Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Best Parts of My Week - 9-5-16--9-9-16

Hi everyone,
     It is hard to believe that summer is over and the new year has started!  Every year is a chance for new beginning and I am excited and ready to begin my 34th school year!  
     Before I talk about the "Best Parts", I would like to remember and honor all those affected by the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 on this, the 15th anniversary of that horrific day.  I remember that day as we all do.  I remember the fourth grade class that I was teaching when my principal walked into the gymnasium with a folded note for me to read.  I remember reading the note and not being able to react outwardly because the nine year old students in front of me were relying on me to keep them safe and I could not, and would not make them feel the fear that I was feeling.  Even though I teach in New York, I remember not quite comprehending the magnitude of the tragedy initially but as the day continued and more news was available and ever increasing numbers of parents came to pick up their children early, I realized the scope of the loss was bigger than anything I had experienced in my lifetime.  I remember being home that night with my family and hugging in a group as we gave thanks for being able to come home together, while we felt an enormous sense of loss for those who would not be able to do the same.  Our community, as many similar communities did, felt the loss personally as one of our own was one of the many victims of that day.  I remember.....May we never forget......

     .....Our district always begins after Labor Day and this year we had two days of staff meetings and professional development days before students began on Thursday.  Opening day (as we call it) is always a very festive day.  There are smiles all around as we greet friends and colleagues that we have not seen in awhile.  As we begin the new year there is a sense that everything is possible and that creates the most positive climate!  It would be terrific if we could "bottle" this feeling for those days when everything is not quite so rosy......Ok...that is not possible so instead, I have learned to drink it in and enjoy it!  This year on opening day, our district added a new level of recognition.  In past years the superintendent and Board of Education President have recognized all those who have been employed by the district for 25 years but this year all employees with 30 or more years of service were recognized.  I am proud to say that I fall into that category and I was grateful to be called up to be recognized.  

.....On the second day of our year the staff was required to attend some professional development around the idea of critical thinking skills.  Our district is making a commitment to improve critical thinking skills in our students and this day was about learning the basics and exploring how we might add the teaching of these skills to our curriculum.  During the afternoon session I sat with another PE colleague and we discussed the fact that our cooperative activities unit is the perfect place to teach students critical thinking and problem solving skills and that we have been doing this for years.  After small group discussions took place we were proud to share that there are fantastic connections to Physical Education!

.....There is nothing like the first day of school!  Students are so excited and, for the most part, are happy to be back!  I saw so many smiles, got lots of "I'm glad to be back" hugs, and had the most wonderful day!  Many students eagerly told me how they exercised during the summer and I even got a completed June fitness calendar returned! (Students are not required to return these.....)

New year - New sneakers!
.....During the first day of PE I show students in second grade a short video on Physical Literacy so that they understand the goals of PE class.  Before the video I tell them that I am going to ask them to tell me what they saw and heard in the video when it is done.  When I asked students what they thought was important to remember from the video they had all of the right answers!  It was clear that they were listening and comprehending and are ready to become Physically Literate! 

.....Students in grades 3-5 work on a class contract during the first day of PE.  They create individualized paper hands that will serve as their "signature" on their eventual class contract.  I always encourage students to include others and be helpful to those in need and I saw just that this week!  In each class anyone working alone was invited to join a group and there were no shortage of helpers to trace hands!

.....Physical Eddie came out during a first grade class to help a friend and at the end of class I invited students to say hello by patting him on the head as they left PE.  They were so cute!  Each one was gentle and kind to Physical Eddie and happy to see him after the summer vacation!  

.....North Park has been awarded the Let's Move Active School National Recognition Award!  We are one of only 544 schools in the country and one of only 11 in NYS!  We are so excited!  

And so another year begins.......

I hope you enjoyed the "Best Parts of My Week"!  Visit my website:  North Park Physical Education to find out more about our Physical Education program.  

Follow me on Twitter!  @mrobPE