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SAVING PE and PHYSICAL ACTIVITY NOTES

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COMMUNICATIONS FOR PARENTS :
Understanding the Difference
   IS IT PHYSICAL EDUCATION OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?
With heightened attention on childhood obesity prevention efforts, there
seems to be some confusion between the terms "physical education" and
"physical activity."  Often the words are used interchangeably but they
differ in important ways. Understanding the difference between the two
is critical to understanding why both contribute to the development of
healthy, active children.   I believe every child at our school deserves
both a quality physical education and physical activity program.
 
Our school physical education program offers the best opportunity to
provide physical activity to all children and to teach them the skills
and knowledge needed to establish and sustain an active lifestyle.
Physical education teachers assess student knowledge, motor and social
skills, and provide instruction in a safe, supportive environment.  The
National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends
that schools provide 150 minutes of instructional physical education for
elementary school children, and 225 minutes for middle and high school
students per week for the entire school year. Based on sequence of
learning, physical education should not be compared to or confused with
other physical activity experiences such as recess, intramurals, or
recreational endeavors.
 
              A quality physical education program provides learning
opportunities, appropriate instruction, meaningful and challenging
content for all children, and should include: =20
 
Opportunity to Learn:
 
  Instructional periods totaling 150 minutes per week
(elementary) and 225 minutes per week (middle and high school)
 
Qualified physical education teachers providing a
developmentally appropriate program
 
Teacher/student ratio in physical education no greater than
1:25 (elementary) and (1:30 middle/high) for optimal instruction
(similar to other classroom settings)
 
Adequate equipment and facilities for all students to be
active at the same time
 
  Appropriate Instruction:
 
Full inclusion of all students
 
Maximum participation and ample practice opportunities for
class activities
Well-designed lessons that facilitate student learning
 
Out of school assignments that support learning and practice
of learned skills
 
Appropriate discipline and class management (physical
activity should never be used as punishment)
 
Use of regular assessment to monitor and reinforce student
learning
 
Meaningful Content:
 
Instruction in a variety of motor skills that are designed to
enhance the physical, mental, and social/emotional development of every
child
 
  Fitness education and assessment to help children understand,
improve and/or maintain their physical well-being
 
Development of cognitive concepts about motor skill and
fitness
 
Opportunities to improve emerging social and cooperative
skills through physical activity and gain a multi-cultural perspective
 
Promotion of recommended amounts of physical activity now and
throughout life
 
Physical activity is bodily movement of any type and may include
recreational, fitness and sport activities such as jumping rope, playing
soccer, lifting weights, as well as daily activities such as walking to
the store, taking the stairs or raking the leaves.  Similar health
benefits to those received during a physical education class are
possible during physical activity bouts when the participant is active
at an intensity that increases heart rate and produces heavier than
normal breathing. NASPE recommends school-age children accumulate at
least 60 minutes and up to several hours of physical activity per day
while avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity.
 
            Opportunities to accumulate physical activity during the
school day include time spent in physical education class,
classroom-based movement, recess, walking or biking to school, and
recreational sport and play that occurs before, during, and after
school.  Parents and grandparents are urged to get active with their
children.   The benefits of regular physical activity include:
 
Reduces the risk for overweight, diabetes and other chronic
diseases
 
Assists in improved academic performance
 
Helps children feel better about themselves
 
Reduces the risk for depression and the effects of stress
 
Helps children prepare to be productive, healthy members of
society and
 
Improves overall quality of life.
 
This school year I would like to encourage everyone to visit your
child's physical education class, the cornerstone of an active lifestyle
for all students. You will see children participating in developmentally
appropriate activities that help increase their physical competence,
self-esteem, and enjoyment of physical activity no matter what their
physical abilities may be. I want every child to embrace physical
activity!
 
         
 
 

SAVING P.E.
In the latest issue of PE LINKS4U , Steve Jefferies noted , “ The end . No further justification needed. But , how to explain to others. That is the question that needs answering.” Of course , he was talking about saving P.E.
The main proposition is that there needs to be a leadership model to justify P.E. and that is at all levels. It goes far beyond comparing with the core subjects . The public must be notified of what we do and recognize the fact what the parents and administration experienced in their youth is only part of the dilemma .
There are TV ads and all forms of media such as , the NFL60 and Michelle Obama’s exploits , and the obesity issue , which adds to our countries debt of billions of dollars a year . Why isn’t that enough to change laws and why aren’t the politicians listening? And, who really cares ?
A better question is , are there experienced , dedicated teachers to help with that process . ( Yes, but are outweighed by the uninformed ) How do we send that information to those teachers and school districts that have no clue what P.E. has become in the 21st century .
When I was teaching and later as the Department Head , it was understood that (WE) were all on the same page . That is , you could go to any elementary PE class and we were all doing the same thing. In the middle and high schools, there was a curriculum mapping process that was carried over from all levels , in a sequential process , so there wasn’t any repetition . This sequential approach was set up according to state and national standards. In the present day , since PE meetings have been eliminated and the role of the Department Head is just a figure head , if at all , other than disbursement of equipment and scheduling. After talking with a past colleague it was noted ,” I hate it now , too much busy work and duties , less prep and no direction.” This was from a school that was nationally known , even though it was many years ago .
Along those same lines , there was always presentations to showcase what was done in PE classes. What a great way to show the public and school board the activities and concerns for a healthy lifestyle. All of this advocacy will take more than state associations. It is up to us individually . After a fiery speech and gung-go attitude at conventions ,it still behooves (us) to be the light at the end of the tunnel .
Please believe me , I know the importance of state and national associations that have paved the way for all present and future teachers . They have our backs to disseminate information to save our livelihood .
It isn’t the PE4Life schools that are experiencing distress . Why ? These are the teachers who care and school districts and their representatives that are concerned for best practices in education and physical education is a great part of that . These people know how to work the system and know people who know other people , from superintendents to state and national officials along with exemplary companies and health systems to make the programs survive.
There are reasons some schools are given blue-ribbon status and others that only try to be a facsimile. It takes everybody working together , and the leadership that will make it happen. In addition , it takes hard working teachers who care more about others than themselves. This caring and empathy is a talent that will keep PE alive for years to come.
Why is it that after retirement and more so those teachers that are close to it are the ones included in the process of saving P.E. Of course , included in this is the younger generation who had mentors and universities that all believe in the same thing. This transition is vital in the life of every PE teacher in the country . Yes, we must keep up the fight at he highest level and have a person or group that will keep (us )informed of all that is happening .
For example , there has been a pension crisis in my state for all new and older teachers. Each week there were emails and letters to representatives to uphold the state law. Through everyone’s efforts and thousands of letters , the problem was put on hold. Now! The next fight is vouchers. All these messages were heard and information was given for what to do . What will be our message ? Who gives it ? Or do (we) read about it and still clamor that something needs to be done while (we) are in quicksand.
Many years ago , these messages were distributed with other teachers in the PE-digest , which was highly successful . From there , the bond with teachers around the country was at its highest with the incredible sharing process. At about this time in the late 1990’s , there were software programs that could be used to chat , audio and video with other teachers . All were kept up to date on any new innovations or concerns . Even universities had their students share questions , and all seemed well . Unfortunately, a breakdown in service eliminated this vehicle and also many teachers were lost . Later , a new NASPE discussion group was formed , but even today in 2011 , it has lost its glamour and those teachers who contributed for many years , and with heaps of experience haven’t returned.
Recently , there is a breakaway group( PE1 ) of experienced teachers are looking to form a news advocacy and sharing with others. The format is in the early stages , but will be manned by both retired and caring teachers . Why is it that many of the contributors are still in the game , even through retirement ? Why? Because they care and want to share with others . They want to provide leadership .
Along those same lines , PE Central has devised a chat/blog that shares information to teachers . The contributors are well experienced teachers and educators who want to not only share , but also save P.E. How many people know about this ? Why not? How do we tell others ? Maybe a tweet or a comment from Facebook will spread through the social networking process in a spider-like web of contacts that can be the glue to bond others to become aware. Are we our own worst enemies ? Only time will tell . The fight is in our corner and hopefully (we) will still be standing long after the bell . PE has taken a standing (8) count , but we’re not out yet . One more punch by everybody just might do the trick .
Or we can listen to our students . Find out what they enjoy and run with it. Isn't PE supposed to be fun ! Children have grown up with games and learned from them. Maybe this is a way we can instill interest in those students who need that extra zip to get them to be involved.
Find ways during and after the school day and explore ways to get into their heads so they can transfer it to their bodies. It will be a slow process , but well worth it. It all starts with the first step and a little enthusiasm , empathy and understanding.
Make sure to choose activities that have meaning to them. Include media and some of the gadgets they have from an Iphone and Wii system to music , TV and movies. Maybe even give them a chance to show you how its done and give them ownership , of course, with your guidance , which included rules and respect for others.
Finally , at about this time , and on many TV stations , such as CNN and daily newspapers , it is well noted that the economic crunch without a stimulus will wreak havoc with school districts. The news service is reporting lay-offs for teachers as a way to curb spending or at least see that taxes aren’t raised to further the chaos in education .
Add the push for vouchers and the turmoil against public education and its failing schools , will provide a spark that may ignite an upheaval that hasn’t been planned for in the budgets of poor or average schools in performance standards. Something has to go and it appears that PE and other non-core subjects will fill the noose tighten in a fight to the finish line.
This should come as no surprise to the educational process and the cry for development of the whole child. Many schools and teachers have prepared with advocacy and exemplary programs. They have kept pace with all the necessary elements of a blue ribbon school . And , they have exhibited all the tools inherent to showcase their school , teachers , students and programs that meets a very high standard.
As previously mentioned , too many people just don’t get it and are unaware what gym?(PE4me) really is all about . These just may be the school board members or students that played dodge ball all day (and got blasted) ; waited in long lines , hated the uniforms , or were made fun of and disrespected. Part of that blame must be tossed toward the teachers, too . They took the easy way out and were a “roll out the ball type.”
I have always stayed with the mantra , “ Nobody from off the streets can do what I’m doing or has the experience , knowledge , empathy ,and cares about the needs of the students more than I could.” The bottom line is to fight in the trenches , share with others and advocate P.E. to an ultimate level . The “cut” will be deep very soon , but when we as physical educators bleed , it won’t be blood , it will be the many experiences of dedicated teaching that will ooze off the playing fields and gyms for future teachers to remember we walked on the road less traveled and made a difference in a child’s life.