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Back To The Drawing Board

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated anything on the blog and I thought it was time that I provided you with some updates on the different projects/initiatives that I’m working on.

New Teaching Position

Ok, so the reason I’ve been less than present lately is that I have started my new teaching position at St. George’s School of Montreal. My new school is amazing, yet very intense (in the best of ways). Everyone here is incredibly dedicated to our students and the school’s approach to education (aka the St. George’s Method) is very thorough.

The school uses the Understanding by Design (UbD) framework to ensure that students are not only acquiring new knowledge and skill, but, more importantly, understanding of various concepts that they can transfer over a wide range of experiences.

Unit plans here are called KUDs (for Knowledge, Understanding, and Do) and are built around essential understandings which students explore through Essential Questions. A lot of thought is put into each KUD and teachers are encouraged to discuss and refine each other’s KUDs through a variety of dedicated PD days.

The discussion during these days (and in between them) feels like a live-action #pechat.

Anyone familiar with UbD who is reading this can probably tell that I’m still a noob at all of this. I’ve been racking my brain while trying to rethink my past unit plans to fit in with the UbD approach. At the same time, I’m trying to get to know my students so that I can make sure I’m designing learning experiences that meet their needs. I’ll be blogging about the process of creating a new curriculum using the UbD framework as time god son here. One thing that’s pretty cool about St. George’s is that our curriculum maps are made public. Once I’ve completed mine, I’m going to be sure to share it all with you.

It’s only my second week at St. George’s and I’ve already learned a ton. However, there is still a lot (like, a lot a lot) to learn. I feel like I’m starting fresh again. I’m going to need to hit the books, ask for your help, and reinvent myself as a teacher as I go along here.

Challenge accepted!

#PEChat

For those of you who have been asking, #pechat will be starting up again on September 8th 2014. The topic will be “Successful Curriculum Mapping”.

I had a great conversation with Adam Howell a couple of weeks ago about some of the new ideas he has been working on for his #OReduChat. One of the ideas was to have the #OReduChat community crowdsource recommended materials to help each other prepare for each upcoming chat.

After getting Adam’s permission to borrow and adapt this idea for #pechat, here’s how we will now be collecting recommended resources to help each other have as much information as possible going into #PEChat:

  • I’ve create a separate @PEChatSummary account to help me organize information in the days leading up to #pechat (e.g. topic, recommended resources, etc) as well as for the chat summaries.
  • The Monday before each chat, I will tweet out the topic for the upcoming chat and encourage the #pechat community to reply to that tweet with links to articles/books/videos/people that could help others learn more about the topic and prepare for the chat.
  • A link to that tweet will then be shared in the #pechat topic card on the official #pechat page.

#PEChat is an ongoing experiment and is nowhere near perfect yet. That being said, it’s exciting to see how it has changed over time and I’m pumped about what the future will hold!

The #PhysEd Book Club

Did I ever drop the ball on this one! I was so excited about The #PhysEd Book Club and it was off to a great start! However, I then got super busy with my prep for the 2014 National PE Institute and getting ready for the new school year that I never took the time to manage the awesome group of physical educators who were sharing in our Google+ Community.

This one is most definitely on me.

So here’s the plan: For the month of September, we will continue to share and discuss what we are learning in our first #PhysEd Book Club choice: Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Within the next two weeks, I will host a Google+ Hangout for those who are interested in discussing the book in a non-written form. Following that discussion, I will start collecting book titles for our next book and create voting polls. Once the community has voted, we will have our next title.

Sound good? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Ok, those are all the updates for now. Again, I’m sorry I’ve been absent for so long. I really hope that, as fellow teachers, you can all understand just how busy getting started at a new school can be.

I’m so grateful to be a part of this amazing community and can’t wait to get back into action with Team #PhysEd!

Thanks for reading and happy teaching!

Joey Feith is a physical education teacher from Canada and the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. Be sure to never miss out on any of ThePhysicalEducator.com’s future posts by connecting with us via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Email.

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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.