connect with other passionate teachers around the world and locally
- Reflect – We all have lessons that bomb, take the time to reflect on these failures and decide how to change your teaching to improve in the future
- Mobile – Take advantage of the endless possibilities that we have now with iPods and iPads to motivate and engage your students to enhance your teaching and your students learning.
- Video – Allowing students to see themselves performing a skill motivates them to improve and shows them how
- Outsource – we all suck at something, we can outsource our weakest areas of teaching and provide feedback to students while someone else shows them how to perform a skill (Youtube demonstrations, Skype an expert, Yoga Studio App)
- We actually did this last year in our Basketball Unit (Check it out here)
- Sharing – We have to share with others, this will help improve our content through feedback and variations that will spread to other environments
- The Physedagogy Team – providing totally free professional development online
- Great example of this happened at the Demo Slam – I shared a strategy we use in the gym called the Conflict Corner Poster. Within a few days 2 other Physed Teachers had created conflict resolution posters that fit their specific programs.
- Learn – Become a life long learner. Farm your knowledge constantly, instead of only hunting for it when you need it. If we start doing this, it’s more likely that we will already have the knowledge when the need arises.
MY ACTION ITEM:
- I want to improve on my use of video this year, I want to implement the app “Video Tagger” and other video apps that allow students to watch themselves perform skills (Coach Note, Ubersense, BAM Video Delay).
Keynote 2: Change is Coming a #PhysEd Journey
- By – Nathan Horne (www.iPhysEd.com)
- Change is hard, but change is very necessary for us to give our kids the quality Phys Ed programs that they deserve.
- The most dangerous phrase in the english language is “We’ve always done it this way”
- Great things never come from comfort zones
- Change is not really optional for us, we must think about changing Physical Education for the better
- 4 Cs of using Technology
- Create, Collect, Celebrate and Connect (see more details on the 4 C’s on Nathan’s Blog)
- Using Technology as a Tool not a Toy
- CoachNote – allowing students to visually explain strategies and game rules
- Sharing photos or recordings with students and recording them talking to you if they can’t write it down or demonstrate it
- #PhysEdHacks – Joey Feiths QR Code Skill Posters – gives the teacher more time to give feedback to students while also showing students how to teach themselves
- Physedagogy Team – Free Online Professional Development
- Andy Vasily – using Sportfolio to track student progress and as evidences of learning
- Fitness Testing
- Nathan took a different approach last year and allowed his students to self lead, self assess, and choose their own personal areas of fitness to try and improve. It increased student engagement, motivation and practice outside of school.
“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself” – Lloyd Alexander
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on changing the old, but building the new”
“Do your students spend more time making choices, or do they spend more time following directions?”
– Nathan Horne
MY ACTION ITEM:
- That last quote really got me, because when I think about it I’m honestly not sure if my kids spend more time making choices than following directions. That’s one CHANGE I really want to focus on next year is implementing some of inquiry teaching strategies that Nathan and Andy Vasily use in their curriculum to help my kids begin to take more responsibility for their learning and move towards more self direction.
- Another great example of teaching using inquiry and differentiation was the example lesson that Jarrod Robinson taught during one of the breakout sessions you can find it here: www.MyPerfectVolleyballLesson.com
Keynote 3: Groundhog Day: Being the change and changing our being
- By – Dr. Ash Casey (www.PEPRN.com)
Dr. Ash Casey is a former Phys Ed teacher turned researcher and professor at the University Level and also runs a blog where he synthesizes current educational research down into terms that normal people like me and you can understand. During his talk he really shed some light on the way that the world sees us as Physical Educators and some of the issues that we need to be aware of and fight to overcome in our programs. Throughout the talk he summarized 95 different research studies related to Physical Education.
There are alot of shocking conclusions drawn by research that we as educators should be aware of, I would highly recommend checking out the slideshare below
A few of my favorite “Gut checking” quotes:
If you’re like me, your first reaction is to argue back at the researcher, explaining why these quotes aren’t necessarily true, but we have to realize that these are findings based on data, and while they hopefully aren’t true in many situations, they are true in some and they ultimately affect us all.
It was honestly a whole lot to take in, but my main take away was that we have to realize that as Physical Education teachers the world (and even our parents and students) will probably put a stereotype on us and have assumptions about the way we teach and the value that we can bring to our students. It’s our job to break these stereotypes and work hard to change the thinking and understanding of those around use.
We also need to make sure that our program IS relevant for our students. If kids are resistant to our classes, we might need to check our practices and analyze what we are doing. We need to be aware of the “hidden curriculum” that we are teaching to our kids through what we reward, focus on, assess and spend the most time teaching.
MY ACTION ITEM:
- My main takeaway from this session was to be more intentional about allowing my students to have a voice in what we are doing. This involves surveying your students for their interests and changing your teaching to fit the needs of your specific learners. I also want to be very intentional about examining my “hidden curriculum” and trying to determine what types of ideas and philosophies I might be teaching students through my expectations, rules and procedures in class.
Keynote 4: Bringing on our A-Games
- By – Andy Vasily (www.PYPPEwithAndy.com)
Andy kicked off his talk with an incredibly motivating story about Cliff Young. Cliff was an Australian farmer that broke the ultra-marathon record for the Sydney to Melbourne race at the age of 61. He ran for 5 and a half days straight without stopping. That’s a total of 544 miles, in 5 and a half days – he broke the current record by 12 hours, running the entire race in 5 days, 15 hours and 4 minutes. You can see a recap of the story below:
The crazy thing about it was that he got $10,000 for winning the race and promptly gave $2,000 to each of the other 5 participants and kept nothing for himself. He didn’t do the race for the fame or the money, he did it for the pursuit of excellence and the love of running.
- As teachers we need to be focused on the pursuit of excellence and continue to make small steps forward to consistently improve our craft.
- We need to keep our flames of motivation burning
- “Good teaching is not defined by columns, check boxes or great test results”
- If we fall into this thinking, the product will become more of the focus and the self-worth and self identity of students will decrease. We must keep students at the center.
- Regardless of if you are a teacher, student or athlete – Mastery is a mindset. For it to flourish we must put the process before the product.
- We must be willing to accept critical feedback and reflect on it to evaluate our teaching
- “Mastery in teaching is about loving the process of and journey of learning”
- Teacher autonomy is about taking initiative
- Coming to a conference, taking time to grow yourself
- Connecting with others in the field through social media, voxer, Twitter and Facebook
- “We are here to liberate greatness in our students”
- Ask Yourself and Clarify your own purpose
- Why is it that you do what you do
- Why do you spend time with the people that you do
- Physical Education should be at the core of any curriculum
- it’s about critical thinking and pursuit of excellence
- it’s about emotional and social connection
- it’s about liberating greatness within our students and each other
Andy had everyone on their seats when he told his true story about a near death experience that clarified his thinking and helped him appreciate teaching, connect with other and be more reflective of his teaching practice. You should watch the speech because there’s no way I can try to recap it.
He also closed with a great snapshot from Jim Carrey’s commencement speech at Maharishi University. You can youtube it or see a highlight HERE.
“How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide? “
“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is” – Jim Carrey
As Physical Education teachers we have an awesome opportunity to provide the world with students who are Happy, Healthy and Physically Literate. We can help the world become a better place by pursuing excellence in our professions, because this will transfer to our students.
MY ACTION ITEM:
- To continue to pursue excellence in my teaching. I will do this by staying connected to other passionate educators. I will continue to learn, evaluate and reflect on how I can improve my teaching.
Keynote 5: The Next Big Thing in Phys Ed
- By – Joey Feith (ThePhysicalEducator.com)
Joey closed out the conference with a great reminder that we must get back to the roots of Physical Education and that is to develop Physically Literate students, who pursue healthy lifestyles because they have a love of sport and activity.
- The Future of Phys Ed is NOT
- There’s no app that will save your teaching. You have to do the work.
- Technology is great, but only when it’s focused on student learning. We can’t use it as a bandaid for our bad teaching.
- If you are using it to connect with others to identify areas that you can improve your teaching then great
- If you are using it to see how many followers we can get, getting on a soap box or broadcasting your opinions, you are off the mark
- Tim Ferris Podcast – “if you are always the smartest person in the conversations you’re having, you are doing something wrong”
- There is a ton of research showing connection between physical activity and cognitive health along with emotional benefits
- We are starting to say “we need Phys Ed bc it boosts brain cells” – Our subject matter should not exist to serve as a primer for someone elses.
- We should be really proud of the fact that we are Phys Ed teachers and the fact that every kid deserves Quality PE programs
- We need to make sure we don’t lose focus on what’s important
- Technology – sometimes when trying to find new technologies we’re trying to find shortcuts, to get out of the boring parts of teaching
- Social Media – Joey’s been telling people to get connected through social media since his first time here at the conference
- The Future of Phys Ed IS
- Our end goal is that students stay active bc they have the knowledge that sport and activity will improve their social, physical and emotional health and is a vital part of living a healthy life.
- Ask Yourself – does your phys ed program continue to serve your students long after they’ve graduated?
- This was the theme from my year.
- Training at school – We looked at youtubes of leaders that embodied the kind of people that we wanted our kids to become.
- What is the knowledge they need to get there
- What are the understandings/concepts that they need
- What are the skills they need (things they can do_
- “Start with the end in mind” – Dr. Covey
- Our end goal is physical literacy, but it’s such a big broad concept so we need to break it down into pieces (SHAPE America’s GLOs)
- Purposeful curriculum design is the key to developing physically literate individuals
- We have tons of kids and little time, this is why many times we assess based on the Good Ole Fall Back 3 – participation, effort, skills
- MOVELIVELEARN.COM – amandas website, lots of resources
- Assessment must inform students of their progress and continue in an ongoing fashion
- There are so many opportunities that we have to connect and find the resources we need to be the best teacher possible
- Physical Literacy – Amanda Stanec @movelivelearn, really helped me to understand what physical literacy really is
- Backwards Design (I recommend checking out Joey’s Blog post about this topic on his website)
- Passionate Educators
MY ACTION ITEM:
- This is the first year that my district is doing Standards Based Report Cards for Physical Education. I plan on using the backwards design process to create some rubrics that will help me assess the Grade Level Outcomes for each Standard and be a way for me to track Evidences of Learning in my classes.
Below are other random notes and resources from some of the breakout sessions that I attended.
New Items on my Equipment Wishlist:
- Spikeball (or Slammo)
- Omnikin 6 Ball
- Noodle Bits from Flaghouse – Also on Amazon – CLICK HERE FOR AN ACTIVITY GUIDE
- Focused Fitness Video Library – https://www.focusedfitness.org/curriculum/five-for-life/video-library
- Play Out The Game – Action Cards – http://www.playoutthegame.com/
- Christopher “Zondaflex” Tyler Dance Album (great for elementary)
- Check out Ryan Armstrong’s Video Playlist Page. He has categorized hundreds of youtube videos into playlists for your convenience. Give him a subscribe!
- Awesome Motivational video for your students from Andy Vasily. He preps the kids before watching with the question – Do you think you could dance if you couldn’t walk? I will definitely be using this for my dance unit next year AND trying to find more similar videos to introduce all of my units to PROVOKE my students thinking and help them to engage with the content.
- “Walk and Talk” – After watching a video or teaching some content, allow your students to partner up and have them walk around the gym for a couple minutes discussing what they have learned and talking about it with a friend.
- Design Thinking Template: By Notosh – This is a template Andy talked about that you can use to brainstorm ideas and plan out experiences for a unit
- Stretching Chant from Focused Fitness Session – you do the stretches while saying the chant
- Biceps, Biceps bends the arm
- Triceps, Triceps Straightens the arm
- Quadriceps – Kick the Ball
- Pectorals – Push the Wall
- Hamstrings, Gluts – Stand me up Tall
- Abdominals – Protect the intestinal wall
- “Jigsaw” Cooperative Learning strategy from Dr. Ash Casey Breakout Session
- Examples of how to use the 4 C’s of Technology Integration from Nathan Horne
- Inquiry is learners constructing meaning Inquiry Cycle Graphics HERE
- What do we want to learn
- How will we best learn (physical and intellectual activities)
- How will we know if we have learned?
- “Successful inquiry is the findings of new understandings” – our perspectives and thoughts are always changing
- How to Design a Standards Based Lesson Video (using Backwards Design)
- PhysEdCamp Demo Slam Recording
- Great Dance for 4K and Kindergarten students – Jump, by Christopher Tyler (also has other great songs)
- Playmeo.com – Awesome website with games, tutorials, icebreakers and activities, video tutorials and lesson plans.
- Apps I plan on getting
- Periscope – how did I miss this one. Allows you to live stream video from your phone to all your followers
- Video Tagger – Allows you to video students or games and tag them with things like “good example” or “Bad example” to review quickly later
THAT ALL FOLKS!
Well friends, after a length post, that’s an overview of the things that stuck with me throughout the conference. Obviously, I couldn’t make to every break out, so I’m sure there was a ton of info that I missed out on. If you were there and have something to add, leave it in the comments.
It was a pleasure and honor connecting with you all and I hope you have an incredible year teaching some Quality PE to your kids.
And for a NON-Example, you can always catch an episode of Mr. D.
Enjoy the rest of your summer Phys Ed Friends!