11. How do you incorporate technology into your physical education program?
a. Technology is a tough one for me since I am itinerant and I teach outside. I use an iPad with certain activities which is useful in keeping my student’s attention if I have a longer instruction for a lesson. For example, when I teach my track and field and gymnastics units, I show videos from the Olympics of the long jump, balance beam, etc. When the students can see videos it can help them understand better. Also, research is showing the huge difference that video modeling can have with students who have autism. The iPad can also be used to video or take a picture of a student while they are working on a skill so that they can see it and observe what their body is doing when motor planning is an area of difficulty and then hopefully make adjustments.
b. One piece of technology that I always have in my lessons is music. I roll around a huge speaker everywhere I go, and I typically have themed music for my lesson (thank you, Spotify!). I find that music keeps my students motivated, and moving more. I use music for movement warm-ups with my younger groups, and I use music for fitness stations and dancing for fitness lessons. I don’t know that I would say music should always be used, it should be purposeful, but I find a way and a purpose for the music as often as I can.
12. Do you have any suggestions or tips for future physical education professionals?
a. I have 3 main tips for future Adapted PE teachers:
- Be a collaborator! I have learned through being the only Adapted PE Specialist in my district that it can be very challenging when there aren’t others to bounce ideas off of or learn from. Being an itinerant teacher can make it very easy to be forgotten or become an island alone in a district. Becoming an integrated part of your schools is up to you! Make it a point to collaborate with administrators, teachers, and staff. When I started teaching, I reached out to another district who had 6 APE teachers and I started going to their department meetings just so that I could have a community to learn from, but it was up to me to make that move and advocate for myself. Work together, use your resources and get involved!
- Find opportunities for Inclusion! Starting the Unified PE classes has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. Seeing the changes that it can make with how my Adapted PE students interact with their typical peers and how they are more motivated to practice their skills have been amazing. Also, seeing the changes around campus with the typical peers saying hi to their buddies and making them feel more of a part of the campus culture has been so rewarding. The impact a class or program like that can have on everyone is limitless! It could be something small like the recess buddy group at my elementary school or something huge like the Unified Sports game that involves the whole school, but no matter the size – it will have an impact on all it touches.
- Don’t settle. Never be satisfied with the status quo. Always learn and grow as a professional. Whether it is going to professional conferences, continuing your education at a higher level or observing other districts to see what they are doing, continue to add things to your professional toolbelt. Use your resources (other teachers, parents, administrators, community programs, etc) to better serve your students and families.
13. If one of your former students is task with writing a book/biography about you, what title do you think he/she would pick and why?
a. Mrs. G – She Said We Could, And We Did!
I would think this would be the title because I hope my students see me as a cheerleader as well as a teacher; always telling them that they CAN do it and helping them until they achieve it. Whether it’s the Adapted PE student who has been working on shooting a basketball, or the Unified PE mentor coach who is trying to work around communication barriers, I want my students to feel supported and encouraged as they work towards their goals. This idea goes back to my teaching philosophy that it’s not about what you can’t do, but what you CAN do!