This week for the #FeaturedPETeacher section on the PE Central Facebook page, the spotlight is on Elizabeth Geertsma!
I am an Elementary Physical Education Teacher at New Groningen Elementary School in Zeeland, Michigan. This is my 6th year teaching in Zeeland Public Schools. I teach Young 5’s-5th grade students. For our Young 5’s and Kindergarten classes, I teach a “Music & Motion” curriculum twice a week. In 1st-5th grade, students have physical education once a week. I also teach a Young 5’s-2nd grade adapted PE class as well as a 3rd-5th grade adapted PE class where I see students twice a week.
Current PE Lesson Plan/Unit
Currently, our students are learning how to and improve upon their roller skating skills. In our district, we are provided with enough roller skates to correctly size and fit all of our students in 2nd-5th grade. Each week when they have PE, they come into the gym to learn and practice new roller skating skills. At the end of this unit, students celebrate all they have learned during our “roller skating party”. During this time, their classroom teachers are invited to come skate with their students (yes, we do have sizes to fit them, too!) and are able to dance to fun songs on their skates. The students absolutely love it and I do as well.
PE Focus for 2019
In my music & motion and physical education classes, I really try to focus on problem solving and always displaying good sportsmanship, regardless of the outcome of the game or activity. I have included a picture of a bulletin board I created that is located right outside the gym that shows how to model good sportsmanship. With problem solving, we really work hard in the gym to appropriately handle situations where we become frustrated or have a misunderstanding with another student. We use a simple “Rock, Paper, Scissors” conflict resolution tool and we also have a “team zone” for students to use to have a conversation with another student before returning to a certain activity. This conflict resolution tool aligns really well with our focus on sportsmanship in physical education because our students are learning how to win and lose graciously and why it is important to treat others with respect, regardless of the outcome. Our students do a fabulous job working on this!
Favorite PE Lesson Plan/Unit
My favorite unit is a two way tie between roller skating and biking. Like I stated above, roller skating is offered to our 2nd-5th grade students and it is amazing to see where they are on day #1 compared to how far they have come when we complete the unit. Their confidence sky rockets and the smile on their face says it all. Along with roller skating, our 3rd-5th grade students participate in our biking unit and are able to bring their own bike from home or use one provided by our PE department. During our biking unit, students are able to learn biking safety, biking mechanics, hand signals and so much more. I love teaching both of these units because it encourages activities that students can do with friends and families on weeknights, weekends and throughout the summer. Our 5th graders even end the year with our annual “bike hike” in which they bike 24 miles to the lake shore and back. It is quite an accomplishment for them and I am so proud of them when they return back to school after their long bike ride!
What is your favorite part about being a PE teacher?
My favorite part about being a PE teacher is being with the kids. I love teaching Physical Education because it really helps me build relationships with students and encourage them to engage in lifelong physical activity. Each of their personalities bring me joy and I love the challenges of teaching new and exciting skills and activities to students to keep them motivated. My goal is to make them not only competent learners, but also confident in the abilities they have to impact the world around them. In my opinion, being an elementary PE teacher is the absolute best! I believe it is a tremendous gift to be able to teach students the value of physical education and encourage them to pursue lifelong physical activity. I often reflect back on the days and weeks of school and realize that these children are some of the biggest blessings in my life. I am so thankful for them. I come to school each day, see their energetic and smiling faces, and encourage them to demonstrate kindness, compassion and confidence all within a physical education setting. What could be better?
It is my goal as a physical educator to strive to change a child’s life, because so many of my students have made an immense mark on my life. Every hug in the hallway, every excited face I see enter the gym and every child I teach has made me extremely grateful to be a physical education teacher.
Is there a program or event you’d like to highlight related to your PE program?
Wednesday AM Dance Jam
Every Wednesday morning students have music playing for them as they walk into the school building. We hold this morning music jam to give them encouragement to keep a positive attitude during the middle of the week.
This is a time where as students are walking into the building, they are greeted by music to help wake their bodies up and begin their day. We play music for about 10 minutes in the morning and it is really something students look forward to. Students will stay and dance, while learning why it is important to be active as soon as their day begins. It is a great alternative to outside physical activity because some days we are inside due to the snowy, rainy or cold weather. Students really enjoy this time and have gotten to know other students around the school better. We love our Wednesday mornings; it’s been a hit every year!
Golden Sneaker Award
Each month, classes are trying to earn this award to display in their classrooms for the entire month. In “Music in Motion” and PE, there are two ways to earn this award. The first way is to “S.H.I.N.E.” during class time (S-show respect, H-have self control, I-I’m trustworthy, N-never give up, E-engaged in learning). The second way is to all wear good “PE” shoes during class time. If their class earns the most stars for the month, they are awarded the Golden Sneaker Award. We have even had a few ties during some months!
I have included pictures below. One of them is with a class towards the end of the school year in our gym. The other is at our annual “field day”, which takes place at our local high school stadium. It is a great day that students love!