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Name: Jurgen Kraehmer
Describe one or two of the newest and/or most innovative activities that you do with your students in physical education?
One of the newest activities I did with my students last summer (I teach at a year-round school) was yoga. At time I had limited knowledge concerning yoga, so I started by playing a yoga DVD and the students and I followed along. It was a great success. Since then I have done more research and feel more comfortable about teaching yoga myself. This summer I plan on extending the program to more PE days and incorporating more postures. Maybe even get a professional Yoga instructor to volunteer some time and teach my students. The yoga helped relax my students, taught correct breathing techniques, various stretches, and challenged their imagination with the animal postures.
Another activity new this year to my school (this is only my third year at this school) was bowling. I painted 15 lanes (placement of pins and foul lines) on our blacktop, received a donation of 15 sets (I teach 60-80 students at a time) of real bowling pins from a local bowling alley, and received a grant to buy bowling balls from Sportime. These bowling balls are 4 lbs, have six holes, three for small hands and three for big hands and are warranted for 25 years. The goals for teaching bowling included: fundamental bowling skills, techniques and strategies, bowling rules, scoring (integrating math skills), bowling etiquette (integrating social behavior), coordination, and the encouragement of a lifelong physical activity for all ages and grades.
What is your particular expertise in regard to teaching physical education – what is the focus of your teaching?
Every two to three years I challenge myself to research (books, workshops, conventions) and learn more about a certain area of physical education. About six years ago it was physical fitness, learning how to incorporate dumbbells, medicine balls, toner bands, jump ropes, step aerobics, and other activities like track and field events that encourage and help teach the fitness components (aerobic endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility) and concepts. I also started using the Fitnessgram program. When I transfer three years ago to Paul Culley, the principal wanted me to integrate the other academic subjects in my teaching of physical education. So I spent extra time and effort researching ideas, activities and equipment that would help integrate math, language arts, science and social studies within my physical education program. For the next school year I plan on researching new ideas on dances and rhythmic activities.
What is your philosophy for physical education – what do you believe in?
As an elementary physical education teacher teaching at an at-risk, low social economic school I believe it is my job to:
(1) let the students explore, learn, and practice the fundamental motor skills and movement forms through dance, games, gymnastics, fitness and sports;
(2) have the students learn how to cooperate and play productively with a partner, in small or large groups of diverse backgrounds;
(3) learn, practice, and understand the health-related physical fitness components and their affects on their body and mind through various physical activities;
(4) learn how to assess their own skills and others; and
(5) develop a positive attitude about physical activity and their bodies. I believe physical education is as important in a child's education as any other subject such as math, language arts, and science. My program is based on that belief.
My class is not recess or recreation time. It is a time and place for students to be educated about their physical body: what the body can do, how it moves, how to take care of it, how to strengthen it, and how to enjoy moving it. My program develops lifetime physical activity patterns. It is my hope and desire that the students found some physical activity of interest and that they will persist with that activity at home and make it a lifelong activity. Plus I hope to instill knowledge, skill and confidence in the students to try new things and demonstrate positive responses to challenges, successes and failures.
What does being a physical education Teacher of the Year mean to you?
It is a great honor to be recognized by your colleagues, peers and your professional organization. It means that I am on the right track in my teaching and learning skills as a physical education teacher. That I have accomplished one of my goals and that it is time to set new goals. It is also an opportunity to spent time with other Teachers of the Year from other districts and learn from them. Plus gain more insight about AAHPERD.
What do you do to help other physical education teachers plan and implement exemplary programs?
I present at four conferences a year for physical educations teachers new to our school district which is the fifth largest school district nation-wide. I present at our state convention and local workshops and share sessions. I am also a mentor for physical education teachers by request from a teacher or an administrator. I have no problem sharing my lesson plans, equipment or ideas. Just ask and it is yours. I have had teachers come watch how I teach and I have gone to a teachers' school to watch and give them suggestions.
List three of your "favorite" conference session titles that you have presented, with a brief description of each.
"Integrating Other Academic Disciplines into Physical Education Instruction"
The session taught activities that integrated math, language arts, social studies and science concepts with K-5 physical movement activities and skills.
"Indoor PE Activities for Large Groups"
The session taught activities that could be used for a large group of students (60-80) in a small area. Activities included: stunts, juggling, Lummi sticks, isometric exercises, combative activities, fitness board games, and dances.
"Dances for K-5"
The session included various line, square, folk, urban, and creative movement dances.
Any additional major awards you have received: