Physical Education vs. Physical Activity

Having done my degree in Physical Education and having the opportunity to teach Phys Ed in a few difference schools already, I think that it is really important for people (students, parents, and other educators) to understand this difference between Physical Education and Physical Activity.

Many people think that ‘gym class’ is a chance for kids to run around and burn off their energy; however it is much more than that! Physical activity (moving our bodies and increasing our heart rates) is only one element -yes, an important one- to an effective PE class. It is also important that our students learn about why it is necessary to be active (the benefits and consequences) and feel and understand why their bodies feel certain ways after participating in a given activity and recognizing those changes, etc. Kids should also be able to be exposed to a variety of activities to allow them to find ways of being active that work for them in hopes that they are inspired to live active lifestyles into the future.

I believe that physical education classes are one of the most important classes students participate in! I could go on and on about my thoughts on this topic, but it is important that others are aware of this difference as well. As the article suggests, awareness will help us to stop using these phrases interchangeably, and help to improve and develop our Physical Education classes.


Contemporary ICT Practices: Conforming or Transforming?

           The purpose of Lynch and Redpath (2012) discussion was to reveal how touch screen devices, specifically iPads, are being integrated into early years classrooms to support literacy. The findings of this qualitative study provides insight into students’ attitudes towards and proficiency with the devices, the practices of the teacher involved in the study and the teacher’s vision and philosophy with regards to technology integration (Lynch & Redpath, 2012, p. 7). Through observations and interviews, it is revealed that the iPads were initially used in a closed ended manner where gamified literacy and numeracy apps were accessed to support the acquisition of traditional print-based literacy skills (Lynch & Redpath, 2012, p. 12). Moving towards more of a reforming approach, the teacher in the study also used the iPads in a multimodal manner to move her traditional listening center towards a more interactive experience where students could turn the pages and follow along with the animations (Lynch & Redpath, 2012, p. 12). During interviews, the teacher in the study revealed her vision was to support her students in becoming producers of their own knowledge rather than just consumers (Lynch & Redpath, 2012, p. 15). Having students make their own choices about which medium to use for learning activities, such as drawing a picture, using the iPad to draw or taking a screenshot with the iPad, was also a priority (Lynch & Redpath, 2012, p. 15). “Instead of their learning being contained in a content-specific app, which presents them with opportunities to practice staged print-based skills, the students move fluidly between apps and their self-created digital content to create a multimodal text that is them share with their community…” (Lynch & Redpath, 2012, p. 20). The main source of tension experienced by teachers is the priority of policy, accountability and assessment over innovation. “ Historically, it has been those technologies that are a good fit with existing practices that are most easily implemented into classrooms, while those that afford different types of roles and relations are adapted to institutionalized ways of doing teaching and learning” (Lynch & Redpath, 2012, p. 23).

Personal Reflections:

            Throughout Lynch and Redpath’s discussion, I made several connections to my teaching practices and philosophy as well as the disconnect between the two. I often feel as though my ICT practices get stuck in more closed ended activities or games. This article helped me to place my practices on a continuum from conforming to transforming. The discussion of how closed ended apps reinforce and support traditional skill based literacy learning helped me to understand where I need to move my practices, and some practical applications, to be more transforming. I appreciate the tensions the teacher in the study was struggling with as to where her practices are and what her vision is. I too find this a struggle in my classroom and often feel accountability, assessment and policies detracts from the potential of living multimodality. The mastery of print-based skills is still very much privileged in our education system and far too often, technology tools are being reduced to interactive versions of a worksheets or books.


Lynch, J. & Redpath, T. (2012). ‘Smart’ technologies in early years literacy education: A meta-narrative of paradigmatic tensions in iPad use in an Australian preparatory classroom. Journal of early childhood literacy, 1(0), 1-28. Doi: 10.1177/1468798412453150


If they don’t think they can….they won’t

I was recently looking back at some articles that I had favorited on Twitter. I reread this one, and it was instantly clear to me why I had favorited it. I am passionate about teaching, but more than that I am passionate about teaching kids.
In my classroom, all students are respected for who they are, with the understanding and commitment from me that they will all need me in different ways. Too often, I have had the unfortunate pleasure of listening to people say things like, “What is wrong with kids these day?” “Why are kids so entitled?” “This is how I grew up and I turned out fine.” “We tried this 20 years ago…I am done jumping on the bandwagon.” I get infuriated inside when I hear it, and often have to bite my tongue almost right off so that my response is professional and respectful…although I don’t always believe the comments are respectful about the children.
All too often we forget that at one time we were children too…children with opinions, ideas, dreams and hopes. They need to be taught that their opinions and beliefs matter, they need to feel that we are proud of them and they need to feel that they can make a difference. If a child struggles with curriculum, does it mean they are failures? Not in my books. When I look back at my childhood, and what it was about it that helped me get to where I am today in life, I can 100% say it wasn’t the curriculum that I learned. It was the people who told me they were proud of me, the people who took the time to get to know me, and the skills I learned because I felt safe learning them.
I know our job is not easy, but I do believe we would all have a much more enjoyable time doing the hard work we do if we put everything into perspective. We are teaching kids first and the curriculum second. You can have the best lesson plans in the world, if you can’t relate to the kids, if you don’t have their trust, and if they don’t feel safe taking risks, you won’t see the “results” that you think you should get. Children make mistakes, that is how they learn. Their mistakes should not be a life sentence.


Helicopter Parents

As teachers, we have all come across those parents that will argue and debate every mark, assignment, and consequence for their child: helicopter parents. As a parent myself, I can see how it can easily happen. However, it is disturbing to see how this over parenting can actually harm the children they care so deeply for. It is possible for a parent to be to protective. Who would’ve ever thought that parents would call in sick for their adult children? I can’t believe that parents actually go to their child’s job interviews? As a CALM teacher, I found the article at very interesting.

Show Me

As a teacher I am continually searching and finding new material, lessons and experiments for my students, reading posts and pages, watch video and listen to audio. After all the time spent searching I usually conclude with a really good video. I know I learn much of my new material with videos. It seems that I benefit from watching videos and I know my students benefit and enjoy learning from videos, it seems logical that I would create videos for my students. Instead of taking notes, which does have it place, I think I would be more beneficial to watch a movie of a math problem being solved in live time with audio to review concepts and lessons. Although this seems difficult and time consuming it is actually quiet simple using the ShowMe App. The nicest part of this program is that it can be uploaded to our students Facebook page, and takes the stress out of being sick and missing class. Even better some of the best teachers are students. I think this would be a great way for my students to show their learning and share it with others. I am excited to start using it.

Learning Leader Session 3 (January 21 or 24)

As the session begins, please sign in using this form.

1.  Joe’s Non-Netbook – This video is a great one for discussion with students and educators to show how ‘text’ may not have the same feel as an iPad or computer with the lack of interactivity.  Check out this short, funny video done by students:

2. ShowMe – ShowMe is a great iPad app for creating video tutorials on different content, but you can also easily create presentations using pictures and upload them as videos to the web.  These videos can be shared and embedded into different websites, but below is a tutorial on how to create a slideshow using this app:

3.  Google Drive App –  A great way to share videos, is through the “Google Drive” app, which allows you to easily access and upload files.  You can also have students upload files to a shared folder as shared below:

As we finish up, it is important that we look at what we will be doing with our own staff and look past technology. This is a great video to help start a discussion with our schools.  Please tweet your thoughts as we watch this today.  Use the hashtag #psd70.

Session 3 Follow-Up Assignment:

Please ensure that you make a post from now until the next session.  I would encourage you to find an article through Twitter, and write about it.  You can talk about whether you agree or not, some major points, or whatever you are interested in.  The purpose of the activity is that you find something you are interested in and you make your own connections through the writing.  Please try and take this challenge!

Old Dogs and New Tricks

Oh – have you heard about the latest, greatest thing that will make your life easier?  Very often I choose to ignore these claims and stick with what I know but last year I decided that this was going to the year that this “old dog” learned some “new tricks”!  Everywhere I turn now, it seems that I’m hearing about something new – this leaves me with many thoughts and emotions.  Relax … take a deep breath and remember you can’t learn it all at once – I say to mylself again.  What, another new app – I haven’t figured out the last one yet.  How do I keep up – or do I even try?  Everyone must feel this way at some point – right?  Learning is not always easy – that’s what I tell my students and yet I feel like I need to be told that too.  Maybe I’m not the only one feeling this way though – I would feel better if there were others.  Each journey must begin with one step and I believe I’ve made that first step in the right direction.  Does anyone else ever feel like me . . . . . overwhelmed?

Learning Leader Session 3 (Overview and Information)

Welcome to the 3rd session for the Learning Leader Project.  Your blog posts have been fantastic and I greatly appreciate the sharing of ideas, apps, challenges, and success in such an open forum.  Thank you for your dedication to the project!

Shared today by Tara Burvill, here is a great resource for iPads to be used with students:

The iPad As…

Here is the itinerary for our 3rd Session.

  1. Remind101 – This is a great service to keep students, parents, stakeholders, or whoever you like, up to date with updates that can be sent directly to their email or mobile device.  It is a nice way to share things with students without them giving their cell phone numbers to a teacher.  Please sign up by either using you mobile device or email for the Learning Leader Project updates by reading the following:
    Learning Leader Project remind101.
  2. Google Apps –  In this portion, we will do a brief overview of Google Apps, focused on Google Docs and Google Reader.  Please follow the following steps:
    a)  Login to your PSDblogs Google Apps account.  (Your password will be provided if this is your first time logging in.)
    b)   Watch this short video on “Google Docs in Plain English“.
    c)   Create and share a “Google Doc”.
    d)  Go to “Google Reader“. (Short video)
    e)  Subscribe to the following Reader Bundles.
    i.  Education Blogs 1
    ii.  Education Blogs 2
    iii.  #PSD70 Blogs
    iv.  Educational Leadership

  3. Zite – This is a great app to get a personalized magazine to read and share content.  It is also free.  You can also use “Flipboard” as well. (MobileRSS is free but sometimes not as stable as other applications. It is also just used for Google Reader and does not pull in any other content to my knowledge.)

Please remember to post a blog between this session and the next (April 24th and 25th).

For your reading pleasure, you should download the “Kindle” app and you can read Seth Godin’s newest book on education entitled, “Stop Stealing Dreams” (kindle version is located on the page).

Have a great spring break!