How I Teach: Jorge Rodriguez
by Joey Feith
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 an incredibly kind and motivated teacher from Houston, Texas:
Name: Jorge Rodriguez
Where Are You From: Houston, Texas, USA
Where Do You Teach: Harvard Elementary (Houston, TX)
One word that best describes how you teach: Constructivist (still learning)
What apps/tools/resources can’t you live without?
I’m going to have to say my Google Pixel. I got it a few months ago and I love it. It takes great pictures, it’s easy to use and I pretty much store everything on google drive, which syncs up seamlessly. I use a variety of apps for assessment, music, reflection and communication and I can customize my screen for easier access while I’m teaching. Plus, I’m a big geek when it comes to virtual reality and the Daydream Viewer that works with the Pixel is awesome!
What do your #physed classes look like?
I have been on a journey the last few years to understand and organize my teaching philosophy. With the limited time I see my kids, I want to give them meaningful experiences that will maximize their learning potential so that they can fully benefit from an active and healthy lifestyle. The more I learn about the learning process, the more I’ve moved towards a more student-centered, constructivist approach. Every lesson is somewhat unique, but some common pedagogical practices you might see are SOLO taxonomy, TGfU, cooperative learning, and inquiry-based learning.
An example would be my target games unit. We started the unit with a self assessment using SOLO taxonomy, a visual rubric where student self-assess throughout the unit. Their responses were recorded on a Google Slide and were made available on my iPad. For three week my students experiences a variety of target games including bowling, golf, Frisbee golf, and a variety of carnival games. At the end of the unit my students had a chance to create their own target game using the jigsaw cooperative learning method. Students were grouped in “home” groups where each student was assigned an “expert” group for creation. Each “expert” group created an original target game and shared their games with their “home” group. Then the class played each original game. Each student had an opportunity to create, collaborate, present and learn from each others’ experiences. After reflecting on the process, each student also had an opportunity to self-assess and move up through their SOLO rubric.
What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?
I think the most unique thing about my teaching is, I am willing to try new things and I am willing to fail in front of my students. I don’t have all the answers, I’m not the best teacher out there, I’m not without flaws, but I strive to be better every day. John Wooden said, “Make everyday your masterpiece.” This is a huge goal that may not be achievable, but if we strive to improve our lives and the lives of others around us, I believe we are moving in the right direction.
What’s the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?
Early on in my teaching career a colleague told me that I should focus on one thing and not to try to do too many things at the same time. I took this as a challenge. I thought that if I only focused on one program or one style of teaching then my students would miss out on some valuable experiences. I admit, sometimes I get myself in deep waters, but I think that is all part of the learning process. We should feel a little overwhelmed from time to time. We should embrace our “uncomfortable zone,” as Sarah Gietschier-Hartman so eloquently puts it. If I become complacent and accept the status quo, then my students will have permission to do the same. I want what’s best for my students and strive to be the embodiment of my mission as a physical educator.
Where can people find you online?
Website: physednow.com (work in progress)
January 11, 2020
July 27, 2018
July 20, 2018