Physical Education Teachers Network  

February 28, 2014
Eleven K-12 Physical Education teachers attended a workshop on January 13, 2014. These participants learned about best practices for instruction, reviewed the physical education standards, shared instructional ideas, and were exposed to a plethora of technology for use within the physical education classroom.

Julane Hill, Coordinated School Health Director for the Nebraska Department of Education, spent time with the teachers and discussed best practices along with the physical education standards. The goals of physical education are: 1) to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthy physical activity, 2) to guide youngsters in the process of becoming physically active for a lifetime. A physical education curriculum should be designed to develop basic movement skills, sports skills, and physical fitness as well as to enhance mental, social, and emotional abilities. Julane explained the key factors that affect the quality of Physical Education. The curriculum should be standards-based and include accountability for student learning, policies, monitoring and consequences. The current national standards for K-12 Physical Education include:

Standard 1-The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
Standard 2-The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
Standard 3-The physically literate individual demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
Standard 4-The physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
Standard 5-The physically literate individual recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.

Julane communicated that physical education teachers must become advocates for their programs in the schools. Physical activity and health decreases chronic disease risk factors, increases healthy muscles, bones, joints and aides in weight control. It also increases endurance, muscular strength, balance, flexibility and mental health. Physical activity also positively impacts academic performance by increasing academic achievement, academic behavior, cognitive skills and attitudes. Studies conducted by Harvard brain researcher Dr. John Ratey have shown a positive relationship between:
    •Increased fitness levels and academic achievement
    •Fitness levels and measures of cognitive skills and attitudes
    •Improved motor skill levels and improvements in academic achievement
    •Improved motor skill levels and measures of cognition skills and attitudes

Nancy Harrington, a physical education teacher with St. Paul Schools, also presented a vocabulary instruction demonstration to the workshop participants. Nancy has been active in the ESU 10 Adolescent Literacy Project for the past three years. She has incorporated student engagement and vocabulary strategies into her instruction to make content meaningful. Her sharing instructional strategies with the group of teachers allowed them to see that literacy skills can be taught in other curricular areas other than Language Arts. Teachers also had time to share their own instructional favorites in small groups so they could have some fresh ideas to take back to their school districts.

Peg Coover, ESU 10 Integration Specialist, concluded the day with how to incorporate technology in the physical education classroom. Her presentation started with showing the teachers the many ways they could use Google docs to log and display activity. QR codes were introduced and used as part of developing activity stations in the classroom. Teachers were asked to scan the codes with their devices and complete the activity at their particular station. Several apps were shared during the presentation to illustrate their purposes:
   •To use during student or teacher presentations of curricular content
   •To log or track activity and nutrition
   •To track student behavior, attendance, classroom management, reinforcement (e.g. Class DoJo)
   •To network with other physical education teachers (e.g. Twitter)
   •To enhance games or activities in the classroom

The ESU 10 Professional Development Department plans to continue providing networking workshops for the physical education teachers within our service area. They were excited to have professional development opportunities that were specific to their curricular area. When asked what other topics they would like to see in future trainings they indicated the following: 1) various ways to design lesson plans to integrate more rigorous activity, 2) assistance with developing units, 3) training with specific curriculum programs, 4) ways to motivate students to participate in P.E., and 5) suggestions for grading and evaluating their students.

Visit to access the technology resources shared during the Physical Education Teachers Network.