Posts Tagged ‘PE’


Disclaimer: The first time I completed this lesson I had 60+ middle school students.

I came upon the iPad app, Vital Signs by Philips from a few referrals on twitter. The app will use the camera and detect you heart rate and breathing rate. I immediately thought it looked great and was skeptical at the same time but had no problem spending the .99 cents to test it out.

I tested it out on myself, worked great. I knew there would be accuracy issues, but it was more about awareness to teach to the students. I wanted to get them to associate exercise and heart rate. When I test body fat I know there are accuracy issues but the kids still become aware of body fat % and how it relates to their health. Same principal.

The lesson I had prepared had a station that was strategically placed after a very exhausting exercise station to try and elevate the heart rate as much as possible. The app will take a picture after the test is completed with the results stamped over the picture. I was going to give an award to the person who recorded the highest heart rate. I thought it would be a great incentive to get the kids to work a bit harder, and to try and get their heart rates up. After class, I would go through the pictures and then pick out the highest heart rate. I wanted to print the picture, and give a water bottle to the winner. I thought it would be a great representation of my PE program if a student took that picture how to their parents and told them about what the learned in class.

Well, here is what happened.

I give a great brief lecture and have the kids pumped up (it wasn’t all bad). I had a projected image of me taking the test myself that must have been 20 ft tall. That was pretty awkward I must say. But it worked perfectly. Then I have the students start the station training. First student, heart rate in the forties, huh?. Next student, same thing, what? The pattern continued. Some tests actually yielded no results. The tests were taking about 15-20 seconds at a time, which is an eternity in this circumstance. Now I have accumulated a group of kids very excited to try it out. Since it is taking so long, students who should have rotated to the next station are waiting around, new students are rotating in. I am allowing the stations to run too long which allow kids to get off task. By now you can see what I mean. I abandon the iPad and salvage the rest of the station lesson.

It is my opinion that the lighting in the gym caused the problems that I had. Kids were also standing up while taking the test and maybe moving just a bit. Before incorporating the app into the station lesson again, I will certain do some trial and error and see if I can find a place in the gym that will give accurate results. Since it takes awhile, I would like to have 3 or 4 ipads set up at a station so that all students could get tested at the same time. I also have the handheld heart rate monitor. It might be good to have it out so kids could use that if they cannot use the iPad app.

All in all, students still received the awareness that I had planned for, yet, i think they were disappointed that things did not work out as I had planned. But, I just tell the kids, my apologies, and thank them for allowing me to experiment with new tools and not being totally overwhelmed and off task. They are middle schoolers by the way.

You Tube Video of Vital Signs

Jarrod Robinson’s (The PE geek) blog entry about the app


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I learned this warm up activity at a professional development where John Hichwa was the presenter. Kids were happy and active for the entire 3 minutes.

The basic premise is that the gym is divided into thirds, where each third represents each Olympic medal, bronze, silver, and gold. I use one free throw line, extending all the across the gym, as the bronze, then the halfcourt line represents the silver, and the opposite freethrow line represents the gold. The object, of course, is to stay at gold and win as many golds as possible.

All students begin at bronze level, music begins and kids find other kids to play against. Winner advances to next level up and loser falls back one level. Of course, you can go no further back than bronze.

It looks like students smiling and running to specified location in a controlled manner. Because you have to play against someone to move to the next level, kids will talk to and play against anyone who is available. Great activity, to do at the beginning of your program. It can be somewhat of a icebreaker.

Enjoy! I like to play with the students to increase and model enthusiasm. I like it as a warm up or instant activity. Today I did that, then did push up and sit up physical fitness tests, then did a small outdoor run. Good day.


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Two years ago, everyone dressed out in my class. When I say dressed out, they wore an assigned uniform where all kids looked the same. I had very few kids not dressing out for class. One a day maybe was probably my average.

Notice in this picture our PE uniforms. All people are wearing same thing. This picture is taken in 2007 most likely.

You were either wearing the Moore Traditional School uniform or you were considered unprepared for class. When I wrote this post, What is the importance of Dressing Out,  less than a year ago, I was toying with the idea of eliminating my dress requirements all together.  After reading that post again recently, I felt very ashamed of what I was doing to kids last year. I was making them wait on a wall for 5-7 minutes prior to the start of class and withholding them from “free time” which I use as a classroom currency.

At the start of the six weeks, when I introduce to students to what my class will be like for the term, I make it clear that two things are most important to me. Number one, is that they feel safe and comfortable in my class, and two is that they are active the whole time during their class time.

The irony was that I was making kids sit out and usually the kids that are not dressed out are the ones who are the least comfortable in my class. So that segment of my class was really receiving unjust treatment. That segment supposedly was the audience I was gearing my instruction to.

What motivated my post a year ago about the importance of dressing out was a bullying incident that I felt could have been avoided if the kid simply did not want to change for class. To date, that has been the most viewed post on this site. Dressing for class will always be a hot topic in the area of physical education.

For me, I believe I have found a procedure that creates comfort in students and makes my class more enjoyable for students. I also believe my activity level in kids has risen as a result. Now, kids are allowed to wear whatever they want with no restrictions. I leave open the option to tell a student that if I am uncomfortable with what the have on, I will ask that they do not dress and just not bring those clothes again. So far, that has not happened. If a student has opted not to change clothes there is no consequence other than a simple loss of 2 points out of ten. After a couple times, I council with the student and usually determine that they are just uncomfortable changing in front of peers. When that occurs, it’s likely that I will adjust their grade when the time comes to reflect their activity level. If I did not have the grade requirement in place then I feel there would be more kids come in and feel detached from the class and choose to sit out. So I think as a whole it helps somewhat.

Using anecdotal observations from class, the atmosphere seems much more positive (though the environment has always been positive for the most part.) About 3 kids a class are usually not dressed out for class. And I do not have that awful procedure where kids are waiting out prior to class! To be successful in middle school you have to be able to view life through their eyes. Every single situation is magnified to them. As adults we take for granted all the little nuances that affect them daily.

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Nike Workout App for iPhone

There is a new exercise app to hit the market. It is called the Nike Training Club. It’s design is geared more for women, and as strange as it is for me to say it, that is why I like it. My workout app of choice is iFitness. However, there are some things from the Nike app that I would like to see in iFitness.

For starters, you can earn rewards based on how many hours you workout. You can earn badges and certificates, but most exciting, it that you can earn personal workouts from celebrity athletes.

The next thing I really like about the app is that most exercises are without the use of extra equipment. This makes it very PE class friendly. Once you begin a workout it takes you through a sequence of exercises in a very cool interface. I could easily see hooking this up to a projector and leading my class in a workout from this app.

Finally, I like the focus on women. Sometimes middle school girls feel uncomfortable doing more explosive, dynamic exercises. I think it is good for them to see women as athletes who are also very feminine.

Every exercise includes pictures of the proper technique, but also very high quality video that loads really fast. I have enjoyed looking through all the various exercises and picking out some new exercises to teach my class.

The Nike App does have it’s shortcomings. Everything on the App is outstanding, the problem is what it is lacking. I hope future updates provide more features. There is not much flexibility, you pretty much have to stick to their routine. I like to have the option to personalize my workouts.
Overall, great app. Of all the fitness apps on the market, this one instantly became my second favorite. There is also a Nike Training Club website.

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The most awesome PE program ever.

Photo is simply a screen shot of their website.

Amelia Earhart Middle School in California, has the PE program that
all PE teachers visualize before being thrust into real world
situations, where class sizes, lack of facilites, lack of
equipment, and poor administrative support all become realities. If
you clicked that link to their site and do not read anything beyond
here you will get the point. I want to be clear, I have no
affiliation with this school and do not know anyone from this
school. I am simply forming my thoughts and opinions based on
stumbling across a link to their website on www.pecentral.com.

-The first thing I noticed was the variety of exceptional PE equipment, ie. Rock Wall, Cargo Net, Ping Pong Tables, Climbing Ropes, Fitness Center equipped with flat screen TVs, Exergaming equipment, computer lab, and an array of fitness equipment. Just absolutely incredible!

-Second thing that stuck out to me was the amount of Physical Education teachers. In my district and state, to even have one PE teacher seems to be a luxury for schools. Because of accountability tests, administrators are feeling the pressure to perform well in Reading and Math. As a result, kids are being pulled from PE classes or cutting PE programs all together. To be able to have 5 teachers that can collaborate provides enormous flexibility and support. Most PE teachers I know pretty much work by themselves in developing all activities and curriculum. -Third, I was blown away that all kids in the photos were not only dressed out but their shirts were also tucked in. As a teacher who used to require students to wear uniforms, I know the difficulty of getting all kids to dress out all the time in one particular outfit. Kids would buy a uniform in the beginning of the term but some would lose their uniform before the term ended. I usually had them get a parent note and then allowed them to wear clothes from home. As I dove deeper into the site, I found their procedures/consequences for not dressing out. I found them quite clever. They had loaner uniforms that students had to check out if they forgot their assigned uniform. Forgetting once, warning, twice, detention, three times, a referral. Now in regards to dressing out, I have relaxed my stance and I think for the students who are not happy going to PE regardless of the program, it creates less stress and anxiety. It has also caused less financial strain on my PE budget and the parent’s budget. But I do respect their program, and their policies towards dressing out.


As a whole, it appears that kids get one whole year of PE everyday. They get a well rounded program that includes one day a week in the fitness center completing traditional exercise and learning the proper methods. They also get a variety of team sports, individual activities, and lifelong activities. There seems to be a great balance in their curriculum. While I am not a great advocate for skills tests, because they have a whole year with the students, I think they are good for going into depth on certain fundamental sport related skills, as long as it is not a large percentage of their grade. I do think assessments such as those require students to be a bit more serious. I would love to teach at that school, and I would love for my kids to go to that school. That is the ultimate compliment I can give to any program. In fact, the program has inspired me to reevaluate my program and see if there are any changes I can make to improve what I am already doing. I hope you find the same inspiration as me while looking at the site.

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On http://www.moorepe.com at the end of the year I would do a “State of Moore PE” post. Not sure I have the energy for that anymore, but I would like to share some ideas I have for the future of my program. I will start with short term goals and then finish up with long term visions.

Short term

At one point in my career, I was racking my brain to incorporate every single type of cutting edge technology I could find. It was at that point that I created some small video podcasts, had my students completing online work that accounted for 25% of their grade, and that was also the time when I first debuted http://www.moorepe.com.  From the outside looking in it was excellent, in fact, my program was highly regarded from our district Practical Living Department and Information Technology Department.  So it seems strange for me to proclaim this, but I think next year I will be cutting back on the technology I use.

Moorepe.com is too much for me to continually update as a blog, so I will be changing it too more of a static website over the summer. I am looking at it as a virtual companion to my class. It should serve the student who is interested in learning about the benefits of being active.

Much of this change, can be attributed towards the creation of this blog. I have learned that my time spent creating a content on the web is better served developing a professional learning network. It also forces me to understand that the most important time I have of the students is where they stand before me in my classroom environment.

While the technology in my class has been rich, I feel the activities that I offer have grown stale. I have recently been scanning the internet, mostly http://www.pecentral.com for new lessons and ideas that I can try in my class. I am going to get out of my comfort zone, and see if I can help kids find their comfort zone in my class. So far, I have located several lessons that interest me. Badminton Golf, and Ultimate Frisbee Hoops, are just two examples that have helped me start thinking outside the box.

Although I feel that my primary responsibility is that I get the students active, I want to create a more academic environment for my students. I have a moderate amount of written work for students and I teach them basic knowledge according to the standards set forth by NASPE and the state of Kentucky. I would like the students to leave my class with more knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the body. Barriers that I have that prevent me from pursuing this is the lack of an actual classroom. When students enter the gym they want to be active. I would like to know what other teachers do to help improve the academic climate of there program with no access to a separate classroom. What procedures do you have in place that lead to more organized academic teaching in the gym or on the gym floor.

Another constant issue for me is the idea of dressing out for class. I do support uniforms in PE. I notice that when kids are dressed out they are more active, but cannot overlook the fact that sometimes I feel like kids feel that they are being graded on there ability to dress out. I also understand that many kids are just uncomfortable just entering the locker rooms. I am pursuing ways to approach this in a positive manner. In fact on my final exam in my classes, one of my essay questions asks what the students would do if they were in charge of creating a PE program. Feedback would be great.

Long term

Since I have went a bit long already I will just limit this to one major goal I have. I want to have a PE program where students where heart rate monitors for the duration of my class and at the conclusion I just scan and upload their data into my computer. Grades will then mostly be based on their ability to stay in their target heart rate zones.

Obviously, a lofty goal, which will require a lot of money. To raise that money, I have recently joined the Health Promotion Schools of Excellence program sponsored by a local university, the University of Louisville.  So this year I will be doing 3 days of professional development over the summer to be involved in this program. To be involved I have to collect data of all my students, pre and post testing physical fitness tests. I think this was obviously a positive decision for the future of my program. I would love to get feedback from any program that might be using a similar method of assessing students.

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