I hope everyone had a restful weekend and ready to get back to work.  On this week's blog I am going to address some common back to school questions.

Class Size

I have been getting several emails and phone calls about class numbers.  Many teachers will see greater numbers today because there are parents who not send their children to school until after Labor Day.  The Alabama Administrative Code states that the teacher ratio for physical education is 1,000 contacts per week.  This is as far as the Alabama State Department (ALSDE) goes on class size.  The ALSDE trusts  local school systems to use good judgement on class sizes.

Simple math (not mandated by the ALSDE) will give a an indication of average class size.  
1000 contacts per week ÷ 5 days per week = 200 students per day
200 students per day  ÷  by the number of classes per day = an average class size

What do you need to do if you classes are too big?  

  1. Approach your principal professionally.  No one wants to hear a whiner or constant complainer!
  2. Have your numbers per class in writing with demographics such as adequate equipment per student, lockers for each student, dressing space, adequate facility space.  Some people need to see the numbers in print.
  3. Invite your principal to visit your classes so they can observe your numbers.
  4. Have some solutions such as rearranging the schedule, or adding a physical education elective course.  (If a class time in elementary is 45 minutes a drop back to 30 minutes in order to make more time in a schedule to add an additional class).
  5. Be patient.  Do not expect miracles overnight.  
  6. Keep documentation.
Your principal may be very sympathetic but may not be able to do anything due to funding.   Do your best!  Whatever you do, do not throw up your hands in disrepair and not teach!  You may want to refer to the National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) for suggestions on teaching large class sizes.  

To see the class size chart click here.

Weather Conditions

The ALSDE does not have any policies concerning extreme weather conditions (too hot, too cold).  These are local system decisions.   If your school or school system does not have a policy concerning extreme weather conditions, this would be a good opportunity for teachers to approach  school officials to develop a ploicy.

Use common sense when weather conditions are extreme.  Don't plug in a movie for your students to watch even if it is a health related movie because it is too hot/cold.  Students need to be active.  Please consider allowing your students to bring a water bottle or have access to water in the hot months.


The Alabama Administrative Code states that kindergarten (K) through Grade 8 must receive 30 minutes of \ physical education daily with no exception or substitutions.  Schools may choose to have more than 30 minutes but may not go below the required 30 minutes.  It recommended that middle school grades receive 50 minutes of physical education to allow for dressing in and out.  Daily means daily, not minutes per week.  There are no waivers granted for substituting physical education for Grades K-8 unless it is a severe medical condition.  In the case of a severe medical condition, only Dr. Bice may grant the waiver.  Local school systems, principals, or counselors may not grant a substitution.

Lifelong Individualized Fitness Education (LIFE)

The LIFE course is the required physical education course for graduation.  The ALSDE recommends that this course be taught in Grade 9.  This is not a new course.  The LIFE course was included in the Alabama Course of Study:  Physical Education in 1996 with its on course code (24002).  This course has very specific standards that must be taught.  

This summer Dr. Sandra Sims (UAB), Tim Mecham (Trussville City Schools) and Navada Spurlock (Hoover City Schools) worked on different methods for teaching the LIFE course.  To access that information click here.  

High School Physical Education Electives Explained

The elective code for physical education is 24003.   This code may be duplicated as many times as needed to reflect that a student is enrolled in a physical education elective course followed by the school system code that has been shredded out to reflect different elective courses.  The 2009 Alabama Course of Study:  Physical Education states that elective courses focus on the development and refinement of skills, knowledge, social and personal traits, and physical fitness acquired in Grades K-8 and in the high school Lifelong Individualized Fitness Education (LIFE) course (code 24002).  Physical education elective content standards from the 2009 Alabama Course of Study:  Physical Educationmay be incorporated into any physical education elective courses.  Elective courses are appropriate afterthe completion of the required LIFE course.   There are no standards for a Grade 9-12 general physical education course.  No course should be entitled general physical education, athletic physical education, advance LIFE course, or advanced physical education. 

Students who have taken the LIFE course (code 24002) and mastered the content with a passing grade may not be placed in the same class period with other students who are enrolled in the LIFE course.  The Alabama Administrative Code 290-3-1(d)1 states that a student shall not earn credit toward graduation for a course that duplicates course content for which credit has already been awarded.   

Apps for Physical Education

  • Apps Gone Free - Is a daily reminder of all free apps, and includes health, fitness, technology and productivity. Get it at the Itunes store.
  • iMovie - A great way to monitor your student's actions and skills. Comes with a tutorial, and easy to use controls and functions. Add photos or videos which are stored on a timeline to share with others. Cost is 4.99, and well worth the price from the Apple apps and Itunes.
  • Capture - Takes videos and it's sent to You Tube for sharing with others. Get the app from Apple and Itunes and App store.
  • Fooducate- A nutrition app and health aid for making proper food choices.
  • Cardiograph - Students can take their heartbeat by placing their index finger over the camera lens. Results can be saved in the history folder.
  • May My Run, iSmoothRun, Strava, Pedometer, gps pedometer - Log walking, running and biking results
Here are some other apps that are useful and interesting in all aspects of teaching:Do you have a favorite app that you would like to share?  Post it in the comment section.