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Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

Happy Friday! I am feeling energized after a week of classroom visits and super motivated by our awesome teachers in the PE, Health, and Driver's Ed. Department. This is my second post this week as I've had so much to share about the fantastic instruction I observed over the past five days. Thank you to all of the teachers that welcomed me into their classrooms this week and shared more information about their lessons and curriculum.

I must admit, after visiting these classrooms, I believe that adults should be encouraged to take classes like Health, Driver's Ed, and PE; great reminders and information were presented that I learned in high school but are applicable in my life today. For example, I had the pleasure of visiting Mr. Wayne Hartmann's Driver's Education class, and the students were reviewing road signage using Kahoot and learning about awareness on the road using Pear Deck. While I took Driver's Ed in high school, I was reminded how similar some of the signage is and how significant it can be to a person's safety while driving. The students were super attentive and all engaged in the Kahoot game that reviewed signage of rules of the road. Click here to learn more about Kahoot. My favorite part of the lesson came next when Mr. Hartmann started his lesson about road awareness and used Pear Deck in order to present the information, assess the students' understanding, and control their screens. Pear Deck is a tool that connects students to a teacher's presentations on any device. It also allows the teacher to include a variety of interactive questions, open up collaborative options, and control/view the students' screens in order to check their understanding. Click here to learn more. Another really great connects to Google Classroom and provides an individual Google doc for each student that reviews what they learned and provides opportunities for reflection. It is the real deal. Pear Deck has a free version, or you can upgrade and pay a monthly fee to use all of their features. Wayne's students were all engaged in the lesson about road awareness, and I'm sure you can agree with me that this is a topic we want them to learn and use when they get on the road. If you get a chance, go visit Wayne's class in order to see this in action! It was awesome!

Lifting, swimming, dancing, jumping, running, training, assisting, playing sports, and overall, just working hard....all in a day's work for students in P.E. I highlighted some of the dance and body sculpt classes in my blog post earlier this week, and true to my word, I participated in Zumba with Ms. Shelby Thormeyer's Body Sculpt class. What a fun workout! I'm pretty sure I looked uncoordinated as I tried to master the moves that Shelby demonstrated to the class, but the students were so excited to have me there and made me feel welcome. Ms. Thormeyer's ability to do the moves and instruct the students was incredible. Students were engaged in the instruction, excited when certain songs came on, and danced away while working out. It was a blast! In addition to Zumba, the class does yoga, kick boxing, step aerobics, and more. I plan to join in on the fun in the future!

I learned that on Wednesdays, all P.E. classes have a cardio day. Ms. Marie Valente's dance class did a high-intensity tabata workout with different intervals and exercises. Mr. Robin Renner's class completed a T25 workout that focuses on speed and agility. Mr. James Kennedy's Peer Partner class did a similar lesson to Marie's; however, the peer helped his/her athlete complete the exercise and each station. It was wonderful to see students working together, in a collaborative environment, and motivating each other to complete the exercises. Later in the week, I observed another peer partner class, and the peers were motivating the athletes to get moving around the track. The peers took on a leadership role and, in my opinion, had to decide and reflect on how to motivate their athletes to complete the task. What a great way to challenge students to take ownership of their learning!

As I walked into the aquatics center, weight room and outside, all classes were working hard and having fun. Mr. Todd Sutton's APF classes were completing their daily exercises in the weight room and keeping track of their progress on a daily log. I witnessed both weight training and agility training while in the weight room. Mr. Len Penkala's swim classes were assessed today on what they learned and then had the opportunity to have a little fun in the pool. They were playing basketball, swimming laps, and jumping off of the diving board. All were moving and seemed to be really enjoying themselves while getting a workout in a fun way. Team classes were outside playing flag football and their competitive spirit was evident. Again, all kids were moving and engaged in class. I love that our school offers so many options for our students to move and improve their physical health.

Health is another class that I would love to take as an adult. The content covered in that class is great to hear at a young age, but I think as an adult, I would be more engaged in the content as I now know and understand its importance. As I shared in my previous post, the health classes are currently discussing stress, and in Mr. Dave Ricca's class, the students worked in groups in order to brainstorm warning signs for mood, thoughts, behavior, and physical tendencies associated with clinical depression. The conversations happening in that classroom are so powerful and important, as they are difficult for most people to talk about. I enjoyed watching the students collaborate in a class shared Google slide. Each group had a recorder that added the group's notes to the slide deck. After compiling this list, Mr. Ricca explained that he would compare what the students brainstormed with the actual tendencies associated with depression. While this activity with the Chromebooks only took about 7 minutes, the students compiled quite a list for each slide, and all students were engaged in the process and discussion. In this student-centered environment, Mr. Ricca challenged his students to guide the discussion by brainstorming warning signs and then using these brainstorms as a starting point for the class discussion.

Boom! What a week! I am so proud to work at Neuqua Valley and blessed to have the opportunity to visit so many great classes. Kudos to the P.H.D. are preparing our students to take control of their bodies and focus on what is needed - mentally and physically - in order to live a healthy life. #whatsup