PE Teachers: Five things to consider when buying a whistle

Choosing a whistle for a ‘Phys Ed Teacher’ can be a very personal and difficult thing indeed.

5 things to consider when choosing a ‘Phys Ed Teacher’ whistle

  1. Material: Metal (Durable) vs Plastic (Lighter)
  2. Effort to blow: Easy or Hard
  3. Loudness: Low or High
  4. Tone: Deep or High
  5. Cost: Cheap or Expensive

After spending the past 13 years as a ‘Phys Ed Teacher’ and trying several whistles I have settled on the choice below

My choice: ACME Thunder No# 58

  1. Material: Metal (Has lasted for over 6 years)
  2. Effort to Blow: Hard
  3. Loudness: Medium (Great for indoors and out)
  4. Tone: Deep
  5. Cost: $10-20

This whistle has serviced me well over the years and shows no signs of breaking or wearing down. Although a little on the expensive side, this whistle has stood the test of time. This is my go to whistle both indoors and out. This is also a whistle of choice as a gift to fellow ‘Phys Ed Teachers’ as it is also large enough to be engraved.

My Runner-up: Fox 40 Classic Official Referee

  1. Material: Plastic (Black)
  2. Effort to Blow: Easy
  3. Loudness: High (can be a little high for some in a gymnasium)
  4. Tone: High
  5. Cost: $8-15

Feel free to place your whistle of choice and why in the comments below.

Teachers: 3 tips to start increasing your impact on learning

Teachers aiming to improve their instructional practice should consider checking out the work of John Hattie and Deb Masters.

As a teacher wanting to improve student learning, I have always searched for ways to improve my own and others instruction, visible learning presents an approach that assists this whilst focusing on what matters most.

Professor John Hattie released his ingenious study resulting in a ground-breaking book Hattie (2009) Visible Learning where he identified and ranked 138 influences related to learning outcomes ranging from positive to negative effects on achievement.

Top 5 ranked influences related to student achievement

  1. Self-report grades
  2. Piagetian programs
  3. Providing formative evaluation
  4. Micro-teaching
  5. Acceleration

“Know thy impact”-John Hattie


Deb Masters of Visible Learning Plus highlighted 4 questions to help pin down what children are really learning to assist knowing thy impact.

  1. Does your school discuss, in detail, precisely what you want the impact of any changes to be?
  2. Do your teachers have common conceptions of progress?
  3. Do all educators in the school believe their main role is to evaluate their impact?
  4. What is the impact of teaching in your school and how do you know?

Drawing on these two articles and my experience in the classroom, I have listed three actions that you should take to become leaders in making learning visible in their school.

  • Partnerships – find a like minded colleague to share your journey delivering and reflecting on Hattie’s influences
  • Start now – There are many already using Visible Learning to enhance their teaching and impact on learning
  • Discuss – your successes, impact and risk taking that is backed by research

Starting today, you need to be examining your practice and using visible learning to focus on what matters for maximum impact on learning.

book stair

I am passionate about using research-backed approaches to increase my impact on learning. Feel free to reach out or connect with me at @BKersing

Tablet Laptops in Classes

Many of the students in my classes are now using a tablet based multi-touch and stylus laptop.
I have been encouraging the use of Microsoft OneNote. This has proven to be a relatively successful approach in both Mathematics and Science, students have said it is easier to keep organised and are able to fit all relevant work on a single page making it far easier to access at a later date. The opportunity to leave voice and video feedback for students is also possible.

Quick access to work.
Video and audio feedback.
Easy sharing.
Can annotate own and others work.
Colour coding as a visual indicator for help or highlight common errors.
Split screen set-up with a digital text.
Students are recording their experiments to review and look for potential errors in method.
Keeping work away from Internet based tools can be beneficial, Internet limits etc.
Connectivity to overhead projectors, able to throw work on screen to allow modelling (student and teacher ) more often.

Students not having a charged laptop.
Not backing up hard drive regularly.
Some students dislike the laptop for Mathematics. Ease of use of stylus, learning new skills.
Lost work hard drive crashes.
Time spent to adjust to software.
Software issues

Thoughts so far?
I will continue with this approach as the benefits have outweighed the negatives.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Classroom Dojo

Over the past month and a half I have been using Classroom Dojo. I have been trialling the use in three of my classes.

1. Teacher allocates plus and minus points
2. Students nominate classmates who deserve positive points
3. Both Teacher and Students allocate plus and minus points

The most successful application of the Classroom Dojo has been trial number 2. Students have become more aware of their interactions and enjoy giving points to each other, this generally has led to more positive behaviours and a reduce in minor classroom distractions.

Students in all trials have made additional suggestions on positive and negative behaviour point categories to add to our list.

Been a fun way to focus on the positives in class. Check it out!