California Educator

August 2015

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I think it's really important to bring PE into the Common Core and vice versa. PE has gotten pushed to the side for too long. The way we teach has changed a lot. It's important to be able to write across every subject. That's the way I was taught in school. And that's what the Common Core is about. To me it's about integrating subject matter. For example, we can throw the Frisbee and also explore the mathematical side of physics and Bernoulli's principle of flight. Teachers in Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District are already integrating the Common Core across all subjects, including science, social studies and PE. Through the National Physical Education Standards, the kids are developing their own fitness goals and fit- ness plans, based on frequency of workout, in- tensity of workout and time spent on workout. So they are using writing skills to communicate their plans and math skills for figuring out their heart rate and maximum benefit. We do a lot of collaboration with other classes on these projects, and students do a lot of team building to problem-solve together, which is part of the Common Core. Our PE students have trimester projects. For example, eighth-graders may write something about the heart, answering what risk factors are controllable and how to have a healthy heart. Sixth-graders may have a project on bones and seventh-graders on muscles. Having PE as part of the Common Core helps students make better connections. For example, instead of them just running, it helps them to know why they are running. Physical exercise is very important. I tell my kids that it's important to learn how to read and write, but if they're unhealthy because they don't exercise, it won't help them much. Are students shortchanged on physical exercise? I get that question all the time. Most of the reading and writing we assign is done outside of class. So no, they are not being shortchanged. They're running circles around other students. Tracey Ayer, Teachers Association of Norwalk-La Mirada, teaches PE at Los Coyotes Middle School. Many students are at a dis- advantage as a result of not getting enough physical activity. Child and adolescent obesity, as well as other health issues, are at an all-time high. Students need time to exercise and are required by the state to receive those minutes for physical activity. Common Core is being implemented in their academic classes, and students are more anxious and stressed than I have ever seen in my career. PE helps to alleviate some of the tension. Students will definitely be shortchanged from those precious minutes of physical ac- tivity if they have to read and write in their PE classes. A well-rounded education should in- clude a strong focus on physical activity. Stud- ies show the more physically fit a student is, the greater chance they will have at academic success. For many students, PE is one of the only classes in which they excel. Taking that away would be detrimental to those students. PE teachers are not adequately trained in the Common Core and are not credentialed to teach reading, writing and math. In addition, the California state standards for physical ed- ucation would not be able to be taught to the best of a PE teacher's ability. Whether or not to incorporate the Common Core was casually brought up to our depart- ment chair a couple of years ago. None of the PE teachers felt comfortable teaching CCSS, and all agreed that CCSS should not be taught in PE, as it takes away from the physical activi- ty so many our students desperately need. The CCSS standards are meant for reading, writing and math across the curriculum and are supposed to help encourage critical think- ing. This is good teaching. PE teachers are constantly working with their students on the importance of physical fitness, sportsmanship, teamwork and wellness. These skills are es- sential to a student's overall well-being, and PE teachers do not need to implement CCSS in order for their students to achieve success in said areas. Wendy Eccles, NEA-Jurupa, teaches PE at Mira Loma Middle School in Riverside. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by 45 states to prepare students for college and the workforce with skills that enforce critical thinking and solving real-world problems. When it comes to incorporating physical education (PE) into the Common Core, however, some CTA members are on opposing teams. Should PE be part of the Common Core? YES NO P O I N T / C O U N T E R P O I N T 22 Perspectives

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