How I Teach: Jessica Shawley

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 a SHAPE America National Middle School Teacher that I had the pleasure of meeting at #SHAPESeattle:

Name: Jessica Shawley
Where Are You From: Othello, Washington (Washington State, USA)
Where Do You Teach: Moscow Middle School in Moscow, Idaho
One word that best describes how you teach: Energetic

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

Daily Teaching Tools: FitStep Pro Pedometer (including the free FitStep Pro pedometer software on my school laptop), iPad with Apple TV and LCD projector, music on the iPod or iPad, Samson bluetooth wireless speaker and wireless headset mic so my voice can be heard, Bluetooth media remote to run everything

Home: My MacBook with iMovie, Pages, and Keynote help me create things for work.

Apps I use regularly: Team Shake, Seconds Pro, Plickers, Ubersense or Coach’s Eye, Nike Training Club, 7 minute workout.

Other Professional Development Tools: Twitter, Voxer, YouTube, SHAPE America Membership with JOPERD & Strategies articles, my PE Geek Membership and all the great PE Geek apps, and Podomatic for all the podcasts available today and I also love reading blogs.

What do your #physed classes look like?

Students participate in learning activities that can be, will be or already are applicable to their personal lives. My goal to provide a variety of experiences that will make a viable connection to students’ lives so they continue to be healthy and active outside of school. I am a guide in helping them develop their personal ‘healthy active lifestyle’ plan. If someone came into my classroom, they’d hear music and see all students participating and being challenged to be their personal best. I want to connect the students to the “why” of the lesson: Why is what we are doing today important?

What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?

My teaching comes grounded in a growth mindset that is continuously on the look out to find the best ways to meet the many needs of my students. Whether it be through grant writing to ensure my program can afford the tools and technology needed to be a more effective program or be it through advocacy efforts to educate those local, state and national stakeholders about the importance of physical education, the things I do demonstrate I’m a big believer in that teaching is about participating in your profession both in and outside of your classroom walls. I’m constantly participating in professional development opportunities and enjoy the collaboration in our ever-growing online professional network.

Another unique characteristic is I believe strongly in the power of community collaboration and that physical education can support and enhance learning activities in other areas of our school. I look for ways to engage students in national initiatives such as: Let’s Move Active Schools, Fuel Up to Play 60, ING Run For Something Better, and anything else that is a “MOVEMENT” … I want to find things that MOVE the kids and “movements” can do that. Being a part of something bigger than ourselves gives us a sense of purpose. My students plan and run their own school fun run. My students design health and fitness posters in technology class. My students learn how to teach classroom activity breaks. My students do jumping jacks in math class to collect data and then learn about data distribution. My students take walking field trips to local community resources where they can be active. This is just the beginning. My program will always be evolving to meet the needs of today’s learner. This is what is so fun about teaching. I get to grow with my students.

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

FISH Philosophy: Be There. Choose Your Attitude. Make Their Day. Play. I learned of this philosophy years ago when visiting a neighboring school district physical education program. The entire school had embraced this philosophy and it really put into words what I believe. If anyone hasn’t heard of it, they need to look it up. These four simple practices will ensure one’s longevity in the teaching profession and keep you centered and at your best each day. Check out:

Beginning teacher advice: I taught math my first year of teaching before going full time into physical education. I was grading a lot of papers and putting in late nights. My mentor teacher was wonderful and after seeing how my routine was not helping me be my best she finally just said: “It will be there when you get back on Monday, now go home and enjoy time with your family!” She taught me how to be more efficient and how students could be more active participants in learning. Under all the stress I had forgotten it doesn’t always have to be teacher driven (and in most cases its better if it isn’t). It really inspired me to research choice-based physical education for my master’s degree. I really encourage people to find a way to be organized, efficient and to find a balance between loving what they do at work and loving their life outside of work. We need to remember to take care of ourselves so we can best take care of our students.

Favorite packaged advice I’ve ever received:
Be Fair, Firm and Fun
Remember the “3 R’s”: Relevance, Rigor, and Relationships

Where can people find you online?

Twitter: @JessicaShawley
Voxer: jshawl742
Website: – You’ll find my blogs, workshop handouts and webinar resources.
Google+: JessicaShawley
YouTube: Jessica Shawley

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Joey Feith is the founder of Having taught elementary physical education for 10 years, Joey is now focused on helping physical educators grow their confidence and competence as teachers.

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