Kimberly Freeland’s unique teaching techniques combined with her fun, boisterous attitude have made her a finalist for the 2016 Crystal Apple Teacher Recognition Program. Freeland, a Physical Education teacher at Abe Hubert Elementary School in Garden City, Kansas, fell in love with teaching after being a substitute teacher for two years.
Freeland said her goal is to change people’s perception about what P.E. really entails. She said it’s not just about throwing a ball around and stressed the importance of “being a life-long learner in fitness.” She does this by creating and devising new ways of exercising. For instance, her third-grade class used Uno cards in a recent P.E. session. The Uno cards were placed on cones and the children then were given a card which they placed on their forehead. The goal was for the kids to run around and find the cone which had a card matching the number on the card they held to their forehead. Freeland has also incorporated Dance Fridays in which she dances with the children. “I’m the one at the beginning of class just being crazy as possible,” she said.
The elementary P.E. course is cross-curricular according to Freeland who said she uses spelling, math and phonics in her class activities. She admits that she doesn’t act her age but said that her goofiness makes it fun for the kids in her classes.
Freeland did not set out to be a teacher. She originally majored in sports medicine in college but realized that it wasn’t right for her. While taking time away from college, a friend suggested that she try teaching. She decided to give it a try as a substitute teacher and quickly knew she had found her calling.
The Crystal Apple nomination is viewed as a learning opportunity to Freeland. While she is humbled to be nominated she said it will allow others to get a better idea of what P.E. class is all about.