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Name: Michelle Sirounis
Describe one or two of the newest and/or most innovative activities that you do with your students in physical education?
One innovative activity that I have implemented at our school is our running club, which currently has over 100 members in grades 4th-6th. The running club meets after school on a weekly basis. The goal of the running club is to provide an encouraging environment to further the enjoyment of running and adopting an active lifestyle, while also educating better nutrition habits at the same time. With our school receiving the ING Run For Something Better Grant, we were able to sponsor all of our runners in their first 5K event, provide medals to all participants that reached their individual goals, and pass the message along to families who were encouraged to run together with us. A second innovative program at our school is KIDZ Bite Back, which is a kid-created, led, and spread campaign that promotes improved nutrition and physical activity. The KIDZ Bite Back approach is an innovative and unique approach to health and nutrition education. The program begins by educating students how they are being targeted by the fast food, soft drink, and junk food industries that are promoting excessive consumption of poor nutritional foods. Students are taught to identify these industries as "Big Fat Industries". Students are also educated on the marketing effects of national TV networks and video game companies. They learn to recognize these industries, which promote sedentary lifestyles, as "Couch Potato Companies". Once they have learned to distinguish these "Big Fat Industries" and "Couch Potato Companies," and to understand the harsh impact their marketing campaigns have on health and nutrition, students are challenged and provided incentives to share their knowledge with their friends, families, and neighbors. Kidz Bite Back is focused on kids spreading the word to other kids; it is not about adults preaching to kids.
What is your particular expertise in regard to teaching physical education – what is the focus of your teaching?
The main focus of my teaching lessons is integrating core academics with physical activities wherever possible. I am a firm believer that to enhance the learning environment and to provide students with the best opportunity for learning, all teachers must work together. I have created numerous physical education lessons that are comprised of both physical activity and academic challenges. With an intense background in health and exercise science, I also focus on integrating health education into the curriculum, with the goal of encouraging my students to adopt healthy, active lifestyles.
What is your philosophy for physical education – what do you believe in?
I believe my mission is to actively educate all students to attain lifelong personal wellness and exceptional health.
What does being a NASPE physical education Teacher of the Year mean to you?
It is a distinguished honor that has been the highlight of my teaching career. Most important, though, it has given me the opportunity to share my best practices and creative ideas with others. It is my dream that, together, as one physical education profession, we can instill the importance of embracing healthy, active lifestyles in today's youth throughout the nation.
What do you do to help other physical education teachers plan and implement exemplary programs?
I regularly attend District Leadership meetings, local, state, and national physical education conferences. As a presenter and attendee at conferences around the nation, I have had the opportunity of broadening my knowledge and skills of physical education. I have a continuous open line of communication with my colleagues, which allows us to learn and grow from each other.
Any quotes from students about you as a physical education teacher, or the classes taught by you?
"P.E. is the best because we can stay fit and have fun at the same time and my favorite game is tug of war because we work on our biceps and laugh to." -Nicole, grade 6
"Coach Sirounis is awesome because she always keep people motivated and makes sure we stay fit. I can't wait until next P.E. class." -Tent, grade 5
"I'm always ready for a challenge so that is why I love P.E. Our coach makes us do many challenging things. It 's fun trying to do them.!" -James, grade 5
"Coach Sherones is a good P.E. teacher because she knows evry thing about Phisikl edecason and she ceeps us helthey." -Madison, grade 1
List three of your "favorite" conference session titles that you have presented.
"Get in the Fame" Florida Future Educators of America Conference, Orlando, Florida, 2010
The presentation was on integrating physical education into the classroom along with the newest technology to keep students motivated.
"Top Ten Physical Education Lessons" AAHPERD, 2009
The presentation was a book that the students at my school made after choosing their top ten lessons for each unit of instruction. The presentation focused on the use of Lesson Tech to make lesson plan writing a less time consuming task.
"Got Fish?" Share the Wealth Conference, Jekyll Island, Georgia, 2007
The presentation was on how to achieve a grant from the Future Fisherman Foundation to implement fishing and boating into the physical education program.
Other major teaching awards Michelle has received: