12/20/13

Update

It has been quite a while since the last post. The last school year was spent without equipment and this year has been a series of starts and stops. I'm committing to restarting the blog to follow the journey of my classes for the Spring Semester. I have some big plans in mind so stay tuned.

10/14/12

October thoughts


This post has been a long time coming but BuffClass is in limbo. The weight room is still under review and my regular classes are progressing very slowly. While I use the principles of CrossFit in general PE, I’ve had limited success this year. Changing a culture is challenge. Creating one from scratch is even more so. It’s been seven years since I’ve had to really shake things up but this time has been tougher. It’s tough because of the success I had at Fremont. I’m not saying it was easy at Fremont but I had developed a culture within my classes and there was an understanding among the students about my reputation and expectations. I have to forge that this year and it requires a lot of effort and patience. I will be the first to admit my patience has failed me a number of times this year. I have a very short memory so I’m sure that I am viewing my experiences at Fremont through rose-colored glasses.

I just have a tough time accepting that people will throw away opportunities to excel. There are students that claim to be athletes but refuse to do basic exercises. It has me evaluating my own opportunities. What have I thrown away just because it was going to be a lot of work or really challenging? 

I will begin posting the class agendas again on the website so others can learn and see what I do in my classes. I miss BuffClass and I hope to revive it soon. I know there are individuals here at South Region High School #12 who yearn for the opportunity of BuffClass and would blossom under the influence of CrossFit. I miss my OG’s and I’m happy to see that many of them are in college, working to make a better life for themselves.  That desire to be better comes from within and is the reason they were able to get so much out of BuffClass and in return BuffClass showed them how to keep working through the discomfort be it a WOD or school or life, never giving up.

9/13/12

Equipment meeting


    I sat down with the LAUSD equipment procurer and the district's equipment vendor yesterday. It was certainly an eye opener. I was previously given a copy of the equipment supplier's idea of the "weight room" and I didn't care for it. It was based on the lowest common denominator, not for cost but for fitness. It had loads of selectorized machines that are designed to fit everyone but never really fit anyone. The idea was to make it  “easy” to have a PE class in there. To say that is insulting would be an understatement. I work very hard to create a rigorous and challenging physical education class that will benefit my students for years to come. I don’t need to have high school kids sitting on an abductor or adductor machine. Instead they can first learn to squat without weight. Learning how to send their hips back, drive their knees out keep their chests up and maintain their weight in their heels. Guess what? You will develop those adductors and adductors better by squatting correctly than trying to those machines. Machines go against everything I believe in as far as strength and conditioning go. You need to be able to move your body through space and develop a kinesthetic awareness. That doesn’t happen sitting in a chair/ “fitness equipment.”
    It was also suggested that if I was out of school for an extended period of time or I left the school a substitute or a regular PE teachers there wouldn’t know how to teach using the free weights. A backhanded compliment for sure but a pitiful comment on the state of physical education. I wouldn’t allow a general substitute to cover a PE in a globo style weight room either, talk about a liability! If a certificated PE teacher is unwilling to educate themselves on the safe and effective use of free-weights then they shouldn’t be teaching it. I wouldn’t teach the uneven bars to a PE class but I would never discourage a teacher from acquiring the apparatus if they knew how to safely teach it. That being said, with my setup there is still plenty that an educator could do in the space with only bodyweight/gymnastic movements while the other didn’t offer any of that space.
    It was certainly a tough conversation for me, as I had to defend my teaching philosophy against arguments by the vendor about safety and liability.  I find it difficult to stay calm when I get resistance to my vision but I managed to keep my cool.
    I believe most of the vendor’s resistance was simply because his company doesn’t supply functional fitness equipment. What a shame. Now I'm not beholden to a specific company but the one I got a quote from has everything we need, not a hodgepodge of some Globogym equipment and it was probably $20,000 below what was budgeted. In these economic times why would we not want to get more for less?
   The District’s rep seemed receptive to the school's/my desires but it is going to be a long process, I can already tell. I was fooling myself thinking that I was actually going to get to design the weight room myself without a lot of pushback despite the green light from the school’s administration. I’ll keep fighting the good fight.

9/9/12

September Update

    It has been a while since I last updated the BuffClass CrossFit site. Who knew that opening up a new school would be so chaotic? After 3 weeks we finally issued lockers to the students and got them dressed in PE clothes. The student store didn't order the school set of clothes so the got generic black shorts and grey T-shirts from wherever they please. As the week went on the percent dressed in each class increased greatly. Friday was the first day of "real" PE. Up till then classes did a lot of walking and simple exercises. A few classes will spend more time this week working on the basics, meaning getting in to roll call order and following directions. It is definitely a challenge to start a new program as a first year teacher at a school, new or old. No matter how many years you have been teaching when you are starting over you much convince your students that your way is the right way. Some periods are easier than others and some are tougher. This is my 5th time starting anew in only my 12th year of teaching PE and it is one of the most challenging. In the past I've always had large departments and systems set in place but being the one male teacher in a department of two is an experience. 
    The students are all trying to figure out how they fit in in their new school and many want to be the top dog. This has led to numerous fights during and after school. From what I understand this isn't unusual and actually common at many of the schools that have opened in LAUSD the past few years. It doesn't help that the schools are a bit understaffed.  I blame this completely on the management of LAUSD who hasn't learned from their recent history. Less than six weeks is not adequate time to open a new school.
    Coming up this week:
- A Mile run pre-test on Wednesday
- Setting the standards for Pushups
- Continued work on refining the Squat
- Introducing the Burpee

I'm excited to see the classes develop and I'm eagerly awaiting the equipment arriving so we can add in some activity time.

8/14/12

A New School Year, A New School

Today was officially the first day of school at South Region High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I am the sole PE teacher for the Academy for Multilingual Arts and Sciences. With one other academy on campus we have only two PE teachers. For some that won't seem strange. Many high schools have only a couple full time PE teachers and a couple of part time teachers. Over the past 11 years of teaching I've never been in a department with fewer than seven teachers. The school is brand new and pristine and I hope it stays that way.
BuffClass CrossFit was started at Fremont HS but it will continue on here at SRHS#12. I'm currently working on ordering equipment for an approximately 2000 square foot weight room. I'm looking forward to rebuilding BuffClass here and I hope I will have some 4 year participants just as I did at Fremont. 

8/5/12

Monday, August 6

WOD
"Cindy"
AMRAP 20 min
5 Pullups
10 Pushups
15 Squats

7/27/12

Friday, July 27

Warmup
Easy 1 mile run

Lift
Deadlift
5x5

WOD
3 rounds
15 Hang Cleans
15 Box Jumps

7/19/12

Friday, July 20

If you did Thursday's workout you might be a bit sore today so today is a skill work day.

Spend 15 min working on Cartwheels and Forward Rolls/Shoulder Rolls
Spend 5 min working on Handstands.

You might want to find a forgiving surface like grass to do today's workout.

7/18/12

Thursday, July 18

I have been missing some pots lately due to a hectic travel schedule.
Hopefully everyone had a chance to catch some of the incredible performances of the 2012 CrossFit Games. This WOD is Games inspired.
WOD
In two minutes find a 3 rep max Deadlift then
300m shuttle run; 50m out, 50m back,100m out and 100m back
Rest 3 minutes
Repeat shuttle run
Rest 3 minutes
Repeat shuttle run.