“That’s a Whole NOTHER Ballgame!” Nother?


Have you ever had a conversation with someone when he/she suddenly says something that sounds grammatically incorrect yet it kind of seems correct?  Despite what your talking about, you immediately refocus your thoughts on the one specific sentence uttered rather than the original topic of conversation. You could be in a heated political debate, ready to hammer home your point when you’re suddenly blindsided by a misused word or phrase by your fellow debater.  Now I’m no wordsmith and I’m sure I frequently butcher the english language.  In fact, it may be fun for you to count my grammatical and spelling errors in this very post.  As an odds maker, I’d set the over and under at 12.



Recently I was speaking with a friend in my neighborhood, when he broke out the word NOTHER.  “That’s a whole NOTHER ball of wax”, he said.  Have you ever heard this word used in a sentence?  I bet most of you have.  If you haven’t, after reading this post, I guarantee you’ll will in the near future.  Trust me – it’s everywhere!


Everyone!  Professional athletes love to use it in post game interviews.  After defeating the Miami Heat in the NBA finals the other night, one Golden Warrior explained why his team looked so good in their victory and so bad in their previous game when they lost to the Heat by a large margin.  He said, “When we can hit our three pointers and tighten up our defense we’re a whole NOTHER team.”  Yikes!

Politicians are infamous for using NOTHER.  “We may have lost the New Hampshire primary but fear not!  Iowa is a whole NOTHER fight I know we’ll win!”

Cable New Anchors are chronic offenders of the NOTHER Bug.  Surely NOTHER isn’t written on their teleprompter… Right?  “As we take a look at the northern counties in Virginia, one can see that voters support the democrats, however the southern counties are a whole NOTHER demographic.”  

Meteorologists often give the day’s forecast and followed by the long range forecast.  “Don’t let today’s rain dampen your spirits.  There’s a whole NOTHER system approaching the southeast bringing low humidity and dry weather for the remainer of the week.”

Oh No!  I’ve heard My family use it.  In fact, just last Friday my wife made pizza.  As we were devouring the first pie, my younger son reached for the last piece much to my other son’s chagrin.  My daughter, the peace maker, said, “Relax, there’s a whole nother pizza in the oven.”  Oh no!  NOTHER has spread to my family!

Surely I would never use NOTHER in a sentence.  Especially since I cringe whenever I hear it.  For me, hearing the word NOTHER used in a sentence is like nails on a chalkboard!  Eww.

Well, I kid you not!  Just three hours ago I was helping my son fix his bike.  We couldn’t find a proper sized allen wrench to adjust his handle bars.  As I was searching through my tool box on the other side of the house with no luck, I screamed to my son, “I HAVE A WHOLE NOTHER set of wrenches in the car!”  NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  It’s an epidemic!   (This is what put me over the edge and lead me to writing this post.  I’m hoping that expressing my concern in words is the remedy to cure my case of the NOTHER bug.)

Have you ever heard the word FUS-trated used instead FRUS-trated?

That’s a whole nother blog post!

*Upon researching nother, I learned that it was misused so often that Dictionary.com said the heck with it!  Lets just make it a word.

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5 Important TED Talks for Physical Educators


Today’s physical educators are continuously seeking opportunities for professional development. One can choose a traditional route of enriching their craft by presenting or simply attending an annual conference. Others may opt to read the most up-to-date books and articles written by true professionals in the field regarding best practices for today’s pedagogy. One of my personal favorites, social media, has taken the physical education field by storm. Twitter in particular encompasses an enormous professional learning network full of ideas and insight. Have you heard of Voxerpe.com? Voxerpe.com is a website dedicated to helping physical education teachers connect with the global community of physical educators on voxer, a powerful free application for your phone.  Think of your phone as a modern day walkie talkie used to communicate with some of the best PE teachers in the world.  Crazy, right? Most likely, teachers, as continuous learners, are using a combination of the above examples.  What about TED?

TED Talks as Professional Development!

Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) talks are yet another beneficial resource, which has helped shape me into the physical education teacher I am today. Usually short and to the point (under 18 minutes), TED talks include many of today’s most influential and motivating professionals including teachers, doctors, athletes, coaches, CEOs and ordinary people who just have a good story to share. Below, I’ve listed the 5 TED talks (+1) that have influenced me the most as a 21st century physical education teacher.

  1. Run, Jump, Learn! How Exercise Can Transform our Schools: Dr. John Ratey, MD

Dr. Ratey discusses the brain-exercise connection and how exercise can raise test scores, lessen behavioral problems, and help the overall well-being of today’s students with fitness based physical education.  Dr. Ratey also authored the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.  This TED talk along with Spark inspired me and my school to begin a morning movement program called Every Lap Counts.

2.  Want Smarter, Healthier Kids?  Try Physical Education: Paul Zientarski

Paul Zientarski, educator of 40+ years, discusses his highly successful program, Learning Readiness Physical Education (LRPE) he created at Naperville Central High School.  He emphasizes how the program has produced dramatic improvements in test scores, behavior, and childhood obesity.  His talk is an inspiring reminder of why quality physical education matters!

      3.  Every Kids Needs a Champion: Rita Pierson

40 year teaching veteran Rita Pierson calls for educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.  This talk inspired me to seek connections with each of my students.  On many occasions, this has increased the comfort level of some students who were shy or hesitant about physical education class.

4. Changing the Game in Youth Sports: John O’Sullivan

John O’Sullivan chronicles his three decades as a soccer player and coach.  He recalls when youth sports were about children competing against other children instead of adults competing with each other through their kids.  This, he says, is the reason so many of today’s youth drop out of sports.  John O’Sullivan also wrote a great book called, Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.

5. The Decline of Play: Dr. Peter Gray

Dr. Peter Gray emphasizes how there has been a dramatic decline in children’s freedom to play without adult supervision over the past 60 years.  He discusses why free play is essential for children’s healthy social and emotional development and outlines steps through which we can bring free play back to children’s lives.  Peter Gray also wrote an equally compelling book called, Free to Learn: Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.

        Bonus TED – Try Something New for 30 Days: Matthew Cutts

I wrote a blog post on this talk called 30 Day Challenges: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone.   I share thoughts on how I use 30 day challenges both personally and professionally.  Be sure to check it out!

It is paramount for educators to keep up with the latest research and pedagogical practices while maintaining strategies and lessons that have proven success.  There are countless options for professional development that won’t cost the educator a cent.  Social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Voxerpe offer a bounty of information from peers in the field.  The internet is full of websites and articles waiting to be explored. Have you seen what your colleagues are doing in their classes? I learn so much from sharing ideas with the three other members of my PE team.   TED.com is one website that I frequently explore in search of inspiration to broaden my knowledge of teaching physical education.  I hope you found the above TED talks to be equally inspiring.  Be sure to share other TED talks that may have been beneficial to your professional development.

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A Field Day Formula for All



Plunger Relay

Field Day is annually one of the most exciting events for elementary school students.  It’s often a culminating activity where the entire school community comes together to celebrate the completion of the school year.  I’ve grown to enjoy getting a glimpse of field day throughout the world via social media.  It’s evident that every school has its own personal touch.  Throughout my career, I’ve worked at several different schools, each with a different take on this extravaganza.  The one common factor in every field day is fun! I’d like to share with you a 26 year field day formula with proven success from my current school.  It’s a well-oiled machine, too good not to share (see videos of our field day in action below).  

Bucket Brigade

How do we make teams?

  • Three days prior to the event, our PE team divides the school into two teams.  To make it easy, one side of the hallway is white and the other side of the hallway is blue.  Each grade has 4 classes so two classes are white and two are blue.
  • Two days prior to the event we notify the students of their color.  This gives students plenty of time to put together their uniform for the event.

What is our field day format?

Our field day is structured around a variety of eight different relay races.  As you can see below, races start out dry, then eventually turn into water events as the students get hot.  In my experience, water is a must!  Each race lasts three minutes (except water events, which last until a team’s bucket is filled with water).

  • Two classrooms from each grade level (2nd-5th) will compete at a time.
  • The other two classes will cheer from the bleachers, which are divided into blue and white sections (blue on the left side and white on the right).
  • Groups rotate on and off the field following each of the two events per rotation.  This lessens the number of students on the field, increasing the number of repetitions per student competing.  It also gives you a built in cheering section.  If you could only hear the excitement and encouragement coming from the bleachers during each race!


Blue/White divided on the bleachers
Cheering for their classmates


How do we mark the field?

Blue and White teams compete between each set of yellow cones
  • The day before the event, my team and I paint ten lanes on our field.  We keep the distance short to increase repetitions.
  • Each lane is again divided by hash marks to allow space for blue and white to compete. (example: blue from one classroom will compete white from another classroom.
  • Two buckets of water are placed on the hash marks in each lane for the water events. During the water events each bucket is placed in the center of each blue and white lane. (Notice the back-up buckets in the background.)
  • There are 10 separate competitions (same event) taking place during each relay race.

How do we keep score?

  • Each Blue/White lane has a parent score keeper tallying up the score for blue and white.
  • Each time a student touches the end line, they team receives one tally.
  • After each full rotation, a master scorekeeper receives all the scores from the parents, adds up the points, and gives a score updated to the crowd.
Score Sheet
  • Water events are scored differently.  Each team is trying to be the first to fill their 1 1/2 quart pail with water.
  • The winning team receives 10 points and the losing team receives 5 points.

Our Field Day in Action





After completing our relay races, we finish with the tug-o-war as a grand finale.  Each grade takes takes turns competing in their blue/white teams.  The winner of each round receives 50 points while the losing team receives 40.  Following each round, the blue/white teams shake hands, get a popsicle, and return to the bleachers to cheer on the rest of the groups.


Each school has its own unique formula for field day. Our school has kept field day competitive yet fun, with all grades from 2nd-6th sharing the same field and same events.  We find it’s a great way to end the year as a community.

Thanks to my PE teammates Brian, Jedd and Laura for another fantastic day of fun and excitement!  Kudos to our parent volunteers, teachers, and staff for making the day run so smoothly!

We would enjoy learning about YOUR field day!  What works for you and your school?


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