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  April 2014, Volume 16 Number 4


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Circle of Life

I write this month's editorial with a mixture of excitement and great sadness. By the time you read this, if all goes well I will be the proud grandparent of a newly born healthy little girl. This will be my second grandchild. If you are a grandparent or a parent you'll know how exciting this is. It's a time of new beginnings, of wonderment and joy, and a reminder of how life goes on despite seemingly never ending stories of tragedies, set backs, and sadness. Simultaneously, just 25 miles from my home, rescuers continue to desperately search for survivors of the horrific landslide that in seconds swept away homes and ended lives alongside the picturesque Stillaguamish River in the tiny town of Oso, Washington.

Both personally and professionally, there seems no escaping a life destined to be a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, thrills and spills, joys and sadness. Last month, I reported a few professional successes and disappointments. A threat to empower ROTC instructors to teach physical education was rejected in California, but a similar proposal loomed in New Mexico. In Ohio, legislators supported a house bill not allowing PE and health to count as electives for graduation, together with a bill counting band, cheerleading, and athletics as physical education. And in my own state of Washington, Highline school district administrators now insist that newly hired elementary PE specialists must also be certified to teach in the classroom if they want permanent teaching contracts.

Brilliant! Let's plan on using PE specialists to fill in for classroom teachers. That will surely boost test scores, never mind the quality of the PE instruction we can anticipate when classroom teachers take over our gyms. Did these educational leaders take early advantage of WA State's recent change in the marijuana laws? Certainly, ensuring a quality education for Highline school kids wasn't foremost on their minds.

As distressing as these events can be, and certainly I respect how stressful they must be for those directly affected, this news shouldn't surprise us. It's pretty much cyclical. Just as some school administrators or state legislators try to cut us or reduce our effectiveness, others recognize that kids need physical education to succeed in schools. The Move to Improve Act recently passed by the West Virginia Senate for example, would require middle school students to have PE daily. And just recently, I learned of a private school in Corvallis, OR that for years has required students to participate in daily PE (as well as study music and a second language) and yet graduate some of the best academically prepared and healthy students parents could hope for.

Master of Science Online
Physical Education & Athletic Administration Options
Central Washington University
Starting Summer 2014
Contact Dr. Kirk Mathias for details

I encourage you to read more about our professional ups and downs as well as access some great teaching and informational documents by perusing the pelinks4u News column. And please, do consider sharing these resources (via email, Facebook or Twitter), with your colleagues. Who knows, you might reignite a passion for our profession long since doused by dopey thinking?

Turning to good news, we have a wonderful selection of original articles and personal essays in this month's pelinks4u. Phillip Ward starts us out by sharing his view of physical education's purpose and how to achieve it, then Rhonda Holt suggests responses to the question we perennially face, "What do you do?" Brian Kooiman continues debate about the value of online physical education and shares positive outcomes from his research findings. Steve Virgilio helps us to understand why we do what we do in PE by introducing us to six relatively recent PE "trailblazers."

In a thought-provoking essay designed to stir some self-reflection, Brian Culp points out that what students and teachers say during PE can have serious negative consequences. Brian shares suggestions for combating the problem. Finally, two articles focus on sports. Heather Van Mullen points out that Native American women athletes have been ignored, more than most, among minority ethnic groups. But today, two Native American sisters are stirring huge media attention and perhaps changing public perceptions. We then conclude with links to the second of a three part series of podcasts delivered during the Bob Frederick Sport Leadership Lecture Series and recorded by Pete Van Mullem.

I'm headed to St. Louis in a few days for the AAHPERD Convention and as I mentioned last month, please say "Hi" if you know what I look like and happen to see me. Hint: I won't be in my snowboarding clothes! I hope you will then join us next month for some sharing of convention news and more great pelinks4u essays, articles, and news stories. Be safe.

Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher

Excellent resource for our teen students and it's free! -- Free Online GED

Featured pelinks4u Articles
Hard Questions About Teaching Physical Education
In recent pelinks4u issues, we presented two differing views about the purpose of teaching physical education. This month, Ohio State professor Phillip Ward joins the debate. Phillip distinguishes between those who view physical education as a means to other important ends, and those who believe physical education's outcomes are important enough to not need justifying. He delves into the content of PE and the knowledge teachers need to be effective. Read on, and join the debate!
What Do Physical Educators Do?
After more than 30 years of teaching, former NASPE Teacher of the Year, Rhonda Holt thinks she has the answer to the question, "What do you do?" Sadly, far too many of us struggle to respond eloquently when others ask us about our careers. Too often, apologetically we acknowledge that we teach physical education rather than speak with pride about the contribution we make to the lives of our students. Well, struggle no more. Rhonda is awash with pride and gets us started with 10 responses to this question.
Online Physical Education: The Elephant in the Room
Recently, former NASPE President Craig Buschner questioned the outcomes of online physical education. As students increasingly choose this option, Brian Kooiman points out that physical educators through their action or inaction will ultimately be responsible for the path that online PE takes. Brian shares the findings of a recent study he conducted examining the impact of "exergaming." Learn more about how students responded to the experience and the implications for the future.
Physical Education Trailblazers - A Contemporary Look
Why do we do what we do in physical education? To answer this question we need to look back at our experiences when preparing to become teachers. What we discover is that our behaviors have been influenced by a relatively small number of what author Steve Virgilio describes as "Trailblazers." While you might be familiar with some of the earlier professional pioneers, learn more about some of our profession's contemporary innovators and the impact they have had on today's professional practice.
What's in a Name?
Ever thought about the words you use? Of course you have although probably mostly after realizing you said the wrong thing! Brian Culp points out that all of us have through our upbringing been conditioned to ignore what he terms "verbal pollution." As physical educators, we have an opportunity to help our students understand the potential harmful consequences of their language. Brian sets out some strategies we can use in this process and ends with an example of the still prevalent resistance to change.
Shooting for the Stars with the Schimmel Sisters
Women from many ethnic minorities have in recent years been increasingly recognized for their athletic prowess. But one minority group largely ignored has been Native Americans. Not so today. As author Heather Van Mullem writes, two sisters, Shoni and Jude Schimmel, have emerged to become an exciting and dominate duo in women's collegiate basketball. Learn more about the impact these two sisters have had both on interest in female sports and on the media's attention toward Native Americans.
2013 Dr. Bob Frederick Sport Leadership Lecture Series - Part 2 of 3
pelinks4u continues this month, to share the second of a three-part series of audio presentations Pete Van Mullem recorded featuring sport leaders from intercollegiate athletic administration, sport governance, sport business, education, coaching, and recreation. WSU Director of Athletics, Bill Moos, Gary Picone, Athletic Director at Lewis-Clark State College, and University of Idaho Professor and Director of the Center for Ethics, Sharon Stoll share coaching and sports advice. Listen on...
  • By mandating PE or recess, policy makers can effectively increase school-based physical activity opportunities for youth.
  • The value of powerful physical education policies and justification for PE from UNESCO (see some great infographics).
  • Promoting physical education: Learn how.
  • AAHPERD's Infographic Series: Student Fitness Assessment (free download).
  • Watch as Aaron Beighle explains how to enhancing your school's physical activity program as part of the GOPHER Webinar Series.
  • Bikeology Curriculum and Parent Guide now available for free download.
  • Everlast Climbing Advocates for Quality Physical Education in Schools.
  • Then & Now: Women in Sports (Video) with Val Ackerman, Big East Conference commissioner.
  • Lopiano says it's time for the NCAA and other educational sport governance organizations to get serious about gender equity.
  • Shawn Ladda, former President of the NAGWS discusses the lingering vestige of male domination in the sports world.
  • What every educator should know about concussions.
  • Near drowning prompts basic water safety course for school district physical educators.
  • Learn what a heated basketball game can do to a coach's body.
  • Do your students know the definition of Aerobic Capacity or Body Composition? Fitnessgram web site offers free informative videos.
  • Racism in youth sports: it shocks, but is too frequent to be shocking.
  • Youth sports programs declining in large part because funding is drying up.
  • (CO) Former NASPE Teacher of Year Clayton Ellis notes "famous people of influence have been saying it for centuries: physical education is key."
  • (CO) Falcon Bluffs Middle School transforms PE and maybe test scores too.
  • (FL) Bill proposes substituting computer class for physical education.
  • (FL) Students learn fitness skills in physical education at Sarasota's Imagine School.
  • (IL) Collinsville HS introduces uniform rentals and reduces failure rate.
  • (IL) Vernon Hills, high school seniors learn self-defense in PE.
  • (IL) Avon Center School runs March Wellness Night.
  • (IL) Kaneland SD PE teachers urge school board to avoid cuts.
  • (IL) Pleasant Ridge Elementary School raises $847,982 for JRFH over 25 years.
  • (IN) Teacher works to make fitness a fun family affair in Kokomo.
  • (MD) Alternative to PE program offered by Recreation & Parks Department in Baltimore.
  • (MS) Bill would require Mississippi high school students to learn CPR in PE.
  • (PA) Penncrest School District uses PEP grant to adds climbing wall to PE program.
  • (W.VA) Daily PE proposed for middle schoolers in West Virginia.
  • Google Your Food: Nutritional Information Now in Search.
  • Michelle Obama: Cooking at Home Has Its Advantages.
  • Receive a free regular electronic newsletter on internationally relevant physical activity research, journal articles and policy documents.
  • Dance walking fitness – A new trend? Watch this entertaining video.
  • Fitness trackers could boost kids' health, but face challenges.
  • The Hottest Wearable Tech for Health and Fitness.
  • Need physical activity at your next presentation all faculty meeting? Try the "Sid Shuffle" View on YouTube.
  • Is recess necessary?
  • Early childhood obesity rates drop 43% - Watch CNN video.
  • Win-Win Policy Changes for WIC & Childhood Obesity Rates.
  • Declining national obesity? It's not time to do the happy dance just yet.
  • Obesity linked to lower grades among teen girls.
  • Childhood Obesity Linked to More Broken Wrists.
  • Childhood-obesity legislative group offers four ideas for improving kids' fitness.
  • (NY) Working to curb the obesity epidemic.
  • (WI) More third-graders in Wisconsin now obese.
  • Obesity gene identified?
  • Grant opportunities with AAHPERD (members only)
  • ING Run For Something Better School Awards Program 60 $3500 grants to establish school running programs.
  • CATCHing Funding Dollars
  • National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research: Several funding opportunities.
  • Childhood Obesity Rapid Response Funds: Deadline open.
  • PE4life/Speed Stacks Sport Pack Grant Program. Speed Stacks wants to help instructors motivated to offer a full-fledged Sport Stacking program but who lack funding. The Sport Pack Grant Program can equip you with all you need to provide your students with a unique and fun Sport Stacking experience. To apply, go to and download the grant application.
  • Make Your Move! Fuel up to Play60 program for children to promote physical activity (and win prizes).
  • SPARK Grant Finder Tool
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