How I Teach: Jonathan Jones

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 awesome physical educator from Maryland:

Name: Jonathan Jones
Where Are You From: Cheverly, Maryland
Where Do You Teach: Whitehall Elementary School, Bowie, Maryland
One word that best describes how you teach:

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

TweetDeck: TweetDeck has made connecting with #physed teachers much easier. The app allows me to follow multiple hashtags so I follow #physed, #pegeeks, #pechat, #peplc. I love how I can just jump in and comment or review different tweets sent over the day.

iPad Mini: I use this everyday during school. As a teaching tool, I view my lesson plans on them instead of having to print out six pages for each lesson. I take attendance and monitor behaviour using ClassDojo. Use it to support instruction with Coach’s Eye, CoachNote, iMuscle. I also take notes with Evernote.

FitStar: This app can be used for so many different things in class: warm-ups, fitness instruction support, or as a whole lesson fitness instruction. The app been so popular that students have even begun downloading it at home.

What do your #physed classes look like?

My K-5 students have physical education for thirty minutes 2/3 times a week. For my intermediate students they have a poster outside the gym that tells them exactly what they need to do when they enter the gym. All of my classes are prompted with the objective and what they are expected to know by the end of class. The activities during class are geared toward the goal or target skill and students always have a chance to experience the skill in different levels and settings. While students are engaged, I monitor progress and offer encouragement/feedback. At the end of class students recap what they learned through Q&A or an exit card.

What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?

I feel that the most unique thing about my teaching is my classroom management plan in physical education. I learned early on that if a teacher is a weak behaviour manager, then the teacher has nothing. He/she may have the greatest ideas on earth, but if no structure is in place it will be a failure. Therefore, the first week of school I outline the expectations, routines, and consequences in all my classes. The students practice them and they are reinforced. If students fail to meet the expectations of the class, then they receive a timeout and a behaviour reflection sheet. That behaviour reflection sheet is then emailed to their parent/guardian. Having a strong management plan has allowed me to make the most of my thirty minutes with each class. I am able to take my instruction deeper and students further. I also feel I do a great job with creating relationships with my students. I have conversations with them outside of class and am constantly joking around with them. This translates to more buy-in to my classroom management plan by the students.

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

Dr. Robert Martin, my advisor at Salisbury University, was extremely passionate about physical education. He would always tell his classes that if we continued the trend of ineffective PE, then we would be out of a job in ten years. He encouraged us to give our kids new experiences and find ways make our instruction unique. Dr. Martin also told us to treat each kid as if they were our own because each kid deserves our best.

Where can people find you online?

Twitter: @J_JonesPE

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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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