Students, local teachers break a sweat at VAHPERD workshop
Running. Jumping jacks. Pushups. Beanbag relay races.
Radford University's Peters Hall Gymnasium looked like a gym class for grownups Friday.
More than 100 health and physical education professionals from regional K-12 schools and a group of RU physical and health education teaching majors broke a sweat while participating in the regional Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (VAHPERD) workshop. VAHPERD is the professional organization for health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport educators.
"You can tell all the teachers here today are having a good time," said Jamie Wright, a 2006 RU graduate who now teaches health and physical education to ninth grade boys and students with disabilities at Franklin County High School.
Representatives from 28 southwest Virginia school divisions participated in the workshop as well as health and physical education students and instructors from Emory & Henry College, Ferrum College, Liberty University and Averett University.
The workshop was "an outreach commitment from VAHPERD to increase membership and services to this part of the state," said RU Health and Human Performance Instructor Steve Shelton, the event’s organizer. Radford University has hosted the regional VAHPERD workshop since 2007. RU students were able to join VAHPERD for $15. Membership, Shelton noted, provides such benefits as the ability to attend the state VAHPERD convention in Virginia Beach.
Guest speaker Curt Hinson, an educational consultant for PlayFit Education, Inc., put many of the workshop participants through their paces on the gym floor at the day-long professional development workshop.
Hinson, who also is an author of three books centered on child fitness, provided a number of examples of games the health and physical education teachers could take back to their schools. He also spoke to the gathering about motivating kids to move and about developing thinking skills through movement.
Senior health and physical education major and RU field hockey player Alayna Versage of Virginia Beach attended the workshop to run and jump with the others, all the while learning from the lessons Hinson shared.
“I wanted to come and learn activities and different things we can do with our classes, different ways to run a class,” said Versage, an aspiring elementary school physical education teacher. “I love kids, and P.E. is a great way to impact their lives by teaching them to be physically active for the rest of their lives and doing something they enjoy."
Many of the teaching professionals were RU alumni who came back to campus to learn additional practices to install into their curricula.
“Anytime I can get new, innovative ideas to take back to my school and share with my colleagues who didn’t get to come today, I find it to be very helpful,” Wright said about attending the VAHPERD workshop. "It’s a good way to get new ideas of doing quick reference games that require no equipment whatsoever. Anything to help the kids have a good time while working at the same time.”
Mike Glasscock, a 2006 RU graduate, said participating in the VAHPERD workshop rejuvenates him and the K-5 children he teaches at Bonsack Elementary in Roanoke.
“It really motivates you to come back and get some new ideas,” Glasscock said. “The kids love it when you come back with new games and new ideas. They get so excited, and I think that helps motivate me. It’s a great opportunity for us to come back to campus. We’re really lucky to have this offered to us.”
Radford University is a comprehensive public university of more than 9,900 students. RU serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service, and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 191-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. The university offers 69 degree programs at the undergraduate level, and 21 master's programs and three doctoral programs at the graduate level. A Division I member of the NCAA and Big South Athletic Conference, Radford participates in 19 varsity sports—11 for women and eight for men. Since 2005, the university has secured approval and funding for nearly $300 million in capital projects, including both new construction and renovation.
Learn more about Radford University at www.radford.edu.