From Unicycles to Flashcards, PE Teacher Takes Unique Approach to Get Kids Moving

Balls Creek Elementary school PE Teacher Joe Weaver enjoys the organized chaos that goes hand-in-hand with working with elementary school aged children. His love of children combined with his enthusiasm for finding new and innovative ways to keep kids moving has earned him the honor of being named the 2015 PE Teacher of the Year in North Carolina.

The Newton, North Carolina PE teacher says that he enjoys working with children because they are fun and willing to try new things. Weaver incorporates traditional exercises like running, jumping and playing sports with academic topics. For instance, one activity has students rolling around on scooter boards on the gymnasium floor while picking up flashcards with pictures of food and classifying them as either unhealthy or healthy.

Weaver also includes math and spelling into his courses because he feels that introducing academics outside of the classroom can open up learning for kids with unique learning styles. He pulls ideas from many different sources including Twitter where PE teachers often tweet their ideas for activities to share with other teachers. He also makes his own accessories that are used in his classes due to the school’s limited funding. He has been known to teach children to ride unicycles or dance cultural dances to keep things fresh and new, hoping to inspire a child to find a hidden talent that they may not have had the opportunity to find.

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His dedication continues outside of the classroom with extracurricular activities that include PE Club, Physical Education Student Teaching, the Running Club, bowling and dances. He also is involved in organized events like the Turkey Trot and Jump Rope for the Heart.

Weaver’s belief is that by teaching children healthy habits and exercise early on, they will carry these on into adulthood. “It all starts here,” he said.