A PE Conference at YOUR School? Wisdom Surrounds You!

Some of the teachers in attendance at our first Keeping Kids in Motion conference

In 2011, my colleagues and I decided to host a mini PE conference at our school. We invited PE professionals from surrounding schools to come and take part in an event we called Keeping Kids in Motion. The idea was to provide a no-cost opportunity for teachers to share lessons with each other based on a predetermined theme. For the first year, my colleagues and I decided to feature cooperative activities.

Cover to our 2011 lesson packet

Instead of paying a registration fee, guests only needed to email us 2 lesson ideas based on cooperation prior to the event. We would compile the collection of lesson plans into a packet to give each attendee upon leaving the conference.   Each teacher would also be required to teach at least one of their lessons during the conference. The other teachers, of course, would be the students.

With 21 guests from 12 schools in attendance, our first Keeping Kids in Motion was a success. Each of us shared and discussed several lessons while brainstorming ideas on how to adapt them for different ages and learners. At the conclusion of the gathering each teacher was chock full of fresh ideas ready to incorporate into their curriculum.  My colleagues and I immediately began brainstorming ideas for the future of Keeping Kids in Motion.

The next 3 conferences followed a very similar format. We’d meet in a conference room for brief round table discussion over a continental breakfast before heading to the gym for lesson sharing. The themes for the following years were:

2012 Dynamic Lesson to enhance our Sports Units

2013 Movement from Start to Finish – keeping students moving throughout the class

2014 The Best of the Best, which focused on each teacher’s favorite overall physical education games. These were games that every PE teacher should have in their arsenal.

Attendees received a hard copy and a digital copy of all the lessons

Keeping Kids in Motion quickly became a beneficial and cost effective resource for my colleagues and me. We now have a network of like-minded professionals who can reach out to each other for ideas and lessons when needed.

Take advantage of all the wisdom surrounding us! Build a network of peers who share a passion for enhancing their teaching craft! Provide a NO-Cost outlet for teachers to learn and share from each other. KEEP IT LOCAL! It worked for us and it could work for you.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more of what I have to say about physical education and keeping kids in motion, follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

A Blast from the Past: Reliving Gym Class from the 1980s


For Halloween, my two fellow PE teachers and I wanted to dress up for our school’s annual costume contest.  We wanted to enter the “team” category but couldn’t nail down a theme.  That is, until I saw the video below for the Goldbergs TV show.  

This gem of a clip, inspired us to portray PE teachers from the early 1980’s.  We crafted our costumes based on our own memories of PE teachers we experienced growing up.  I personally searched the internet and was shocked that I could still find the original Bike brand polyester shorts that my high school teacher wore religiously.  The shorts even had the button strap on top, and their trademark tiny pockets that, today would be ideal for a fit bit zip, but I think our teachers may have just had an emergency quarter for a payphone.  Unfortunately the only available sizes were nowhere small enough for the classic 80s fit so I had to settle for the next best thing, Wilson. Pointless pockets were there but no button strap. I later found the 5-panel foam/mesh trucker’s cap fashioned by my aforementioned grade school teacher on days we had PE outdoors.  Didn’t every teacher don the 3-striped tube socks hiked up to the knees?  Of course.  So, along with my aviator glasses, a stop watch, a pair of very white sneakers, and a red playground ball, my costume was complete.  PE Teacher:  1982.  My colleagues and I immediately drew a lot of attention, as expected.  Unexpected was the array of reactions from parents, teachers, and students throughout the day.

Here are some of the comments:

  1. Wow!  I had a PE teacher just like that growing up.
  2. Can I tell you how much I hated PE growing up?
  3. Your shorts aren’t short enough for the 80’s.
  4. I am still haunted by the bruises I received playing dodge ball.
  5. Why DID they wear those shorts?
  6. I loved PE.  I miss those days.
  7. Are you kidding me with that outfit?
  8. Can we play dodge ball right now?
  9. What are you supposed to be?
  10. Or one of my favorites:  The sound of awkward, uneasy laughter.

Number 9 was the common response from our 1st-6th grade students, usually coupled by either a confusing or disgusted look. In fact, late in the day a first grade student asked, “Why are you still wearing that?”  Poor thing was frightened. Sorry guys!

To be honest, there were as many people who reminisced on their time in PE and shared stories of physical educators who were kind and caring while promoting healthy habits.

We truly enjoyed traveling back to the past and listening to the countless stories from our colleagues and parents regarding their experiences in “gym class” as it was often called.  It made me wonder how my present day and former students will remember me years down the road.  Hopefully, as fondly as I recall my elementary school gym teacher growing up.  He was funny, challenging, and very creative!  Thanks Mr. Meilinger.

As a side note, I now realize why PE teachers wore the polyester shorts.  They are SO comfortable!  If they make a come back, I’m in.  Let me know about your childhood Gym Class experiences…

The Goldbergs: Sneak Peek.YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more of what I have to say about physical education and keeping kids in motion, follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

Keeping Fitness Fresh in PE Class


If you look at the culture of adult fitness in today’s society, it won’t take long to realize boot camps, high-intensity interval training, Zumba, Yoga, CrossFit, and body weight training along with countless other challenging fitness methods are the modern day trends.  The key to these fitness trends is variety, and this variety is exactly what I feel motivates today’s students.

The challenge for PE teachers is how to make fitness challenging, yet fun and fresh.  Long gone are the days of sending students on a 5-minute jog before circling up for a static stretching routine, followed by a few push-ups and sit-ups.   Because such a workout is redundant, students will become bored, and quickly lose motivation.   Our goal is to promote lifelong fitness in PE, especially during our present-day epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. My colleagues and I are continuously searching for creative ways to motivate our students while making sure we’re focusing on fitness concepts, which include aerobic endurance, upper and lower body muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.

AMRAP, or as many rounds as possible, is an exercise routine recently introduced to our students by Coach Jedd Austin. Using either our projector or a whiteboard we post the days workout. We list 5-7 different exercises, each with a certain number of repetitions. Students must do each of the exercises in order to complete 1 round. After each round is completed, they collect a red ticket to tally their rounds. At the end of the session, the students count their tickets, which tells them how many rounds they completed. We never celebrate the student with the most tickets. Instead, we encourage each student for his or her effort. This has become a favorite activity among our students due to the workout’s flexibility. We can focus on lower body exercises during one class, then upper body the next. Most times we vary the exercises to include all muscle groups. We can also adjust the number of repetitions and the duration of the exercise to fit the level of difficulty.

Another addition to our fitness program is the Full Body Exercise Bank, essentially a grid of exercises, as you can see below. Each of the 8 rows has 4 exercises combining upper body, lower body, dynamic stretching, and aerobic endurance. Using a Tabata-Pro timer we’ll choose one of the 8 lanes and challenge the students to complete 3 cycles. We’ll usually vary the time of each exercise from 20-40 seconds depending on the grade level and degree of difficulty. Again due to the variety of exercises, we’ve seen increased motivation and effort from our students.

It’s exciting to witness and be apart of the continuing evolution of physical education class.  By introducing our students to a variety of exercise routines like AMRAP, Fitness Banks, fitness-based tag games, and dances like Zumba we are helping motivate students today in order to promote fitness for a lifetime.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more of what I have to say about physical education and keeping kids in motion, follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

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