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Posted on Feb 06, 2011

Gathering Tools for the P.E. Toolbox

February 3, 2011 In late January, I attended a physical education teacher’s workshop in Los Angeles. The workshop was organized by the California Association of Independent Schools and over 60 P.E. teachers from across the state took part. Keynote presenter Mary Hirt is a former state and national Teacher of the Year recipient and currently teaches middle school P.E. at a Santa Monica public school–she is a recognized guru in the field. The workshop emphasized concepts and activities that maximize two key components of a physical education program: participation and the development of character and cooperation among students. Ms. Hirt also shared classroom management techniques as well as several warm-ups and sport skill lead-up games. A vivid highlight was our discussion of ways to avoid the physical education “Hall of Shame,” which includes allowing children to be “picked” last for teams, using fitness as punishment, not having enough equipment to share around, and focusing on star athletes. Teachers also learned how to help students become successful team members–a key life skill. I was excited to gather many new “tools” for our P.E. toolbox and have already been using some of the fun activities with our elementary school students. Physical education teachers are in a special position because the nature of play allows young participants to reveal their character–this provides us with a wonderful opportunity to teach and nurture values that last a lifetime. Ed Whelan P.E. Teacher
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