My day to day routine allows me to embrace health and fitness as a way of living and it makes it easy to share these experiences with my students. While they may joke around with me about packing my elementary school lunch of peanut butter & jelly and carrots, I know they are watching and learning from what I do.</p> <p>I have been playing soccer since I was in second grade and I still play in adult leagues in New Castle County. I have been lucky enough to be able to give back to the game through coaching and teaching others how to love the sport as much as I do. </p> <p>My position as a teacher and a coach is influential and I want to set the best example I can for my students. When appropriate, I try to share personal experiences with them to help them engage with what we are talking about. I encourage families to get involved through communication and assignments, and I notify them when we discuss potentially controversial topics in class so they can continue the conversation at home in the context of their values. In my classroom, I recognize my students come from all different backgrounds and have varying degrees of experience with some of the sensitive topics we discuss. Because of this, I expect the utmost respect from my students towards one another to help create a comfortable space. It is important to me that my students learn to listen to and appropriately respect the views of others.
One of my favorite aspects about teaching Health is the fact that every topic we go over in class has some type of life application for my students. My goal every class is to take each concept we talk about and make it real for them; I want them to understand “why” and “how” what we are learning will help them in the future. I do this through small group discussions, whole class discussions, real-life scenarios, hands on experiences, and individual reflection. I give my students opportunities to be engaged in activities where they can express their own opinions, learn about their classmates’ opinions, analyze the influence of their environment, and understand how what we are talking about in the classroom will be useful to them outside of the classroom.</p> <p>Some of the innovative learning experiences my students are a part of include creating a bullying prevention video that inspires their peers to help reduce bullying in our community, keeping a personal food log and creating a meal plan for themselves that helps them meet the MyPlate guidelines, participating in a teen dating violence prevention workshop with a facilitator that has personally experienced dating violence, practicing the skills necessary to save a life with citizen’s CPR, analyzing how addiction affects the user and everyone around them, and using self advocacy skills to navigate their way through the health care system and a doctor’s visit.
When I started at Newark Charter, there was no set Health curriculum for the high school. As a growing school, this was the first time they would have high school health. I used the DE Health Standards and Learning Outcomes as guides and spent time talking with students and veteran staff members to determine the needs at my school. I used all of this information to create a curriculum of seven different units: 1 – Healthy Relationships, 2 – Nutrition, 3 – Emergency Response, 4 – Navigating the Health Care System, 5 – Mental Health (including stress & stress management and depression awareness), 6 – Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Drugs, 7 – Human Sexuality.</p> <p>We are a Jr./Sr. High school, so I have broken down each topic to deliver appropriate content for 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grade. In 10th grade there is a designated health class, but, in the other grades, health content is integrated into the Physical Education curriculum (7th/8th grade has PE for 40 minutes every other day; 9th grade has PE for 82 minutes every other day). This ensures our health content builds on itself each year.
I like to think of myself as a very reflective teacher – so much so that sometimes I catch myself reflecting on a lesson as I am facilitating it. I know that in order to be the best for my students I need to continue to learn and grow. Whenever possible I try to attend professional development in my field, however, besides DAHPERD (and other HPERD conferences), there are not a whole lot of offerings for Health and Physical Education.</p> <p>I seek out experiences that will help me grow as a classroom teacher and challenge myself to take what I have learned and make it work with my subject matter. One of the ways I have done this is through participation in online courses related to Project Based Learning and Blended Learning on Schoology through eLearning Delaware. For example, I was able to take one of my Internet safety lessons I would normally teach in person and incorporate blended learning principles to put it entirely on Schoology.</p> <p>This October I will be presenting at the Michigan Department of Public Health’s school-based health center conference regarding the Navigating the Healthcare System unit I have been working on with Nemours.
The DE Health Standards are primarily skill based, so naturally I try to create assessments that push them to take the skills we discuss in class and apply them to their lives. One example of this is the bullying prevention video project. Instead of answering test questions about positive ways to deal with a bully, students work in groups to create a video exhibiting how bullying negatively affects a community and what can be done to help solve the problem in a positive way. </p> <p>During this process, students are picking a bullying topic that is relevant to their peers, determining the best way to solve the bullying problem on their own, and deciding on the best way to inspire their peers to take action. Their final product has the potential to help others and it gets them thinking about what actions they could take to best handle these situations in their lives.
I have been a DAHPERD member since I was a freshman at University of Delaware. As an undergraduate I was a conference attendee and presenter, was named an Outstanding Future Professional, served as a DAHPERD student leader, and was awarded the Kadel Scholarship as a Senior.</p> <p>As a professional, I have continued my membership and participation as both a conference attendee and presenter. I have also been involved in multiple presentations at EDA conferences.
I was an original pilot teacher for Navigating the Health Care System, a unit spearheaded by Nemours with the goal of encouraging adolescents to be their own health care advocates while building the necessary skills to navigate the health care system.</p> <p>I understood the importance of the information being delivered, but it was not engaging for my students. I was named to the unit’s Advisory Board and got the “go ahead” to make changes to the unit during the 2015-2016 school year. I redesigned the activities, powerpoints, and teacher’s manual, presented my version to Nemour’s employees, and experienced great success with my students. The activities I created took health care concepts and made them real life examples students could relate to. I was able to incorporate those activities into the unit as well as connect it to Common Core State Standards. </p> <p>Now, this redesigned unit is being shared with twelve high schools across Delaware. It is also being shared with pilot sites in Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, and California. The hope is the number of sites will grow significantly because this unit was written into a grant submitted by the University of Michigan Health System’s Adolescent Health Initiative through the Office of Adolescent Health. </p> <p>I was also nominated for a Delaware Charter Schools Network IDEA award for my work with Nemours on this project.
For the past six years, I have been a volunteer coach for both boys’ and girls’ high school soccer teams. I have worked with players at the Freshman, JV, and Varsity level in varying degrees throughout my time with different teams. </p> <p>Last year, I led two Zumba charity events (I am a licensed Zumba instructor) and, with the help of student leaders, was able to raise over $500 for LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).