What If Students Did Not Have to Come To Class? October 20, 2017

What If Students Did Not Have to Come To Class?

The follow-up to that question is, would they? I was listening to Alice Keeler talk about grading on the #IMMOOC. She said that she does not believe in grades because student identifies as the grade (i.e. I’m a 70%). She said, what if we created lessons that kids want to engage – no grades, no musts, just good engaging lessons?  Yes, it will be harder; and no, it may not succeed right away, but what if it does? This could be an opportunity to model taking chances and dealing with mistakes. If we can be comfortable creating engaging lessons with the possibility of not succeeding, we are modeling what we want from our students.

So, I ask you the same question. Would they? What if we didn’t grade? Would the students show up? Comments, debate, questions?

Your professional organization needs your help!

In an effort to better serve our members, PSAHPERD is undergoing a major overhaul in the leadership, divisions, and committees. As part of that commitment, we need your opinions on how we can serve you better. PSAHPERD has hired Katapult to help us with this process. Whether you are a member of not, we would appreciate if you would take this survey to help us get a better insight on serving professionals better.



  1. ELEMENTARY: please complete your inventories by the time we go home for Christmas Break. This will make budgeting easier. Budgets will go through me this year. I look forward to working with you on this initiative.
  2. ALL please return to the Schoology Course from Oct 6 and complete the evaluation. Also, I need everyone who has updated their Schoology profiles to take the “quiz” as a record that we did it
  3. HIGH SCHOOL: We have been offered a third classroom. Please let me know in this sheet approximately how often, if at all, you may need a classroom for your PE class.
  4. MIDDLE: Can someone summarize your breakout discussion from October 6 and get it to me.

One of my Favorites recently: Seth Godin!

Seth does a great job talking about marketing. Why should this matter to us? We must always market what we do, what the kids do, and how it is making a change in the world. You could listen to this one if you are driving, there are no visual aides.


Are You A First Year Teacher?

The title of the blog this year is reflective of our high school colleagues and our old new teacher at Green Ridge. I am starting my 22nd year of teaching this week and am a first-year teacher. I think my other high school colleagues feel like first-year teachers and Mike Langan, making his return to the gym after 8 years feels like a first-year teacher. Some days that feels like a negative, but in the quiet moments when I can be reflective, I see this as an opportunity that every teacher should have or even force themselves to do at least once. This opportunity is allowing us to find the struggle that results in improvement. Challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone is very hard, and can even be messy. Once you wade through the mess, the reward of improvement can be life-enhancing. As many of you navigate being a “first-year teacher,” know that we are with you. Share with each other, your supervisors, and the discussion boards; your colleagues may have a solution or just some affirming words, but all of it amounts to creating an environment of support. #wearewithyou


A few weeks ago Jessica Peconi-Cook and I had the opportunity to interview our own Brian Robinson to discuss his unique view as a building principal who gets to work directly with a Health & Physical Education Department. I hope you enjoy listening as much as Jessica and I enjoyed the interview.




Students in my Net/Racket classes have said they like the app especially that I put things in the “Updates” section because they get alerts and know what to do and when. To quote them, “The app is so easy.” Use the Updates link on the Homepage to communicate announcements to your classes. Please comment about any student feedback you have heard or any feedback you have.



Congratulations to Tim Bigelow, just named the interim head coach of Camp Hill’s Football Team with a very supportive quote from the outgoing coach. Good luck this season!



  1. Elementary Inventory is due by December and you get three hours of trade time for completing.
  2. First department meeting is September 5. We may be online since we just met. Stay tuned
  3. Please use the discussion board in the Health & PE group to communicate about what you are learning about Schoology. I have been working through the atomic learning course and it is very informative and easy to follow.




Welcome Back to 2017-2018 School Year


The Innovators Mindset

Welcome back to the new school year. I hope that all of you had a great summer and refilled your wells with family time, books, vacations, or anything else that made you happy. With our new curriculum being approved, the secondary level will be doing many new things. The middle school will be aligning and teaching a brand new PE curriculum to go with new health curriculum from last year. The high school teachers will be starting with a brand new elective curriculum that opens the door for student voice and student choice. The elementary curriculum is being piloted at Shaull and Sporting Hill with the expectation that it moves to all buildings next year.


The schedule for this week is:

Wednesday, August 16: Convocation at 8 AM. Elementary staff only meet in the Health room for about 45 minutes

Thursday, August 17: Health & PE Inservice All day: 8:00 – 4:00 in Room 309 (Health Room). AGENDA

Friday, August 18: 8:00 – 4:00 Room Prep / Trade day (with enough summer hours of trade time)

Sparking Curiosity: Ramsey Musallam

Spark LearningIt took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works. This talk led to a book just released this summer called SPARK Learning. ENJOY! IT’S ONLY 6 MINUTES


Memorial Day Week


I had the chance to go to the curriculum committee last week to present the high school, middle school, and elementary school curriculum. The board was very happy with the direction we have gone. Most of the discussion stayed on the high school electives. The expressed that they appreciated students having choices after the two required courses. They asked that we look to bringing back the athletic training class some time down the line. All in all, it was super positive.

On a personal note, I would like to publicly thank our curriculum writing teams: Doug Blacksmith, Donna Rupp, Jamie Croft, Cecelia Clippinger, Eric Richardson, Colleen Staton, and Brian Rupp. Your hard work and countless extra hours helped to shape the vision for the future of department and the district. While the board thanked me, you truly deserve the credit. THANK YOU!

Also thanks to our administrators who walked us through the tough times and a few frustrations: Brian Robinson, Rob Martin, Judy Baumgardner, Gary Quigley, Michele Virtue, and Matt Treese. Your support and ability to bring calm helped this happen.

Now the work begins… let’s invest and make these courses great.


In the name of not doing too much too soon, we are going to continue with the current uniform policy at the secondary level. I will be doing PO’s for the uniforms in the coming weeks. Please make sure your order is in the sheet.


Thank you to all of you for running great field days. I get to hear feedback from district admin and it is always positive. You truly make a difference with kids.

The use of the Google docs and sheets have been well received with our high school attendance secretaries. It truly made their jobs easier. Any feedback on your end of thing?

GREAT VIDEO: 2 Myths of education with Seth Godin



May 26: Activity logs due as directed by your principal

June 2: Half Day for students

June 5: AM – Schoology Training in building

PM – High School New Curriculum planning

Middle School PBL Training in HS IMC

Elementary new curriculum discussion at HS

June 12: Full day New Curriculum Training (register on 48 carats)

May Department Blog

Curriculum goes to board!

Friday, May 12, 2017, the education committee will (hopefully) approve the curriculum maps from the new curriculum that was written. When approved it goes to pilot for next school year where we use it and provide feedback for adjustments. Full implementation will happen the following year.

Atomic Learning to Replace EDUPlanet next year!

The school district is moving to a new online PD platform that will streamline and make things much easier to complete. It’s called atomic learning and it is available now if you would like to use it. Just click the link and use your novell login. Most of the sessions are trade time eligible with approved RPL.

Technology Update

Laptop carts are going to be updated and collected at the end of the school year. Devices will be collected at the direction of the technology department at the end of the school year.

Professional Development

June 5, 2017: Schoology Training in the morning. The afternoon is still being discussed. I am hoping we can get together as a group. Stay tuned…

Monday, June 12, 2017, from 8-4, we will be doing new curriculum planning for next year. You can register on 48 carats now. Hope to see everyone! There will be a brief group session, and then we will break out by level.

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, from 8-4, I will be running a Health & Wellness Innovation Workshop at PATTAN in Harrisburg. The cost is $45 and you can register at psahperd.org. Mr. Kirkpatrick has said that there is money available if you would like to attend. Please complete an RPL. It is going to be awesome!

Things for Next Year:

With the change in curriculum, I have been considering (and asked by D.O. admin) to look at the secondary uniform policy. I know where most of you stand on the policy and realize whatever is decided will not make everyone happy. I am going to vet this with admin, but before I do, this DRAFT policy is open for comment by you. Please do so by next Friday, May 19.

As you wrap up this year and think of needs that you have for next year, please begin to enter budget items for next year. Keep in mind that we want to keep a five year plan for budget items so that we can plan for bigger expenses.




February Dept Meeting BLOG

Great Thoughts on being Innovative…


Blogs as Portfolios – http://georgecouros.ca/blog/presentat…
School vs Learning – http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/…
Identity Day – https://www.diigo.com/list/gcouros/Id…

MEETING AGENDA (please comment & discuss in lieu of meeting in person):

  1. Next Wegmans Night?  Please take doodle poll
  2. Curriculum is due to me by March 31 for review.  Please try to meet with me if possible.
  3. New policy coming that schools are only allowed one fundraiser per year.  This affects Jump / Hoops for Heart and puts it in direct competition with THON.  Jump / Hoops is so important to our curriculum, I am wondering if we want to get together as a collective voice to discuss coexistence.
  4. Next year, I am likely to be doing the elementary PE budgets to allow for pooling of resources.
  5. Elementary, we have been asked to create a building inventory of our equipment.  I will create a Google Sheet for this to be done.  Can we achieve this by April?
  6. As field day approaches, we have been asked to have a standard form for the request of student helpers.  This form is where we left off last year.  Please review and comment so that this can be finalized and vetted with admin.
  7. SUMMER PD FOLLOW-UP:  Here is a great resources on portfolios both for students, teachers, and administrators
  8. New tech learning module coming soon.  Its called atomic learning.  I can run a demo for anyone that is interested.  This has courses for every level of tech.


Dec 28: Colleen Staton

Dec 28: Mike Langan

Feb 2: Eric Richardson

Feb 2: Seth Lehman

Feb 17: Mike Orfanos

Feb 26: Jamie Croft


December 23, 2016

Weekly Inspiration:

Great story for the time of year…


  1. WEGMAN’S NIGHT was a great success.  High School has a good handle on marketing its new courses.  Middle school got a start on assessments for the new physical education curriculum.  Elementary caught up on assessments.  Please add three hours to your PD logs.
  2. High school: our marketing days in school will be January 11 & 12 all day in the spectator gym.  Teachers, please use the course descriptions to develop 5-6 talking points for the courses you have been assigned for the marketing day.  This will be the key to the success of these courses. The bad part is this needs to be ready to go JANUARY 3 when the kids get back so we have time to tweak.
  3. Course selection night is January 17 from 7 – 9:30 if any of you are free and want to meet parents and market these courses.  
  4. I began using this planning sheet for my admin duties and teaching duties.  The period listings help me know where I left off and if I need to look something up for a student.  I had mine made into a tablet by eagle copy.  If you like it and want to do the same, please go to File> Make a Copy and adjust it for your needs.


I wanted to take a minute and thank you for all the hard work that you put into taking our Health & PE programs into the next phase.  I know its not always easy and can sometimes make you question if we are on the right track.  Please know that we are and I look forward to working with you in 2017.  As you head into your break, remember to take time to recharge, and spend some time with the people you love.  I am thankful for and learn from each of you.



  1. To plan and teach at least one (1) student-centered lesson
  2. To have a social media presence professionally and participate in a twitter chat (Dept hashtag: #CVHPE).