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.


Session one

Being able to bring technology into my classroom is something that I am always excited about.  After the first session my excitement grew as I knew there would be countless ways that I can have my students get immersed into technology in a school setting.  They all know about video games and what input to put the tv to in order to start playing, what I hoped to do was harness that excitement and knowledge and bring it into a classroom learning setting.  After the first session I was able to fool around with the iPad and come up with some cool ways to use it in my class getting my students into it right away.  This only confirmed that it was a great decision to join this project, to benefit my students in many different ways.

I had joined Twitter a while ago and to be honest wasn’t that taken with it.  I kind of felt it was more for letting people what you were doing.  I didn’t (and still don’t) think anyone cares that I went to the grocery store and then the gym, so I didn’t use it.  What I failed to realize is that it is a great way to communicate ideas and gather resources from other educators around the world.  After the first session I tried to put up articles that I had read and found interesting to see what other people thought, and it was awesome to get some conversation going, especially with our new report card and the article that I found denouncing the report card as a whole.  It was perfect timing.  I also posted a couple questions to the twitter world with regards to some resources I was hoping to use.  Within minutes in both cases I had an answer.  It was incredible. Even though we are all so busy with report cards, parents, sports teams, etc I know that I am going to try and utilize this tool more and more.

As for moving on and what I hope to gain from this experience, I think that I am trying to keep an open mind and roll with the punches to use a cliche.  I am interested in what there is to learn and excited to implement it into my classroom as much as possible.

Learning Leader Project

I love my iPad!  I have to admit, it took over my life and sleep for the first few weeks into the project – now that the novelty has worn off a bit, I can appreciate it for what it is, a learning tool.  I have learned that it can be a tool that can connect me with whatever I want to know, it can connect me to people around the world and it can capture the joy in a student’s face when the bread that started as a lump of dough turns into a beautiful creation!

Technology can be great, but it is still very important for us to “do”.  Maybe it’s because of what I teach (CTS-Foods), maybe it’s because I’ve been teaching forever, but you can’t take away what we can create with our hands.  Whether it’s a sculpture, a wood cabinet, or a loaf of bread, we are still learning.

Learning Leader Begins

Two weeks ago if you would have asked me about Twitter, I would have told you that it’s just another form of “social networking” and that I didn’t have time for “one more thing”!  Over the past week, I’ve discovered quite the opposite and am proud to report that I have progressed from “lurker” to…well, I’m not really sure what I am in the Twitter world yet, but I’m no lurker!

I’m amazed at just how much information and availability of resources can be found on Twitter.  Over the period of just a week, I have acquired more  knowlege in “tweets and re-tweets” than I could have imagined; from Hurricane Sandy to Tourette’s Syndrome, from not using tests as principal evaluations to corny Halloween jokes.  Of course as an educator, having access to new “pedagogy” and having a plethora of resources literally at my finger tips, is what stands out to me the most – I can see how this form of networking has the potential to really help me grow as a professional!

I haven’t got it all figured out yet though.  I don’t really understand how you can have a true conversation when you are limited to 140 characters.  I also haven’t figured out how to really carry on a meaningful conversation either…and can the conversation really be meaningful when you don’t even “know” the person you are having the conversation with?  These are just a few of the questions I’m hoping I’ll have an answer to (or at least come to peace with) as I “tweet” away!

Next step…using my own classroom blog for something other than a glorified homework board.

Follow me: @Esthervb74  (I’m guessing I probably didn’t even use the correct “Twitter lingo” for that…but I do know that @Esthervb74 is my “handle”…and I’m pretty darn proud of that!)

Teaching in the 21st Century with a 20th Century Model

The learning leaders course is an excellent opportunity to connect with educators within Parkland School Division (PSD) and all over the globe. As a 2nd year teacher I am very excited to solidify my own teaching style. A philosophy that I hope to never lose is connecting/sharing resources, ideas and knowledge to further develop the learning of students. However, “cherry-picking” from different educators isn’t a new concept at all; in fact, I am constantly reminded that “teaching is all about recreating what has already been created.” A skill that I am learning daily.

Seth Godin explained the educational history of the western world in the 20th century in his video clip” Stop Stealing Dreams.” I have been pondering his explanation of the “industrial model of education” and can’t help to think that education needs to adjust to a model that is NOT just about efficiency, order and obedience. Now, the 21st century, skill-based projects and inquiry research projects helps move away from this 20th century teaching. However I am curious, to what extent should we move away from the 20th century model where order, efficiency, and obedience are the primary role of education? Are these skills not valued anymore?

I am sure I will develop a solid answer to this question as continue through my educational journey. Let me know what you think? @Ferzlig


Starting the process- Learning Leader Session #1

This morning for the first Learning Leader meeting, we watched the Seth Godin video, “Stop Stealing Dreams”. Seth talks about how education began and what the status quo has been for a long time. No matter how education came into being or how it has evolved, it should be pretty obvious, especially to educators, that it does not work for everybody.

So, what do we do for those learners who have said it didn’t work for them or those students of ours our are already saying that? I think that as educators, we should move towards looking at how to meet the needs of 21st century learners. I feel like learning in the 21st century is very different from learning that occurred in the past. Once upon a time, people didn’t have the access to information that is currently available.  As as student in the current system not even 15 years ago, I was limited by what my schools had to offer and I was limited by what my parents had to offer. My parents had lots of books and exposed us to lots of ideas, but it was still limited. The schools tried to offer a glimpse of diversity but that diversity was still limited. Libraries are great but they are still a limited resource because they do not contain access to every single idea or every single piece of information available. Even when you add up the access provided by schools and parents and libraries, there was still a finite amount of information available.

Fast forward to today. The amount of ideas and information that are available with the click of a mouse button are seemingly infinite. If there is an idea or a person that I disagree with, I don’t have to discuss those differences. I can simply click to another site or do another search until I find something that supports what I think. There is no mechanism where we learn to tolerate differences let alone explore those differences. I think that is a unique challenge faced by 21st century learners. It is not something that has been a problem before because when you are in a classroom or in a static location you are sort of forced to explore those differences. Even if you don’t fully explore them, you are still sharing the same physical space. I think more attention needs to be given to how to share the same virtual space because the lines between virtual communication and real life communication are being blurred at a staggering rate.

Young people have a different attitude about technology than older people do. A lot of older people are leery of technology and are not comfortable with it, and I had even been reluctant to ‘make the jump’ to Twitter until I TRIED it. Kids that are growing up today are what is known as digital natives. There has never been a time in their lives when they have not had computers as part of the scenery. There has never been a time when they have not been able to go online. Learning how to use a mouse and keyboard is something that they learn early on. I know that my 2 1/2 year old niece is already quite proficient with an iPhone and now that the district has given me an iPad for this project, she’s added iPad to her limited vocabulary! She can navigate to her favorite apps using the folders on both devices that I have set up for her. Watching her play and learn so quickly has me wondering if the role of the teacher shouldn’t be evolving just as quickly…@JanelleLongpre #psd70

learning leaders session 1

After walking out of the learning leaders workshop with so much information floating around in my head I really didn’t know what to think.  As always I am on the lookout for amazing apps that will help both me and the people I work with grow.  Twitter, blogs and hootsuite were places I had never ventured, not exactly sure why, time maybe.  Now that I need to play with these I am hoping that I can learn a lot more about them.  Our children are kids of the future and their future involves all the things that we still struggle to understand.  My 22 month old granddaughter is more familiar with iPhones and iPads than a lot of the people that I know.  She is just a small part of what is going to be our future students in the schools.

I have definitely stepped out of my comfort zone after the first learning leaders session but the challenge here will be to share this step with others.  Having people to talk to about how to do this and where is truly instrumental in my journey.  Watching how the teachers and students rise to the challenge will be very eye opening and I am quite sure inspiring as well.  Kids have a way of doing that for us.





Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone

I came home from our first Learning Leader session extremely excited. I often miss the university context where learning was my focus, and am thrilled at the invitation to be engaging more as a professional learner. As a second year teacher, the learning curve still feels somewhat steep for me in my career, but this project has framed that learning as more of an opportunity and collaborative process.

There’s an image that has been floating around Pinterest this month about “the magic” that takes place only outside of our comfort zones. While I truly believe that we need to play to our strengths as teachers, and hope that my students would say that they are impacted by my science instruction where I feel most comfortable, I think there is some truth to this notion. With a new wealth of connections to educators around the world and access to innumerable online resources, there is so much potential outside of my comfort zone.

I look forward to challenging myself this year as a teacher and a learner. I am quite comfortable being an online “lurker” as George would label me, absorbing content from Pinterest, Twitter, and blogs. What takes me out of my comfort zone is posting ideas on Twitter without knowing if I will have an audience, and limiting my often verbose writing to 140 characters. I am intimidated by the thought of Skyping with experts and other classes, and sharing my (sometimes strong) opinions on this blog, but I want to push myself in those areas because I believe it will be worth it.

I have already experienced some of that exhilaration that stems from stepping outside my comfort zone. I was doing a happy dance down the hallways of my house on Thursday after receiving Tweets from a couple of educators who I admire, and after exchanging thoughts on technology with my colleagues. This is why I am passionate about being an educator. There is so much space in this profession to be creative, to push myself and my students as learners, and explore possibilities for learning and growth. I feel privileged to belong to a school division that not only encourages but equips its teachers to engage in lifelong learning professionally.

Cait Barker (@caitjane)

Response to a Tweet

I feel grateful to be involved in a group that believes we as educators need to always be learning and discovering.  I love that I am working in a school division gives us the time to connect and learn to continue being life long learners.

Yesterday was my second introduction to Twitter, and thankfully it is starting to really make sense, I am beginning to see the value in Twitter for me as an educator.  I opened up my Twitter account today, and there right in the column “Mentions” was a comment to me from someone I didn’t even know, someone I wasn’t even following (thanks @gcouros), about something I had tweeted! We had a little debate back and forth about whether obedience belongs in the classroom, or whether a classroom should operate based on mutual respect.  I still believe what I initially tweeted, but I love a good debate, and I am an optimist, maybe he sees it my way now:).

Initially I tweeted because I was encouraged to do so, but with the amount of reflection I have been doing since that one reply, I am certain Twitter will be a valuable tool in helping me as a learner as well as an educator. @NealleDickson


I am reflecting on what I think is a pretty cool idea.  Well, at least for me it seems pretty cool. Being pretty new to the profession of teaching I have so much to learn and am so excited that I have been soaking up every tidbit of information about education I can get my hands on. I am lucky enough have some amazing mentors in my corner.  I am connected to some great professional learning communities online through sites like Twitter, Ted Talks, Zite, and Pinterest.  I have deep philosophical discussions with friends and colleagues that are just as passionate about this stuff as I am.  I have read articles and blogs from some of the best educators in the world.  I share the really good ideas with my friends or on twitter or in emails.  Once and awhile there is even a heated debate on a topic that gets me pretty fired up. All these things engage me, they create an incredible learning environment for me and they fuel the passion I feel for my profession as an educator and as a lifelong learner.

In fact, the more I sit here and reflect on it, the more its seems pretty simple and why I never made this connection until today is beyond me. Why are we not engaging our students, our communities and our families the same way?  Sharing knowledge and skills will make huge impacts on our students’ learning and the only way to share is to connect to someone.  Sharing what happens in our classrooms by connecting with families will create discussions at home that are similar to the ones students are having at school. Making our students’ work public and connecting them to a real audience will provide purpose, engagement and excitement.  Creating communities of student experts and connecting them with their peers builds leaders and mentors. It all boils down to connecting learners with each other.  It really does not matter how they connect its just important that connections are made; the more connections made the faster and deeper the learning will be. It is this exact reason why social media is such a great learning tool.

The biggest reason I am starting to blog is to find another way to connect.  I want to connect with other educators so I can learn and share with them, I want to connect with students so that they can see how and what I have been learning, and I want to connect with parents so they can see why their child is so excited about a school project.  The connections I have made with people over the last few years have taught me so much and I am so grateful for what I have gained. It is only fair that we connect our students to this way of learning as well.

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