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Name: Tracy Taylor
My program, which consists of nine strands, is considered creative, innovative and progressive in its approach to developing the whole child (socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually) within the physical education curriculum. Students use the disciplines of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sports and Fitness to change from passive learners to engaged learners to creative learners to learners who actively attempt to use their acquired knowledge and skills to better their community while having Fun and continuing to learn more. This sets the foundation for the student's academic success.
After students have been taught all the skills and have been able to demonstrate the four levels (Quadrants) of the Rigor, Relevance, Relationships Model and Blooms Taxonomy they have the opportunity to stretch their learning into a higher level.
Middle school students do community service with preschool age students helping them to develop social and motor skills. Students also work with senior citizens on social and motor skills retention. In addition, they work with special education identified youth at the middle school level on social and motor skills awareness and development.
The students take ownership of their learning. They take what they have learned in the classroom and do presentations at training workshops and state conferences. The participants at these presentations are teachers from public and private schools, college students and parents.
The students start preparing college portfolios which includes a record of their middle school experience. In it, they exhibit their report cards, local certificates for their participation in community service, letters and certificates from the President of the United States for their community service, newspaper clippings and appreciation letters from various groups that have benefited from their community involvement.
My highest physical and academic achievers in class have the opportunity to be specially designated peer tutors that provide assistance in the classroom. They help students who are struggling with assignments as well as motor skill activities in the classroom. The assistance they provide helps the other students with study skills that can be utilized in class and beyond middle school.
Students are nominated from the classrooms for national recognition resulting in their eligibility to apply for scholarships. The scholarships can be used either for a private high school or for their freshmen year in college. This makes them aware of the need to prepare themselves for the financial responsibilities of going to college and the academic demands.
This program shows the effectiveness of integrating the physical education curriculum to include language arts, science, math, social studies, technology, health, guidance, life skills and character education. It also shows how these subjects are interdependent and valuable to the students' development.
The success of the mentor program illustrates the effectiveness of having former students come back to discuss their experiences after middle school with current students. Former students who are now in high school, college or the work force reflect on their middle school years and what they might have done differently to make the transition beyond easier.
The class web page is full of resources for the students to use. They can keep track of their assignments, grades and access samples of high quality assignments. The web page also advocates the importance of physical education and dance in the development of the whole child to the parents and the immediate community.
Other teachers use this program as a model for their programs. Teachers, administrators, district and state personnel, college students and parents are welcome to come and observe the classroom throughout the year as this is a 12-month program.
I specialize in social and popular dance, adapted/inclusive physical activities, traditional and non-traditional sports and activities such as cooperative games, team building skills and community service. I help students to believe in themselves and learn how to succeed individually, in small groups and in larger groups. They discover they are the driving force behind their own success. Their potential is still untapped. Through physical education and related programs, I can tie in the significance of the core classes as well as the importance of planning ahead for college. I think outside the box to constantly evolve my program to meet the students' needs and the needs of the immediate community.
Physical education is not just for the fields, courts, gyms or pools. Other subjects can be integrated into the physical education curriculum just as physical education can be integrated into the core classes. Physical education is not play, it is essential to the overall development of each individual student.
Physical education provides students a natural environment to develop and progress through the four quadrants of the Rigor, Relevance and Relationship Model and Bloom's Taxonomy. It provides an environment where inclusion, differentiation and integrating the curriculum are a natural part of instruction. It provides an abundance of opportunities for service learning and community service which can involve participants of all ages and abilities in a given community. The students also benefit from opportunities to learn essential skills to become community leaders and good citizens.
Physical education provides the students the environment and opportunity to develop problem solving skills and the ability to be able to strategize about what is needed to be successful. The program helps students develop socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. They feel good about themselves which is part of the foundation needed to motivate them to want to learn.
I feel every child has something of value to contribute. The trick is helping the child learn to harness their ability in a way which creates a positive outcome for everyone. No matter what level a child's present performance is at, if approached in a way which is best suited to that child's style of learning, they will perform to the best of their ability. This, in turn, helps them to continually build a better foundation of skills to continue to work toward their personal success.
I feel that the teaching profession is one of the hardest and most rewarding professions there is. Each child a teacher has contact with, has the potential to impact the future in dramatic ways. These students are the future. These children are the adults of tomorrow that will make decisions that will ultimately affect the world. Their decisions and the things they will draw on to make these decisions are impacted by the environment and information presented to them at home as well as in their classrooms. A teacher can be a powerful role model, and in some cases the only role model some kids have. We owe them the opportunity to exhaust every option in helping them learn how to reach their full potential (Socially, Emotionally, Physically, intellectually and academically).
I want students to realize that there are only two ways that a person truly fails, quitting or not trying. However, if they try and don't do as well as they wanted to, but understand why they didn't do well, they then have the tools and the ability they need to better prepare for the test again, to do better next time at what they tried. This means it is not failure just a step on their way to success. The student's role is to keep trying and never give up and to always try and do better.
Now that I have explained the student's role, what is my role as their teacher? I am a resource. I am a tool for them to use. My job is to serve them! I do this by providing them as many different learning opportunities in as many different ways as possible. I believe students in my classroom have different hopes and fears as well as different short and long-term goals. In this class I help students discover what they are and help the students learn how to work on them so they are in charge of their own personal learning and progress.
Teaching takes dedication. As a teacher, I have a unique opportunity to be involved in a future leaders' life. Teachers can help students learn how not to give up. Sometimes not being successful at first gives us the knowledge and skill we need to try again and succeed the next time. By working with parents, guardians, and foster parents, we can create a united front where we all have a common goal, "the student's success". When the home, school, and child all work together, it becomes a hard combination to beat.
In my over 20 years of teaching, I have known students who other people said would not succeed. These students might have slipped through the cracks in our system. It is the job of every teacher to make sure he/she has exhausted all avenues for ensuring that each student learns to the best of his/her ability. We cannot give up on children who are on the edge of giving up on themselves and quitting their dreams.
I feel my greatest contribution has been that I have helped thousands of children get on the right track. They have realized that everything they do affects somebody positively or negatively. They chose to make a positive difference. This, in turn, helps them to become an asset to any community as well as a good citizen.
Being a Physical Education Teacher of the Year means that I now am not alone in my advocacy for the need of physical education not only for the fitness, health and wellness benefits, but for the overall development of the whole child (socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually) which is the foundation for student academic success. This makes a huge difference for me as I continue to advocate for the essential need for effective physical education programs focusing on student success and positive student outcomes and the attempt to educate the public on what physical education really is and its true benefits to our students and our future.
I have spent over 20 years trying to bring about positive change in how the public and in some cases people from my own profession view what physical education and dance is and what its purpose is. A lot of that time was spent debunking the promotion of the latest trends and fads that have been so damaging to our profession and actually put children and the public at risk.
The dominant image of physical education and dance by too many people is one of an over glorified recess. They think of it as a subject that has little to no educational benefit. Our own field has defined physical education as "learning by physically doing".
I prefer to define our field as the art and science of movement. It is one of the few subjects that truly has a focus on helping the whole child develop socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually which leads to academic success and improved assessment scores. Today there is a lot of focus on mapping, standards, benchmarks, core abilities, differentiation, inclusion, integration, parent involvement and problem solving with a push for students to be able to work independently.
Physical education has been doing this for over 20 years. When a curriculum is set up we create a learning hierarchy, from broad to specific, with long term goals and short-term goals and specific measurable objectives in all the domains (social, emotional, physical and intellectual). As the hierarchy continues to become more specific, it's broken down into lesson plans. These lesson plans are developed as direct outcomes of the objectives. The formative and summative exams are a direct outcome of the lessons and types of skills taught and learned.
Prior to working at Kapolei Middle School, I worked at the Leeward District Office as a resource teacher. I presented several workshops relating to adapted/inclusive/general physical education, special education, learning theories and standards. These workshops were sponsored by the State of Hawaii, Department of Education and were open to teachers in all districts including the outer islands. Personnel in different departments, such as Parks and Recreation, were also welcome to attend these sessions as were private schools and businesses.
The participants were shown not only physical education lessons, skills and activities, but also different ways to help students take a leadership role in their personal lives and communities. They were also shown how to bridge the gap between core subject areas and physical education. This approach focused on the relatedness and similarity of physical education to core subjects and how all subjects are interrelated and interdependent on each other. The emphasis was on the relevance of physical education in each student's personal life and how to create a program that was progressively challenging in a way which focused on success, not failure, creating an environment in which students want to learn and participate.
Since joining the staff at Kapolei Middle School, my efforts have been to take those same theories and techniques and apply them in my own programs. I share the results with the rest of the profession through presentations, conferences, and workshops highlighting my students' successes across all subjects. Through their successes, they show how an integrated; Inclusive, differentiated curriculum using the standards of physical education, health education, fine arts, language arts and career education has positively impacted student academic and personal development. It has also demonstrated how the concept of Relationships, Relevance and Rigor can be implemented successfully in a physical education program. It also shows the skills students have developed as future leaders as a result of being involved in this type of program and their ability to be a positive, contributing active, members of their community as they participate in community service projects.
I have been involved in 26-28 community service activity projects a year with my students since 2004. We have in-serviced participants whose ages ranged from pre-school through senior citizens. I have also worked with State agencies such as Parks and Recreation and the planning task force for the development of the Ewa-Makai Middle School. We have presented and performed at the Hawaii Association of Middle Schools Conference, National Middle School Association Conferences, HAHPERD and DOE Workshops, HAHERD State Physical Education Conferences, State Health Conferences, State Showcase of Promising Practices, State Service Learning Conference, The HAEYAC Early Childhood Conference, Sunset on the Plains and regularly visit other schools to in-service them on how to duplicate my present program being used at Kapolei Middle School.
"Mr. Taylor always makes sure that we have a good grade, if we don't he gives us as much help as we need until we succeed. He believes in his students and believes that "We are the future." He is the best teacher ever and he will always be there for you no matter what."-Nicole, 8th Grade
"My experience of being a student with Mr. Taylor for the past 3 years has been fun and amazing. He is an awesome teacher that cares about his students and always puts them and their grades first. Mr. Taylor is just like another father to me outside of home and all his students. The students in my class are like my family. This class not only teaches you manners, etiquette skills and how to write "A" papers, but it teaches you how to come together and become a family that we know we can always depend on when we need someone to be there for you."-Kaile, 8th grade
"He has boosted my confidence and made learning fun."-Carla, 8th Grade
"I wasn't doing my work, not listening, not writing anything and talking too much. I came to school to be with my friends. I was getting D and F's. I took Mr. Taylors class and liked it. I wanted to be a Dance Assistant for Mr. Taylor but he said I needed A and B's. He helped me learn how to study and the next semester I was one of his DA's. I surprised myself. He showed me that the only thing stopping me from succeeding was me."-Jerome, 7th Grade
"Mr. Taylor isn't afraid to give up is own free time to help a student in need and he is even willing to stay back after school or come in early if it will help a student."-Kenneth, 8th Grade
"He doesn't believe in failure. He says every attempt is one step closer to success, if we learn from our mistakes and don't give up and keep trying until we succeed."-Kylee, 8th Grade
"Mr. Taylor has enthusiasm for his job as a teacher and makes learning fun. He makes students not only enjoy learning but want to learn. He makes each student realize how special we are and inspires pride in ourselves."-Selena, 8th Grade
"Mr. Taylor gives his own time so that his students can succeed and he never accepts anything lower then our best. If our best does not lead to an "A", he takes the time to show us how to reach that "A". If we are willing to try, he is willing to help by explaining in as many different ways possible until we get it."-Kayla, 7th Grade
"What Mr. Taylor's program does is teach students to become successful future leaders. We learn how to be responsible young adults and develop a hunger to be thriving learners. We understand that we are the Nation's most valuable natural treasure. We are the future. With this great power comes great responsibility."-Gracelyn, 8th Grade
"Mr. Taylor truly made me feel like I was worth something, that I made a difference. He inspired me to do my best in school and to help others feel the same way I did."-Brandon, 8th Grade
"The Road to Good Behavior, Good Grades & Success Paved by Social & Popular Dance" at the Hawaii Association of Middle Schools State Conference: Started with a short video presentation that showed the students' progression throughout the school year. 25 to 30 7th and 8th grade students then explained the standards and core ability based, benchmark driven, integrated academic curriculum and finished with teaching the audience members some of the dances and activities they learned during the year that could be duplicated in their own classes.
"Social and Motor Skill Development through Creative Movement with an Introduction to Academics" at the Annual Statewide Leadership Symposium and HAEYC Early Childhood State Conference: A Video showing middle school students working with preschool, senior citizens and special populations followed by them doing small group presentations. The culmination was hands-on instruction by 20-30 students for preschool and lower elementary teachers on creative movement, gross motor skill development and introductory academic which could be used in their own classes.
"Physical Education, Dance and Community Service - A Winning Combination for All Ages" at the Annual Statewide Service Learning Conference: Short video and student led small group presentations showing how community service and working with preschool and senior citizens on gross motor and social skills development and retention, has positively impacted the social, emotional, physical, intellectual and academic growth of the middle school students. 20-30 students then showed the audience some of the activities they did for community service so they could see how they could duplicate the experience of using Physical Education and dance for community service.
"From Preschool to Senior Hood, Physical Education all the Way" at the Annual Statewide Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sports, Fitness and wellness Conference: 25 Middle School Students took their audience on a journey of how community service, physical education and dance has positively impacted their social, emotional, physical, intellectual and academic growth. A short video documenting the student's experiences followed by student led small group presentations showing their academic achievements with them finishing the session with hands on activities that could be repeated by the audience in their own classrooms.