Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Portfolio Showcase

Today was a somewhat stressful day. Not only did I have my exit interview at 10 am this morning, but it was with none other than the physical education chair and former President of NASPE, Dr. Lynn Couturier. I prepared myself for the interview by going over every possible question that could be asked in my head. As it got closer and closer to the interview, I felt as if everything that I has prepared for was going to just draw a blank in my head. However, as I sat down at the table with Dr. Couturier and my peers and was asked my first question, it turned out I was better at this than I thought I was. I was thankful for my professor, Stephen Yang, for informing me about Paul Zientarski and his learning readiness system because that is exactly what I talked about when asked how I would convince Administrators that Physical Education is important in a school's district's curriculum. Dr. Couturier was impressed with my answer and overall my interview in general. At the conclusion of our interview I was even more elated that my online portfolio was nominated for the Portfolio showcase. Here is the link to my online portfolio: matassape.weebly.com.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


In a very significant settlement that occurred recently, New York State Union of Teachers and state leaders have agreed to a new statewide teacher evaluation system that limits the weight of students’ standardized test scores. It is designed to help teachers improve and also reinforce collective bargaining to shape evaluations based on local needs. They are hoping that this system acts as a national model.  The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo has called it a “historic agreement.”  60 % of the new evaluation will be based on the teacher’s performance, which is majorly based on classroom observations both announced and unannounced.  Other tools to evaluate could be student portfolios or student and parent feedback surveys.  The remaining 40% is based on student achievement. Only half of that will be based on state tests, while the remaining half will be based on student’s assessments selected from a list five options selected through collective bargaining.  Teachers can either be rated ineffective, developing effective, or highly effective. A teacher who receives ineffective must receive support and training to improve.  More than one ineffective rating can lead to dismissal of that teacher.  The governor has linked the Annual Professional Performance Rating to any increase in school funding for the 2012-2013 school year. For districts to be eligible, they must have an approved APPR by January 17, 2013.
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Cover of "Murderball"
Cover of Murderball

Upon seeing the film Murderball in adapted physical education class today, I was enlightened of the everyday lives of paraplegics. The documentary clears up the common misconception that quadriplegics don’t have use of their arms by showing these athletes ramming themselves into one another in pursuit of victory on the court.  This film has changed my attitude toward not only disability in sport, but disability in general. What makes Murderball so effective is that it debunks just about every clichéd stereotype about the handicapped. These are predominantly young men in there 20s and 30s, but other than paralysis they're just like every body else. They are pranksters that laugh and drink at poker night, and jut regular guys, trying to hit on girls at the bar. They can give hope to other disabled people by showing them that there is always something to live for. Murderball is not really a sports film, but rather a film that uses sport as a way to see into the lives of the athletes portrayed in the documentary.  All of the people in Murderball are imperfect, which makes them all the more relatable. They are a bunch of men, with the same flaws that the rest of humanity has to deal with. While rugby is heavily focused on in the film, more importantly it is about people overcoming great odds to embrace life.  This movie has changed the way I look at people in chairs  because it breaks down the misconceptions. The movie shows that quads can be fiercely competitive and completely like everyone else, except for the way they mobilize.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

iPad's in Phys. Edu. Class

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

The latest advances in technology are inevitably making their way into schools and gymnasiums across the country. A number of nation and international organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Education and NCATE, have developed standards that promote the use of technology in educational settings to improve student learning and teacher efficiency. One of the latest high profile additions to the technological world is the iPad. The iPad can be used in the physical education setting in a number of ways. An example could be when teaching a sports unit that requires team and duty roles. If you would like to use the iPad in your physical education setting it is important to make sure the school has wi-fi in order to reap all the device. A heavy –duty case would also be a good idea since many students would be handling it. A warm-up leader can use the Youtube app to locate warm-up videos. The coach can assist teammates with skills and tactics by showing videos for techniques and tactics. The student responsible for keeping individual and team records can input and edit data on the iPad and even create simple graphs outlying performance. There is an app available on the iPad called IReferee, which can be used by a team’s manager to leatn the different rules of the games and the officiating hand signals that go with them.  They can then peer-teach their team on these different signals. The use of an iPad should not be the focus point of instruction, but rather to aid in learning. The use of an iPad can increase student’s enjoyment and affective domain, while also creating a sense of professionalism and importance in students.
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Education Under Fire

I recently attended an event on campus called Education Under Fire. It was presented by the Amnesty International Club and showed a viewing of the movie than a discussion with a woman from Iran who actually experienced the devastation going on. The film was about the Baha’I in Iran being denied higher education by the government because of their religion.  They are not allowed to attend universities with other people and these universities strictly prohibit any Baha’I people coming into them.  The Baha’I must declare their religion on the application and once a university sees that a person applying is a Baha’I, they are instantly rejected.  Even with a good GPA, the Baha’I are still denied from these universities.  The Baha’I are often dragged out of classrooms at gun point because they are not allowed to receive the same education as other people in Iran.
            Being denied higher education from universities and the government, the Baha’I established their own higher education institute.  This institute is called the Baha’I Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) and it is for the Baha’I to attend and gain a higher education.  The Iranian government however has tried to demolish and shut down this institute, but the Baha’I however continue to progress the institute and improve its qualities.  Cruel executions happen to the Baha’I because of their religion.  They are denied many basic human rights that everyone should be entitled to.  They are not allowed to drink out of the same water fountains as Muslims at school and if a Muslim tries to drink out of the Baha’I drinking fountain they are yelled at because Muslims and Baha’I aren’t supposed to interact.  At a very young age the Baha’I are discriminated against and treated unfairly.  Many are sent to prison because of their beliefs. The woman who spoke from Iran told a story of how she hadn’t seen her family for sixteen years because of being detained because of their Baha’I religion. She said that they could easily solve their tribulations by simply saying that they were Muslim, but they would never turn their back on their religion and what they believe in. Being denied higher education as well as many other things, the Baha’Is human rights are clearly being violated.  They are deprived of higher education because of their beliefs and this is a shame.  Action needs to be taken on the Baha’is behalf to change this discrimination and cruelty they face every day.  The government needs to stop discriminating against these people and treat them with respect and allow everyone to practice their beliefs freely.  There is hope for these people with the increasing awareness of what is going on in Iran being spread across the world.  With this awareness will come a solution and the Baha’I people will finally be able to practice their beliefs without being denied human rights.  To take action against the education under fire in Iran visit the website http://action.educationunderfire.com/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=6910
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fagbug comes to SUNY Cortland

Today I had the privilege of attending an event on campus called ‘Fagbug.’ My roommates and I saw the car a couple of years ago at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse and had no idea what it was. When I saw the car on campus today, it unfolded a very interesting story about a girl named Erin Davies. Erin Davies drove a VW bug with a rainbow sticker on the back window. One day the Albany, New York student got to her parking space to find she was a victim of a hate crime. Someone had spray painted ‘ur gay’ and ‘fag’ on her car. Instead of removing the graffiti, she decided to keep driving the car to raise awareness. And that she did.

Fagbug is the documentary film Erin made about her cross-country trip driving the car to different communities, creating discussion about hate crimes and homophobia. Erin talked to all kinds of people along the way, encountering people who may be anti-gay, and finding all kinds of people who would like to help her. Eventually, the Volkswagen company sponsored the car, and the graffiti was replaced with a rainbow paint-job that can now be easily distinguishable as the ‘fagbug’. After a year of driving around with barely enough money to make it to the next town down the road, She found out HD Radio was going to pay for the completion of her documentary. HD Radio also helped her send the documentary to film festivals, she said. Her documentary is now available on DVD and shea has continued touring in the Fagbug. She speaks to students and others about her experience in the hopes that she can teach audiences a different way to deal with life’s bullies.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Week in the City

After a fun, tiresome week in New York City at the National Model United Nations Conference, I am getting back into the swing of things at Cortland. My fellow delegates and I had the pleasure of staying at the Marriot Marquis smack in the middle of Times Square. My room was on the 37th floor and with very little and at times no wi-fi. This definitely hindered my blogger flow, but luckily, in accordance to the club, I had to keep a journal the entire week outlining my days. This experience definitely added to my repertoire of working with and even at times teaching diverse populations.
In a typical Model UN each school represents a different country. This year SUNY Cortland represented Nepal. Schools form all over the world were lucky enough to participate in this event, including school from Germany, Italy, and even Australia.  The groups are broken into different committees, each with separate issues that they must help solve by coming together with all the different delegations. The goal of the convention is, along with the different countries or delegations, create a working paper with resolutions solving the main topic. Normally, there are three topics for each committee, but in four days there is only time to cover just one, which shows how in depth, creative, and organized each paper must be. The last day is devoted to voting on the several papers that have been conjured up throughout the week. My particular committee was the General Assembly first committee and the topic we were focusing on was the Small Arms and Light Weapons Trade in Africa. Prior to the actual convention I had been working all semester researching Nepal’s stance on the situation and coming up with my own position paper. At the actual conference I had the opportunity to find Nepal’s allies and countries that had similar views. During the week, I worked closely with Lichtenstein, who came from the Universiy of Tennessee, and Ireland, who came from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy.  Our working paper focused on creating a system, which would track the weapons and institute a trade system where countries could trade their weapons for necessities, such as food and water. Not only did we create a working paper to be voted on, but I got to know these delegates very well. It was convenient that we all stayed in the same hotel, where we got to engage and hang out outside of committee. One of the girls from Italy, Guilia, was shocked how many days a week the average American goes and drinks. I learned quite a few curse words in Italy and we exchanged our tastes in music. Thanks to facebook, I will be able to keep the relationships that I started and always keep in touch.  Here is the crazy view from our hotel.


The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between
physical fitness and academic achievement.  The physical fitness levels were determined
by using the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test and academic achievement was
measured by STAR Reading percentile scores and Grade Point Averages (GPA).  This
study was based on the belief that physical fitness levels influence an individual’s cognitive functioning and the ability to achieve academically.  This study is warranted because more research was deemed necessary in order to better understand the relationship between the two variables. There were 90 participants in this study.  These subjects were in grades 4 or 5. 51% of the participants were male, and 49% were female. Results from the study indicated that 4% of the males had an average physical fitness level above the 85th percentile based on all five physical fitness tests.  2% of the females had an average physical fitness level above the 85th percentile based on the five physical fitness tests used in the study. The researcher used multiple regressions to see if a relationship existed between physical fitness and academic achievement. This correlation procedure enables researchers to find the best possible weighting of two or more independent variables to yield a maximum correlation with a single dependent variable. The value of p was calculated to be < 0.0001 (< 0.05), which indicates a significant correlation between physical fitness levels, based on the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test, and STAR Reading percentile scores and Grade Point Averages.

Exploring Student Perceptions to Explain the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Academic Achievement in Adolescents: A Mixed Methods Study

The purpose of this study was to explain the relationship between physical activity and academic achievement by exploring adolescent’s perceptions on physical activity and academics. This study concerns the relationship between physical activity and academic achievement. The main significance of this study is the connection of students perceptions to the relationship between physical activity and academic achievement in adolescents. It is believed no studies have used student perceptions to explore this relationship before. Understanding students perceptions on the role physical activity has on academic achievement can provide insight into developing programs to increase physical activity among adolescents. The questions raised in the study were broken into qualitative and quantitative questions.   In the first quantitative phase of the study, adolescent’s physical activity levels and GPAs were reported, descriptive statistics were analyzed, and correlations were performed. The first research question was to determine if there was a statistically significant relationship between physical activity and academic achievement. Based on the correlation scatter plot performed in the first question, participants were selected and grouped into four extreme cases. For the second quantitative question experiments were conducted to determine if differences existed between high/low physical activity and high/low academic achievement for each of the Likert scale items on factors that influence physical activity participation, such as enjoyment and motivation. According to the qualitative responses out of the four extreme groups, 56.9 % of participants believe there is a positive relationship, 7.2 % believe it is negative, 24.8 % believe no relationship exists, and 11.2 % are unsure if there is a relationship.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Effects of Physical Education on Academic Achievement in Children

This article is about a study at Michigan State University in order to show the positive relationship between academic achievement and physical activity.  It advocates the necessity of physical education in schools by claiming numerous studies have shown the positive relationship, while little studies have shown the inverse relationship of physical education and academic performance.  The study included 214 sixth-grade students from a single public school in western Michigan. Students were placed into two groups. One group was enrolled in physical education during the first semester and the other group was enrolled in physical education the second semester. All classes met every day of the week for 55min. Once consent forms were obtained, the students were assessed three times throughout the school year, at the beginning, middle, and end. Academic achievement was based on individual grades for each student in the core classes and a standardized test score.
The results showed that no significant differences were found in academic achievement and Terra Nova scores as a function of activity level during either semester. However, students who performed vigorous physical activity at a level that met or exceeded the Healthy People 2010 guidelines achieved higher academics cores compared with the other students in both semesters. Using SOFIT, it was determined that an average of 19 minutes of the55 minute class was spent in moderate to vigorous activity. This low level of activity could not provide sufficient stimulation to influence academic achievement. The study cite a study done in Quebec at Trois Rivers that indicates that students who received an hour of physical education in addition to the standard physical education class showed better academic performance compared with control subjects who only had the standard physical class.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


With today’s technology bullying has become easier then ever; the children and youth of this generation do not even need to have personal confrontation. Cyber bullying can be defined as any communication posted or sent by a minor online, by instant messenger, e-mail, website, diary site, online profile, interactive game, handheld device, cell phone or other interactive device that is intended to frighten, embarrass, harass or otherwise target another minor. Tulsa Public schools has established an online tool that assesses the occurrence of cyber bullying in its school, in hopes of reducing it in the future. In January 2012 the district launched the Threat Assessment, Incident Management and Prevention Services or TIPS, which allows for the anonymous reporting of weapons possession, drug/alcohol use, harassment or intimidation, school vandalism, physical assault, threats of violence, suicide risk, abuse or neglect and other incidents. The school has designated teams at each school and the district office to be automatically notified of certain types of reports. The system allows team members to create a record of recommendations and actions taken, keeping track of which members view and add to the record and notifying members of new information. Staff can set automatic reminders that notify them if it's time to check in with a student who has been recently victimized or other items earmarked for follow-up.
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