Friday, January 16, 2009

Great Suggestions from Teachers Like You...

One feature I love about this blog is that PE Instructors from across the country are able to share the different approaches that make their PEP projects successful. They also take the time to share with me some of the shortcuts that they use to save themselves time and energy in the evaluation of their projects.

So, I am going to start publishing those suggestions each week. Make sure you create an RSS feed for this site so you know when it is updated. I hope you find the information informative. If there are topics you would like to see additional discussion about, please email me and I will publish an article regarding the area you suggest.

  1. Save Time in Data Transfer: One PE Instructor in Kenosha WI suggested that instead of writing all of the student names into the data tracking sheets, you cut and paste the names onto the appropriate sheets instead. That will save you from having to write in all of the names yourself.
  2. When Timelines are Out of Order: When you have already conducted your fitness pre-test and you now need your students to note their performance data to assist in goal setting, copy the sheet you noted their data on and cut out the data for each student along with their name. This will same you significant time and effort. You will not have to meet with each student individually to help them note their data.
  3. Partner Up: Use SPARK classroom management strategies and have your students partner up for the portions of the fitness test that they can. Try and get them to accurately count for their partner and then have them switch positions. That will help you move more quickly through your evaluation piece.
  4. Work with Classroom Teachers: A classroom teacher can be your best friend when you are trying to get your students to journal the amount of time they spend each week exhibiting MVPA. As classroom teachers to give students time to record the data and they add the number of minutes up they have at the end of the week. Most classroom teachers will be happy to oblige.

If there are other tips and strategies that you would like to share, please email me and I will of course credit you and let the whole world know how smart and impressive you are!

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 PEP Applications Being Accepted

Yep, it is true, the DoEd recently announced they will be accepting applications for new projects under the Carol M. White PEP Program. The CFDA number is 84.215F if you would like to look up the new guidelines once they are published. The guidelines are scheduled to be released sometime on or shortly after 01.15.2009.

I will take some time and publish my thoughts on the new guidelines once I have had the chance to carefully review them. I don't think they will change too much, but I do expect clearer guidance on the GRPA requirements for grant recipients. I am also hopeful that the guidance published for reviewers by the DoEd is clearer and put an emphasis on research-based programs.

It seems a larger than desired percentage of recipients that are approved are not exactly clear on what type of program they would like to implement nor the true scope and sequence of their program. It is a shame that some of the federal dollars go to these districts. Trust me, I have seen it first hand and it is a waste of this resource.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Too long between posts...excuses, excuses

Alright, it is hard to admit, but it was entirely too long between my last post and this one. The dog ate my homework, my gym shorts, and my car keys. No really, this post is all about the excuses your students give you and how you can motivate them with simple contests and strategies. Believe it or not, simple, crazy promotions will often lead students to perform a desired behavior.

For PEP projects, it seems the Student Activity Level tracking (MVPA) that is required by the DoEd is the most difficult. I have seen some electronic solutions as well as solutions that require simple paper and a pencil. Whatever your budget and level of motivation, getting your students to recall and record that data is the challenge here.

Let me remind you of the five simple strategies we advocate to help motivate your PE students to complete a desired task:
  1. Make sure the behavior is easily measured. If you students are required to spend hours a week recording and reporting data, it won't happen. If you as the teacher or Project Director are required to spend hours a week compiling data, yep, you guessed it, your data will be raw for weeks. And you know what they say about raw data -- it starts to stink after a while.
  2. Group competition instead of individual competition. Make any competitions you conduct based on group performance instead of individual performance. Embed individual performance within the competition.
  3. Set clear criteria. Your students have to know how they are being judged. Without this information, they will undoubtedly throw in the towel before the end of the competition.
  4. Reward positive behavior. Enough said.
  5. Constantly remind and promote. Your students will need gentle and clear reminders of the expected outcomes. Make sure they know deadlines and are clear on what they are required to submit.

This post may seem like a rehash of the previous information and to a certain extent it is. But this topic is one of the most difficult issues that confront PE instructors. So tell me this -- what have you used in the past to motivate your students? What has been successful and what has failed?