The balancing game! Work vs. Play

Summertime, what a wonderful time of year! So many things to do or not to do. We as professionals have some major decisions to make. If we do what most non-teachers think we do, nothing will get done, but we can’t be about work all of the time either. Balance is key!


I’ve been on summer break for about a month and I’ve probably had five different people ask me what I do for a living. When I told them I’m a teacher they all said, “Oh, it would be so nice to have summers off”! This year instead of agreeing with them I have actually explained how much teachers work during the summer. They are amazed. Most people think we just have free time. I guess to a certain extent they are correct, but we do do a lot of work as a part of our free time. Or at least we should!

Teachers, especially those who want to be better do lots over the summer to get better. We do things like listen to podcast and read blogs or books. We also stay connected to our personal learning network (PLN) through all types of social media, mainly Twitter and more recently Voxer. Not only do we do things to improve ourselves as teachers and people we also create assessments, activities, and lesson plans. Some of us also try to inspire others to be better by writing blogs, creating podcasts, and making instructional videos.

I know for me personally I like to plan out the entire year. First with big ideas, then I look at the standards, next decide which are the most important standards to make sure the students know, plan assessment, and end up creating engaging activities to prepare the students for learning and assessing.

This is all good. These things need to be done. If not we will grow stagnant and students will suffer. I’ve heard it said, “if you’re not moving forward you’re moving backward. Let’s not only move forward, but help push our colleagues ahead. For me to get pushed forward I have decided to join a Voxer chat called #hacklearning. In this group there are teachers, coordinators, and administrators discussing the “what ifs” of education. It’s been a good experience for me to see education from peoples view outside of physical education.

Let’s transition from work to play!

There is that time during the summer where play does need to happen. We need time to practice what we preach in our classes. This summer alone I have gone on walks, swimming, running, golf, and hiking. This weekend is our annual camping trip. So we will also be doing a little kayaking and tubing.

I do these things to set an example for my students and for my real children as well. We all know that our actions are more effective then our words. Let’s get out and be active! Let’s not only tell our students what they should be doing, but show them as well.

As many of you know physical activity gets the brain revved up and ready to learn. So, I think it is important to exercise to create great life changing lessons.

Balancing work and play is essential! We work to make ourselves better so we can impact our students. We play to make ourselves better so we can impact our students.

If you like what you’ve read here make sure to comment and share. I love to hear from others points of view. Dialog is where real learning takes place!

Physical Education – Where mind and body come together!


What’s Your Reason?

WhyI wonder sometimes, why people do what they do.
What are the motives of people? Do they do things that make them happy or other people happy. Maybe a reason is to make the world a better place. I truly believe that people as a whole want to be helpful and see others succeed. We as teachers have a special calling on our lives to influence the children of our towns, states, nation, and the world. We have a chance to build our nation from the ground up. We get to teach concepts like teamwork, sportsmanship, honor, loyalty, and integrity. What an amazing life we get to live!

Are people really doing what they were made to do?
However, there are people in career choices that they may not have wanted to make. They may have just fallen into what they are doing. But, I am sure that here are those who fell into careers that they didn’t really choose that are making huge impacts on the world. I know for instance that I didn’t start out wanting to be a physical educator. My dream was to be a professional runner until I was no longer able to compete then I wanted to be a sports podiatrist.

Unfortunately and fortunately for me things didn’t really turn out as I had dreamed. You see I became physical education teacher. I’m not mad don’t get me wrong. I love what I do! But, there are people in our profession who are just kinda stuck and can’t find the motivation to get out or get better.

What’s the reason for what they do?
I have a lot of friends who got into physical education for the coaching aspect of being in a school. They were great athletes in high school and college, but once their time was over they didn’t want to be out of the atmosphere of athletics. Now I’m not saying that all coaches are in the school setting for this reason. I my self have even coached in the past and am in the middle of starting the athletics programs at the high school where I currently teach. Athletics and coaches supply experiences for students that can’t be gained anywhere else. Learning experiences that I think all people should go through.

Let’s take a look at our profession, physical education.
We have a lot to do here to bring our profession to where it needs to be. We need to advocate to our students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community about the positive impact we can have on all parts of a students life and education. We need to be working with doctors, nutritionists, health and fitness organizations, and corporations to see exactly what we need to do to prepare our students to be ready for work and life.

We also need to make sure ALL physical educators are doing the best that they can no matter why they are in the profession. Whether they chose it or just kinda fell into it like I did. We need to find a way to reach all physical educators with the proper professional development so that students can receive the education that they deserve. We need to show that rolling out the ball is no longer acceptable and that with a little hard work high quality physical education can be achieved.

Why do people decide to become physical educators?
Physical educators! Why are you here? I am here to reach the students of my school, community, state, and nation. I want to teach them to live longer, healthier lives. I want to show them that with proper nutrition and moderate to vigorous daily exercise that they will be able to do all the exciting things that they want to do. Things like rock climbing, tennis, hiking, archery, and playing with their children and grandchildren. All students deserve to have this fit life.

I also have be truthful. I want to be a teacher of teachers. I want to lead professional developments, lead workshops, and do keynotes. I feel that the more physical education teachers I can reach with high quality professional development and proper attitude, the more students around the world that can have teachers that teach high quality physical education.

Let’s reach the world!



9355493_orig In my 9th and 10th grade classes over the past several weeks we have been talking about fitness. We have discovered the F.I.T.T. principle, the principles of training(exercise), and the 5 components of health-related fitness.
Today I finished up a lesson on the six skill-related components of fitness.

The students were very receptive to the skill-related components of fitness. They mentioned that they had heard all of these concepts before, but did not really know what they meant.

I split the classes into six groups and gave each group a different skill-related components and let each group come up with a definition. Each group then had someone stand up and read the groups definition and then compared it to the real definition. Some of the groups were right on. Some were not. After we learned the definitions we did an in class assignment to further remember the concepts being taught.

The six skill-related components are agility, balance, coordination, power, reaction time, and speed.

Agility – The ability to control the movement of the entire body and to be able to change body position quickly.

Balance – The ability to keep your center of mass over a base of support.

Coordination – The ability to use two or more parts of your body together.

Power – A combination of speed and strength.

Reaction Time – The time it takes a performer to move in response to something (a stimulus)

Speed – The rate at which someone is able to move, or cover a distance, in a given amount of time.

Over the next few posts I will be giving you some exercises you can do that incorporate these skill-related components of fitness. Future post will also go into the other areas of fitness.



6970997_orig How do you get your students to think about or reflect on what they learn throughout the semester or year? I really like the sportfolio concept. There are many ways to accomplish a sportfolio project. You can put together sportfolios by units/topic, student choice of assignments throughout a certain time period, or teacher choice of assignments throughout a certain time period.

This year I am having my students put together sportfolios based on fitness concepts. Each assignment I assign will be graded individually and be a part of the sportfolio. Also, I am having the students write reflections about each assignment. Basically they just have to write in four to six sentences why they think we did the assigned task and what they learned from it. They will be responsible to keep the assignment throughout the semester and put them in a pre-determined order that I set along with a title page and table of contents. This will be their final project in place of a final test.

I really love what I am seeing on Twitter. So many people are using Google classroom and other online applications to create their sportfolios.

So what do you do to see your students grow?



7968925 So, I have been teaching middle school and high school for the last 18 years and have come to discover I just might be doing something wrong. The hard part is how to fix it. My problem is this students are able to “know” all the fitness concepts that are out there. Things like specificity, progression, overload, reversibility, tedium, frequency, intensity, time, type, agility, and so many more. The problem is how do we get our students to apply the knowledge that they have gained to their real lives. How do we make the lessons relevant? How will they use it in the “real world”?

We know that knowing is one thing and doing is another.

My suggestion is this. Put them in “real world” experiences in the classroom. What do I mean? Or, how do we do this? I have students in every unit I teach say, “Why are we learning this”. Or, “How can we use this in the real world”? Possibly like this. I have noticed that while teaching hockey skills a lot of students hold the stick wrong even after demonstration. They hold it like it is a broom. So we have a perfect opportunity to teach a life skill through a game skill that includes several skill-related components of fitness.

We as the professionals need to not only look for those teachable moments, but need to create the teachable moments.Then lead students to “aha” moments so they can discover the real world meaning behind what we are teaching.



246577_orig Well, I have to tell you I love it when students use the knowledge they gain in one class period in a later class period. In my classes we have been studying the six skill-related components of fitness, the five components of health-related fitenss, and principles of training. While learning about these we have been also playing hockey and doing gymnastics. So, last week I had a sophomore girl come up to me and ask, “Mr. Davolt, can we do more stretching on gymnastics day since it takes more flexibility”? I was excited that the concept had been learned and applied. I told her, “we sure can”. She had a big smile come across her face.

Gymnastics day rolled around for this particular students class and not only did I remember the request, but I praised the student in front of her peers for using the concept correctly. Then I had the student come forward and lead the class in her five favorite stretches. She was excited. She did an excellent job leading the class in stretches and the class did a great job following. She used the concepts of specificity and flexibility together! Yes!

I just had to tell you that success story. Now to the topic at hand. What exercises can we do in order to build our skill-related component of fitness? I like resourcing people whenever I can. I also believe that there is no need to recreate resources when there are already great things out on the interwebs for us to use.

Here are some great activities you can use in your classes.

Skill-Related Components of Fitness
Skill-Related Components of Fitness 2
Skill-Related Components of Fitness 3

I wish I could give credit to those who created these, but I cannot remember where I found them. If you recognize these please let me know who made them and I will give them credit. These are great activities!



575676_orig Most of us have heard of this principle. It is taught in our undergraduate courses. It is fairly easy to remember what F.I.T.T. stands for. The problem comes about when we try to get ourselves or our students to apply what the principle is talking about.

F – FRENQUENCY – How often we workout or exercise. Once a week, twice a week, every other day. There are multiple ways to
plan out how many times a week you exercise depending on the activity you are preparing for.

I – INTENSITY – This is how hard you work. It may be an easy day where you are only working at 70-75% of your maximum heart
rate. You may have a hard day scheduled which would be 85-95% of your maximum heart rate.

T – TIME – How long are you exercising? Is it a busy day and you can only get in 20 minutes or do you have more time and can
workout for 90 minutes?

T – TYPE – This is the type of exercise you are doing. Are you having a cardiovascular day, a flexibility day, maybe a strength day?
What exercises are you going to do to fulfill the type of workout you have planned for the day? Baskeball, soccer, weight
lifting, running, or yoga? There are many options to keep you from getting bored.

So now we can see what it means to be F.I.T.T. How often do you really apply it to your workouts though? Most people seem to be in-frequent about their exercise. They may go gung ho for a couple of weeks then take a long time off. Then they remember, “Oh, yeah! I have not exercised for awhile. I should go exercise”. Some people never change the intensity. They only get a couple of days a week to workout so they go all out all the time. Time seems to be the biggest factor when it comes to getting the necessary exercise we need. People these days are just busy with family, work, and school. So, exercise gets put on the back burner. Finally, type. People do not realize how many types of exercise there is to do. When most here the word workout they either think of weightlifting or running. Everyone needs to find a couple of different kinds of exercises they like to do so they do not get bored and just give up.

My challenge to you as an educator is to have your students make up practice workout plans in class in groups so you can see if they are not only understanding the concepts, but able to apply them as well.

On a personal note you need to find a few different exercises to do yourself and apply this principle to your own workouts and set a good example for your students.



The five components of health-related fitness. I love these components. Why? Maybe it is because I have had to teach and test them for the last 10 years. Perhaps, because they are easy for students to understand since we focus on them in class with the © FitnessGram and most other activities we do in class.

My one question is this, “Which term do we use”? Aerobic capacity or cardiovascular endurance? There is a difference. 

Aerobic capacity is the maximum amount of oxygen a body can use in an exercise session.

Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues and the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement.

I know for © FitnessGram the Cooper Institute uses “aerobic capacity” when it comes to assessment. So that is what I tend to use. Oh, yeah you test it with one of the following, the mile run, the 12 minute walk test, or the Pacer test.

So, what are the other four components?

  • Muscular Endurance – the amount of times a muscle or group of muscle can repeatedly perform a movement. This is tested with the curl-up test.
  • Muscular Strength – a measure of how much force your muscles can exert. This can be tested by the 90 degree push-up test, modified pull-ups, flexed arm hang, and the trunk lift. 
  • Flexibility – the range of movement in a joint or a series of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion. Flexibility is test with the shoulder stretch, back-saver sit and reach, and the trunk lift.
  • Body Composition – the percentage of fat, bone, water, and muscle in human bodies. This is tested with body mass index (BMI).

Below is a video I made to show my students and help them understand. They seem to like and understand it.