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Campus School Instructor is State P.E. Teacher of the Year
For release: December 17, 2007
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Diane Coleman, physical education teacher at the University of Memphis Campus School, has been named Tennessee’s Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD).  She received the award at TAHPERD’s recent conference in Nashville.

Coleman has taught at Campus School for 26 years. To be eligible for the state award, she met five criteria for excellence in physical education instruction. Coleman has designed and implemented an innovative curriculum at Campus School that has included, in addition to more traditional P.E. instruction:

  • Working with other teachers from Campus School and the University of Memphis to coordinate the Physical Education, Science, Language Arts Unit integrated study program, which uses cooperative learning and peer teaching as instructional models and encourages students to work together to solve problems and to play a role in their own learning;
  • Integrating physical education with science to help students relate movements to concepts, which helps them remember and retain the information. For example, to help students remember the concept of a planet rotating on its axis, they might perform a pivot used in playing basketball to help them understand rotation and use kinesthetic learning to help them remember the concept;
  • Pedometer Pals – a pedometer grant program designed to increase exercise and to help students realize that exercise is fun, as well as beneficial. Students participating in the program wear pedometers to increase their awareness of their activity levels; and
  • Initiating the purchase of a traverse climbing wall that was installed at Campus School in April 2007, allowing students to engage in adventure education and peer teaching. Experiential learning activities that make use of the wall help students develop self-confidence and teamwork, individually and as a group.
  • Coordinating and attending an annual Outdoor Education Camp – Sixth grade students have the opportunity to participate in a week-long experiential learning camp near the end of the school year. The camp ties in much of the content learned in physical education class with academics learned in the classroom.

Coleman has presented her work at many conferences and workshops, has served on district curriculum committees and written P.E. curricula for district-wide use, and co-authored the “Get Fit with the Grizzlies” lesson plans that were used for fourth- and fifth-grade students throughout the district.  She also teaches classes for U of M students who are studying to be P.E. teachers.

Coleman’s efforts to encourage Campus School students to raise their activity and fitness levels also include sponsoring an annual Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser for the American Heart Association and teaching a corresponding study unit.  Coleman serves as a positive role model for her students by wearing a pedometer herself and sharing with students the ways that she and her own family enjoy fitness-related activities.

As Tennessee’s Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year, Coleman will compete against teachers from 12 other states for the Southern District Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year award in 2008.  She will also attend the national convention of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) in April in Ft. Worth, where she and fellow Campus School teacher Suzanne Griffin will present “Integrating Physical Education, Science, and Language Arts.”

For more information, contact Coleman or Dr. Susan Copeland, Campus School director, at 901-678-2285.

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