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Name: Darlene Koerber
Describe one or two of the newest and/or most innovative activities that you do with your students in physical education.
My students participate in several new and innovative activities. This year I received a "Fuel up Play 60" grant. My student team and I created a pedometer walking program that we do after lunch every day. We also had our students taste testing healthy foods to be added to our hot lunch program. We did a taste test for grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy. This grant was to help increase the physical activity of our students. Our students filled out food diaries and physical activity logs, even the students that did not have physical education at the time.
In the last four years I have been teaching Dance, Dance Revolution. We started off with 2 dance pads and one TV, and now we have 24 pads going on at one time. This year we also were able to get WII Sport and WII Fit Plus through a grant. We can have 8 students participating at a time. This targets a student that enjoys video games and gets them up and moving. So with DDR, WII, and other stations everyone in the classes is engaged and active.
A couple of years ago we started using jump bands in class. We went from learning how to use the jump bands to mixing the bands and now my students use manipulatives. They bounce balls, make passes, and use gymnastics while jumping in the jump bands. This is great brain based activity.
What is your particular expertise in regard to teaching physical education – what is the focus of your teaching?
In middle school I focus on fitness and lifetime activities. The most important concept for my students to grasp is the connection between lifetime physical activity and lifetime wellness, and to teach the skill and knowledge needed to establish and sustain an active lifestyle. This is done by emphasizing fitness and well-being, not athleticism. Everyone can achieve a healthy fitness level. In my program the students have the opportunity to develop skills in dance and rhythms; physical fitness; team and dual sports; outdoor activities; and lifetime activities. I also have my students evaluate their physically active lifestyle by going to a website to calculate calories burned and calories consumed. Some of my students favorite units are indoor tennis, pickle ball, hiking, jump bands, DDR, WII, line dancing, soccer, volleyball, cup stacking, omnikin, and cooperative activities.
What is your philosophy for physical education – what do you believe in?
My major philosophy of teaching is children learn by example, and therefore, we as teachers should live what we teach. We need to "practice what we preach". I believe that health and physical education are the foundations in which all learning can take place. A healthy body makes for a healthy mind. There is nothing more important to us as humans than our health and fitness. I believe that as a physical education teacher I must lead a healthy and physically active lifestyle if I want my students to do the same.
We also need to set an example in showing our students how to respect others; which will help us in building an emotionally safe environment which is equally important for students' success. I believe that all students want to learn and be successful. In order for them to succeed I create an environment in which the student feels emotionally and physically safe to express themselves. Good sportsmanship has been an integral part of every activity I teach. Sportsmanship is the corner stone in creating an environment in which all students can feel safe and valued. I promote activities that foster teamwork, fair play, personal responsibility, cooperation, and respect for oneself and others; all of which equals sportsmanship. I teach my students that we all have our strengths and weakness and are here to help each other develop to our maximum potential.
What does being a NASPE physical education Teacher of the Year mean to you?
This has been the greatest honor I have ever received. I feel that I have been so blesses to be able to work in my school system. I work with a wonderful staff that is very passionate about teaching our students. Our administration is very supportive and is always working to help create the best for our students. This year our county has two Midwest District Physical Education Teacher of the Year.
What do you do to help other physical education teachers plan and implement exemplary programs?
State and Local Level
Any quotes from students about you as a physical education teacher, or the classes taught?
"Mrs. Koerber pushes me to do things, even when I think I can't and then it is real thrill when I do it." -Jackie
"Mrs. Koerber really cares about us" -Daniel
"Mrs. Koerber you can just write another grant and get it." -My 2nd period class
"Mrs. Koerber is the grant queen." -Ms. Putz
"Mrs. Koerber's classes are my favorite." -Colby
"If we ever need anything Mrs. Koerber will help us." -Gary
"Mrs. Koerber is fun and crazy." -Dakota
"You are my favorite teacher." -Cameron
"Mrs. Koerber power walks everywhere." -Drew
"Mrs. Koerber is a health nut." -Jacob
What are three of your "favorite" conference session titles that you have presented?
Health & Physical Education Leadership Academy – In West Virginia the Office of Healthy Schools wanted to develop leaders in the field of Health and Physical Education to meet the standards of the 21st Century. The 1st Leadership Academy participants were chosen from a select group from our state. From there we took the academies to individual RESA's which stands for Regional Education Service Agency. The academies had four areas of concentration that were Standard Based Instruction, Grant Writing, Advocacy, and Technology. I was a mentor in the area of Standard Based Instruction and I was also a Director of RESA 6.
Young Professional Day for College Students at WVAHPERD – Dr. Andro Barnett and I planned, presented and ran the event for the students. It started at 12:00 and ended at 5:00. We had ice breakers; the history of AAHPERD, WVAHPERD, and Midwest District; Fitnessgram training; Interviews and Resumes; Zip into Warm-ups; and Standard Based Lesson for Physical Education.
Family Fun and Fitness Nights – This was a session on how to do put on a Family Fun and Fitness Night. This session gave ideas on how to raise money with grants and showed ideas for activities that make successful Family Fun and Fitness Night.
Additional major teaching awards Darlene has received: