Let’s Get Physical!

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Let’s get physical, shall we?

How many of you remember that song? “Physical” is a song by Australian recording artist Olivia Newton-John circa 80ish.

I fondly remember wearing  leg warmers and a neon headband  to school, much to my chagrin, thanks to (or maybe because of) her.

Yes, really.

But, I digress.

Speaking of getting physical and school, lets talk about Phys Ed.

Gym classes nation wide will soon require a written test under Core. That’s right. They will not be getting that physical in gym, after all.

A new type of exam is making the rounds in subjects where students aren’t used to being put to the test — subjects  just like gym. Art and music too. Yes, blog posts to come!

Students may call it silly, but educators are defending the testing. “It’s not a pressure for the children, it’s accountability for the teachers,” a physical education teacher  told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff in the article referenced below.

As part of the new New York State teacher evaluations (APPR), many districts are testing this year in non-core subjects.

A test at the start of the year and another at year’s end are being done to not only evaluate teachers, but kids too.

“It’s a wonderful way to measure how far a student has come from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, so we are looking forward to using the data to drive future instruction,” said an assistant principal.

“I think we’ve always assessed. It’s just a more formal way,” said an art teacher.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/10/10/exclusive-l-i-students-perplexed-by-written-exams-in-gym-and-art-classes/

I asked some parents in my own school district what they thought. One parent said she didn’t like it. She was concerned that it might take away from physical activity for the kids. I agree. On the other hand, she  supposes it’s needed to make it easier to rate gym teachers. Apparently, tests are given in the HS, she said,  most recently on the rules of soccer. Excellent point, written tests are needed in gym becasue of APPR.

Another parent’s sentiment echoed my own –  its ridiculous, he said.

So, what do YOU think? Sound off in the comments below.

Here’s what others are saying:

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Gym-class-requires-a-written-test-5000270.php

Im not really sure what to expect. My child is in Kindergarten right now, so unless they expect him to write the word cat, dog, see, run….Im not thinking they’re going to get very far.

Thankfully, the Indiana Department of Ed has prepared a video “Understanding the Literacy Standards for Physical Education”.

To clarify, aligned to Core, its standards apply to NYS so you can watch this video and learn.

http://media.doe.in.gov/curriculum/2011-04-CommonCore-PE.html

The impact the Core standards and emphasis on ELA and rote learning is not lost on me. This pedagogy is making its way across disciplines and into every nook and cranny of students lives. Case in point, “Teaching literacy through dance.”

https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/literacy-through-creative-dance?utm_source=Teaching+Channel+Newsletter&utm_campaign=616c52aae5-Newsletter_November_23_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_23c3feb22a-616c52aae5-292147169

I understand the general idea, but what if some kids just want to take a break from all the rote learning just to……well…….dance? Why does everything have to be a “lesson.” Why can’t dancing be…dancing.

While it seems a little complicated, Im open to hearing from others. Please comment below.

Meanwhile, in case you’re wondering aloud – Hmmm, I wonder what the NYS  Physical Education Learning Standards are?

Great question. They are as follows:

Standard 1 – Personal Health and Fitness

Students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in physical activity, and maintain personal health.

Standard 2 – A Safe and Healthy Environment

Students will acquire the knowledge and ability necessary to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment.

Standard 3 – Resource Management

Students will understand and be able to manage their personal and community resources.

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/pe/pels.html

Interesting. But, I have some questions. What is a Physical Education Profile?

You too?

Dont worry, NYSED expected that from parents. Here are NYSEDs Frequently Asked Questions about the Physical Education Profile:

1. What is the New York State Physical Education Profile?
The New York State Physical Education Profile is a State-developed resource that may be used to provide evidence of student achievement at the commencement level for the physical education portion of the New York State Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences (1996). School districts are expected to teach to the learning standards and provide evidence that students are achieving each of the 28 New York State Learning Standards. This Profile is to be used at the discretion of local school district to provide that evidence for physical education. Results are intended to provide evidence for 1) individual student achievement of the learning standards, and 2) when student results are grouped, for evaluating the quality of physical education programs.

2. Why was the New York State Physical Education Profile developed?
With the adoption of the New York State Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences by the Board of Regents in 1996, the New York State Education Department, in partnership with physical education professionals, began a process of designing and field-testing assessments to determine the extent to which students were meeting the State learning standards. The Physical Education Profile has resulted in a set of practical assessments that may be administered in regular physical education classes throughout the school year. Teachers and school professionals are encouraged to use the Profile to focus attention on learning, to produce or align curriculum and instructional opportunities, and to aid in local program evaluation. The Profile provides a means by which students and school programs may demonstrate accountability for achievement in physical education. The Profile is based upon the assumption that school districts provide the facilities and qualified teachers for safe and effective instructional programs K-12. It is also assumed that physical education classes meet the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Section 135.4 (time requirements and teacher certification) and student-teacher ratios are appropriate for students to have adequate instructional time and opportunity to achieve the learning standards.

3. Why do we need the New York State Physical Education Profile?
The New York State Physical Education Profile is the result of over a decade of discussion regarding accountability in physical education as in all content areas. Learning standards were established to help teachers meet the needs of all students in today’s world. Learning standards were followed by the creation of set of standardized assessments that would provide evidence that student learning had taken place and students have achieved the learning standards. The New York State Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences (1996) and the New York State Physical Education Profile are the products of hundreds of physical education professionals across New York State who contributed their time and expertise, piloted assessments, and revised materials.

4. Who developed the New York State Physical Education Profile?
The Physical Education Profile is the result of over a decade of discussion regarding accountability in physical education. It was created through a partnership between the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NYS AHPERD). Hundreds of teachers, school administrators, university faculty, and State Education Department officials participated. The effort was funded through a Goals 2000 Grant in which the Jefferson-Lewis-Herkimer-Oneida Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) served as the local education authority.

5. Is the New York State Physical Education Profile a required test or grading system for physical education?
No. The New York State Physical Education Profile is not a test or a grading system. New York State does not have a required State examination in physical education. Grading policies and requirements for course credit are a matter of local school district decisions based on the goals of the school’s instructional program.

6. What do the commencement-level assessments for physical education look like?
There are two types of assessments for physical education at the commencement level:

Sport and physical activity performance assessments that have been designed to determine levels of competency and proficiency in eight different categories of physical activity: Team Passing Sports, Net/Wall Sports, Target Sports, Striking/Fielding Sports, Dance and Aesthetic Activities, Outdoor Activities, Personal Performance Activities, and Fitness Activities. The assessments are authentic performance tasks scored on a four-point Rubric. Competent performance is scored at Level 3 while proficient performance is scored at Level 4.

Cognitive performance assessments are a set of stimulus-based questions designed to determine understanding and application of knowledge about physical fitness, personal and social responsibility in physical activity settings, and community resources for physical activity. Each cognitive performance assessment is scored on a four-point rubric. Competent performance is scored at Level 3 while proficient performance is scored at Level 4.

7. Who will take the New York State Physical Education Profile assessments?
If a district chooses to use the Physical Education Profile as part of program evaluation, all students including those with special needs must take the commencement-level assessments. If selected students are not assessed, the Profile is not a valid measure of the quality of the physical education program.

8. How can the Physical Education Profile be implemented by school districts?
While the Profile is designed as a commencement level assessment, it is important for school districts to implement the program K-12. For students to succeed at the commencement level, they will need solid preparation in elementary and middle school physical education. At the commencement level, teachers begin by using physical activity performance assessments from the Profile in one or more selected classes and/or units throughout the school year. As they gain experience, more classes and/or units are added. Many teachers have begun this process at the ninth and tenth grade levels and as they become more familiar and find practical ways of including assessments, the teachers phase in more classes. The same holds true with the cognitive assessments. At the commencement level, teachers are encouraged to begin by using a cognitive assessment in one designated class or one unit and then continue to phase in the others. By focusing on ninth and tenth grade levels first, students begin to understand that assessments are an expected part of their physical education experience and are less likely to object to the change in routine. Department based planning and staff development programs are very helpful for teachers as they proceed with the implementation of the Profile as an integral part of their programs.

9. How will the Physical Education Profile impact the elementary and intermediate levels?
School districts should make available a cohesive K-12 physical education curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and aligned to the New York State Learning Standards. The responsibility for student achievement of the Standards does not entirely rest on the teachers at the commencement level. Without a well-linked progression, students will find difficulty achieving the competency and proficiency required by the Learning Standards. Professional development programs are encouraged for teachers to proceed with the implementation of the program at all levels.

10. When will the New York State Physical Education Profile assessments be given?
Commencement-Level assessments may be given when teachers feel students are ready to demonstrate their achievement. Teachers may administer assessments and record results throughout each student’s high school career. With adequate record keeping, students completing grade 12 can demonstrate their achievement for physical education Learning Standards 1, 2 and 3.

11. Are the New York State Physical Education Profile assessments mandated by the State?
No. The New York State Board of Regents mandates that schools provide instructional opportunities that will assist students in achieving each of the 28 New York State learning standards. The State Education Department provides the New York State Physical Education Profile for districts to document the extent to which students are achieving the learning standards for physical education.

12. Will the New York State Physical Education Profile assessments affect graduation?
Students must earn two units of high school credit in physical education to be eligible to graduate from high school. Students receive one-half unit of credit for each high school year in physical education. They need to pass four years of physical education to graduate (Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Section 100.5(a)(4) – Diploma Requirements). Scores on the New York State Physical Education Profile are not required by the State for graduation. The criteria for passing physical education are decided by the local school district. If a district uses the Physical Education Profile as criteria for passing physical education, students may have to achieve acceptable scores on the Physical Education Profile assessments to earn credit for physical education. Regardless, the basis for any grading policy is a local school decision and students should be informed in advance of the criteria for passing physical education.

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/pe/petrackerfaq.html

So, lets start a conversation about student health.

Or, at least look at this really cool info graphic that I found!

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So, what else is being done to address student wellness in schools?

Im glad you asked me that.

Local wellness policies are in place. They are an important tool in promoting student wellness, preventing and reducing childhood obesity, and providing assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the minimum federal school meal standards.

You see, although Congress couldn’t seem to get it together earlier this year on the subject of nation wide healthcare, they luckily recognize that schools play a critical role in promoting student health, preventing childhood obesity, and combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity.

In 2004, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act (Sec. 204 of Public Law 108-205). This act required by law that all LEAs participating in the National School Lunch Program or other child nutrition programs create local school wellness policies by School Year 2006. The legislation places the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each LEA can be addressed.

In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Sec. 204 of Public Law 111-296), and added new provisions for local school wellness policies related to implementation, evaluation, and publicly reporting on progress of local school wellness policies.

As of School Year 2006-2007, all districts were required to establish a local school wellness policy.

For School Year 2013-2014, LEAs are encouraged to continue reviewing and assessing their local wellness policies and implementing the new requirements. State agencies will be selecting between two options for the Administrative Review, and LEAs will be held accountable for local school wellness policy implementation, assessment, and public updates.

http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/healthy/wellnesspolicy.html

There are other programs too.

Physical Best: Physical Education for Lifelong Fitness is a comprehensive, health-related fitness education program of curriculum resources and training certifications created by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD), and the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Physical Best differs from what is commonly referred to as “traditional” physical education, where students learn sport skills but not the context or rationale for participating in physical activity.

The Physical Best curriculum enables students to learn why activity is important, and how it benefits them today and for a lifetime. Emphasizing participation in a wide variety of enjoyable physical activities (traditional sports, non-traditional sports, and fitness activities), Physical Best promotes individual choice and making connections to real opportunities to remain active for lifelong health and wellness.

It provides PE requirements for elementary, middle, and high schools.

http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/professionaldevelopment/physicalBest/

What else can you do to address your child’s health? Well, here is how to help your child reach a healthy weight per NYS:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/diabetes/diabetes-healthyweight.pdf

Here are the American Alliance for Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance Grade Level Outcomes for K-12

http://www.aahperd.org/whatwedo/upload/Grade-Level-Outcomes-for-K-12-Physical-Education.pdf

And here are a bunch of other cool health/sport related organizations that can help too:

State Councils and Associations
New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance External Link(NYSAHPERD)

The New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance, Inc. is the professional organization for educators in New York State. The association provides the latest professional development in curriculum development, instructional practices, student assessment, physical fitness and health education. The association represents elementary, middle level, high school, and higher education professionals, student majors, administrators, and coaches.
NYSAHPERD-Council Administrators External Link

New York State AHPERD is a collective structure of inter-related professionals whose mission is to provide the environment for professional growth and enrichment for our membership. Ultimately, the results of this coordinated commitment will enhance the quality of opportunities provided for those we serve.
New York State Public High School Athletic AssociationExternal Link (N.Y.S.P.H.S.A.A.)

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc. is a non-profit, voluntary, educational service organization composed of public, parochial, and private schools dedicated to providing equitable and safe competition for the students of its member schools. Membership is open to secondary schools providing interschool athletic activities for boys and girls in grades 7-12.
New York State Athletic Administrators Association External Link (N.Y.S.A.A.A.)

The New York State Athletic Administrators Association, Inc. was established in 1981 for the purpose of providing secondary school athletic administrators with an organization that would be a resource for professional growth, program ideas and leadership opportunities.
National Councils and Associations
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & DanceExternal Link (AAPHERD)

The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance provides the latest professional development in curriculum development, instructional practices, student assessment, physical fitness and health education. The alliance consists of six National Associations.

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