By: Mark Banasiak @MoreThanGym
I would be lost without my clipboard. It acts as my administrative assistant to keep me organized from day to day, class to class, and during each PE class.
I have previously shared that I team-teach and that our school has large classes (50-75 students). Structure is essential to our success. Our class routine has five distinct parts: entering the gym, a fitness section, a health tip, standards-based physical education instruction, and exiting the gym.
Here it is. Nothing fancy. It dates back to the 1900’s. It looks like a stack of papers; however, each one has a role to help me become a successful PE teacher.
The top sheets are the skill progression sheets (SPS’s).
I print one off for each class. I use the SPS’s to guide my daily instruction and mark off items as they are taught. As the next class enters, I move the top SPS to the bottom of the SPS stack. The current class is then the one on top. I can quickly scan to see where we left off and know where we are going.
My school uses a 6-day specials schedule. Since we have PE every other day, I do not have to keep up with what letter day it is. When I return to school the next day, after a weekend, or after an extended break, I can pick up my clipboard to see which is on top and know which class will soon be entering the gym.
The Paper Plate
If you look under the stack of SPS’s, you will see a paper plate sticking out. The current plate has been in service for several years and is fairly tattered (it might need to be replaced fairly soon).
I can grasp it, flip the stack up, and reveal the sheet where I keep track of what fitness activities we have completed and which one is next. This sheet allows me to track the fitness activities all year.
The Sheet Protector
When we gather for the health tip, I can grab the sheet protector, flip up the stack, and reveal the list of health tips.
This list is also used all year (it is front and back).
Inside the sheet protector is where I keep a list of best practices and other helpful hints that I might need to refer back to.
Some years, I will affix a daily schedule to the back of the clipboard to help keep me on track.
The 3-Tiered Cart
I rarely carry the clipboard with me. I keep it on a black 3-tiered cart. This cart acts like my podium. I can set the clipboard down while teaching and roll the cart around as needed. It sounds silly, but it is nice to have something to set it on where it can be left. I can then come back to it for a quick reference at any point. It is much better than setting it on the floor.
Our library had some extra carts one year so we were able to get one. You may consider asking around in your building or searching at the district warehouse for one.
Most of the time, my clipboard stays on the cart to allow me to regularly reference the SPS’s during class. However, on large group activity days, I sometimes leave the clipboard on the edge of the stage after the health tip.
As we clean up during the last class of the day, a couple of students have the job of grabbing the iPod and my clipboard, placing them on the cart, and then rolling the cart over to my office. It will then be stored for the evening and ready for the next day.
My clipboard keeps me organized and makes me a better teacher.
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