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Name: Christopher Belmont
In the games portion of our curriculum I often found myself trying to accomplish all of the great stuff that should be a part of the quality physical education experience all at once and in far too little time. So a few years ago I helped create three different course offerings using NASPE national standards as a guide to organize the focus of our games curriculum. In a course called Territorial Games the primary focus is developing competency in skills and an understanding and application of concepts and strategies (NASPE standard 1 & 2) for the games of Rugby, Ultimate Frisbee, Flag Football, and Basketball. In our community these are activities that students have opportunities to participate in outside of class, both in their teen years, and in adulthood. In a course called Fitness Games the primary aim is maximizing physical activity, and achieving health enhancing levels of physical fitness (NASPE standards 3 & 4). No real skill is required for Fitness Games, just a desire to move, have fun, and develop fitness through vigorous participation in low organizational games. I have used heart rate monitors and pedometers in this course as successful assessment tools to enhance motivation and reinforce content learned in the required Wellness curriculum. The third offering is perhaps the most innovative and has become one of the students favorites. The course is called Coaching, Teaching, and Recreational Leadership. In this course students learn how to effectively teach and facilitate play and movement experiences to meet national standards. Students teach their peers and have the opportunity to teach a lesson in Physical Education at a local elementary school. Students practice giving and receiving feedback (NASPE standard 5) and have an opportunity to reflect upon the value of physical activity for all ages (NASPE standards 6).
I have recently started teaching a Dance course and I absolutely love it. Since I have no formal dance background or training, and due to the fact that I am a 260 pound gorilla, I have employed a student-centered approach in which students are empowered to teach each other (and me). I think it is a great model for any program that wants to incorporate more dance into their curriculum, but does not have anyone with dance expertise to consider trying.
It might be a strange statement for a teacher of the year to make but I feel like I am good at a lot of things but perhaps an expert in nothing. I would say my best strengths are building relationships with kids and motivating them to pursue success for themselves. Fortunately, I teach with great people who are experts at a lot of content areas and I learn from them. I guess I am a "jack of all trades" in terms of activities and content. I teach a wide variety of courses in our diverse curriculum including Muscular Fitness (Foundations of Fitness/Weight Lifting), Nutrition, Group Exercise (Aerobics), Personal Fitness, Coaching/Teaching and Recreational Leadership, Fitness Games, Conflict Resolution, Outdoor Pursuits (Adventure Education), Volleyball, Golf, Cardiovascular Fitness, Dance, Territorial Games, and Introduction to Wellness.
Meeting all students where they are at and challenging them to grow is the foundation of my philosophy of teaching Physical Education. Supporting them in their growth process by striving to impact what they know, what they can do, and how they feel is my goal every lesson. All three of these pieces are critical to helping them value lifelong physical activity. I want to ensure that students acquire the knowledge and develop the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities with confidence. Continually assessing student's learning needs can help them set the bar for themselves at a level that is appropriately challenging and motivates them to learn. Students must be aware of the many options they have to enhance and maintain physical fitness now and in their future. I challenge students to become experts on themselves, so they can choose physical activities that best meet their needs. Helping students develop the self-responsibility and self-love necessary to invest in their own well being through positive choices is the ultimate outcome. I encourage students to recognize the value of taking positive risks by trying on new experiences and engaging in the learning process throughout their lifetime.
I am truly honored to be recognized as a Teacher of the Year. I believe this is the combination of the ripple effects started by many other great physical educators who have impacted my life. I share this honor with all of the great physical educators who have invested in me. This includes all of the PE teachers I had growing up and through college. I particularly want to mention my K-8 physical education teacher Mr. James George, who changed my life. I share this award with my past and current colleagues who have mentored and shared with me their passion for teaching. I also am grateful to the countless dedicated professionals I have interacted with over the years at AAHPERD conventions and other workshops, including those with I may have only had a 5 minute conversation with that I walked away from energized and inspired and perhaps with a new idea to try.
I really enjoy hosting people from other programs who come visit our program and sharing as much with them as I can. I believe at Lincoln-Sudbury we have an innovative and effective wellness approach and philosophy to teaching health and physical education. Empowering students to take ownership of all aspects of their well-being by having the knowledge, skills, and most importantly the dispositions to make healthy choices throughout their lifetime is what we strive to do.
We have a well developed, holistic curriculum in which all students must complete 6 required courses which have a well defined scope and sequence. In addition they must choose 6 additional courses from a diverse list of 18 elective offerings providing them choice in their learning which I think is critical at the high school level. Our wellness approach and philosophy ties it all together. I am looking forward to the opportunity as a Teacher of the Year to share more about the structure, content, philosophy, and approach of our program with others.
"I thought I was going to hate it...but I actually really liked CV fitness. Mr. Belmont challenged me just enough and I have kept working out on my own after getting started in class."
"Mr. Belmont taught me that I shouldn't be held back by cultural traps in the weight room...that as a girl I can, and should lift weights."
"Mr Belmont- after taking golf with you I have started going with my dad and he said I am good at it and I think it is cool we have something we can do together."
"He looks like a grizzly but he is really a teddy bear."
*"Practical Tools to Assess Wellness Outcomes and NASPE Standards at the High School Level". In this session members of my department shared our philosophy and perspective on assessment and a bunch of assessment tools we use. Though it is a "talking" presentation (jam packed with ideas but not necessarily high energy) there is a little hook that I do to spice it up that I love.
*"Restructuring the Games Curriculum using NASPE Standards". In this presentation I shared how I restructured our games curriculum by creating 3 different courses for students to choose. I shared the objectives of each course, course outline, assessment tools used, and some other "bells and whistles" of each course.
*"TEAM". My department gave the keynote address at our spring state conference in 2010. Our presentation was about how we have developed a highly functional team and how that translates into us being able to deliver a quality wellness program to our students. I feel our profession would benefit from programs investing in developing teamwork amongst colleagues. I hear over and over from committed professionals at workshops that what holds them back is a dysfunctional team or members of their team (department). I think this is the key to the success of our program.