This week for the #FeaturedPETeacher section on the PE Central Facebook page, the spotlight is on Mark Friedrich!
I proudly teach Adventure Education at Millburn High School in Millburn, NJ as part of the Health & Physical Education Department. Our school has over 1,500 students in Grades 9-12 and I currently have 151 students (Mixed Grade Levels) in my Adventure Education Classes for First Marking Period. We offer Adventure Education as a Physical Education Elective to our students three marking periods each school year. We currently have over 20 high climbing elements in our Adventure Education Program between our Indoor & Outdoor Challenge Courses at Millburn High School.
This is my 24th school year teaching Health & Physical Education in New Jersey. I began my teaching career as an Elementary School Physical Education Teacher in neighboring South Orange, NJ, but left after eight years to come to Millburn High School in 2004. I’ve been teaching Adventure Education at Millburn High School since the inception of the program in 2005. Adventure Education and the concepts learned from such a program give me such passion and energy as a veteran teacher in my school.
PE Focus for 2018:
Currently our Adventure Education Curriculum focus is all on climbing our High Elements at our Challenge Courses. Lessons and instruction focus on learning to demonstrate proper safe climbing skills while executing your right to utilize the “Challenge by Choice” philosophy. Prior lessons in the curriculum focused on ground level games to build Teamwork, Trust, Communication & Problem Solving Skills while working in small groups. Once our relationships in class are stronger we focus our curriculum lessons around teaching Technical Skills such as Belaying, Harness Application and Knot Tying for climbing.
Our specific focus for the year is to build strong relationships, sound technical skills, confident climbers who utilize safe behavior at all times while enjoying our Adventure Education Program in Physical Education Classes. I also focus daily on making students realize the physical and mental benefits of taking Adventure Education.
What is your favorite part about being a PE Teacher?
My favorite part about teaching Adventure Education is that I have an amazing opportunity to see students grow socially, mentally, and physically in a matter of 8 weeks during a Marking Period of Adventure Education. We focus heavily on friendships, building relationships, and asking for help from each other that students quickly realize they need each member of the class to successfully get through every part of Adventure Education. I really enjoy the lessons based around Ground Level Games that build Teamwork, Trust, Communication and problem solving as a group. The early lessons is where instructor creativity and selection/framing of games is so vital for the overall success of the students in the class. These are a few of my favorite things when it comes to planning lessons or instruction in Adventure Education.
My favorite part about being an Adventure Education Teacher in our Physical Education Department at Millburn High School is that I now get to pay it forward to other professionals by presenting and speaking on the topic of Adventure Education and the games/practices that work for in our program. Traveling around doing presentations for Local, State and National Conventions is always so rewarding for me and gives me a great chance to share my passion with other educators who want to learn.
The Adventure Education Program was also featured last June in a SHAPE America article. View the article here.