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Name: Connie Harris
Developing a Personal Fitness Portfolio is one of the ways I empower my students to take control of their own health, body and physical activity. Students create a portfolio that includes a 1) self assessment – based on their fitness testing; 2) goals and strategies – to improve their health and activity; 3) Diet analysis/nutrition plan; and 4) fitness plan. Students carry with them a plan for living a healthy, physically active life.
Incorporating technology into the assessment process is a strategy I use with my students. Students create their own authentic assessments through the use of digital cameras or video and then develop a presentation that demonstrates their knowledge of the skill, concept or strategy. This also gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge other than taking a traditional written test. Students also enter their own fitness data, use pedometers and heart rate monitors in class – again having the students take ownership of their fitness and activity level.
My expertise is integrating technology in physical education. We are living in a technology driven society and the students are right in the middle of it. Finding ways to have my students use technology, with the focus towards physical activity and fitness concepts, has increased their participation and interest in the class.
Creating an inclusive environment where students have the opportunity to be empowered for their body, their learning and their activity. My focus is having everyone involved, everyone moving, learning, playing and having fun. Teaching students to make physical activity a part of their everyday living is the focus. Reaching out to the students who typically have not enjoyed physical education class is my favorite challenge. Changing the way sports and games are played to increase the activity and participation of my students is one of the ways I reach these students. The "fun factor" is always part of my lesson planning. Making the class fun is how I draw the non-active students into an activity that they soon they find themselves participating and enjoying.
Physical education is an integral part of every student's complete education. It is in physical education that students learn the health benefits of physical activity and develop the skills, attitudes and habits necessary to participate in lifetime activities. Physical education gives students continuous opportunities for practice and skill development, as well as exposure to new activities which promote an active lifestyle. The physical educator's purpose is to guide students towards finding joy in moving and to empower them in making their choices about personal activity and setting goals. Every student has the right to experience a quality physical education program that is safe, engaging, accommodating, interesting and fun! All students learn to be cooperating members of a group, learn trust, learn conflict resolution, and develop leadership skills – all "real life" skills that need to be learned and practiced. Putting students in situations where they are confronted with these lessons is what separates physical education from other academic classes. It is what makes physical education special and the catalyst for physical educators to make a difference!
It is a great honor to be recognized with this award. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love and be recognized for my efforts. It is a significant step in my career and also a reward for all those professionals who have mentored me. I am truly a product of State, District and National Conventions. It is through the sessions I have attended over the years that I was inspired to try new ideas and develop the desire to give my students a great teacher and program. Never did I dream of being recognized for "doing my job". It is very exciting and validating to have this recognition. One of the greatest rewards of this recognition was the opportunity other teachers in my county had to attend the National Convention and the Hall of Fame banquet and share in my celebration. The excitement of the Hall of Fame night made a significant impact upon them and ignited their desire to be quality physical educators. They came back inspired and full of ideas that they are ready to implement. Several voiced the desire to reach the National level of recognition whether it is as a NBCT, a STAR school or a Teacher of the Year. That's what being a Teacher of the Year is all about…spreading the fire!
I'm very involved in my school district as a trainer of teachers. Every new physical educator to the county will spend their first week, with me and a team of teachers, learning about appropriate practices, assessments, current trends, and how to develop a quality physical education program. I am one of the PEP Grant writers for my county and have been able to bring in incredible resources, training, equipment and technology to our teachers and students. It has been my role throughout this process to help every physical educator in the county feel comfortable with what they have been given. I present regularly and offer individual help to any teacher who wants it.
I have also created an intranet site that allows all physical educators in my county access to curriculum writings, videos of presenters, and any resource we have to help them plan, assess and teach. I chair the "Fitness for Life" curriculum writing team, and serve as an assessment resource person for the Elementary, Middle and Walking for Wellness curriculum writing teams as they align our curriculums to the Voluntary State Curriculums.
"Class is over already?"
"What are we learning today?"
"Did you make this up?"