The Fall and Rise of Physical Education: Part 2

As George Graham takes us through the eight categories that he believes Physical Educators fall into in Part 1 of his series: The Fall and Rise of Physical Education, we assess his statements within our PE community. Now, 8 days before the PETE conference in Atlanta, George assesses the effectiveness of PETE programs, and offers his candid opinion on creating successful clinical faculty.

Below is an introduction to Part 2 of the series. You can read the full post here.

This is the second of four blogs I am writing related to K-12 physical education in the United States. In the first blog, the Fall and Rise of Physical Education, I suggested that physical educators could be classified into eight related categories—rollers, gamers, fitters, brainers, innovators, at-riskers, activators and teachers. The last category of the eight was teacher. For me this is the most desirable category of physical educator because in my view these individuals are attempting to implement quality programs that lead to the physical literacy of their students as defined in many of the Shape America documents. In my opinion it takes a great deal of knowledge, expertise and practical experience to become a teacher of physical education as defined in the previous blog. Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programs are no doubt the major influence on whether an undergraduate becomes a teacher—or one of the other seven categories of physical educator described in the previous blog.

Typically future K-12 physical educators attend a college or university and major in a program that is designed to prepare them to teach in the schools. These programs often lead to state licensure or certification. Some PETE programs are more effective than others and their graduates begin their careers ready to begin implementing quality programs of physical education—i.e. they are on their way to becoming teachers. Other graduates, however, appear to lack the prerequisite skills, background and understanding necessary to implement quality programs. Or perhaps, equally or more importantly, they lack the commitment and dedication to do the hard work necessary to develop quality programs in less than ideal environments.  Why?

KISS – Classroom Management for 1st Grade Teachers


1st Grade Classroom Management

Here’s our new KISS – Keep is Simple Strategies – for 1st Grade Teachers

Many people feel that 1st Grade teachers are the most important in a child’s life. This is the year where reading instruction begins in earnest; until now, students have been engaged in readiness efforts. Teachers face a huge disparity in student readiness for school on the first day. Some children may not have been through any preschool at all, in some states, Kindergarten is not required and many children will not have gone through Head Start or pre-school.

To view other classroom management tips in the KISS series, click here.

Here are some of the tips we’ve collected from other first grade teachers:

Have a plan A, B, C, and D, especially in the early days of the school year.

Plan for limited attention span:

Television and simulation games have created an expectation that classroom lessons will move at this speed. Computer software that mimics games has helped students gain some exposure to subjects they will study in school, but they may not be prepared for group work or a slower pace to accommodate all children.

Project excitement for learning:

Prepare some posters and bulletin boards that say “coming soon”, they’re used to this approach in the real world and it may provide a bridge to the classroom. If you’re excited, this can be contagious. Use other bulletin boards to spark interest in learning.

Use signals for gaining and keeping attention. Continue reading

Activities to Honor our Veteran VIPs

veteran's day activities

With Veterans Day fast approaching, begin planning a meaningful, yet eventful day for your nursing facility’s veterans as you treat them like VIPs throughout the day. Also, these are great ideas activities to consider if you are honoring Veterans at your school or center that day. Our friends from, share with us how to make these heroes feel special:

  1. Plan a Flag-Raising Ceremony. If your facility has a flagpole in the yard, schedule a flag-raising ceremony outdoors to raise the American flag. If possible, record and play the bugle call melody To the Colors as the flag is being raised.
  1. Play an Army-Navy Game (or even an Air Force-Marines Game). Pick a favorite floor game, like shuffleboard or bowling, and invite the different military branch veterans to compete against one another. Be sure to award bragging rights to the winning branch of service.
  1. Host a Veterans Day Speaker. Plan a visit from a local veteran to share his military experiences and stories with your residents.
  1. Form a Veterans Story Circle. Organize a reminiscing activity for your veterans to share their military stories. Seat residents in a large circle and encourage each one to talk about their time in the military. If you have a large amount of participants, limit the discussion by focusing the story circle on just one topic, like when the veterans were drafted or the day they returned to U.S. soil. You can even create a Veteran themed Toss and Talk About Ball with this Create Your Own  Ball.
  1. Schedule a Veterans Day Parade. Host a parade in your facility featuring your veterans. Beforehand, decorate the parade route with patriotic bunting and lots of red, white, and blue balloons. During the parade, stop each veteran along their march to quickly introduce themselves and share a little about their time in service. Provide the spectators along the parade route with mini flags to wave as they cheer on their veterans.
  1. Organize a Care-Package Party. Recruit veterans to assist with assembling care packages for troops overseas. Ahead of time, take a trip to your local dollar store to pick up supplies to be assembled and packed up during the care-package party. 
  1. Assemble Poppy Boutonnieres & Corsages. Make these paper poppies to use as boutonnieres for the men and as corsages for the ladies. 
  1. Make Thank You Cards. Use paper and markers (link to: to create thank you cards to give to all the veterans (including staff members) in your facility.

About is an online resource of fun, senior activity ideas for activity professionals of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They have been providing fun activity ideas online since 2009, and we continue to assist activity professionals across the country by creating meaningful and engaging activity ideas for their residents that go “beyond bingo.” Don’t get them wrong – bingo is fun, but we want to spread the word that there is more to life than just bingo. Overall, feels privilege to help activity directors better the living experiences of their residents while demonstrating that a senior’s quality of life can actually improve when they move to a nursing facility.


An Active Game of Hungry Hungry Hippos


While I was speaking to one of my customers, they had mentioned an awesome game that they started playing within their Physical Education classes. A life-size version of the game Hungry Hungry Hippos! The activity follows the idea of the childhood game, where you slide on scooters trying to catch the most balls on the ground!

The awesome part about this game? Students have to work together as a team to play. One person lays on their stomach on the scooter, while their teammate is behind them, holding up their feet (like a wheelbarrow race, but the scooter is used instead of arms). The person that is behind, pushes the other person’s legs into the middle of the circle so they can catch balls on the ground with a bucket. The person at the end with the most about of balls, wins! Continue reading

Preventing Bullying with the Toss-n-Talk About Ball

anti bullying kidsA few years ago, I spent some time volunteering with a local Girl Scout Troop. The six girls within the troop were in 4th and 5th grade at the time. As the year progressed, the troop leader and I recognized some bullying starting between some of the girls in our troop. What we saw was that some of our girls had stronger personalities and seemed to be overpowering the other girls. Two of the girls displayed “bossy” characteristics, causing some of the other girls in the troop to stop participating as much as they had been. The troop leader and I decided to take action and address the issue during one of our meetings.

We created a chart on poster board with different examples of bullying written on it. As a group we read the examples out loud, talked about how someone being bullied might feel and had them come up with ways to address each example. We used examples like a new kid at school and someone being bullied for looking different or acting different. We also used some of the exchanges we had seen between the girls as examples: taking things from others because they want to use them, name calling, and using hurtful words towards others.

During our discussion we had the girls brainstorm as a group to come up with ideas on how they could take action to prevent and stop bullying. We talked about why respecting others, regardless of differences, was so important.

We then used the Anti-Bullying Toss & Talk Ball. This helped the girls talk more about bullying and prompted them in a fun “playful” way. We combined that activity with the Positive Attitude Toss & Talk Ball to help the girls come up with positive ways to counter bullying like making friends with that new kid so they don’t feel so left out, and standing up for the person being bullied because they are different. We discussed how to get a teacher or parent involved. Mixed within the discussions, we addressed and had them discuss the exchanges they’ve had, and how they might do things differently next time. By the following week, we saw the girls were working better together and being kinder to each other.

bullying bullying ball









Bullying isn’t just about physical violence, it is about teaching children to work positively together and to be nice to one another. Sometimes it is just talking about it and making them aware of the way their actions can make others feel.  For more activities on Bully Prevention head here.

Crystal JekaSubmitted by: Crystal Jeka – Account Representative at S&S Worldwide

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