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How I Teach: Clarinda Brown

One of my favourite blogs to get ideas from is Lifehacker. Of all the posts they put out, my favourite series of blog post has to be the How I Work in which Lifehacker has leaders in the tech/design industry share facts on how they get work done. I was thinking of how cool it would be if we had a similar series that highlighted various members of the #physed network. So, without further ado, I give you the third post in ThePhysicalEducator.com’s How I Teach series:

Name: Clarinda Brown
Where Are You From: Sydney, Australia
Where Do You Teach: Cumberland High School, Carlingford NSW Australia
One word that best describes how you teach:
Vibrant

What apps/tools/resources can’t you live without?

I love having my iPad with me in the classroom. I’m always finding an app which can often explain something better than I can or its visual representation of the concept is better than a website. With my VGA connector, I’m always just plugging it in to the IWB.
I also cannot teacher without Edmodo. I’ve always liked to have very structured programs but finding the balance between a student-centred structure, content, outcomes and flexibility has always been the challenge! I love how Edmodo continues to change and improve – constantly evolving to involve students more and providing the tools for us to make this happen i.e. reactions, polls, etc.
I also can’t live without my Twitter PLN (personal learning network). The #pegeeks tag is just a treasure chest of ideas, links and resources. Most of us in are part of fairly small physical education departments so having access to such a huge pool of great people is fantastic!
I guess I picked the word vibrant as I love the energy that comes with what I do and the potential to keep changing and improving practice. Oh yeah, and the fact that I get to wear funky, bright and colourful sneakers every day!

What do your #physed classes look like?

They are nothing out of the ordinary. However, if we don’t change activities/modes regularly, I start to lose interest!
With theory lessons, they often resemble a chat room. I have mostly senior classes at the moment. Note taking is a pet hate of mine so if there is a better way of disseminating content, I will! I tend to chunk my lessons with stimulus material, discussion, investigation, YouTube clips and more discussion. Edmodo makes this so easy and my students are now just starting to create their own content more to share with the class.
With practical classes, again, I need to change things up regularly. New warm-up games and modified games are my go to for skill development and variety. My latest challenge is changing up our Dance units to have modern tracks for common dances. For example, Australian folk dances (known as bush dances) are often accompanied by fairly dated tracks. I’m basically trying to spice things up e.g. The Heel Toe Polka – Parlez Vous Francais (Art vs Science); The Stockyards – Punching in a Dream (Naked & Famous)

What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?

I don’t know – I guess this is something that others familiar with what you do have an opinion on more than yourself.
I do get frustrated with the stereotypical view of PDHPE at times (personal development, health and physical education). It is so much more than sport. It is so much more than health. It offers opportunity for growth and for skill and knowledge development that students can take into every area of their lives.
I do like reflect a lot on what I do. I think this is one of the most valuable things you can do to improve your teaching. My poor, neglected blog is one of my outlets for this but just a couple of minutes everyday can be so beneficial.

What’s the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?

Be flexible and try things!
At the end of the day, if a lesson doesn’t work, you have still learnt from the experience. I hope that I keep on learning everyday. The job is never the same and that’s one of the reasons I love it.

Where can people find you online?

I’m on Twitter (@clarindabrown) everyday and I am a bit of a self-confessed Instagram addict

Blog: http://clarindabrown.wordpress.com/

About.me: http://about.me/clarindabrown

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Joey Feith is the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

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