Skip to main content

This Is How We Kick It Off!

 As I write this, NFL Kickoff Week is about to begin.  The NFL know how to stage an event to get people excited for the 5 month season ahead.  It’s a journey millions of people tune in for and have been waiting all year for.  

This is the type of enthusiasm educators hope to generate in their students.  Incorporating a project based approach is one way I’m hoping to bring this enthusiasm into my physics classroom.  Sometime this kick-off event can be called an entry event. It is meant to generate thought not simply increase student engagement.  Entry events can take many different forms from field trips to a teacher presenting the class with a reading, statistic, or problem that elicits a reaction and curiosity.

The driving question for our first term project asks students “How can I use physics to hack sports?”  Students will consider personal athletic events or sporting events that they enjoy.  They will examine 1 technique and examine the physics behind the successful execution of the technique for high school athletes and sportsmen. Then, they will take the role of a coach to improve technique or prevent injury.

When looking at Gold Standard PBL elements, one key element that we are hoping to bring in with our kickoff event is authenticity. To this end, we have designed an entry event which will bring in athletic professionals from the state to speak to our students.

Our great professional were

Jeremy Jacobs from Milwaukee Barbell

Matt Gifford from NX Level Athletics

Sharif Chambliss UWM Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach

Eric Johnson  Swimming Coach and Badger swimming star

Jackie Friesen UW-Madison Assistant Women’s Hockey Coach

Jake Venes Sports Performance Trainer for Froedtert Hospital

What follows is a video summary of the event.

It was great to have so many professionals take in interest in our students and show them the connections between athletics and physics.  

Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  

In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.

Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…