How I Teach: Sara Wood
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 passionate physical educator from North Carolina:
Name: Sara Wood
Where Are You From: I grew up in Southeast Michigan, I’m now in Charlotte, NC
Where Do You Teach: Torrence Creek Elementary in Huntersville, NC
One word that best describes how you teach: Explorative
What apps/tools/resources can’t you live without?
Google Drive – I use templates in Slides to create lesson plans, develop notes that go home, and assemble worksheets. I also have a detailed folder structure to keep all my ideas and inspiration at my fingertips. I’ll take screenshots of amazing ideas from peers on Twitter and save them directly to Drive (rather than endlessly scrolling through my liked tweets!)
My projector and visual cues – GIFs, schedules, station signs, Tabata timers. There’s a massive improvement in my students’ effort when I am able to incorporate these items into our daily routine.
“Call and Response” – I use this tool constantly! It helps keep my students engaged during instructions. Interestingly, the “attention getter” that I use in my class has been embraced by my TCE peers and is used throughout the school.
Twitter – I would not be the teacher I am today without my PLN on Twitter. Thanks, Team #PhysEd!
What do your #physed classes look like?
My classes are free-flowing. I always have a plan going into my lessons, but provide my students the opportunity to put their own creativity into our activities. Whenever a student asks “can I try it like this?”, my answer is almost always “Yes!” These moments bring my lessons to new heights. A lesson taught on Monday naturally evolves into something very different by the end of the week due to my students’ ideas and input.
Additionally, I teach two self-contained classes of students with autism and we follow a daily routine of locomotor movements, stretching, dancing, and skill activities. Seeing the potential of these students is so inspiring and has driven me to develop modified lessons that align with the skills that my general education students are working on.
What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?
I think of my teaching as a big mash-up of the amazing things that I find on Twitter (via the #physed hashtag). Finding fresh activities helps invigorate my lessons and I’m very transparent with my students when I lead them in something that is brand new. I’ll preface these elements of my lessons with a quick note that I’m trying this for the first time (or retrying something that didn’t go well in the past). I encourage students to provide feedback and work with them to improve the lesson. It is important that I model risk taking and, in some cases, failure for my students.
What’s the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?
“Start Copying” – I love Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like An Artist. I have swiped a lot of ideas from Twitter, blogs, conferences, etc. and found ways to make them work for my class. I kind of felt like a fraud (not having original ideas) but this book helped me see that through copying, I am actually finding my own style. I think as a teacher, you have to be willing to try out lots of ideas and styles to find your own. Just be sure to give those you imitate and emulate the credit they deserve!
Where can people find you online?
January 11, 2020
July 27, 2018
July 20, 2018