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Name: Lisa Sinjem
Describe one or two of the newest and/or most innovative activities that you do with your students in physical education?
At Jim Hill Middle School we have established that every Wednesday is "Fitness Day". On this day all of our students come to physical education class, knowing they will have a goal (by using pedometers, heart watches or both in some cases) to meet. They will be challenged with an activity of higher intensity level, stressing the components of fitness. We also use PE Weekly Reflections in which the students have two paragraphs to write a summary of what we did in PE this week, and more importantly what they learned in PE this week. We get great feedback on these from our students. Also, on their weekly reflection there is a chart to fill in all of their activity for the week. It is an outside assignment that our students try to get 60 min. of activity 5 days a week, they may include 30 min. of PE when they have it. Our fitness unit is one of my favorite units, because our students get exposed to a variety of workouts they can then use outside of school, muscle pump with weight bars, hand held weights, cardio fitness equipment, and bosu balls. The students work hard during this unit and give us great feedback that they are learning about fitness, and how to workout and live a healthy lifestyle which is truly our ultimate goal! I also use an assessment process where the students self-assess themselves on benchmarks half-way through the unit, we provide the students with verbal feedback, and use flip video cameras for visual feedback, which gives them formative feedback throughout the unit, and then we end the unit with their summative assessment.
What is your particular expertise in regard to teaching physical education – what is the focus of your teaching?
I am an organizational freak…. I like planning and making lesson plans that will maximize student moment, along with teaching the skills and have a fitness element that will exist on a daily basis. My focus is to educate my students on the purpose of physical education, and living an active lifestyle. I believe my students come into class not knowing what we are going to do that day, we change activities, warm-ups and fitness days, so that it always looks different to spark the students interest. I like to be creative and try new ideas. I want the students to come into an atmosphere that is safe, encouraging, challenging, educational, and FUN !
What is your philosophy for physical education – what do you believe in?
I believe physical education is such an important experience for our students, because we are teaching the whole child. On a daily basis we are touching on all domains of learning; physical, emotional, mental, and social. Fitness development and awareness is a huge part, but at the same time we are teaching so many lifelong lessons, on setting goals, working towards goals, achieving success, not meeting a goal, working with others, sportsmanship, and the list can go on and on. The key is to always maximize the opportunity of "teachable moments," they often are not planned, but can be the best lessons that you have ever taught. I want to have all students no matter what their abilities or disabilities come into class and be challenged, along with feeling good about themselves and experiencing success. It is important that I am a good role model, and that I walk the talk, so it makes what I say have much more meaning to my students. I truly believe that physical education is one of their most important classes of the day. Physical movement is a release for the students, will increase their ability to learn in other classes, they are challenged in all domains of learning, and will be practicing and developing skills, knowledge, and habits that will help them make decisions for living a healthy active lifestyle.
What does being a NASPE physical education Teacher of the Year mean to you?
It is extremely humbling to me ! There are so many great teachers and physical educators, so to be selected as one of the best is extremely an honor. I believe it comes from being a hard worker, trying new ideas, staying current in our field, and most importantly….. Loving my Job ! I often use the Life is Good quote: " Do what you like….. Like what you do", and I am definitely doing that ! I love working with middle school students, and teaching them something that can make a difference in their lives, along with developing good rapport with the students, so you are also a positive influence on their life. I also teach at a very supportive school, and with a wonderful staff where we are looked at as being extremely important in our students' educational experience at Jim Hill Middle School.
What do you do to help other physical education teachers plan and implement exemplary programs?
I am department head in my department, so I try to come up with new ideas, order new equipment, and run our PLC meetings. I have had numerous practicum students, and student teachers. I have presented at many workshops, conventions, and also have been a guest speaker in college classes for future physical education instructors. I enjoy sharing my experiences of 26 years, ideas, and activities that work for me. I enjoy getting together with others who have the same passion for teaching as I do, because we are all trying to learn from each other to be the best we can be for our students !
Any quotes from students about you as a physical education teacher, or the classes taught by you?
"Miss Sinjem thinks of the coolest games and exercises. It makes PE and exercising FUN !" - McKenzie
"Miss Sinjem always encourages us to do our best and work our hardest, plus she is cool!" – Chelsea
"With Miss Sinjem as a teacher, each day in gym is exciting and new." - Claudia
"On fitness day Wednesday we do a hard workout. I like it because I like working hard and improving on my fitness level." – Emma
"Miss Sinjem is a great physical education teacher ! She pushes us when we want to give up and always helps us out." - Tori
"She is fun, keeps us in line, and is a teacher that cares about her students." - Makaila
"Miss Sinjem is the best PE teacher. She makes it Fun !" – Taylor
"She knows how to have fun and make us sweat at the same time. " - Cyndney
"Miss Sinjem makes physical education fun, and exciting, and very fun to learn." – Cody
"Miss Sinjem has always been there for us, and encourages all of us !" – Brandi
"Miss Sinjem makes PE fun, and we do something different all the time." - Rachel
"Physical Education is one of the fun hours of the school day, because she makes it fun." – Kensie
" Miss Sinjem is a hard working teacher." – Ashley
"Miss Sinjem is a really good teacher, she doesn't yell at us." - Megan
"Miss Sinjem is always willing to move forward in education. She is willing to accept new ideas in ways to make gym class fun." - Brock
" I like how we get to try so many different things that are not what we normally play, but are cool." – Emily
"In PE Miss Sinjem always keeps us on track and treats everyone equal, never takes sides and is always nice." - Mattie
What are three of your "favorite" conference session titles that you have presented?
Introductory Activities / Task Cards - Camouflage fitness activities so the students are having fun, but also engaged in the activity to maximize movement in the class period. Task cards give the students what they should do, but now.... as a group, partner, or individual they have to make decisions to stay on task, get the job done, and make good choices. Task cards also free up the teacher to be out and about giving the students feedback. You will leave with many ideas you can take home and use in your classrooms immediately.
Fitness Days - At Jim Hill Middle School every Wednesday is designated as a "Fitness Day " for all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. That day in gym the students know the intensity will be higher, and there will be a goal given for them to reach on the specific activity. We use both heart rate monitors and pedometers for assessing the students reaching a specific goal. This session will give you many ideas of some of the fitness days we use at Jim Hill Middle School.
Use of Technology in PE - Participants will learn how to implement technology into physical education. Use of web page, web sites, interval music, wireless mics, handhelds for grading, pedometers, heart watches, pulse sticks, senteos, flash games, and student mixers. I will give you an idea what I use and how I use all these things in my physical education classes. Hopefully, you will leave with some new ideas to try!
Other major teaching awards Lisa has received: