Check out this video of my wellness class.
Jump Rope for Heart week is always one of my favorites. I have always believed strongly in the importance of giving to others and supporting worthy causes. With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the United States, I cannot thing of a more worthy cause to get our students involved in. Not only did we raise money for the American Heart Association, we also raised awareness. In a five day period we had a newspaper article and a video made about what we were doing. Our students learned that they CAN make a difference.
Dr. Martin Luther King said ”
Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love”
What a great message.
Being recognized by your peers is a pretty awesome feeling. Today, I was named one of the two teachers of the year (TOY) at my school. We have two because of the way that the state breaks them into groups. And I am honored to share the title with Melissa Manko who teaches Special Education. She is so creative in the way she engages her students.
Being that I work in a new school and my principal got to pick her faculty, we have the most incredible group of teachers I have ever seen. Their level of commitment is amazing. Our school was named as one of the top 5% in the state last year for achievement. That right there tells you how hard our faculty and staff works. So, for this group to honor me in such a way is so humbling. I personally think everyone at Rossview Elementary School should be teacher/admin/aide/receptionist/etc of the year.
It’s funny how life can take you to places that you did not see coming. I never in a million years would have pictured myself as a teacher. As a matter of fact, on my first week of my first year teaching we were holding open house and all of the sudden my high school principal walked in (his own child was a student at the school) and said “oh my, Abby Johnson this is the last place I ever expected to see you”. I just laughed and said, I know right. That man is Dr. BJ Worthington who is currently the Chief Academic Officer for our school system. And let me tell you, he is one great role model. His commitment to student achievement is what makes CMCSS one of the top in the state. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have him as a principal. But make no mistake, I KNOW how lucky I am to have him leading this school system.
When I went to college I had BIG plans to change the world. My goal was to return to Clarksville and open a community center for at risk youth. I have always been drawn to children who come from low socioeconomic homes. So, I flipped around from major to major psychology, social work, criminal justice. (No wonder I was on the 6 year plan). Then I took a big jump into early childhood education. One semester I was taking a class about incorporating health into the classroom. I loved that class and the professor was great. Her name is Dr. Rebecca Johns-Wommack and she is currently the Executive Director of TN’s Coordinated School Health. During that class a light bulb went off in my head….. I can teach health and wellness all day. So the next thing I knew I was once again changing my major, this time to health and physical education. At the time my mind was set one one thing…. I wanted to teach high school health and nothing else. My friend and mentor Pam Whitfield’s job is what I had my sights on. My last semester of school I had to do my student teaching. Half the semester I would be a the dreaded elementary school and the other half I would be at a high school.
Let me just tell you, the world spun on a dime the day I first walked into the gym at Dunlieth Elementary School in Marietta, GA and saw Andrea Gehweiler teach PE. I think in an instant I KNEW that I wanted to do what she did. She is one great mentor, and to this day I am still lucky enough to call her my friend (in fact I talked to her for over an hour tonight and I think she is more excited than anyone about my TOY)
When I moved home and was ready to start my career there were no PE jobs to be had. Luckily, Frank Myers was willing to take a chance on a PE girl who was willing to teach Family and Consumer Science. I will forever be thankful to him, for taking that chance. After two years I finally secured a PE job and was a part of opening the brand new West Creek Elementary School. I loved it there, but my crazy self decided that I liked opening schools and the very next year I was hired to open the next new school in CMCSS, Rossview Elementary.
That brings us to now (sorry for all of the back story – but I wanted to share my journey)
From the moment we opened the doors at Rossview I knew that it was a special place and that it was going to be great. First of all, I am in complete awe of our administration. Paula Ford and Frances Ann Camp are two leaders that I would put up against anyone. A friend of mine and I used to name people that we would take to war with us if we had to go into battle. Well let me tell you, I would be taking these two. Paula for her quick decision making skills and thought process. And Frances Ann for her ability to stay calm in the most chaotic environments (plus – she would be my prayer warrior). Throw my sassy, uneven tempered, stubborn self in the mix and we are a force to me reckoned with. Luckily for me, I know that they support me enough that they would gladly go to war with me any day.
The teachers at Rossview are second to none. These people blow my mind every day. I know people say teachers have it made… I mean they get summers off, spring break, fall break, winter break, etc. etc, etc. Well let me tell you, teaching is no 9-5. You dont drive past our school and not see teachers cars in the parking lot. They are there on nights and weekends preparing for their lessons. And if they are not at school, they are lugging the infamous “teacher bag” home to work on stuff. Not to mention that every school day they are giving their all to the 20-25 smiling and not smiling faces in their classroom. Throughout the day they play teacher, mom, nurse, cheerleader, rule enforcer, entertainer, and every other hat you can name. (none of that is a complaint from me, I dont complain about the things teachers have to do. We chose our careers and no job is perfect. I say that to give credit where credit is due. And teachers deserve A LOT of credit) I love and respect every teacher for their tireless effort to grow students. If I could I would name every single teacher in our building one by one here. But, I will just insert standing ovation. (Big thanks to the Kindergarten and first grade teams for letting me do all of my crazy ideas… that sometimes put more work on them)
Shari Myers, OH MYLANTA this woman is amazing. I actually look forward to faculty meetings each week to see what new and exciting things she is going to teach us. And the fact that she always looks for ways to incorporate what she is teaching into special areas is a big huge plus in my book.
And let me not forget the office staff, teacher aides, and custodians. I LOVE these people!!!!!!!!!!!! All of them are there to lend a hand whenever I need it. Plus, they are just funny and fun to be around. In my next life I AM SO working in the front office.
As you can see, my job is easy because the people around me make it easy.
I too am often back in my gym until late at night or found working away in my office on a Saturday. But when you work with the BEST you strive to be the best. My day starts each morning by greeting almost 500 students off the bus. Those warm hugs on a cold morning, high fives, “good morning Mrs. Binkley”, “what are we doing in PE today”, and smiling faces are the absolute perfect way to start any work day. If you are ever in need of some heart warming… come stand at buses with me. Then throughout the day I get to “play”. Don’t misunderstand… I have high expectations. But, come on, we all know PE is fun. Then I end the day waving goodbye to all of those smiling faces. Some reading books, some showing me some cool project they made, some giving hugs as they walk by.
Some would say that the students are “lucky” to have me… but it is totally the other way around. I am the lucky one. Spending my days with 878 awesome kids and 100 of the hardest working people I know……. how could you get any luckier.
Thank you Rossview Elementary School for naming me one of this years Teacher of The Year. My heart is full and I will sleep sound tonight feeling very blessed.
This is one of the skills that I love to teach the most. It is such a foundation for so many of the other skills children learn as they develop. This year I divided my class into 3 sections. Section one was targets drawn on butcher paper that I taped to the bleachers on one side of the gym. Students took turns throwing splash balls at the targets.
Section 2 was a station where students rolled tennis balls to their partner so that their partner could catch a “grounder”. This skill is often skipped over, but at the pre-control and control stages, it is very important in the catching progression.
Station 3 was another station to practice throwing to a target. Except, at this station I taped a bunch of letter to the wall for the students to use as targets. They could try to spell their name or vocabulary words. I could also have some of my kindergarten students simply say the letter and the sound it makes. This is a way to integrate literacy into a lesson without allowing it to over power the PE skill. They were still focusing on their throwing technique, I just changed the target.
Here is a picture of the wall
I go over an over the overhead throwing cues with the students. We repeat them at least 10 times throughout the class.
First- side to target
Second- arm way back
Third- step as arm comes over and body rotates
Last- follow through
(did you notice I used ordinal numbers which is a k and 1st standard)
We spent two days on these stations. I wanted to make sure each child had plenty of time at each area.
I will defiantly do this lesson again.
This is a picture of our dry erase board area. We have the students come and sit at this area almost every day when we go over what the daily lesson is.
This is a picture of the section of the board that we post the unit we are working on, what the standards are that we are meeting, and the objective of the lesson in the form of an “I can” statement. I used black masking tape to make the grid lines. Because I am a visual person and I like things to look very neat and organized, we gave each grade level a color. This helps the students to easily identify what they need to know. For example, if kindergarten is red they know they only need to look at what is written in red. We use magnetic clips to hold paper on the board. We print the state standards instead of writing by hand. Typed is smaller and takes less room, we would never be able to hand write all of those standards and get them to fit in that area.
Each week we have bone and muscle of the week. The students enjoy learning their bones a d muscles. I have two file folders that I keep on my desk, one for bones and one for muscles. At the beginning of the year I create a chart that lets us know what the bone/muscle is for each week. I have them all in order in the file folder so that each week I just grab the one on top and put it up on the board. And take down the one that is up and place it in the back of the folder. Having it ready at the beginning of the year really helps make it easy. I don’t spend time frantically looking for pictures each week when I realize we need to change the bones and muscles. I just Grammy folders and two minutes later it’s done.
This is Mr. Bones. I ordered him from Oriental Trading. It helps give a visual when discussing the bones each week.
This half of the board we use for making notes, writing cues, drawing diagrams, etc.
Next to the white board I have this poster of the locomotor skills. I put the words on using Velcro, so I can easily take them off at any time. Sometimes I will give them to random students and have them demonstrate the skill and then place it back on the poster.
This area functions very well for us and keep everything in one central area.
I found this white board in our storage room and decided to put it to use. Each day I will be writing a fact of the day or some other info related to health, fitness, or our bodies on it. I will place it in the hallway so that the students can see it while waiting for PE class or on their way to lunch.