How I Teach: Lynn Burrows
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 from a highly decorated teacher (and overall great person) from Colorado:
Name: Lynn Burrows
Where Are You From: I grew up in Denver, Colorado. Now I live in Winter Park, a small ski town in the Rocky Mountains.
Where Do You Teach: Fraser Valley Elementary
One word that best describes how you teach: Engaging
What apps/tools/resources can’t you live without?
Teaching: BAM Video Delay, Decide Now, Projectors, iPads, Google Classroom, YouTube, Garmin Vivosmart watch that I use as a remote for my music, wireless headset mic, Team Shake.
Professional Development: Twitter, Voxer, SHAPE America Exchange, PHYSEDagogy and the Global PhysEd Voxcast.
What do your #physed classes look like?
At initial glance, my classes may look like chaos because learning is messy. When observed closely, students can be seen developing into knowledgeable movers through risk taking, self evaluation, peer coaching, decision making and collaboration with others. My students discuss our inquiry questions as they “walk and talk”, then they share discussion points with class. Students take great ownership in directing their learning through developing our social contract, discussing and describing concepts to their peers, and publicly honoring classmates who exhibit commendable personal and social behavior. Students make learning decisions regarding equipment choices, individual methods to demonstrate competency and how to solve problems.
Throughout the class period I loop a a soundless projected video. The video typically displays the skill we are working on with an exemplary model e.g. Peyton Manning throwing a football.
I had a drinking fountain installed in our gym enabling the students to drink whenever they are thirsty, promoting healthy lifestyle habits. A rule agreed upon in our social contract is that the drinking fountain remains open anytime the music is playing.
Lastly, when it is time for students to line up, they line up according to their assigned number. This contributes to our positive gym climate. It has alleviated the social stress regarding who gets to stand next to who, and eliminates students racing to the line and any arguments about “who got there first”. This protocol allows the continuation of learning discussions as our class winds down.
What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?
I live in an area where physical education is both highly valued and supported by our community, staff and administration. This support allows me to stretch our program beyond the ordinary. Students develop into skillful, knowledgeable movers not only through traditional activities but also through nordic skiing, climbing, skateboarding, and mountain biking. Students also get the opportunity to learn from children in other grades.
Another benefit of whole school community support is evident when we are faced with a schedule change that might traditionally prevent students from receiving physical education. Our teachers arrange for their classes to attend physical education with other classes. Combining different grade levels provides opportunities for our older students to teach, and mentor our younger students, contributing to a healthy school culture. It always impresses me to see our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders excel in student leadership roles.
What’s the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?
My first principal told me, “When your students know they are emotionally safe in the environment and you’ve developed relationships with them, then they will be ready for content.” I think about this every day!
My good friend Sue Brittenham told me, “You should get your National Boards.” This process made me a significantly better teacher!
Where can people find you online?
January 11, 2020
July 27, 2018
July 20, 2018
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