This week in PE #6-Social Media

Hello again everyone. The school year is winding down, and like most teachers, these last few weeks have been extremely busy. But I can see summer right around the corner and that’s exciting. So, I thought I’d do a blog about social media in hopes that we can stay connected over the summer and share new ideas or concerns in a fun and easy way.

Twitter

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Twitter is an amazing social media tool. I have used twitter to connect with educators from around the country and around the world. I have found new and innovative ideas on twitter and even shared some of my own ideas. However, I have always fond it interesting that most of my followers and the people I follow are from outside of my area, Houston, TX, and are even from other countries. I know that sometimes they forms of media can be confusing or even intimidating. Here is a great blog about how to get started: Twitter 14 Day Challenge. I would like to encourage everyone to try it out. And if you do, please use #peshare and let me know about it. Also, be sure to checkout some of the other #’s found in the article above for some good ideas and to help you find other people to follow. By the way, my twitter handle is @techforpe if you would like to follow me too. I would like to start using #peshare to organize and share ideas, good PE articles and ask questions. This could potentially be a great resource for PE teachers around the world. I have always thought that sharing good ideas and best practices is one of the most important things we can do as educators. Twitter offers us a great easy and convenient way to do that.

Google Hangouts

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I was first introduced to Google Hangouts through Twitter. A few PE teachers were setting up a PE PLC and using twitter and Google Hangouts as a way to bring everyone together. I participated in a couple and loved the idea. So I started using the service to have virtual meetings with new teachers from my district. I am a Key Teacher for Houston ISD, which means that I help a group of new teachers throughout the year. Google Hangouts has made communicating with my new teachers very easy. I fact, I would like to extend these Hangouts into the summer and include any other teachers that are interested in learning and sharing ideas. I will announce these events on twitter using #peshare. Hopefully, we can keep some momentum going and learn from each other.

Vine

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I just stared using Vine, but right away I can see the potential in this app. Twitter recently purchased the company, so as you can imaging, the integration between the two apps is very good. Vine allows you to take quick seven second clips and post and share them through Vine or Twitter. I can see this app being great for communicating with parents and colleagues. This is a great way to share quick ideas and communicate with parents about what is going on in your classroom. I can also see students using his app as part of an assessment piece or as a homework project for extra credit. This app has many possibilities and I hope to be using it soon in my classroom.

As always, thank you for reading this blog. I hope it was helpful. Please let me know what you think. Feedback is always welcomed.

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This week in PE #5 – Field Day

It’s that time if the year again. Field day is an awesome event that you can use to promote your PE program, recruit volunteers and emphasize the importance of physical education In school. My students absolutely love field day and I always try my best to make this event as memorable as possible. I want everyone involved to come away feeling good about their role in promoting physical education.

My school has very limited space, so every year we collaborate with our local high school and use their facilities. We typically use their track, football field and practice gym.

Each grade level gets buses in, one at a time. In the morning, our fifth graders buddy up with our pre Kinder for the event. They alway do a great job helping out the little ones. It always surprises me how kind and patient our fifth graders are around PK. As soon as they arrive they start their first event. Each grade level rotates through three relay races: scooter race, jumbo stack race and bouncy ball race. A new grade level starts the rotation about every 15 minutes.

After the race stations, each grade level rotates onto the football field. Here they play three different group games. Some classes will be grouped together during these station. PK through first grade play Everyone’s It, Plant Tag and run through an inflatable obstacle course. Second through fifth grade classes play capture the flag, plant tag and run through the obstacle course.

After the group games, each grade level rotates into the practice gym. In the gym the teachers play a few “minute to win it” games followed by everyone playing Just Dance on the Wii. I project the game onto the gym wall and everyone dances.

At some point between rotations the each grade level has scheduled snack, bathroom break and lunch time. All of these activities take about three hours and thirty minutes to complete. After all the activities each grade level gets buses back to school, one grade level at a time.

Each year I recruit about 50 volunteer to run each activity and help guide classes through the event. I use an online sign up sheet using Google Drive and make training videos of each event to help my volunteers get familiar with each event and how I present them in my class. Volunteers pick the event and time when they can volunteer and watch the videos at they leisure. To make the videos I use iMovie and upload them to Vimeo.

I also use the Guidebook App and send out the QR code for parents and teachers to download. This app gives you access to our field schedules, videos and maps on any mobile device. Here is the QR code:

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Below you will find some of the videos, maps and schedules of the event. I hope this help. I have been doing this field day plan for three years now and it works great for me. I know my school situation is very unique, much like yours probably is too. However, I hope this can spark some ideas if you are looking for them. Field day can be a daunting event but with good planning it can be fun for everyone.

Jumbo Stack Race
http://vimeo.com/61187556

Bouncy Ball Race
http://vimeo.com/88711847

Plant Tag
http://vimeo.com/59962768

Capture the Flag (2nd-5th)
http://vimeo.com/87636030

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This week in PE #4 – The Houston Texans

A couple months ago our school entered a contest to have a Gatorade Mini-camp hosted by the Houston Texans. The contest asked school to take pictures of how our school is integrating the NFL and the Houston Texans into our everyday curriculum. We chose our second grade class to enter into the competition. We picked a day for our second grade students to wear their texans gear and show their spirit. I took pictures of our students using my iPad and put them together using the Pic Stitch app.

Here are the two picture collages we put together:

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In addition I also put together a video using iMovie and uploaded it to Vimeo. Then I emailed the picture colleges and the video to the Texans.

http://vimeo.com/76843368

About a month after we submitted our pictures and video we were informed that we won the contest and that we would be receiving a Gatorade Texans Mini-camp. Our students were very excited! So, a couple weeks ago Toro, the Texans cheerleaders and the starting safety for the Texans D.J. Swearinger came to our school for this event.

Here are a couple videos of the event:

http://vimeo.com/86957649

http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/Swearinger-at-NFL-Play60-event/40306e48-b250-4e9a-a775-90bb2f7c3040

I ran around with a GoPro camera and had students help me get some great first-person shots. I even had some students wear the camera on their head. Needless to say the kids had a blast! The Texans representatives and D.J Swearinger were awesome! They were very friendly and very encouraging with the kids. I’m sure they made some lifelong fans that day.

This week in PE #3-Prezi

This past weekend I presented at the Houston ISD Winter Conference. I had a great time presenting and learn a lot from the oh her sessions as well. Everyone did a great job! My presentation was about how to do group activities using only one iPad. I created my presentation using an app called Prezi. If you are not familiar with Prezi, it is a great way to bring your presentations to life. The app is free and offers about 15 different templates for presentations. Here is a link to my presentation:

10 group games with 1 iPad
http://www.prezi.com/zniakoxx8ir4/

To download the presentation you will have to create an account. It’s free and easy. The Prezi has links to all the apps I used in the presentation. These apps are the ones I use in class but can be substituted with different apps as well. These activities are simply suggestions that have worked for me. The Prezi presentation also has a very brief description of each game.

Thank you reading.

This Week in PE #2 – Basketball Stations

This week in PE we did basketball stations with 3rd through 5th grade. In this blog entry I will discuss how I setup each station, the iOS apps used and the rubric students used for self assessment. This basketball lesson is our first in the unit and is designed to introduce students to basic basketball skills and have students explore their individual skill level.

First, I started the lesson by explaining how each the class will be rotating through the stations and how each station works. This was done in the classroom using an app called Educreations. “Educreations turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard. Creating a great video tutorial is as simple as touching, tapping and talking.” Educreations is a great way to show your class a quick visual representation of how your activity works before students attempt the activity.

After the class understands the rotation system and the rules to each station, I introduce them to the rubric that they will be using during the activity. Here’s a link the a Dropbox file with the rubric: https://www.dropbox.com/s/joacj5k366z1es8/Basketball%20Stations%20Rubric.docx

Then I use an app called Team Shake to divide my students into 6 groups.

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And finally, we go outside to our basketball court and demonstrate each station. Here is a video of my kids doing each station: http://vimeo.com/85260544

Here’s a break down of each station:
1. Bounce Pass and Shoot
Performing the following skills:
-Ball starts next to chest with elbows bent.
-Ball is thrust to the floor with appropriate amount of force.
-Ball lands at the target, chest level of teammate.

2. Dribbling to the Cone and Back
Students should try not to look down at the ball and use only one hand to dribble.

3. Chest Pass
Performing the following skills most of the time:
-Ball starts next to chest with elbows bent.
-Ball is thrust forward with appropriate level of force.
-Ball lands at the target, chest level of teammate.

4. Zig Zag Dribbling
Students should focus on dribbling with one hand and alternating hands while dribbling.

5. Hop Scotch
Students should focus on alternating feet and staying balanced.

6. WOD iPad App
This all is a virtual deck of card where each suit represents a different exercise.

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I hope this help give you an idea of how stations look in my class. My class sizes are about 22 to 24 students and I know many of you have much bigger classes. However, in my experience, stations are a very good tool to use with big classes. You might just have to modify a few activities of even create more stations to accommodate the number of students.

Thank you reading. Please feel free to comment and subscribe.

This Week in PE #1

As I get use to writing and saying 2014, I realized I have not made any resolution. So I thought back to 2013 and considered what I would like to change or improve, both personally and professionally. So on a personal level, I would like to be more present. As ironic as it might be, that for me means putting down the iPad and iPhone more. And doubling down on the irony, my professional resolution is to write and share more, which would mean more time on the iPad and computer. Maybe next year I’ll resolve to make things a little less complicated.

So I decided to start a new project, “This Week in PE.” I figured I would do my best to highlight a new PE activity every couple of week and explain how I execute each activity in class. As the title of the blog suggests, “Tech for PE,” I will usually be including some form of technology. This week I wanted to highlight a student incentive program our specialty team at my school has in place to encourage and reward positive student behavior.

In the beginning of the school year our technology teacher sets up an electronic student roster complete with pictures of each student using an app called File Maker Go that is used in conjunction with File Maker Pro on his Apple Computer. He likes the format of the program, however, the same type of roster sharing among teachers can be accomplish using other apps such as Class Dojo. The important part is coming up with a conduct rubric and being able to share class rosters. Class Dojo is one of those apps that you can access on a computer or a smart device. My team is fortunate enough to have iPads but they are not absolutely necessary.

Our conduct rubric is very straight forward, three strikes and your out. Within each grading period, if a student receives three “conduct cuts” in specialty class they are not allowed to attend the field trip to the park. Instead they are asked to stay back with a specialty teacher and reflect on how they can improve the choices they make in the future. Parents are also notified by email and behavioral contract are made if needed. In addition, each specialty teacher has there own behavioral rubric in their class. Mine is also based on the three strike rule. Typically I will give a warning or two, then if the behavior persist, I ask the student to sit in timeout. In order for the student to rejoin the group, I ask the student to show me the appropriate behavior or choice in each given situation. If the behavior happens again that student receives a “conduct cut.”

These field trips are wonderful days full of fun. Here is a video of our latest trip, Donovan Park.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to comment and subscribe.

Augmented Reality, Comic Life and Smart Devices in PE

I recently set up stations in my class to have my students set up their Fitness Grams portfolios and introduce them to push ups and curl up. The past few years I have had my students pair up, set goals and assess their peers four times a school year, every nine weeks. They are asked to fill out a chart that includes the amount of repatriations for each exercise and gives them an opportunity to set goals for next time. They are also asked to write down what they will do improve their scores. In the past I have tried to use a whole group teaching method to demonstrate and help students learn and perform curl ups, push ups and PACER. However, learning proper form of these exercises is can be difficult for some students and large group instruction sometimes leads to some students becoming discouraged with their lack of success. With this in mind, I decided to use technology to help me present this lesson. I set up five stations, a station to set up their portfolio binders, a curl up station, a push up station, an activity circle station and a reflection wall station.

Click on the link below to see a video of the stations.
http://vimeo.com/73969471

Aurasma

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Aurasma is an augmented reality app that allows you to bring tagged items like pictures or objects to life with interactive videos or 3d images. You almost have to see it fully understand it, if you’re not familiar with augmented reality (AR). There are many examples out there but if you would like to checkout one of my “auras” follows these directions:

1. Download the app from the App Store (Aurasma)
2. Click on the A icon at the bottom of the screen
3. Click on the profile icon at the bottom right
4. Set up your account
5. Search for heatjars
6. Click on channels
7. Click on “tech for PE” to follow

Now you’re ready to scan the images below.

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This image below is one of 12 we made based on the Action Based Learning model. If you would like to checkout the other posters and videos email me at techforpe13@gmail.com and I can send you a Dropbox invitation to a shared file.

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Comic Life

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I used the app Comic Life to make the activity posters. Comic Life is a very easy to use app that’s loaded with dozens of comic book style templates, fonts and graphics. This app makes it easy to create great looking original posters and visual rubrics. My students really seem to like the colors and styles.

Old Smart Phones

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I understand that it can be difficult to get a class set of smart devices sometimes. Budgets are tight and sometimes it’s hard to justify technology in PE. I have recently been working with my school’s PTA to ask parents to donate their old smart phones instead of trading them in to their cell phone providers when upgrading. We sent out flyers and emails asking parents for their old phones and I have collect about a half a dozen phones so far. They’re old Android phones that work great with Aurasma. They work great in stations with about 4 or 5 students to a station, as seen in the stations video above.

Thank you so much for checking out my blog. Please make sure to comment and subscribe if you like it.

Apps to start off the school year

It’s the start of a new school year and if your like me, your looking for cool new ideas to start your year off right. Technology is becoming more and more prevalent in our everyday lives and in the lives of our students as well. As teachers, we must find a way to balance technology and education without compromising what we teach. In addition, if done right, technology can also make our lives a lot easier. Here are some apps that I will be using to help start the school year off.

Socrative

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Socrative features a teacher app as well as a student app. The teacher app allows you to create formative and summative assessments and will capture and aggravate student responses instantly. This app will save you hours of grading and analyzing. The teacher app allows you create the quizzes and the student app will let your students take the quiz. The teacher is given a classroom code that can be activated from your mobile device or computer. Once activated your students can access the quiz by entering the code on their mobile device. If your students don’t have a device all you really need is one. The students can take the quiz and pass the device to the next student after completing the quiz. I will be using this app to creat my student database in the beginning of the year. This database will be a tool I will use throughout the year and in other apps. I will create a circuit where one of the stations will be taking a quick quiz. This quiz will consist of student name, age, classroom teacher, favorite color, and favorite sport. I will use this database to help me create class lists in apps like Class Dojo, Team Shake, and Easy Assessment, which I will be discussing later in this blog. Later in the year I plan to use Socrative for my summative assessments. This will make grading, averaging, recording and analyzing these tests a snap.

Teemo

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Teemo is an iPhone app that combines exercise, goal setting, technology, adventure and fun. That’s a lot in one little app. This one’s free for a limited time so if you are reading this hit the link and get it free while you still can. If the offer has expired, it only $2 and well worth it. Teemo has 10 different world adventure to choose from. Students can climb Mt. Everest or run an ancient Inca trail. I will be using this app as a warm up in the class. The whole class will preformed the exercises together. This app uses short burst exercises and an interval timer with audio and visual prompts. You can even play your own music while exercising. Week by week students will advance through the challenge. This will help my younger students understand the skill of goal setting.

Easy Assessment

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Easy Assessment is a great app for creating rubrics and capturing and assessing performance. This app allows you to take pictures and videos to review student performance and make more accurate judgements on performance. This app can also be used in conjunction with Easy Portfolio. Easy assessment also allows you to make notes for each student during each assessment. Once you have completed your assessment, you can share your results via email or Dropbox. Results are even sent in spread sheet compatible format to easily access on your computer.

This school year one of my major focuses will be on creating rubrics and accurately assessing my students. Easy Assessment will be a very important app in achieving this goal. In fact, I will be exploring a number of “PE Geeks” apps this year.

Thank you for reading and I hope these apps will help you start the year off.

10 Must Have Apps (part 2)

I apologize for the delay, but the end of the school year is getting the best of me. When I first started teaching I was give the advice to pick a few things and do them well. I’m a little stubborn though. It just wouldn’t feel right unless I’m a little over my head. So let get another plate spinning. Here we go.

Too Noise

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Too Noisy is a really cool app that acts as a sound meter in your class. I use it all the time when I am taking my students through transitions. We often talk about the importance of drinking plenty of water while exercising. I use this app when we move through the building during a water break.

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Team Shake

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Team Shake allows you to import your class rosters and make teams for group games. You can also divide your class by numbers of students in a teams and select random individual students with this app. If you have access to a projector or a tv you can project the team information for student reference. It helps make group making easy and fair.

QR Reader

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QR Codes are a very cool way to share websites and information and have student interact with technology. You can easily make QR codes for websites, text, and even voice messages. I typically use http://www.kaywa.com to make my QR codes. Here’s an example:

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Sticky Board 2

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Sticky Board 2 is a great way to make a digital wonder wall in your class. I use it while I am explaining a lesson or game. I will pick one student to be the iPad master to hand the iPad to student who are quietly and patiently raising their hand to ask a question. The student will then add their name and question to a virtual sticky note. After I am finished I answer the question on the iPad and any additional questions that might arise. Then you can save a PDF version of the wonder wall and print it out and post it on your classroom wall. Here is an example from my cricket lesson:

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TGfU Games PE

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TGfU Games PE was developed to help physical educators incorporate fun into lessons designed to keep children active. This app help you combine technology, education and fun to create an environment where children enjoy learning and are successful. I really like the Teaching Games for Understanding philosophy and this app gives you a good base line for understanding and implementing the philosophy. You can search by games and by lesson type for full lesson plans and examples.

10 Must Have Apps (Part 1)

I have come to a point now where I use my iPad for teaching everyday. It just makes life easier. However, I must admit, it took time to get to a point where I wasn’t figuring an app out and actually using it to help the flow of my class. Of course, it takes time to train the kids as well. But I guarantee that if you put in the time to figure it out, you will be please you did.

In this blog I will discuss 10 apps I use on a daily basis. All of these apps are iOS apps. I use an iPad mini in my class because of its size and convenience.

Twitter

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Twitter is a wonderful resource that you can use everyday to improve your lessons. I have been using twitter recently to discover new lessons and innovative ways to teach. If you have not tried twitter I strongly encourage you to give it a shot. If you follow the right people you will be very pleased. Here are some very good recourses for PE: @PEgeeks, @andyvasily, @MarathonKids, @PEScholar, @mrrobbo, @phys_educator, @pecentral, @NASPE, @iEducator and me @TechforPe. This is a great place to start.

Class Dojo

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Class Dojo is a realtime behavior management app that allows you to give and take points from your student during class on your computer or mobile device. I discussed how I use this app in my previous post Classroom Management Apps
This app is great to help remind student of appropriate behavior in your class as well as reward students for displaying appropriate behavior. This app will also allow you to share reports with parents and teachers.

Dropbox

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Dropbox is a great app that allows you to save any type of file in the cloud and retrieve it on any device or computer. This is also a great app to collaborate with others by sharing ideas, documents and media from any device. I also explained this app a little further in a previous blog, Apps for Assessment

iMovie

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iMovie is a great tool for making quick and easy videos to share with your school community. I have used iMovie to make training videos for volunteers, thank you videos for parents, event videos to show off my program and much more. iMovie is very user friendly and allows you to upload directly to Vimeo for easy sharing. Here are some example of what I have done with iMovie:
Jumbo Stack Race
Thank You
Harvard Final Mile

Haiku Deck

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Haiku Deck is a simple and fun way to create presentations. I have found that this simple app really helps bring your lessons to life with beautiful pictures and easy swipe function. The image search is quick and very thorough. Here is an example of a lesson I did on cricket:
Cricket

Next week I will feature 5 more apps to make your PE life a little easier.

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