How I Teach: Matt Johnson

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 another great physical educator from Minnesota who isn’t afraid of trying new things in PE:

Name: Matt Johnson
Where Are You From: Elk River, Minnesota
Where Do You Teach: Hassan Elementary School in Rogers, MN
One word that best describes how you teach:

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

Twitter has become my go to resource this school year. So many amazing #physed/#pegeeks teachers and resources are shared there.

Here are some of the many apps and tools I use on a regular basis:
Team Shake for any time I need my students in groups or teams.
Ubersense for video analysis
ClassDojo is a great way to help with classroom management and behavior.
iMovie to showcase our learning to parents via YouTube.
– I had to move to Weebly for my website after shutdown. Its interface is friendly and best of all its free.
Feedly keeps by blog reading list in one place.
Google Drive has made life much easier. No more external hard drives, flash drives, or Microsoft office! Also, Google Forms is my best way to collect data.
PE Universe has given me some great ideas in the past.
Grooveshark, Spotify, or iTunes is how we rock the gym.

What do your #physed classes look like?

If you were present in my #physed class, you would see all students active and engaged. I truly enjoy teaching the K-5 students because they are so excited to participate and learn in PE class. Our students learn how to skateboard, and it has been a great success for the last 6 years. Our 5th graders learn how to cross country ski and snowshoe in the winter months. We have Fitness Fridays once a month where we turn our gym into a health club. Students learn the 5 different fitness-components, while choosing from 15 different exercise stations. Team building lessons with a guided discovery model are still my favourite to teach. I love to watch my students problem solve and I offer guidance when necessary. Technology is integrated into my PE class with iPads, QR codes, Just Dance/various work outs on the projector, and pedometers. Other subject areas are also imbedded in many of the lessons through out the year. Every spring we hold an all school event called “Healthy Husky Day” to promote and enjoy an entire day of physical fitness. Students learn skills and concepts they will use for a lifetime like collaboration, problem solving, FITT principle, target heart rate, and perceived exertion. The more physically literate my students are, the more likely they will find a way to stay active for a lifetime.

What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?

As mentioned earlier, I teach my students to ride a skateboard safely. I would also consider myself to use more technology in PE than most. I like to think of myself as a progressive and innovative PE teacher. I want to keep pushing the limits on what can be learned in elementary PE class. Plans in the near future include the Polar GoFit system and bikes.

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

The best advice relates to relationship-driven teaching as it was a focus while I earned my masters degree through St. Mary’s University. My professors helped shape my beliefs about the teaching profession. I really feel like building relationships with my students is essential. I strive to learn about my students’ interests and I strongly believe students learn best from someone they feel cares deeply for them.

Where can people find you online?

Twitter – @matty_j12
Website –

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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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