Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Best Parts of My Week - 3/23/15--3/27/15

Hi everyone,
     After an amazing trip to Seattle to attend and present at the SHAPE America National Convention I was ready to get back to school!  It was a great week!

.....Fitness Frankie had a great time in Seattle!  Visit his blog to read about and see pictures of his adventure!  

.....I was greeted by several classes with a "'re back!"  What a nice welcome!  It was nice to be missed......

.....Whenever I go to a conference I remember what one of my friends always says about conference days.  She always says:  "Learn one new thing".  I did that and more this past week in Seattle and tried out one of the new activities that I learned.  It actually involved throwing and catching (play) food!  Since we were celebrating National Nutrition Month with some nutrition activities it was perfect timing.  We made some fruit salad and vegetable salad with play food, bean bags, buckets, and parachute panels.  It was great fun but I remembered to make a disclaimer:  "Don't try this at home please!"

.....I continue to be impressed and surprised by what my kindergarten and first grade students can read and discuss.  This week students were asked about the words digestion and balanced diet.  Not only could they read the words but many could tell me what they meant!  

.....My student teacher finished his time at my school and is off to another school to continue his student teaching.  I always like to do some kind of thank you from the students and very often try to connect it to something unique about each student teacher's experience.  In this case, we are doing a "broccoli jar of thank you notes".  While it is a long story, suffice it to say that students learned about the nutritional value of broccoli and how putting your hand in the broccoli jar to after shooting a basketball will help with your follow through!  Anyway, it turns out that we have a broccoli puppet at school and I had so much fun this week with "Broccoli Brad!"  He did warm-ups with us, gave students a high five at the end of class, and taught students about how great broccoli actually is!  When I explained to my students how we were going to say thank you to our student teacher one of my third graders responded:  "That is awesome!"  I love puppets so this was right up my alley!

.....When students reset their pedometer they are asked to show a friend that the pedometer is reset to 0 so that they have an accurate step count.  One of my fifth grade students came to me this week to show me that his pedometer was reset.  He said: "You're my friend!"  How nice is that?

.....Nutrition activities continued at the end of the week with a game of Nutrition Tag.  Students used nutrition cards to ask questions when tagged.  If the tagger answered the question correctly he/she collected the card.  It was a new activity and the students had so much fun!  I was impressed by how much the students learned about nutrition based on the number of cards that were collected!  

......I had some great conversations this week with my students.  Most of these discussions did not happen during PE class but rather during bus duty, in the hallway, or at the end of the day waiting for a parent.  The conversations ranged from one student telling me about his grandfather who was sick but doing better, to another asking how my trip to Seattle was, to others telling me how they exercised after school, and still others telling me about their spring break plans.  I enjoyed every single conversation and am always touched that students take the time to include me in their conversations.....

.....The week ended with "Pajama Day" and "Mystery Reader Day" to celebrate our Read Across America Program.  Even though it was a bit of a silly and crazy day it was fun!  I was able to visit every classroom to take pictures during the Mystery Reader activity to see different adults reading to students.  Fifth grade teachers read to kindergarten students, a third grade teacher came to the gymnasium to read to my fourth grade class, and kindergarten teachers were reading to third grade students!  Students were so engaged in listening to the book being read and every adult was having a great time!  

I hope you enjoyed the "Best Parts of My Week!"  To find out more about the PE program at North Park, visit my website:  North Park Physical Education

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Best Parts of My Week - 3/9/15--3/13/15

Hi everyone,
     There are some weeks when I wonder if I will have enough to write about (I always do......), and there are other weeks when there is so much to write about I don't know how to begin!  This past week was one of the latter.  It was an amazing week!  

.....I began the week counting up the total Healthy Highway miles that we have accumulated so far.  Students earn miles both individually and as a class for healthy choices during the year.  I am proud to say that we have traveled 947 miles so far this year!

......As I reminded students that we were getting ready for Jump Rope for Heart early this week, the response was YES!!!!!

.....One of my fifth grade students shared that she had been getting ready for Jump Rope for Heart by practicing at home!

.....Tuesday morning we began the day with a Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador meeting.  Students are earning points by making healthy choices and leading healthy plays and one of the students asked if we were going to do this next year.  When I responded that we were definitely going to continue the program I also asked if they were interested in continuing.  They responded enthusiastically with smiles, nodding heads, and YES!  I asked if any of their friends had asked about joining the program and several said that lots of their friends wanted to join and be an ambassador too!  Part of our meeting was spent in the cafeteria with our cafeteria manager asking some questions to complete our School Wellness Investigation.  Later in the week one of the ambassadors told me that she thought it was cool going to the cafeteria and learning about all of the healthy food that the cafeteria serves!

.....As we continued to get ready for Jump Rope for Heart by teaching students using a variety of jumping stations, one of our kindergarten students was jumping across a pretend river on the floor.  She said:  "This is tough but fun!"  A first grader said:  "I'm an Olympic jumper!"

.....Early in the week the PE Password was "Achievement".  We asked students to think about one of their achievements and share it with a friend.  The discussions were wonderful!  Students shared achievements big and small and were proud of each one!  

.....Several honor hearts came in with donations to be displayed during our Jump Rope for Heart event.  I was touched by the heartfelt messages on the hearts.  Many students were honoring family members that they have lost due to heart disease........

......Jump Rope for Heart was held on Wednesday and Thursday this week and during the two-day event all 500+ students and staff participated in the event.  It was a truly amazing two days and while I was exhausted at the conclusion of the event, I can't imagine not doing it.  This was our tenth year and I was so proud of our students, staff, and our community.  Students brought in change, honor hearts, and donations large and small.  One student even created his own fitness bear:  "Muscle Matt" and brought him to the event with a red hoodie and shorts!  Another student painted her nails red to show her support!  Each session began with a reminder that we do JRFH to help others who might not have a healthy heart by supporting the work of the American Heart Association as well as to keep our own hearts healthy.  Each session ended with smiles and tired students who jumped their best.  During the event I noticed a fifth grader making sure that a third grader had a fair turn, joy on the face of a first grader who jumped the most times in a row that he ever had jumped, teachers proud of the accomplishments of their students, the surprise on the faces of students who used stethoscopes and heard their own heartbeat for the first time, and pride as we unveiled this year's banner!

.....The day after Jump Rope for Heart I was chatting with one of my fourth grade students in the hallway and he said that he wished he could do Jump Rope for Heart again!  He said that he loved it!  Another student stopped me in the hallway to ask how much money we raised!  Donations are still coming in........

.....Thursday afternoon I was putting up the new PE Password in anticipation of "A" day on Friday.  Students were leaving for the day and were excited to have a "Sneak Peek!"  (P.S.  The new PE Password is "Traverse")

.....Friday we began some lessons regarding nutrition to celebrate National Nutrition Month.  I was so impressed with the nutrition knowledge that students have.  Even our kindergarten students knew about so many different fruits!  We had a great time pretending to eat a rainbow of fruits!  

I hope you enjoyed the "Best Parts of My Week!"  To find out more about the PE program at North Park, visit my website:  North Park Physical Education

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Best Parts of My Week - 2/23/15--2/27/15 AND 3/2/15-3/6/15

Hi everyone,
     It has been SO busy the last two weeks that I decided to combine two weeks of "Best Parts"!  I hope you enjoy!

.....The week before last I had some amazing opportunities to present at two different conferences.  The beginning of the week I spent in Long Branch, NJ at the NJAHPERD annual conference.  It was a fantastic conference with many wonderful Physical Educators, Health Educators, Dance Educators, and others willing to spend time advocating for quality Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance programs!  I presented three different sessions and was so grateful for those that attended and participated!  So many others were willing to help me with equipment, etc. and I felt so welcome!  Special thanks to the Executive Board of NJAHPERD for their hospitality!  At the end of the week I presented at the Nassau Zone of NYSAHPERD conference at LIU Post on Long Island, NY.  Again, I met so many wonderful professionals willing to learn and share!  It was a great week of professional development!

.....In between conferences last week we celebrated Heart Month at my school by offering "Hands Only" CPR and AED training for our fifth grade students.  Our local paramedic group volunteered their time and our building provided financial support for the educational materials for our students.  It was the first time that we were able to provide this training and I could not have been happier with the results!  The students were serious and focused and learned these important life skills!  At the end of the day students were asked what they learned and one student responded that they learned how to save a life.  It does not get any better than that!  Pictures of our event can be seen at the following link:  5th Grade CPR-AED Training at North Park.

This week was full of "Best Parts" too!  

.....We are getting ready for Jump Rope for Heart and this week spent some time working on jumping and jump roping stations.  Students are getting excited about our event as it is a highlight of the year.  One student remarked that he had heard that the stations help you get better at jumping!  Who knew??

.....Cardio Cal has had a terrific adventure with a fifth grade class for the last few weeks and this time some of the students wrote up his journal entry.  They read it to the class at the end of PE recently and it was amazing!  I was very impressed with the vocabulary and writing talent!  The students were very proud of their journal and so was I!  You can view the journal entry by clicking on this link:
Cardio Cal's 5th Grade Adventure!

.....I love to teach my kindergarten students to jump rope in a long turning rope for the first time.  Many think that they can't do it and when they are successful the joy on their faces is priceless!  I had the privilege of seeing that joy quite a bit this week!

.....After a fourth grade class this week I was invited to the classroom to see that the Go Noodle champ for the class had graduated to the next level.  It was very exciting and as students were getting out their snack for the day one student passed by me and showed me the spinach that she had for snack.  That's right - Spinach!  She was enjoying it and munching away and asked me for a high five because she had a healthy snack!  YES!  

.....Fitness Frankie to Go came back after weekend adventures of sledding and healthy eating!  He is having a great year!  I delivered him to this weekend's student hosts and they were so excited that it was their turn!

.....At the end of the week the entire school participated in an assembly to kick off our Read Across America program and to remind students that we are traveling down Have a Heart Way as we get ready for Jump Rope for Heart.  The second segment of the assembly involved pairing older and younger students together as Reading Buddies.  It was so heartwarming to see students engaged.  We are truly a community of learners and it was wonderful to see it in action......

I hope you enjoyed the "Best Parts of My Week!"  To find out more about the PE program at North Park, visit my website:  North Park Physical Education