Why Physical Education needs a John Muir?
If you ask people about important figures in United States history, most people think of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Henry Ford. We have many important figures in American history but one that has always interested me the most was John Muir.
Who is John Muir? Well if you have ever visited a National Park such as Yosemite National Park in California then you have been touched by the impact of Mr. Muir’s love and passion. John Muir was a simple man that loved the outdoors. He understood the importance of conservation and protecting things that can’t be quantified by numbers. His spiritual connection with nature and enthusiasm helped develop empathy and understanding for the land that he enjoyed over his lifetime. He believed that our historic lands were worth protecting and worked tirelessly to protect them for future generations. He petitioned Congress and in 1890 the National Parks bill passed. He is considered the “Father of the National Parks” with 417 National Parks across the United States since the signing of the bill. His simple movement has grown into one of our biggest national treasures. I am thankful for his work each time I visit a beautiful national park, monument or local county park.
I am thankful each day when I step into my gymnasium or outdoor space at school. I believe his movement is fundamental and spiritual. When we are physically literate, our moods improve and minds are challenged. Each day I struggle with the balance of standard based learning and assessment. While I can assess students growth, I am constantly questioning if we have gone too far to the left with electronic and meta data gathering assessments. Do we want to be like the other educational areas of learning that focus on the test or should we be looking at the spiritual side of education? I believe we need to see Physical Education through the eyes of Muir. We need to stop trying to quantify our impact on student learning and focus on what is most important which is the love of movement. All kids love to move but does our own profession hurt our growth with teaching traditional sports using the sport education model? While I played team sports growing up, I never felt a connection to the sport when transitioning into adulthood. I would rather be outside riding my bike, running or paddling. My love of nature and movement now continues into parenthood with my own family. I enjoy watching my own children play and hope that they too will continue to move and be active into adulthood after their graduations in 2030 and 2033.
Physical Education needs a John Muir to advocate for our profession. We need to channel our love of movement and create a grass roots advocacy campaign to protect our programs. We need to share our knowledge with each other and protect Physical Education and Health in schools. We don’t need a infograph outside our gymnasium with our power six learning goals/concepts. We do need to create models of physical literacy for our communities and campaign at each school explaining the importance of Physical Education. We need to act like John Muir to protect our national treasure called Physical Education.
I am thankful for John Muir and will be opting to go outside on Friday as a part of the #optoutside campaign. I am thankful for my #physed family, and their continued work on social media. Are you ready to protect your passion? Please share what you are #physed thankful for and ideas how to protect our national treasure this week with the hashtag #PhysedThanksU and also tag educators that have helped you over the past year.
A New Hope: The Last Jedi's in PhysEd
I have always liked Star Wars and the idea of the force. I believe that the light side and dark side exists everyday in our teaching. We can choose to teach towards the standards and positively impact student achievement or we can choose to roll out the equipment and play inappropriate activities. The path to the light side and dark side of Physical Education comes from your teaching experience and previous knowledge learned in local Jedi temple (University). Your path into the universe is led by a master from one of two sides; the Master Jedi, who uses the force and prepares you for future adventures and challenges while the Dark Sith Lord leads the apprentice to a fixed mindset. We have watched the growth of the dark side for many years in the physical education community with the introduction of fun based curriculum products and too much focus on MVPA. This has led to poor teaching practices and the growing replacement of quality programs with storm troopers in each classroom. A storm trooper is best described as an educator that plays games and activities, focusing on inappropriate tasks. They enjoy shooting Death Stars of negativity towards students with lower skill levels. Each year the Empire continues to grow with popular sites like PE Uberverse and questionable Facebook, Twitter and Youtube posts.
We are watching the empire of fixed minded educators control our universe. We are at the same point of Episode VII of Star Wars. The battle of ESSA is apocalyptic to the remaining Rebels and they need help. We are at the tipping point which could force the light side to disappear and the rule of the Sith Empire to continue for the next 25 years in physical education. The Last Jedi Masters are spread across our physical education universe and are trying to protect the rebellion. While these Jedi can protect the past and the knowledge of the profession, there are too many battles to sustain the push again the dark side without help.
Over the past few years, I have been on a quest to meet some of these Master Jedi’s in our physical education education universe and have noticed the same problem at each place I visit; we are losing some of our Master Jedi due to retirement and death. Our once powerful Jedi template called AAHPERD has become an organization called SHAPE America with less influence and has been affected by the dark sides lust of power. We need the next generation to step up and join the rebellion to push the movement of physical literacy forward. We need a rebellion that will change the momentum against the dark side and provide enlightenment for the next group of apprentices.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda
Master Yoda understood the powers of the force. Do you commit to the future of Physical Education or choose not to commit? Each one of us needs to make the decision to commit. We the Jedi on social media need to evolve into the Master Jedi to lead the profession into the future. We need to continue to grow, but also share our knowledge with apprentices to educate another generation. We have two major factions leading the rebellion SHAPE America and OPENPhysEd.org. Please consider join these two organizations and help bring friends to quality professional development locally. To reach all 250,000 physical and health educators in the United States, we must believe and have hope in the rebellion.
“Save the Rebellion. Save the dream.” – Saw Gerrera
This week I am going to talk about the ass in education, no not Betsy Devos and her crazy idea of cutting funding to public education, but about single point rubrics in physical education. I first saw this concept in a Twitter post from Sarah G-H on social media. She read about the concept from a blog post called the Cult of Pedagogy. When I first heard of another rubric in school, I got my pencil out, ready to make five hundred check marks similar to PE Metrics. While I love PE Metrics standardized checklist and video camera graphics, I hate checking every column to mark for student understanding. The good news is that I have classes of 24-28 students compared to the unmanageable 100+ cat herding classes. While PE Metrics is still two years behind schedule and still sitting on Joe’s desk at SHAPE America, it’s time to push a new type of rubric to the physical education community. This concept is easy to crowd source and can be simply designed using the National Grade Level Outcomes book from SHAPE America. This concept doesn’t need sample assessment activities with rubrics, just the critical elements for GLO attainment.You can use the single point rubric during culminating activities and at the end of lessons. The single point rubric template that I modified from the original blog post focuses on use with multiple grades. This means that educators could use the assessment with any grade level that has similar criteria for learning. The assessment can be used with students as a self assessment or peer assessment with video delay recording. It can also be used as a teacher checklist for formative and summarize assessment. This transformation can occur with the easy use of classroom numbers with single point rubrics. If you are already using plagnets, heart rate monitors and pedometers, this is a simple addition to your assessment routine. Using simple number systems with single point rubric allows you to monitor a whole class of students on one sheet of paper. This type of rubric would be an easy transition into Google Forms too. I have created a few templates using Standard 1 of the SHAPE America for my students. Download a copy and start playing around with single point rubrics. Please shoot me share them on the Global PE drive too.
Single Point Peer Sample
Single Point-Class Numbers
Single Point Templates