Celebrate a Healthy Valentine’s Day in Your Classroom.

Chocolates, and cupcakes, and candies – oh my! There certainly isn’t a sweeter classroom celebration than Valentine’s Day. As a teacher I always tried to come up with creative ways to take the attention off of treats and onto fun celebration themed physical activity. Luckily Pinterest makes finding these creative ideas so much easier. So, here are 6 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a healthy and active classroom.

1. Fruit Smoothie Fun.

A fruit smoothie station would be the perfect opportunity to reinforce healthy eat and have a whole lot of fun. Frozen fruit can be used and loading in the berries will give your drink the perfect pink glow. The straws in this photo are cute too. Students could create their own straw decorations (e.g., lips, mustaches, rainbows, or snakes).

2. Apple Core Sandwiches

This idea was one I’ve never seen. Without the heart I love it for it’s nutrition levels and high levels of fun – the heart, that just puts it over the top. I might suggest you prepare the apples – many alternatives to peanut butter exist so depending on your school needs, consider swapping that ingredient out.

3. Candy Alternatives

My favourite is definitely the Minion or the banana. Not all healthy, but definitely all creative.

4. Heart Shaped Animals

Having pre-cut hearts would certainly make this task run more smoothly with the younger kids. Why not team up some older students with younger ones to support cut the hearts and build community within your school.

5. Mason Jar Lights

Excellent for older students and can easily be supplied at a doller store. With younger students, again consider having hearts already cut, or teaming younger students will older ones for support.

6. Heart Toc-Tac-Toe

Students can create their own hearts – or set of hearts – and use them in either this cute version of tic-tac-toe or for a target game similar to bocce.

What to Pack For An Active Back to School!

Thanks to ParticipACTION, it’s know easy to know what to pack for an active and fun back to school experience.

Low res Backpack Infographic - EN

There are lots of great ideas in this cute infographic, but I love the idea of a ball. So simple and cannot only lead to active play, but also social interactions. Great for students entering a new school or class. The use of two little words “wanna play?” can lead to new friendships and an active recess.

In order to make this back pack even better, I would suggest the addition of a reusable water bottle. As both a classroom and phys.ed. teacher I believe it is so much easier for students to stay connected to the learning when they have everything they need at their fingers tips, including hydration.

As we enter the final weekend of summer, I wish students, teachers, and parents an awesome start to school week one!

Teachers and the Twitterverse

When I talk to teachers about Twitter, usually their first reaction is similar to what mine was by stating “I don’t care that Ashton Kutcher just ate a ham sandwich.” I agree, and I don’t care either. But since joining Twitter 8 months ago, I’ve learned that’s not point of Twitter (unless you want it to be) and the real value is so much more then I could have anticipated, professionally and personally.

twitter 1

Why Teachers Should Use Twitter:

Teachers should have a Twitter account in order to create an amazing Professional Learning Network, to stay informed about education, best practices, and pedagogies, and to learn new ideas about teaching. Twitter is a direct news feed from the people you want to hear from (e.g., colleagues, schools, publishers, leaders in education); it lets you connect better than any other tool on the Internet.

Here Are My Top 3 Reasons Why Teachers Need Twitter!

More Heads Are Better Than One

  • In an elementary school where I was the only health and phys.ed. teacher it was professionally very lonely. I did what I thought was best, reflected on my own practice, but didn’t have anyone around who understood H&PE content and curriculum, as well as best teaching practices. Now in the palm of my hand I am connected to teachers from not only my board, but from around the world. Through the use of #pechat  we share and discuss strategies connected to a variety of topics related to H&PE. I can learn best practices and new pedagogies, I can view images and videos, and I can chat with teachers, who are working through the same situations as me and we can support each other and share our knowledge and learn together on an almost instantaneous basis.


Learn Globally, Act Locally

  • Teachers on twitter have the potential to reach a huge international audience.  Not only can we see what is happening with our own province by following leaders in education here, but we can follow leaders from around the world. Recently while collecting data on curriculum from across Canada I wasn’t able to locate the H&PE document from Halifax. With a quick tweet to their government, I had a link to the document within minutes. I had already out in time searching with no luck, and was able to reach out in a way that was convenient to me to the other side of the country and get the response and information I needed.
  • On a regular basis through the use of #pechat I’ve connected with a teacher in Singapore. This guy has an equipment room to die for, huge, well organized, and I’ve been able to learn from him and his practices and apply them here in Ontario.

Instant Newsroom

  • Twitter helps teachers receive direct information from the sources they choose. Teachers can stay up to date on not only news and current affairs, but also on the latest developments in their areas of interest: subject associations, publishers, school leadership, teaching trends, or technology. By following leaders and organizations, teachers can be among the first to know when an article is published, a study is released, a product is launched, or an opinion is voiced.

 Want To See Twitter in Action?

Check out this video created by PhysicalEducator.Com

 A Tool for School:

Twitter can also be used as an educational tool for engagement in and outside of the classroom. While there has been some concern with using social media in schools (bullying, theft, equity), many schools and teachers are embracing these sites, changing the function of the site away from socializing and towards education and knowledge sharing.  According to The Guardian’s social media guide for schools, “Teachers have been setting up subject or class Twitter accounts that students can follow. The teacher then tweets information related to their class. Some even set homework via Twitter.” I’ve used twitter as an alternative to pen and paper exit cards. I’ve provided students with the option to write or tweet their response to our consolidation question, and while many students still choose pen and paper, the choice is theirs.

Have you used twitter in your classroom or for your own professional learning? Share your experience in the comments!