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  June/July 2014, Volume 16 Number 6


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To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

I'm embarrassed to confess that now in my 16th year of publishing pelinks4u, I've managed to avoid, actually intentionally avoided, almost any participation in social media. In 1999 and a much younger person, I was on the cutting edge of online technology. Facebook's billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg was only 15 and probably a high school freshman. The Internet was in its infancy, still difficult to use, and its value unclear. A few years earlier, George Graham and his doctoral students at Virginia Tech conceived of a way to use the Web to promote physical education and in 1996 PE Central was launched.

Not long afterwards, I found myself on sabbatical planning one project but then being distracted and intrigued by the potential of the Internet. I saw it first as a way to link my college students with information they could use to improve their teaching skills. This idea then morphed into a newsletter sharing links, news, and opinions. Remarkably - at least in reflection - pelinks4u began as a weekly publication and continued that way until sanity set in and I switched to biweekly. Even more remarkably, it took a couple of years until the present monthly publication schedule began.

National Physical Education Institute
July 28-30, 2014
Asheville, North Carolina
See the flyer

When pelinks4u started I did all of the information gathering and HTML coding myself. Fortunately, through the support of several generous site sponsors - many of which continue to support pelinks4u today (thank you) - I was able to get some assistance. Teaching colleagues volunteered to write teaching tips (also many thanks). But most notably Terri Covey began as the pelinks4u Webmaster while still a student. She's continued to do it for many years now as a Central Washington University employee. Terri probably knows more about pelinks4u than me. Any credit I've received for pelinks4u actually belongs mostly to Terri's truly outstanding dedication to the publication.

But of course times are changing and, as I've often warned in regard to the PE profession, nothing lasts unchanged forever. I want to publicly express a huge THANK YOU to Terri as her job moves her on to other challenges. Over the next few months, pelinks4u will be redesigned as we try to better meet the needs of current readers and those we'd like to attract. There's more than a quarter million of us out there just in the USA, and we're going to need to better connect to preserve public school physical education in the future.

Which brings me back to the title of this editorial. Clearly, social media isn't going away. It's not necessarily an age thing, although I'm guessing that our younger teaching colleagues - many of whom grew up only knowing an Internet connected world - embrace the use of social media as a way of life. And while social media may not be so "essential" to those of us who would still much rather curl up clutching "real" books and magazines, clearly we're a minority and we'd better get over it or risk getting left behind.

And so, after reading Lynn Hefele's social media article appearing in this month's pelinks4u, I decided it was time I made the jump. Not Facebook. Not yet. That still looks like too much work for me to keep going. But Twitter looks doable. I already have an account. I live on an island and "tweets" inform me when the ferry is down - sadly a far too frequent event. But I'd never tweeted, didn't know how, and was unaware there was a flourishing online Twitter world of physical education.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've tweeted a bit and learned that there's some interesting stuff (as well as the other) constantly streaming out to us 140 characters at a time. If you haven't tried it, I encourage you to be bold and give it a go. It's not hard. In addition to Lynn's article there are lots of online tutorials. Incidentally, my Twitter username is #pelinks4u - Join me. I'm still a rookie but I'm determined to better understand how this social media stuff can help us.

More in this month's pelinks4u...

Over the past few months, several pelinks4u authors have questioned the purpose of physical education. Among the suggestions was the value of emphasizing the play component. Commonly, we find ourselves attempting to justify PE for reasons other than the value of play. This month, play advocate John Kilbourne shares a personal experience he had years ago with his daughter Zoé that illustrates the valuable rewards young people get from play.

Bill Utsey suggests it's time for us to get back to the "basics" in teaching and coaching. He describes how by focusing on teaching children functional movement skills we can reduce injuries and improve performance. Martin Donahue recounts an effective way to celebrate our students' successes using what he terms a "Brag Board."

With summer arriving, Gerry Cernicky reminds us that it's a good time to reflect and plan for the new school year. However, it's also important to encourage our students to stay physically active over the vacation and for us to follow our own advice. Finally, Christine Lottes continues another installment of her series on "psyching for sports." You can find specific psychological skills training drills to use with your athletes and a handout they can follow at home.

Personally, I wish you a good end to the school year and a wonderful summer. Travel safe, stay healthy, and enjoy time with your family and friends. And if you have time, I'll see you on Twitter!

Best Regards,

Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher

Featured pelinks4u Articles
Making Meaningful Sense of Play
In the seriousness of our adult world, it's easy to trivialize the importance of play in the lives of children. Play scholar John Kilbourne both entertains and enlightens us recounting a play experience he and his daughter Zoé had at a park where she discovered a new friend.
Social Networking in Physical Education: Connect and Follow
We are a profession divided. Some of today's PE teachers are unfamiliar with a world not digitally connected. Others of us are struggling to make sense of the explosive growth in social media. Lynn Hefele takes on the challenge of explaining the basics of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Celebrate Students’ Victories with a Brag Board
Have you noticed how rarely stories of great academic successes make any mention of test scores? Martin Donahue suggests that standardized tests don't adequately reflect all that students are achieving in school. Martin shares a practical strategy as a PE teacher he developed to celebrate his elementary students’ successes.
Back to Basics Coaching and Teaching Physical Education
Several years ago, Athletic Director Bill Utsey described an "injury prevention initiative" introduced in his school district. The results were impressive: Surgeries resulting from athletic injuries decreased over 40%. He urges today’s coaches and PE teachers to consider focusing more on teaching fundamental movements.
Psychological Skills Training: Body Rehearsal
In her continuing series of coaching tips on the value of psychological skills training, Christine Lottes explains the value of learning how sport skills feel. Christine includes both a coach’s script and an athlete handout outlining ways to teach and practice this skill.
Summer Activities: A Great Time to Relax, Refuel and Re-Furbish
As the end of the school year approaches, Gerry Cernicky reminds us it's a good time to reflect upon our successes and challenges over the past months. Gerry suggests ways for PE teachers to prepare themselves both intellectually and physically for the new school year.
  • Lets Move. Active School flash mob at SHAPE America convention!
  • Seattle SHAPE America 2015 National Convention March 17 – 21, deadline for proposals June 16.
  • NPR says American teens are becoming even wimpier than before.
  • Education a major factor shaping health.
  • High School PE Classes get a 21st-century Makeover.
  • Lets Move. Active Schools success stories on video.
  • CATCH offers free monthly informational webinars. Check out the recorded archives.
  • We need sports reform instead of diehard fans.
  • Flipped classrooms – how do they work?
  • Check out these flipped classroom videos PE teacher Matt Pomeroy created.
  • Why should physical and health educators get professionally involved?
  • 23-1/2 hours: what is the single best thing we could do for our health?
  • Is it more important to increase children's physical activity or decrease their sedentary behavior?
  • Free live video streaming from National PE Institute, July 28-30.
  • It's Official: Most American Kids Are Physically Unfit.
  • How does America stack up against 14 other countries on physical activity for children and youth?
  • Physical activity in US youth ages 12 – 15, 2012.
  • Cuts to school physical education not helping improve US academic performance.
  • Policies to support intramural school sports would increase access to sports for all students.
  • K – 12 Safe Routes to school education curriculum. Free download.
  • Foldable bike helmet created!
  • Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet (really?)
  • Are fitness trackers suitable tools for studying children's physical activity?
  • President Obama hosts White House summit focusing on the risk concussions pose to young athletes.
  • 10 radical suggestions to improve football.
  • (FL) Calvary Christian Academy students learn skateboarding in PE.
  • (GA) Georgia the first state to fully implement the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP).
  • (LA) Schools failing to keep kids active.
  • (MO) PE teacher Kris Williams organizes Dogwood ES students to participate in duathon.
  • (NC) PE teacher Leah Robinson who helped save kindergartener gets Red Cross’ top award.
  • (SD) Physical education standards get public hearing.
  • (Canada) Fitness advocates say government inaction depriving Quebec kids of a healthy future.
  • (Australia) "We're raising a generation of unfit kids..."
  • (Scotland) Exercise improves academic ability.
  • (Scotland) How children spend after school hours has big impact on physical activity levels.
  • Fed Up’ movie now playing in theaters.
  • 'Fed Up' Portrays Obese Kids As Victims In A Sugar-Coated World.
  • Tesco makes moral decision to put health before profits.
  • Author suggests information is misleading about increased sugar consumption.
  • First lady Michelle Obama answers Republicans in Congress who want to roll back healthier school meal standards.
  • Living close to a supermarket a key factor in success of interventions to help obese children eat better and improve their weight.
  • No such thing as "healthy obesity."
  • Are we developing an increased acceptance of obesity?
  • Relationship found between unemployment rates and worsening obesity.
  • More evidence ties poor sleep to obesity in kids.
  • GOPHER offers "Grant Finder."
  • American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launch "Voices for Healthy Kids" grant program.
  • National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research grants.
  • Healthy Environments.
  • Gopher Grant Finder
  • 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.
  • SPARK Grant Finder Tool
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