How I Teach: Mike Doyle

The more I teach, the more I realize how lucky I am to be a part of the #physed community. Every day, I find myself being inspired and wowed by this group of amazing teachers from around the world. That’s why I’ve decided to take a second each week and highlight one of these incredible educators. This week’s post comes from an incredible physical educator from Minnesota who truly goes the extra mile for his students:

Name: Mike Doyle
Where Are You From: Minneapolis, MN
Where Do You Teach: Wayzata High School, Plymouth MN
One word that best describes how you teach:

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

My biggest piece of technology I have been using this year is the Polar GoFit Heart Rate Monitor system. Students in my Adapted PE class wear the straps everyday they see me and watch their heart rates on the wall where they are projected. With students in Adapted PE the fact that their names change colour based on the heart rate really helps them understand how hard they are working out. Some of the students have a hard time understanding numbers. The parents can also see their students heart rate information at home with the GoFit system and it makes for great advocacy for my program.

I am also using Google Forms everyday to collect data from my Adapted PE students. I am looking at Peer Interaction, Understanding of Rules/Strategies, Behaviour, and Fitness Level. I can then write goals from the data based on the needs of each student.

I have also been on Twitter now for 1 year and 5 months and have never looked back! It is amazing how many people I have networked with and actually met in that time that have inspired me to be a better teacher!

iMovie is an App that I use all of the time. Creating movies with the music that showcases student successes then sharing the movies with the parents makes them realize how important the Adapted PE program is to their child.

I also think Google Hangouts have changed they way that we can all connect with each other and learn from each other.

What do your #physed classes look like?

I see my Adapted PE students in many different settings usually every other day. In the middle schools I am with some of them in their mainstream PE classes adapting the activities which allows them to be more successful, even pulling them out occasionally if they need extra specialized instruction. At the high school and middle school I see small groups ranging from 3-12 students for about 45 minutes every other day and work on object control, locomotor, and physical fitness skills. We work on the same skills that students in the general PE classes are participating in but modified to level that allows greater success. The worst part is the amount of time I spend in my truck driving to different schools when I could be servicing students.

What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?

The law states that students with disabilities should be afforded the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers in the Physical Education setting. Since I started teaching Adapted PE 8 years ago I have strived to give my Adapted PE students MORE opportunities then their non-disabled peers. My students receive instruction in individual/duel sports, team sports, aquatics, adventure education, outdoor winter/summer leisure activities, and physical fitness. No student in a general Physical Education class receives instruction from all of those areas. My goal is to increase their independence to a level that will allow them to select/participate and enjoy recreational and fitness activities after high school. Since I get to work with most of the students all 4 years they are in high school it is very rewarding to see the growth they make with physical activity.

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

My college professor Jeff Steffen from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse once said in an undergraduate PE methods class that “If they don’t notice you when you are there, they are not going to care if you are gone.” This has always inspired me go that extra mile, try something new, or even go outside of my comfort zone with my teaching. I have always tried to make my Physical Education program one that people will “notice”.

Where can people find you online?

Twitter – @mikedoylempls
Google Plus – Michael Doyle

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

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