In April 2015 I was fortunate to be involved in a movement worldwide that gave a new definition to connected educator. My Twitter friends were gaining momentum and adding a platform to their social media swag called VOXER. It was such an amazing few months when VOXER appear on the scene. VOXER gave personality and voice to TWITTER like never before. Rather than tweeting a question we were able to post a voice message in a chat room that then was answered by multiple professionals from a variety of background adding instant depth to my Physical Education Curriculum. Personally I started connecting with my International Colleagues that I had recently engaged with at the SHAPE Seattle conference. I was invited in multiple chat rooms that ranged from Primary School Chat to Excellence in Tech. All lead by some of my Twitter Friends who I admired for their leadership. As I engaged I also noted the lack of local colleagues that were in these chat rooms as well as the separation between different inter-continental curriculums that at time hindered the take up of information.
My passion and drive lead me to the conclusion that as a professional I had a chance to create some unique and different in Australia that had never been done before after which the AUSSIE PHYSED CHAT was born. I encouraged two close colleagues to download the App onto their iPhones and instantly we connected on a more personal level. At this stage one of these colleagues I had never met in person. Voxer had created a link that connected three Physical Education departments in three different schools. We spoke of goals and lessons we were conducting and even had students engage with one another through posting short videos and asking for student led feedback.
The momentum slowly grew through the excitement of my colleagues and were we started with 3 rapidly grew to 9 which exploded to 27. We currently have listed 108 educators of Australian origin active on VOXER in the Aussie PhysEd Chat. The conversations were rapid, explosive and exciting. They entertained and challenged our practises. We have our theorists, practical educators, school leaders, Principals, corporate business owners, experienced teachers, graduate teachers as well as pre-service teachers all connecting on a variety of topics.
The groups excitement grew as we headed into both the Tasmania State Achper Conference and the Victoria Achper two day conference in November where the Voxer Members would meet in person for the first time. This was a surreal moment for those that connected as we had moved from a Twitter handle to a voice and now a physical presence in Physical Education. Both conferences allowed those there to give voice and video access to the Aussie PhysEd Chat via messages which had an exciting flow on affect to all involved. It allowed those not able to visit a chance to still be connected to the conference and receive the benefits of the professional learning so that their students were not left out.
In 2016 Aussie PhysEd Chat recognised that the volume of content being delivered everyday actually had the adverse affect of some teachers and as a result would disconnect from the group. Therefore we realigned what we were doing to create a variety of Aussie Physed Chat rooms to appeal on a differentiated level. These included:
As the creator of the Aussie PhysEd Chat I acknowledge that this passion by all educators had now grown larger than I had time for and I was not able to lead every channel. I created a Facilitators group(leadership team) from around the country that I had appointed as the Heads of each of the Chat Rooms to be able to guide the direction of the chat and lead educators to the change they are searching for.
As a facilitator group we are in the process now of developing a set of values and practises that we will then use to lead our own groups and create a connected platform that is unique and engaging. Educators are able to acknowledge their purpose and understand that their views and opinions are valued not judged. Within this facilitator group made of some of the most experienced and passionate educators across Australia we have three advisors who are there to offer advice and support to each of the Heads.
Some of our notable achievements so far as a network has to be:
The Aussie PhysEd Chat Voxer group are represented in each State and Territory within Australia as well as Singapore, China and Canada. The core connection is simply being passionate.
If you want to be involved in the Aussie PhysEd Chat please visit the following:
Top 5 Reasons VOXER needs to be on your device:
Number 5- Turn your 1 person show into a multi person show
Number 4- Allows you to demonstrate the word COLLABORATION
Number 3- Provides you with a look into someone else’s classroom
Number 2- Helps develop your passion for sharing and receiving
Number 1- CONNECTS you with like minded educators from anywhere in the world.
Sometimes it is well worth letting a blog share with you emotions without words.
My daughter send me this youtube clip of Ezra Frech and it touched my heart as a teacher.
This week I am using the 'Power of Provocation' (Thanks Andy Vasily) with my students to reset their ideal of what they can do with what they have and not what they 'Can't Do'.
Thanks Ezra Frech for the inspiration and motivation to send a powerful message to my students.
I have been so fortunate to meet so many amazing educators over the past 6 weeks. One of those was Joey Feith (The PHYSICAL EDUCATOR). Joey has recently blogged about myself on his website series 'How I teach'.
Thanks Joey- Great to connect and share. Every day is like Disneyland!!
Check out the post by clicking here:
I read a cool article that Joey Feith wrote on creating GIFs then inserting into a Google Form. I enjoyed the process and followed the instructions. The result was pretty cool and I can now give students an action to reflect upon which will change the way I use Google Forms yet again.
I love this stuff.
Check out the post by clicking here
BURP IT ON" IS A PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROJECT STARTED BY GRADE 5/6 STUDENTS AT DESERONTO PUBLIC SCHOOL IN ONTARIO, CANADA. THE "BURPING" HAS BEGUN (JAN. 12, 2015)! SPREAD THE WORD FAR AND WIDE!!!
Check out Deseronto Public School website here: http://burpiton.weebly.com/
I have designed an unofficial Burp It On World Championship involving the following schools:
Each school as a team leader who will be pumping students up to complete as many Burp It On Challenges as they can between Monday 13th April and Friday 24th April.
Teachers will log the number of students who have achieved the challenge on a Google Form. You can view this form by clicking here
The challenge is:
100 Jumping Jacks
3 Mins of Wall sits
15 minute of running, jogging and/or jumping.
The Phys Ed Summit is an online collaborative conference that was developed by @physedogogy.
Check out the session timetable including the links to the Google Hangouts by clicking here
I was sitting in the middle of our school oval surrounded by tall pine trees on what was then a cracked concrete cricket pitch. I was with my classmates in Grade 4. My PE teacher back then was a wind surfing kombi van driving, long blonde haired teacher called Mr. Constable. I recall him be so easy going and gentle in nature. We had PE back then once a fortnight and Mr. Constable was an area PE teacher covering 10 schools. Our school was the largest in the district with 63 students. He was instructing us on how to perform the scissor jump in high jump. Our high jump pit doubled as the sand pit at recess times and the bar we were jumping was the zebra striped metal triangle bar. Quick instructions were given and we watch as Mr. Constable demonstrated the scissor jump, his hair going everywhere as he performed the desired action he was asking of us. We then moved left or right depending on which side we were more comfortable jumping from. The majority of the class moved to the right hand side of the area. One at a time we jumped, successful or not, we then returned to the back of the line. After an hour we were done and ready to return to class. Despite only jumping a handful of times in the hour this class was easily my favourite class all week. My early memories of Primary and Secondary school all involve Physical Education or Sport classes. Upon reflection Mr. Constable had a major impact on what direction my life was going to take in the future.
I look back at that lesson and match it up against the same lesson I teach on High Jump this year. There are very similar characteristics in both lessons. Mr. Constable and myself had similar theories on teaching PE; self-discovery, feedback and challenging students were evident in both of us despite being 30 years apart in lesson deliveries. I wonder what Mr. Constables lesson would have been like if he had access to Ipads for Video Delay feedback or slow motion vision for students to see their performance match against an elite athlete? I ponder at how his lessons from 30 years ago may have felt like if he had access to 3 different areas to teach the one lesson, a high jump mat for frosby flop, a small mat for scissors jump and a mini tramp to teach students how to land on their upper backs. How revolutionary would he have been for his time! Fast forward to 2015 and as I am preparing my Athletics Unit and thinking about how to teach high jump effectively, I am challenging myself to set up different areas for smaller group work all equipped with Ipads for quick reflection and instant replay of performances. Students will be seeing unit goals display on the white boards and will know explicitly how to be successful in the unit. They will have a clear vision on the different stages of skill attainment of the required task and will be able to assess themselves and their peers accurately and constructively.
Teaching Physical Education to me in the year 2015 has had a face-lift from my first teaching appointment at Black Hill Primary School in Ballarat. As a Graduate University student back then you were given a position and left to teach the subject with as much knowledge that you were able to acquire at University. I think back to that appointment and wished I knew what I know now. I think I was quite fortunate in the following years as I had a Principal in my second school that was very supportive and inspirational. He was a Physical Education enthusiast as well and gave me the direction and guidance I required to start making a difference. Life was great. I was heavily involved in sport outside of teaching but then was getting paid to be involved in sport for a career.
It is great to reflect on where I have started and what has helped shape my career in Physical Education but to me the greatest impact on my career has been in the past 5 years. Sitting in my office as a single PE teacher can be a lonely place. Self-motivation plays a heavy factor in quality of lessons. For me I needed to connect with others, I needed to expand my office and find like-minded PE teachers to talk shop with. Other PE teachers and myself would always meet to discuss sport but never curriculum. It was for many years a hidden secret in many schools as to what was taught and how it was taught for personal reasons I guess. Connecting with other PE teachers locally became my goal for this particular year and I found the easiest way to start this was by providing professional development to get teachers engaged as a starting point. We started with 12 PE teachers then and formed a Professional Learning Team.
What was evident from that first PD was that I had a group of teachers in front of me that were hungry for motivation and guidance. They too were finding it hard being the only PE mind in their schools. The light bulb went off during this PD and I knew then that my energy and enthusiasm not only had a benefit for the students under my direct teaching but also to the teachers of other schools and the flow on affect was the teaching of their students. This has become one of my main goals in my teaching and professional developments. By making my teaching and learning visible to others then provided them with the guidance to ensure that high quality lessons were taught to their students within their own schools. My goal was that no child should miss out on high-level instruction because their PE teacher was not in the know. Providing less experienced PE teachers with the complete package created starting points for them to set about exploring different styles and methods of teaching. It created a movement of open classrooms for PE teachers. Not being afraid to share and a willingness to assist others through guidance and observation has lead me to a new level of importance of being a Physical Education teacher. It was after this initial PD and formation of a PE PLT on a local basis I became hungry for fresh ideas and more relevant initiatives that assisted children to learn and grow in Physical Education post year 2010. The game had shifted and as PE teachers we needed to shift with it.
The single most important game changer for me was in 2011 when I joined Twitter and eventually found #pegeeks and #pechat. These two important #s opened up a world of free quality professional development delivered by PE teachers across the globe. Fresh new initiatives were a plenty and I must admit gave me a headache trying to find the perfect fit for my goals in my own classes but also for me as a professional. The information that I was able to obtain from Twitter allowed me to present and trial in my own classes and effective or ineffective, gave me conversations locally and across the globe about quality PE. From the beginning of 2011 to the end of 2011, my PE office had expanded from 1 to countless PE teachers all striving to teach the ultimate lesson. As soon as you think you have the latest style of teaching that makes a difference you discover that someone else is teaching in a style that adds extra value again to your program. Layering the lesson and layering the curriculum is a phrase I use often in Professional Developments now. This refers to the simple art of adding quality to the lessons that you deliver. My students are the lucky recipients of my Twitter endeavours and are now fortunate to be involved in high quality learning experiences that teach them to take risks, analyse performance, give feedback, repeat skills, use skills across a range of sports and make use of ICT to apply their skills to a range of APPS that are on the market. Because of Twitter and global connections, no longer is PE one dimensional at Leopold PS rather it takes on a form that is quite universal. It is exciting to be involved in and I enjoy finding a new initiative that will form my next layer of excellence.
Just this past few months I have turned to ‘Voxer’ and am involved in a Physical Education group from across the globe discussing ideas in Physical Education. The pleasing thing about all of the above is that initially I started as an observer on Twitter feeling that I could be rewarded by watching and learning. As time went on I felt more comfortable about my position as an educator on the global stage and found myself involved in discussions contributing with my experiences that other PE teachers then can use in their classroom. I am not sure how many schools I have may have had an impact on by helping shape their curriculum through my sharing of best practices but I do know that through this global PE community my curriculum is formulated using at least 20 other PE teachers best practices. A recent highlight for me has been the successful application to be involved in the Physed Summit 2.0. This is a free online Professional Development built for PE teachers. I am presenting as part of a round table discussion on Elementary Assessment during PE lessons. This summit uses Google hangouts to broadcast live across the globe. I will be joined with 5 other PE teachers from different countries. The Physed Summit is presented by http://physedagogy.com/.
This year I get to tick off a career goal of mine by travelling to Seattle, Washington State and attending the Shape America, National Physical Education Conference. I have had this on my wish list for several years and will spend 5 days at the conference as well as visiting several schools around the Seattle area. Through Twitter connections I am sharing a room with a colleague from Chicago and will meet up with many of the #pegeeks that I regularly collaborate with. Setting goals and achieving dreams is what teaching PE is all about. I was often referred to when I was young as having my head in the clouds but I am living a life where dreaming big and having huge goals brings out the best in my students and myself. Being self-motivated to achieve in a position that can be lonely at times is extremely important. Set goals that you can achieve but set large goals as well that may take some time to achieve. These goals keep you motivated. Fellow teachers and friends have often called me ‘The ideas Man’. This is a phrase that I have heard over and over throughout my career. Dreaming big and thinking of how to make that next big impact keeps my teaching fresh. Knowing that I have a job that I can make dreams and goals into reality means that the depth of what I can achieve is only limited to how far I can stretch my imagination. I am fortunate to have an outstanding staff that allows me to trial new initiatives to groups of students and across the whole school. A recent example of this was the Leopold Mini Mudda. This can be viewed via my website. The single most important thing I learnt about myself in the past 5 years is being confident in my own ability as a PE teacher and knowing that my passion for Physical Education has remained the same as my earliest memory. The only difference is that now instead of one lesson a fortnight I am involved in 50 lessons a fortnight.
For me being a PE teacher is one of the most important roles in a school. You teach as much about physical skills as you do about self-discovery. There is no better highlight during the week than seeing a student achieve a goal for the first time and be proud of themselves. My goal each week is for students to go home and tell their families about what they do in Physical Education. Like my open classroom initiative I have with fellow teachers, I give parents the same access to my classes. Welcoming them in and sharing in their child’s learning then creates conversations at home, which benefits the growth of their child physically and emotionally. Knocking down the barriers and making learning transparent has been one of the keys to success in my program.
Across the past three years I have been fortunate to work closely with ACHPER and ACHPER Victoria and have been successful in presenting many key Victorian based workshops to other PE teachers. Dr. Bernie Holland has been a great inspiration and keeps pushing the boundaries for me to work towards. He has done a wonderful job forming a team of presenters across a wide background of experiences yet are joined by their love for PE. As a teacher reading this article and thinking that you have something worthy of sharing, my recommendation is to put your ideas into a PowerPoint and approach ACHPER and your local branch and see where they can fit you in. Your knowledge is valuable and if it only assists in one other teacher then you have influenced the PE program for another school population. I have presented at several ACHPER Conferences and in 2014 co-presented with Ashlea Mills. The two presentations we did were both collaborated online using Google Drive and we didn’t actually meet face to face until 30 minutes prior to presentation number one. The power of Google and Twitter was evident in this instance.
The work with ACHPER has led to school visits by other teacher to see my program and indirectly the profile of my school has risen. My Principal loves seeing other schools wanting to take home a little slice of Leopold PS to help with their own school development. Collaboration at its highest level! I keep her in the know with the structure of Physical Education and believe the key to my success and having my Principals confidence in my decisions is again the transparency of my program. She can walk in and see learning intentions visible on the walls and can ask any student what is the goal of the session and students can answer with confidence.
The title of this blog post was ‘Why Teach PE?’- I teach PE because I thrive on seeing students succeed through goal orientated curriculums. I teach PE because it challenges me to devise the ultimate lesson that encourages students to take risks. I teach PE because it allows me to ‘Keep my head in the clouds’ and dream big. I teach PE because the world is my Professional Development background. I teach PE because my theories can now, through online collaboration, indirectly influence the learning of students on the other side of the world.
To me PE is not a job, it is a lifestyle that keeps me motivated and energised everyday.
An idea was presented to me at the beginning of October by one of our school council members. They wanted to revamp the physical fundraiser of the year and give it some energy that would see the kids wanting more when they have finished. Mini Mudda was born on that day at Leopold PS. On that day if was I was see the future unfolded, I would not have imagined the success that was ahead of me.
I must be honest the first week I was trying to reign in my thoughts and initial sketches to a design that would see inclusion of 150 runners at the same time. My initial course saw obstacles stretched over 900 metres. I was working solo on this event, gathering ideas for many events that I have participated in and trying to design obstacles that would challenge but also bring a lot of laughter and joy. Many years ago I designed an adventure race for children that catering for 800 runners so when I found my event management plan for this event I was back on track with obstacles that would suitable for Primary aged children.
Mondays afternoons were spent at a recycling yard in Geelong who kindly donated their time and effort to help me find equipment worthy of Mini Mudda status. Along with this a visit or two to a car tyre centre saw 50 used tyres make their way to the top of Geelong.
Finally I was able to confirm the obstacles for the event. A 20 metre slip and slide, army crawl net and tyre run, giant inflatable slide, 15 metre mud pit, mini swimming pools, a mud slip and slide, tunnel navigation and a small run back to the start. The course was 400 metres in total.
The participation from the students was designed around an endurathon. Students had 40 minutes allocated to run as many laps as they could. We are a school of 800 students from Prep-6 and allowing 40 minutes per Year level allowed only one year level at a time on the course, which was perfect.
We were successful in gaining support once again from our parents association who manned the obstacles and catered for students safety, at the same time ensuring children were as muddy and as wet as possible.
The success of the event was beyond what I set out to achieve. Once children had finished they wanted to know what date in 2015 the event was going to be. The Principal of the school proudly acknowledged this event at our recent Graduation and stated "The Mini Mudda was the single most rewarding day of her high performing career". (Her resume is lengthy with senior roles in Regional Centres).
The following is a recount from the Geelong Advertiser of the event:
(WORDS: ALISON APRHYS)
NEARLY 800 children at Leopold Primary
School got down and dirty at their Mini
Mudda event last Friday.
Based on the gruelling adventure sport
known as Tough Mudda, Leopold’s event was
less daunting but enormous fun and resulted
in more than 3000km being covered during
the day, organiser Andy Hair said.
“A large body of staff and parents assisted
in the build process that involved seven
obstacles, which included a slippery slide,
army crawl net and tyre run, giant slide,
tunnels and crawl nets, knee-high swimming
pools and the almighty mud pit,” he said.
“About 780 students rotated throughout
the day and participated in a 40-minute Mini
Mudda Endurathon, in which they were free
to do as many laps as possible.”
Hair said older children ran in groups or ran
alone, while the younger children were
accompanied by their buddies.
“They performed Superman dives on the
slip and slide while being soaked by hoses,
they went down low on the army crawl nets,
slid through the tunnels and splashed and
belly-flopped their way through the baby
pools,” he said.
“However the largest crowds of the day
were always focused around the mud pit,
which provided lots of laughter and
entertainment as students in many grades
were joined by their teachers who let their
hair down for the day and acted like big kids,
often finding themselves muddier and
wetter than their students.”
When teachers and parents took on the
course at lunchtime, it was time for the
children to get the last laugh.
“They took on the course in a two-lap allout
sprint,” Hair said.
“Up for grabs were bragging rights as to
who was the fastest mudda of the year and a
specially crafted trophy representing power
Hair said Hayden Marshall proved the best
male teacher and Narelle Foster was the best
female teacher of the day.
“This event was a major fundraiser for the
school and the parent association led by
Alison Merrett was instrumental in
supporting myself to build this unique event
that saw 500 family members join their
children at school during the day,” Hair said.
“In all the students ran more than 3000km
across the day and raised a great deal of
money which will be used to support student
learning across the school.”
The success was evident with many
students wanting a firm date for the 2015
This event exceeded my expectations and challenged my event management skills but was one of the single most rewarding experiences of my career. 2015 is just around the corner and along with the Leopold Mini Mudda taking place again we are set to run an Interschool Championships in November. I have fielded many emails and tweets about this event and am confident that Leopold will be joined by many schools next year digging up their playgrounds and transforming them into giant mud pits......