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  August 2015, Volume 17 Number 7


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  Old Dogs and New Tricks

   Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher

As some of you know, in addition to writing editorials for pelinks4u, since May I've also written a monthly blog on SHAPE America's Exchange. I've focused almost exclusively on promoting SHAPE America's 50 Million Strong by 2029 goal. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I encourage you to take a look because this goal represents a significant change in thinking about health and physical education teaching.

For too long we have been the school underdogs. And too often we've felt like whipped puppies. We've longed for respect and lamented over the lack of appreciation for the young lives we've changed in our classes. Some teachers have tried harder and produced extraordinary results. Some have withdrawn, lost interest in teaching effectively, and focused instead on satisfying their quest for success through coaching. For several decades, we've witnessed professional ups and downs. Positions and programs are cut here and added there.

We've enjoyed remarkable success in funding through PEP grants. Yet despite close to a trillion dollars of investment, what do we have to show? Where are the success stories? Not the short-term ones. The sustaining changes. Certainly, the massive infusions of equipment in our programs transformed teacher and student lives for a few years, but then what? After the dead batteries and the run down, worn out, broken, and no longer usable stuff? Long-term what have these grants achieved? It's an honest question and I invite you to answer. pelinks4u is ready to showcase truly transformative PEP grant change.

Which brings me back to the importance of 50 Million Strong by 2029. This is something different. It's a lifeline for the profession. Didn't realize we needed one? Well look around. If you haven't noticed, over the past decade there's been an explosion in physical activity-promoting organizations. And they have your school in their crosshairs. While I don't doubt the motivation of these organizations, it's clear that elevating respect for health and physical education teachers is not their priority. They want us to help them but their interest in helping us is less clear. You see, what they want is not something they can easily deliver without us. Presently, they don't have a permanent existence in our schools. They need us or they need to replace us. And in some places the replacing has begun. Outside groups have taken over the organizing of physical activity within school settings. In some places even replacing physical education.

Now that should get your attention. Yes, I'm talking about your job, your future. It may not matter if you are close to retirement, but should strike fear into most teachers. Do you have an alternative career in mind? Doubt this could ever happen? You forget, it already has. No one saw that coming either. No need to look very far back in history to see companies, organizations, and professions who were here one day and gone the next. Remember someone shouting to you, "Kodak moment?" Today, it's no longer a photo-taking opportunity, but an example of an organization that didn't respond fast enough to change and is now close to extinction.

50 Million Strong by 2029 has the potential to transform the trajectory of the health and physical education professions. But only if all of us get onboard. Just like the teams many of us coach, we can't succeed if too many of our teammates don't contribute. And it's this that worries me. If we don't care enough to change the way we teach, we like other professions risk demise. Nothing lasts forever and neither will we. Most people outside of teaching understand that their jobs are not guaranteed. But many of us who teach have been lulled into thinking that we are irreplaceable. It ain't true!

To succeed with 50 Million Strong by 2029 the path health and PE teachers need to take is not complicated. We need to assume responsibility within schools for getting kids physically active and healthy using the time periods before, during, and after school. It may not be the job you thought you signed up for, but it's the change that is going to save health and physical education teaching. It's time to quit using the limited time we have to trying to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. That's not our job. It's a distraction to what we should be doing: Preparing students with the skills, knowledge and motivation to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher
SHAPE America President

Featured pelinks4u Articles
Be a 50 Million Strong by 2029 Champion
Enjoy the first of a three-part series in which past Utah State President (UTAHPERD) Angela Heinemann shares details about the activities she introduced into her elementary school to get her kids more physically active and healthy. Angela describes the health fair, field day, jump rope for heart event, and "be the physical education teacher for the day" opportunity she organized. Great ideas to get you inspired.
Get HyPE: When Will the Nontraditional Become the Traditional?
pelinks4u is delighted to announce a new column entitled, "Get HyPE" by Sarah Gietschier-Hartman. Sarah's plan is introduce and inspire discussion on new topics each month. This month, Sarah wonders aloud why some in the profession persist in calling some practices "nontraditional PE" when in fact they are examples of best practice. Sarah invites you to respond via Twitter @GHSaysRockChalk, using the hashtag #GetHyPE.
Professional Development: Take the Time to Improve Yourself and Others this Year!
When a young student commented, "PE is not a subject" in response to the question "What was your favorite subject this past year?" authors Brent Bradford, Clive Hickson, & Ashleigh Evaniew wondered how to respond. Their answer was to use professional development opportunities to help position physical education rightfully alongside other school subjects. Learn more about what they did.
Preparing for the New School Year
Summer is a great time for reflection. This fall, Laura Zavatto will again be working with a new teaching colleague who will split his time between the middle school and her elementary school. Throughout her career she's had to work with other teachers. Most of the time it's gone well, but sometimes not so well. Laura shares advice for how to successfully work collaboratively with other teachers.
Use Goal Setting to Get Ready for the New School Year
During her teaching career Isobel Kleinman faced the frustrations of trying to fairly grade students possessing vastly different skill levels. Participation, dressing down, and quiz taking ability didn't seem appropriate criteria. In this article, Isobel describes the different ways to motivate students in junior high and then as high school students. Read how she used goal setting to get the students excited about learning.
  • 50 Million Strong by 2029
  • US Senate passes Every Child Achieves Act, end of NCLB era draws closer (& PE is included!)
  • National PE Institute: Watch recordings of presenters!
  • Free! SHAPE America webinars
  • Sports and Health in America: What do we know? Read the report or watch the video report
  • Read and respond to the GOPHER PE Blog
  • Texas Drownings Highlight Calls for Swim Instruction
  • Benefits Of Sports To A Child's Mind And Heart All Part Of The Game (listen)
  • How Pressure to Win Can Tempt Youth Coaches to Create Benchwarmers - and How Coaches Can Resist the Temptation
  • Crazed youth sports parents: You've gotta ease up!
  • Football or Music? What's the best K-12 Investment?
  • A Million Kids Stopped Playing Baseball. MLB Wants to Win Them Back
  • UNC Asheville hosts National 2015 Physical Education Institute
  • (AZ) Physical education teacher battles tight budgets and childhood obesity
  • (CA) Palm Springs schools hire 12 P.E. teachers
  • (CA) Innovative P.E. curriculum triples the rate at which students pass a state physical fitness test
  • (GA) Marietta changes graduation requirements: Marching band, sport participation now allowed to satisfy state P.E. credit
  • (IL) Dance, Dance Dance!-Little Fort Elementary Moves in the Morning
  • (MN) Online Schools Offering Up Physical Education Courses
  • (MT) Committees will help develop state's education requirements for arts, PE
  • (NC) North Carolina rolls out online physical education classes
  • (ND) New Physical Education Standards Focus on Wellness
  • (VA) Damascus student earns physical education award despite fight with cystic fibrosis
  • (WA) Students take steps for a healthy lesson
  • (WA) Tacoma looks at plans for fitness-focused secondary school, industrial-based high school
  • (Canada) ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. How physically active our children and youth?
  • (England) Lost generation of children deprived of school sports
  • (England) Sports science to radically transform PE into hi-tech exam option
  • (Hong Kong) Transgenders to get leeway in CUHK physical education classes
  • (India) The importance of PE for India's children
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