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Questions ,Answers and Ideas

Welcome to my new link called , NASPE Q & A . Here you will find commentary that was posted on the NASPE listserv . Many times messages don't make the list due to individual server problems . It is with that thought ,I will try to comment and enter various answers and ideas to help with the questions that will be posted.
You will be able to find all the answers in one place , but also there will be  a chance to add more comments on a personal basis . In this way , I will be able to post more answers and comments as an addition to the original message. Those entries will be posted in  a different color to serve notice of more comments.
Included in this new page will be more ways to communicate with teachers around the globe in the form of podcasts and other media such as blogs and school webpages. The podcasts are posted on my webpage by clicking on the blue badge . Next , use the drop down arrow to access past podcasts. This is done with an MP3 file that can be transferrred to any MP3 player , Itunes or downloaded or listened to in real time.
Be sure to look for ideas ,too. Some examples are how to make  a podcast , public relations and PE gems , which are tricks and techniques for your P.E. classes .
The first enrty will be an expose' on large classes :
The first order of business is to install a system with rules of decorum along with all procedures to follow for an emergency and to get their attention .This may come in the form of sign language , body language or just plain near whistle -like language. The students can be assigned grids (areas) for individual /partner activities and or color codes on the floor or markings made by the basketball and volleyball lines. With the earlier grade levels , it is necessary to keep things simple. If there is an aide available , it is important to be on the same page and that will require personal meetings to help with the dilemma. Within each grid or area, there should be students responsible for equipment . It all best scenarios there should be one per partner group or at least one for every three students. The best is to have one piece of equipment for each student ,but with close to 100 may be a push . This may also mean to make or use homemade or makeshift equipment. In an easier set up for volleyball skills , it is much easier to use balloons . They are both a cheaper and more successful attempt to teach appropriate skills. In this case , if you have "real" equipment , then volleyball trainers or plastic /type balls can be added and shared. Do what is called people movers ,which is when the equipment is used ,place it on the floor , move them to a different grid and use that equipment. In this way they get to use different types of equipment. In the primary grades , movement exploration and mimetics , along with locomotor skills will serve as a great way to keep them involved in fun and interesting activities. A great way to encourage a fun atmosphere is to include music and media such as TV ,movie and cartoons . For example , use the lines on the floor as Pacman lines of movement . Use locomotor skills to be done on the criss-cross lines of the basketball and volleyball boundaries. Play music such as Disney tunes and act out that movie with various body contortions . For the intermediate grades , you can use equipment to dribble , self toss or volley. If you need more space , I have used yellow ,police tape on the floor with duct tape . They don't walk on it , but venture very close . This is used in the out of boundary line area to include more involvement and space. In closing , there must be a directive to get their attention with the understanding that nothing will be done until all positions are maintained in an orderly fashion. They must know ahead of time what is expected and practice the routine until they understand . It is just like the fire drill that is practiced . There has to be a standard to follow and practiced to procure more time for safety and enjoyment of play. For warm-ups , chose a leader per grid and then chose new leaders each week. Assign the students numbers in each grid or assigned letters. Anything with music will get their attention. Use seasonal themes . Halloween will bewithin a few weeks. Play that music or characters to instill enthusiasm. Use Halloween leaf bags as goals. During football season ,I played the Fox Sports theme and you can mimic football skills . If you don't have enough rip tags a nice, clean sock dangling from a back pocket will suffice. Other ideas are to place a tennis ball inside a tube sock for catching or throw into hoops like horseshoes . I used this carry over with adapted equipment through a fitness calendar ,which the students took home and went through the entire month along with their parents . They learned to be creative and use equipment to practice outside of the school environment. Then , when it came time to be in PE class , they understood better. Good luck and if you ever need anyhting , please buzz me. Gerry Cernicky

Listen to the last podcast , #36 , to learn more about what this link is all about . When you get to my homepage click on the blue badge and the drop down arrow , click the play arrow button. Please direct all questions to my email address . It is pingeyez2@hotmail.com


Cutting in sports - as we know Michael Jordan was "cut" from his school b-ball team . Willie Parker , from my beloved Steelers wasn't even a draft thought . The last time we can remember Willie and the Seahawks in a Super Bowl was the back of his jersey on a 70 yard gallop. Back in the '70 's , I was coaching a girls gymnastics team that just started the program. We had woeful conditions ,like practicing on the stage and questionable equipment. From the past , even when I was playing every sport imaginable , the thought of "cuts" was always there. In my case in coaching, I did make some cuts ,but mostly for safety reasons. To this day , I regret that day. I still wonder how those girls felt. From that day forward , I never cut in any sport that I coached in the next 25 years. When I coached in the private sector ,I took every person that placed adrift from the "ultimate gym clubs" . Whether it be soccer , basketball or baseball everybody played and we had fun. As I grew more experienced winning wasn't everything and my thoughts on competition changed forever. So I didn't worry about the W and L 's category, I can think back how much fun we had. To this day, and many years later , I hear from parents how much their children enjoyed being part of the team. Also, my beloved Steelers , got rid of Johnny Unitas , and that is another testimony that sometimes we just don't think without our heart. For you younger folk, he ended up in the Hall of Fame with the Baltimore Colts .
A recent message stated what to do about cutting and the fact that due to the large number of players and less uniforms ,it is deemed necessary to make a cut.Why not keep those players involved in an INTRAMURAL program ? I had this type of activity during a free module at the noon hour. The students just loved being able to play as an extention to the PE program. Many times the core subject teachers helped with the process , but ,that was in the past , when they had more time ! Even so, if you direct them to an alternate program , it will not only keep them involved , but also give them the necessary tools to try out for the team again or at least , the confidence to move on . I have noticed flag football programs advertised on road signs for grades 3-8th . Maybe this will serve as an opportunity to be part of a team .

Dressing out - anytime you have the opportunity to have your students participate ,then run with it. I know that seems easy , but you want them to be involved and if its with improper clothing , then at least , they are doing more than paper work or walking around the gym. Of course, proper footwear is a must . This doesn't mean it should be overlooked but by stressing safety should help with the organization. If it is appropriate keep a box of sneakers(clean) that can be used . Socks should be worn and at no time bare feet be permitted with those sneakers. Many times a PTA /PTO project to access t-shirts can help with the dress -out dilemma . You want the students to participate and lead them to a fitness level that is inherent for a lifetime , without excuses. When (you) go to a gym to workout , many aren't wearing top of the line athletic wear.But, they are there in a mismatch of apparel and working out because of wanting to be healthy ,not look like a page from Cosmopolitan.

Just when you thought that P.E. has taken great strides , there just has to be an article that reminds us that there is still much work ahead of us to dispel the thoughts of the past . Here is an article that was reported from an NEA newsletter that comes each day . Many times the articles about P.E. are positive , but this one slipped through the cracks . Never take anything for granted and safety concerns should always be at the fore front : Lawsuit claims California boy who died at school was forced to run laps despite feeling ill. California's San Mateo County Times (12/13, Manekin) reported, "The parents of a sixth-grade student who allegedly died of a heart attack during a gym class at Kennedy Middle School are suing the Redwood City School District, saying their son died because his PE teacher forced the boy to run laps when he felt ill." The lawsuit claims that "Emmanuel Reyes, 11, had complained he felt sick and told the physical-education teacher he didn't want to run laps " but the boy "was forced to run anyway." The suit also claims that administrators and staff at Kennedy Middle School were negligent in lacking the necessary safety procedures and emergency medical assistance." According to accounts provided by children in the class, "there was no staff member" present when the boy collapsed.

Here is a list of responses that were saved in the Naspe archives that can be used as a resource for your classes. It includes a wide variety of messages that were placed for listserv /discussion group members from (2000 - 2008) so, check back often.:
The Kindergarten Challenge
Michael , in this case , it appears you are on the right track in all your attempts that would probably be the same ones I would do . Except , the last one about involving the entire class, which at that age level doesn't have the skills or experience to muster an answer.
There seems to be an underlying factor for the behavior that needs more attention. Your best bet is not to give up and feel you have done an admirable job. It is a work in progress and to have more patience than you already displayed.
There seems to be a parental concern and the way she is handled at home. Sometimes that road is uphill all the way. I would continue working with the parents and keep a blog/diary like an IEP of all that transpires. This will show your concern and show what steps you have taken . Keep it in print and not word of mouth.
I would discuss this with the emotional support person and arrange meetings to discuss this concern with other teachers , and Principal. On your end , I would find out exactly what she feels comfortable with. Be aware of her recess , lunch or playtime behavior. Find out what makes her tick and then run with it. Hopefully, at one time , a spark will go off and the problem may cease. She may be immature or afraid to fail. In this respect , the activities chosen will be non-threatening and fun, and when the other students exhibit the pure joy of movement on a constant basis may "out of the blue" break that shell .
Please don't take this behavior as personal and gives you a feeling of despair. You are trying all your best , and now are seeking more answers. Kudos to you for taking all answers in a professional manner. You know as PE specialists we all tend to be funologists , doctors, nurses, psychologists, actors and "heads of state." This is just a roadblock that lends itself to being a lawyer ,too. Our defense is now to find ways to help our " student" TO GET IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND the right path .
Modeling:
I know it sounds like the same old same old but through the fitness calendars that were developed made an instant model to follow. Each month , they had to return the calendars with a parents signature. The theory was just keep moving, along with homemade equipment around the house or just using anything that was simple in the household. It was not only for the students ,but also the entire family unit.
After each month , they would return the calendar , and from there I would chose 2-3 during lunch duty to "win" a healthy treat. But, this isn’t the only technique. For 36 years , I was part of the class from exercise to rope jumping to limited participation right along with them. And, there is an extension to that modeling. I made sure to volunteer in the community by being on the rec. board, head of umpires and making a fitness trail. Also, I devised a walking program where I lived within the district for all neighbors to connect at the cul-de-sacs, and continue our plight to be healthy and reached out from the PE program.
If you want followers, then you must walk the walk. Make sure you are visible from the school to the community. As a sidelight , there was even a walking program set up for the teachers at after school hours. When the weather was bad there was an indoor walk with posters at each door to promote healthy lifestyles , similar to a fitness trail. The good news we had the nurse and Principal included. What I tried to develop was a fitness plan that was simple ,mostly free , and in an organized manner. This also established a plan to follow each day without going to the gym . Being creative is a great way to include everybody to make up their own plans.
And, when you know it works is when the students have graduated . "Do you want to play on our sand volleyball court" , said the 30 something’s. (heck yea !) Or when a student walks into your yard while your doing landscaping in the summer. " I have my calendar with me ,see, now I'm picking up Grandpa to walk with me." Teaching is the best job in the world.

If you want to be involved in the Naspe Discussion Group , it can be accessed at http://www.sportimeresources.com . All you need is a user and password and you will be able to share ideas with other teachers in a variety of programs or all my responses , click on the search menu and type my name( Gerry Cernicky) for over 500 comments from the past ten years and choose posts , not threads.. Also , at pingeyez2@hotmail.com please contact me if you need help.