Podcasting in the Classroom

Did you hear that? I so want to try this in my classes…

As an educator I’m always trying to find new ways to assess students. I want the assessment to be as stress free, relevant, and streamlined as possible. So, I’ve been thinking about assessing in smaller chunks. Who says that you have to give students a lot of information and then test them at the end of a big unit?

I know some students share their learning best by writing, drawing, rapping, or singing. I think that there are also some students who can relate what they know best by speaking.

So, how do I let the students who present knowledge better by speaking show what they know without having to do class presentations all of the time? It takes to long a lot of times to put together a video. How can I listen to and assess their learning when it’s good for me?

podcast-imagePODCASTS!! Yeah, that’s what I can do. So how do I make this happen? Is there an app I can use? How will the students get their recordings to me? Questions, questions, questions!

Here’s one of my ideas.

When I get so far into a topic I will give students options on how they would like to be assessed. For those who are better speakers and choose podcasting I will have my iPad mini available with earbuds for the microphone (to help cut out some of the background noise), a partial script that every student will use to introduce themselves, and questions for them to answer.

During class I will let speakers leave the activity one or two at a time to go to the iPad and make their podcast. They will login to their Google Drive and upload the audio file to Google Drive then attach the link of the audio file into Google Classroom.

I have also been toying with the idea of having my students create blogs with Blogger or websites with Google Sites for their sportfolios. If I have them do this they could very easily take the audio file and link it to their blog or Google Site.

I found an amazing FREE podcasting app called Boss Jock Jr. that I will have the students use.

I will have to teach them how to use Boss Jock Jr.Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 4.17.27 PM I will  also have to show them how to find the audio file, and how to upload it to Google Drive, then link it to their blog, website, or submit it into Google classroom.  Easy enough I will just make a video that they can easily follow the step from.

Hey, I can do that for you too. I will upload a video to  my YouTube channel that you can use with your students.

I think giving the students the ability to do this will be easier for them to show their learning and make it more convenient to assess what they have learned.

If you have any other great ideas on how to use podcasting in your classroom make sure to share in the comments. I really want to know what you think!

For another example of podcasting in the classroom check out The Next Book on your student’s reading list…and how to build a podcast around it. This is from the TED-Ed Blog by Laura McClurg. It shows a great way to really get students engaged in a new form of learning and assessing.

Physical Education – Where Mind and Body come Together!


Really?! Not Again!

It’s been a really long time since I thought this…

Where I Came From

you are here15 years ago teaching in a Catholic school in Missouri. 100% parent participation. Absolutely no behavior problems. Seeing real learning taking place.

This was all before the world became small with social media. I was big headed enough to believe I was the best physical education teacher in the world. Pretty arrogant, huh?

I’ve grown up since then and have found out what the difference is between good and great teaching. I put myself at the bottom of the good category watching and learning from all those great teachers on Twitter and Voxer.


What have I learned over the years?

  1. Don’t get too big for your britches – someone will always put you in your place.
  2. Work with others (virtually or in person) is better than working by yourself.
  3. Never quit learning – if you’re not going forward you are going backward.
  4. The world is bigger than you do something that will impact the life of another.
  5. Always search for truth and live by it


I’ve discovered that I’m not making my teaching real for my students. I use all these wonderful models in my classes. Things like TGfU, Sport Ed Model, SOLO Taxonomy, and others. Students are learning, but are they making the connection to life. Am I really doing justice for my students?

My students can tell me what I want them to know, but are they applying it to there life? Will they remember what they learned after they leave my class?

These thoughts make me want to change what I am doing again. Like I did about 5 years ago.


IMG_0014Well most of you don’t know this. My wife, Shannon, is getting her teaching credential to become a physical education teacher. Every once in awhile she’ll ask for advice on one of her college assignments. I’ll do the best I can to help her out.

So, one thing I’ve made sure to do is to introduce her to the TGfU model. After know her for 25 years I knew that this would be very beneficial for her style of teaching. She has taught before, just not in the public school setting.

The first thing I did was to show her the #physedagogy video with Mel Hamada teaching about TGfU. If you haven’t watched it yet you should. It will change how you teach.

Shannon wrote a very detailed lesson plan for one of her classes. She based the lesson off of what she learned from Mel’s video plus added some of her own creative activities to the lesson. I was probably the best lesson I’ve ever seen that connect what we do in the gym to real life.


How have I not seen how to do this in my own teaching? I’ve only been doing this thing for 20 years.

This summer is going to be busy with changing pretty much everything I do. My goal is to make sure I put my students first, not fancy teaching models or technology or new fangled assessment methods.



5 Things to be Thankful for!

Well it’s that time of year again. Time to intentionally show thanks. I know that we should be giving thanks all year long and I try my best to do just that, but with Thanksgiving coming up in a couple of days and the topic of thanks being on everyone’s mind it’s a great time look at what we as teachers can and should be thankful for.


The top 5 things a teacher should be thankful for

1. Parents – I’m coming at this from a couple different directions. One we need to give thanks to our parents for motivating us to make the transition from high school to college to work. Without this motivation we wouldn’t be where we are today.

We also need to be thankful for the parents of our students. I realize that not all parents do a great job parenting, but for those who are trying their best we give thanks that you are involved with your child and their educational journey. They need our support just like we need theirs.

2. Students – Not to sound cliche’, but it is true, without our students we wouldn’t be doing what we are right now. If everyone was born knowing what they need to know teachers wouldn’t be needed. Even though we have many different types of students, some more challenging than others, they all teach us how to be better at what we do because they all have different needs and learning styles.

3. Administrators – I know that this one may be a struggle for some, but no matter how much support we get from our administrator it makes us better teachers. The teachers with a lot of support get most of the tools and critique that they need to be better. The teachers with less support learn how to advocate better and are pushed to be more creative with less access to the teaching materials they need.

4. Spouce or Signficant Other – I know from experience that if I didn’t have the support I have from my wife that I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things that I do. I appreciate her and thank her for putting up with all the extras that I love to do that may keep me away more than she would like.

5. Professional (Personal) Learning Network – I never can remember what the “P” stands for. Without people pushing us to get better that are doing the same things we are doing it would be very difficult to become the best teachers we can be. I thank my Twitter & Voxer family and I thank all of the bloggers I read who put out quality content. Just to name a few of the biggest influencers: Mark Loftus, David Tran, Matthew Bassett, Jo Baily, William Bode, Charlie Rizzuto, and Andy Vasily. Thanks!

I hope everyone has a great holiday season and is thankful for all they have.

Physical Education – Where Mind and Body Come Together!


What’s in a Claim?

Physical Education – Where Mind and Body Come Together.

A claim is a statement that someone makes and is able to back up that claim with evidence.

Last week my colleagues, students, and I had a new experience. We decided to teach and learn the 6 component of skill-related fitness in a new way. In the past we would just lecture and the students would take notes and we would show students how they are using the skills in different activities. Not very fun at all!

There are 3 of us in our department and we decided to teach these components in a “lab” setting. We each took on 2 of the 6 components and either found or developed lab experiments, including lab sheets for data collection, to discover what they were and why they are important in life-long, healthy activity.

So, from there we had our students use the 6 components as an umbrella topic for writing a “claims” paper.

I introduced to my colleagues Mel Hamada’s October 2014 TGfU presentation from the #physedsummit. We used her model with our students for writing our claims paper. The process was completed in parts and in class only.

First we had the students state a “claim”. The claim could be about any topic that we have discussed in class this semester.

Next the students would provide support for their claim. This support was to be based off anything they learned in class, but they were encouraged to try to find a way to back up their claim with the 6 components of skill-related fitness.

Finally, the students were to ask any questions they might still have concerning their claim.

This has been a great process for our students and us teachers. A lot of students are really starting to get an understanding of what physical education is. Not just physical activity. Plus it helps our students with their writing skills.writing

Another exciting part is that our physical education department is not the only department in our school doing a claims project. All departments are. In December all of the departments in school are showcasing what we had our students learn.

We are excited to continue using this type of writing in our classes in the future.

If you were encouraged by this I ask that you comment and share. The comments is where the real learning takes place.


How to delay ageing!

As I get older and start getting little aches and pains from the activities that I love to do, I sometimes wonder if I’m the only one going through this. I know, though, it is probably happening to others and will probably, eventually, happen to my students. How do I help them from getting injured more as they age? How to delay ageing for the young is a tough concept to get across? How do I teach 13 to 18 year olds that they must do the little things to keep injury free?

I remember as I was training for my Ironman triathlon that I was active 7 days a week. There were easy days and hard days. But there was daily exercise. I put in  about 25 hours per week in training. I obviously trained in the swim, bike, and run. That was not it though. I was doing weight training, yoga, plyometrics, and core specific exercises. During this period I was pretty much injury free. If something did come up it was easy to take care of. It’s like if you treat your body right your body treats you right.


In my classes I talk about three main parts of a workout:
1. Warm-up
2. Main activity
3. Cool down

I give several examples of each and we practice them in class on a daily basis.

We also learn about the health-related and skill-related components of fitness along with the principles of training and the F.I.T.T. principle. This is so much more information than what I came out of high school with. I didn’t learn these things until college and couple of them just in the last 5 years.

I guess I need to make it relevant. That is the challenge! Taking a theory and putting it into practice with understanding is hard to do. This year I plan on giving my students a lot more flexibility on how they show what they have learned. This could be a big key. Some students may want to do an essay, others a video, still others a rap song. I need to let the students show me that they understand the concepts and not necessarily care how they do it.

It is well known that the CDC recommends that people their age get moderate to vigorous activity an hour every day. As you get older the recommendation goes down. I wonder if it really should. I say this because I know if I don’t do the little things (i.e. planks, push-up, stretching)  daily my body hurts.

These young students who are nearly indestructible and who heal quickly do not understand what we active adults go through. One idea that pops into my head is bringing in adults who exercise and let them tell about how their body works differently now than when they were younger.

Do you exercise? Does your body hurt a little more than it used to? Share your story. How do you teach this to your students? When you share and comment that is when the real learning takes place.

Physical Education – Where Mind and Body Come Together!


The Last Week!

summer-break-LOGO-SBWell here I am sitting at the computer writing my last blog for the summer. Don’t worry the blog isn’t shutting down. I will be writing about my amazing learning experiences all year long. This is just the last summer edition. This is the last week of summer break. School starts next Tuesday. My heart’s fluttering a little. I always get a little nervous and excited for that first day of school. I’m ready, but I always want the last week, before school, to last a little longer.

This summer has been a lot different for me than summers of the past.

1315460 I’ve always done my planning to get ready for the upcoming school year, but this summer I’ve been preparing to implement Google Classroom. I’m super excited about this! I think the students will be excited too. Hopefully I will see greater learning happening since it will be so easy to hand out, receive, comment, and grade assignments. I have also been preparing plickers and class dojo I have used these in previous school years so no big deal. One of my biggest concerns is figuring out how to get my students to download apps I want them to use throughout the school year. We have a BYOD (bring your own device) program at our school, as of now, so getting the students to use their devices for school can be challenging.

The biggest tech problem I will come up against is getting the students to activate their school email accounts. We can’t just be given the email and a temporary password. There’s this whole activation process they have to go through. I have to provide them with four different pieces of information and they go in and enter it. Then once this takes place they can join the Google Classroom. Such a hassle, but that’s what I have to deal with.

Along with all of these things, since I’m revamping my program, I have to redesign my student website. Oh, yeah, don’t forget to study up on implementing SOLO Taxonomy. I did a little of it last year, but this year I want to implement it fully.

Not only do have to get ready for my own classes, but get things ready for my department, as I am the chair, and state association leadership responsibilities.

So as the summer comes to a close I have to make sure I spend some last minute quality time with my four awesome children and amazing wife before things get crazy with the school year. One nice thing about this school year is that my daughter is coming to my school and is scheduled to be in my class. The last time I had her in class was 11 years ago as a preschooler.

This is going to be a great year!

Physical Education- Where Mind and Body Come Together!


Professional Development for Professionals

There was a question on Twitter this week that really made me think. Here it is.

And here was my response.

I know if I was in that situation others are too. We, as professionals, need to remember, the famous saying “if you’re not going forward, you’re going backward” – unkown autor.


I say this to encourage you to take control of your professional development. Don’t wait for someone to say, “Oh, here’s a workshop, why don’t you go to it”? Be on the look out to make yourself better. As I sit here and say all this I think to myself you are on the right path. Let it be a reminder to you. Your job now as a life long learner is to share this with others so hopefully they will be smacked in the face that they need to help themselves.




Here’s is what I have done over the last year and a half:
1. Started collaborating on Twitter and Voxer.
2. Started listening to several podcasts
A. Voxcast
B. The PHYSEDagogy podcast
C. The #PhysEd Podcast
D. PEPRN Pod Cast
E. The PEGEEK Podcast
3. Downloaded the Feedly app so I would be notified when physical education blogs were updated to be read.
4. Participated and presented in professional development conferences and workshops.
5. Started the blog you are reading now and providing free resources for other physical educators.
6. I’ve also gotten involved with my state professional organization.

To me this list looks a little intimidating. You have to realize that you don’t have to try to do it all at once. Start with one thing and when it becomes a habit add on something else. If you try to do it all at once I’m sure you will become overwhelmed and give it all up. Start slow.

You also need to know that I do a lot of multi-tasking. For instance driving and listening to podcasts or reading blog posts waiting in lines.

My challenge for you is to choose one thing and really put into your quiver of professional development. Once you do this you will want more. Learning is like a bag of potato chips you can’t have just one. Once you start reading blogs you will want to listen to podcast and so on and so forth.

If you’ve been encouraged by this please comment and share. That is where the real learning starts!

Physical Education – Where Mind and Body Come Together!