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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rob Flannigan - Final Part 1

http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/indepthanalysis/story/2009/10/06/national-braingains.html

1.) The website is from Toronto ON, Canada. There are two schools mentioned in the documentary. One is located in Southern Saskatoon, Canada and the other school is in Naperville, Chicago, USA

2.  While watching this news clip from CBC news, I learned many new ways to get my future students involved whether it be mentally or physically.  From these studies performed at the high school level, we learned that not only does working out produce physical results, but in this case, very high mental results.  This particular school was in a tough position to start due to the amount of kids that attended due to behavior and concentration problems.  Allison Cameron, a math teacher at Naperville High School, adapted a program from a middle school that scored first in math in the world and fourth in science due to their push for making physical fitness a must for all children in these schools.  The impressive thing about this teacher was her ability to incorporate math and exercise to gain positive results across the board.  Considering over half of her students had attention disorders, Allison used exercise as a way to let the students release energy and ultimately to help them focus on their normal everyday school work.  During the interview with this determined math teacher, she even mentioned how certain students were able to come off their medicine and resort to physical fitness as their cure.  Seeing the changes made by the students throughout the video is very inspiring in many ways.  This "Brain Gain" program should and could be developed in all schools across the country making room for physical activity due to the positive results we have seen so far.  The main problem many teachers face throughout their days or lessons is the lack of focus or desire to learn. Encouraging these students to exercise before their lesson allowed for a longer attention span and less chatter or fidgeting during her lesson.  I once was told that exercising stimulates the brain as well as improves strength and condition and this high school program is living proof. 

3.  I believe the Physical Educators of this school were not involved because they are most likely the old fashion teachers who work by the phrase of "rolling out the balls".  This type of environment usually includes a poor participation rate due to the lack of interest by the students and a lack of preparation and determination by the teacher.  As discussed in the video, these types of teachers are not giving every student the opportunity to grow physically and mentally unlike their math class where they get both sides of the equation.  Allison is a outstanding teacher who went out of her way to research different methods and used her will to obtain the proper equipment and time management to complete her program.  I believe, without even seeing the P.E. teacher, that Allison Cameron has had a much stronger impact on her students in the exercise field then their "gym" class teachers.  It is unfortunate that many schools are stuck in this old fashion theory that physical education is not as important and most of this is due to the poor effort made by physical educators around the country.  As we saw from this video, it took students from the bottom of the pile and brought them to the top by including a healthy physical lifestyle.  The other reason the P.E. teacher may not have been involved is due to the inability to include all their students to participate, whether it meant making adaptations or challenges for these once troubled students. 
4.  The main point I can take away from this video is that every student needs to be accounted for and by doing this we can potentially create a successful class or school rather than the low percentage of students who usually excel in a physical education setting.  It was mind blowing to hear that some of these students, who were in 9th grade, could barely read or write before entering this school.  Not only was this a challenge for them but as well as the teachers such as Allison Cameron.  The typical P.E. classroom has about 20% participating and the rest standing around or giving their input once a class.  This is unfortunate because as we have seen, exercise can be a great way to keep the attention of students and can develop growth mentally in many ways.  For this high school, students with bad attitudes and even worse grades were forced to accept this teacher's style of teaching which included the treadmill and other dynamic exercises.  Although many of them did not think this could possibly benefit them in any way, within a short period of time these students were coming to class for the sole reason of getting fit and making positive changes.  As stated earlier, even the students who sit on the sideline waiting for class to be over, need to be accounted for and made responsible for improving their skills mentally and physically.  This program was also great because it was not based off typical sports where some students dominate leaving the rest up for embarrassment.  There was one student who started drinking and using drugs at a very young age and could barely read or write before entering this school.  During the clip we see outstanding physical and emotional progress mostly due to the math teacher's way of arousing the student's interest.  This is very typical in many schools in my area where some kids flourish and others fall off due to family problems or medical issues such as ADHD which many of these students face as well.  Overall I think this clip has shown me the importance of getting every child active even if they have the reputation to be the "outcast".  Even though these children faced many personal problems, they pursued what their own goals and became much more attentive in their classroom setting.  As a P.E. teacher this would greatly benefit my classroom if we could obtain 100% participation but would also help other teachers who may normally deal with behavioral problems which can be decreased to a program similar to Naperville High School's.  This program is closely related to our NYS PE standards in many ways.  Teaching these children how to be physically competent and use different motor skills when needed such as the treadmill they use or their daily exercise routines.  Standard 2 was discussed when they improved child behavior and attention span which helps them academically as well as physically.  Students were also asked to use heart rate monitors and to obtain a certain heart rate making them aware of technology and the importance of it in their everyday lives.  Our NYS PE standards are specific and require teachers to cover all areas of living healthy lifestyles.  This high school we have learned about has taken their standards and made a great example of how it can work if done properly.  I hope one day I can also make a change in student's lives as well as helping the school's academic progress.
5.  BDNF is discussed during this video and is a vital part of learning.  Each time our brain takes in new information, the BDNF helps create new neurons and tries to sustain the old ones.  Dr. Ratey explain this BDNF as a fertilizer for different parts of the brain.  In order for your BNDF to increase, one must participate in aerobic activities for a certain amount of time.  This extreme exercising releases nerve growth factors which then act as the fertilizer.  Dr. Ratey also referred to this chemical as "Miracle Grow" for our brain considering it helps preserve cells, build cells, and helps make these cells stronger.  Different workouts that could release this chemical include running, jumping, and any other sustained aerobic movement.  One book that is mentioned during this clip is called "Spark" by Dr. Ratey who is interviewed throughout this video.  Another book which could be used to learn more about the effects of exercising and the growth of the brain is called "The Kinesthetic Classroom” by Traci Lengel and Mike Kuczala. 
Part C
1.  There are many different activity categories for Learning Standard #1A  that students can be proficient or competent in according to the B-9 form which include categories such as team passing activities, net/wall activities, target activities, striking fielding activities, aquatics, dance and aesthetic, outdoor, personal performance, and fitness activities.  I believe, due to the list of options, students should be competent in 6 categories and proficient in 3 across 3 different categories by time the senior class graduates.  Due to the amount of time given and the basic requirements that should be met by teachers, there should be a 100% success rate when assessing the students.  With help by proper instruction and feedback, throughout the four years they have, students should have mastered certain skills and for the other skills, they must have a clear understanding of what is being asked even if they are not completely able to perform the tasks.  Due to the time given for practice, students can successfully meet the NYS requirements with practice and comprehension. 
2.  For NYS Learning Standard #1B, 90% of the students should be competent in creating personal fitness programs and should have made their own by the time they are seniors in high school.  These students need to understand the importance of creating daily routines and program in order to stay physically fit which includes workout plans, nutrition plans, and need to monitor themselves such as heart-rate and progress made.  Seeing these results can build confidence and being competent in making a fitness program can help keep them on track as well as tracking their strengths and weaknesses. 
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