Friday, December 17, 2010

Letter and Presentation to the Superintendent/Board

Dear Mr. Superintendent,

My name is Jeremy West. I am a physical education teacher at JTS High School. I recently became involved in the Speed Stacks Ambassador Program. I work with about 50 children at the local recreation center teaching the art of Sport Stacking and cannot tell you how popular it is becoming. The children love it, and it is a great way to promote not only physical benefits but cognitive and affective benefits as well.

Let me tell you a little about Sport Stacking. It was invented by a physical education teacher named Bob Fox. In a nutshell, the objective of Sport Stacking is to stack cups into certain patterns as quick as you can. It may not sound too special if you never stacked before, but there are a lot of benefits to Sport Stacking.

Hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and speed are three components of skill-related fitness that are developed through Sport Stacking. A study done by Dr. Steven R. Murray, Brian Udermann, John M. Mayer, and Kenneth Sagendorf has shown that Sport Stacking is an effective way to improve both hand-eye coordination and reaction time. Another thing Sport Stacking develops is bilateral coordination. The use of both hands is essential to a quick stack. Chris K. Rhea, Kathy Ludwig, and Monique Mokha conducted a study that has shown Sport Stacking may lead to better development of bilateral coordination. Sport Stacking is a good way to maintain overall fitness as well. There are numerous games that incorporate cardiovascular and aerobic exercise. The possibilities are truly endless with Sport Stacking!

I mentioned previously that Sport Stacking is beneficial to other domains besides the physical. It is known that Sport Stacking activates both sides of the brain. Dr. Melanie Hart examined the electrical activity in the left and right hemispheres of the brain during Sport Stacking, and she concluded, “The results of this study support the claim that Sport Stacking does utilize both sides of the brain.” By utilizing both sides of the brain, it also develops them as well. The left side of the brain is responsible for logic, mathematics, language, and analysis to name a few. The right side of the brain is responsible for things such as creativity, feelings, intuition, and imagination. One of the biggest benefits for these children that Sport Stacking contributes to is self-esteem. It allows children that may not be athletic to participate and be good at it. These children now have the opportunity to compete with their peers that are athletic thus resulting in higher self-esteem. All of these characteristics would help these children in all aspects of school.

Sport Stacking is not your traditional unit in physical education class. It is different and kids love to try new things. Sport Stacking is the perfect opportunity to bring about change to the physical education program and start a new PE. Different activities, like Sport Stacking, will make physical education class fun for everyone and not just the kids who love sports. The physical education program needs change, and Sport Stacking will lead that change.

If you are skeptical about Sport Stacking, the leader in Sport Stacking, Speed Stacks, has a program for schools to borrow the necessary equipment for free. Please grant us this opportunity to bring about change in our physical education program. Thank you for your time.


Jeremy West

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jeremy West - Daily Burn

(Click on picture to go to website)

III. I think Daily Burn is a great way for people to keep track of their diet, nutrition, and exercise. From using it personally, I realized my diet and nutritional intake are poor. I don't eat enough, and I don't drink enough water. I used to use two other online logs to keep track of my diet and exercise. For my diet, I used, and I used to log my runs. I haven't been keeping up-to-date on either of them though because I've been busy with school and just life in general. It's difficult to remember everything you ate to log it when you are busy. I like my-calorie-counter's tracker better because it calculates all of the nutritional goals and allows you to view them compared to Daily Burn that only calculates and allows you to see calories, fat, protein, and carbs unless you upgrade to a paid plan. My-calorie-counter also tells you if you are over or under your goal and subtracts any calories from your total lost during exercise.
The thing I like about Daily Burn that my-calorie-counter doesn't have is the daily calorie breakdown that shows a graph and percentage of total fat, carbs, and protein. I will most likely not continue using Daily Burn in the future. As I said before, I already use two other logs that I've been using for a couple years now, and they already have all of my data. I would recommend looking at my-calorie-counter for tracking diet and exercise.

IV. Daily Burn would be a great way to set up a fitness plan and track the results for Learning Standard #1B. Each student could set their nutritional goals at the beginning of the year with a goal of becoming more fit. For example, they could work towards losing weight or getting  stronger. The exercise log is another great way for students to keep track of what they are doing and see how many calories they lost. I would give each student a goal to touch upon each of the components in Learning Standard #1B (cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, endurance, and body composition) every week. One of the ways they could accomplish this is by doing cardio 2-3 times per week and weight training 2-3 time per week. Cardio would satisfy all of the components when followed by stretching. Weight training would satisfy at least three of the components.

V. A tool that can be useful for capturing data is Picasa or simply the print screen function. This makes it easy for the student to save an image of their results on Daily Burn without having to retype everything or make their own graphs. After saving the images, they can use them to report their results to their teacher through a blog, a website, email, or any other medium. This would be very useful if each student had to present their fitness program with results. They could simply save the images available on Daily Burn and throw them into a PowerPoint presentation to show their data and improvement along with their written fitness program.

Jeremy West - Brain Gains

(Click picture to go to video)

I. The website is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is "Canada's Online Information Source," home of CBC News, Sports, Radio, and Entertainment. The video is part of The National, CBC's "nightly news and current affairs program." The news piece is about two schools -- City Park Collegiate in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and Naperville Central High School in Naperville, Illinois, United States.

II. I thought the news piece was very interesting. I have heard that exercise was associated with learning, but I never seen or heard of actual studies that have been done. It is pretty amazing what exercise can do for you. Everyone knows that exercise is good for you physically, but I'm sure a lot of people don't know the psychological and emotional benefits that it brings. I was surprised how the two students that were featured in the news piece felt about it even though they come off as kids that would think they were too cool to participate in it. The increases in both of their education and behavior seem to be profound.

III. We probably don't hear anything about the physical education teacher being involved in the experiment because he/she is probably stuck in the old way of teaching physical education and only focuses on the students who want to participate instead of everyone in the class.

I will ensure that my physical education program will benefit both the students and the faculty of my school by teaching different units besides the traditional sports to make class fun and different to make the students excited and anxious about what they will be doing in class. By everyone in class participating, their heart rates will be up and will promote the release of nerve growth factors such as BDNF. This will release stress and enhance the students' ability to focus in their other classes.

IV. The main benefits of the program were improvement in behavior, attention, and school. The students improved a full grade level in reading, writing, and math. Barney improved 20% in reading and 400% in
comprehension. Dustin improved 25% in reading, 25% in math, and 30% in comprehension. I was somewhat surprised by the findings. Both of the students improved profoundly in certain subject areas. I would be interested to see how much students that have average scores in those areas would improve compared to these students.

These outcomes are similar to the New York State Physical Education Standards. Standard 1 states "Students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in physical activity, and maintain personal health." In the news piece, the program was expanded to most of the students in grades 8 and 9 to 20 minutes of exercise 3 days per week. This satisfies Standard 1. Standard 2 states "Students will acquire knowledge and ability necessary to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment." This standard is touched on because the behavior of the students improved and most likely resulted in a safer and healthier environment. Standard 3 states "Students will understand and be able to manage their personal and community resources." Barney realized the benefits of the program and said he realized he was getting smarter resulting in him to rethink where he wanted to go in life. As a result, students would be more likely to continue exercising outside of school.

V. BDNF is a nerve growth factor that is released in the brain. It helps preserve and strengthen nerve cells as well as relieve stress. This relates to physical education and learning because BDNF is released during sustained aerobic exercise when the heart rate is between 65-75% of its maximum for at least 20 minutes. A physical education class should satisfy these requirements, and in return, nerve cells in the brain are strengthened and preserved resulting in better learning.

Two books that currently outline the benefits of exercise and learning are Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by Dr. John Ratey and The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Through Movement by Traci Lengel and Mike Kuczala.

Part 1C - The goal for us as physical educators is to get our students to be recreationally competent in 6 activities and proficient in 3 activities in 3 different activity categories (6+3/3). There are 9 categories: team passing, net/wall, target, striking/fielding, aquatics, dance & aesthetic, outdoor, personal performance, and fitness. Learning Standard #1A states "Students will perform basic motor and manipulative skills. They will attain competency in a variety of physical activities and proficiency in a few select complex motor and sports activities." In my opinion, the recommended regent's level for this standard should be 90% of the senior class. I don't think it's very difficult to be competent in 6 activities. It is somewhat more difficult to be proficient in 3 activities. It's the fact that it has to be across 3 different categories that would make it a little difficult for some students. That is why I chose 90% instead of something higher. However, 90% is a very reasonable level. If students are taught various activities in each category throughout their entire high school career, students should be able to achieve this mark.

Learning Standard #1B states "Students will design personal fitness programs to improve cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, endurance, and body composition." In my opinion, the recommended regent's level for this standard should be 99% of the senior class. I would recommend 99% instead of 100% because that will only lead to failure. Throughout each students time in high school, they would all have taken not only physical education but health as well. After taking both of these classes, there really isn't any reason why students shouldn't be able to develop their own fitness program. They would learn about different activities they could incorporate into their program through physical education class and well as some health benefits, and health class would give them all the information they would need to know about health and fitness.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lab D Reflection

My lesson for Lab D was on Sport Stacking, more commonly known as Cup Stacking. Sport Stacking is not your traditional physical education class unit, but it has gained so much popularity in physical education classrooms all over the country. Some people may think that Sport Stacking shouldn't be a unit in physical education. They think that it isn't a physical activity, but boy, are they wrong! It satisfies many of the NASPE Standards. For example, Standards 1 and 2 are satisfied by the students in their ability to comprehend and perform the many different stacks. Sport Stacking has many benefits, including muscle endurance on the health-related fitness side. You wouldn't believe how tired your arms can get from continuously stacking. It also is a great way to develop and maintain hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and speed.

I was quite disappointed with my teaching in the lesson. I started off well, but Dr. Yang threw me a curveball with Andy acting as a blind student and I got caught looking. I did my best to regroup, but it threw me off a lot. I ended up forgetting to mention my visual aid and the cues to the 6-6 stack that I was teaching. I waited a couple days to clear my head of all of the negative thoughts that tend to fill your head right after an event like this happens and thought about what I could have differently in that situation. Things like that occur in a physical education classroom, and I need to learn how to properly deal with it.

Lab D Videos:

Lesson Plan

Task Progression Sheet


Block Plan

Scope & Sequence


Time Coding Form

Feedback Analysis Form

Content Development

Self C-9 Form

Lab D Packet