Quinlan Independent School District

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Wendy Harsin, Teacher of the Year Nominee at D.C. Cannon

Wendy Harsin has greeted students and brought an exceptional Physical Education program to her students at Cannon Elementary School for the past fourteen years. She has been teaching for 28 years.

She not only attends the Texas Association of Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) Summer Conference and Annual Convention each year, she has become a well-known leader in her profession and has presented many presentations including Queen of Thrift, Field Day Theme Station Ideas, Routines for warm-up programs and much more. She thrives on bringing excitement not only to her classroom, campus and district, but other districts as well. She has been contacted countless times to bring Physical Education professional development training to their staff.

Wendy is a Quinlan ISD fixture. She volunteers at most every school event there is to offer. She is the first to dress-up in character and brings enthusiasm to not just her students, but the entire staff and community that she encounters. Wendy loves what she does, and it shows in everything she is about in her class.

“My classroom (gym) is more than 'glorified recess.’ We play with a purpose. My gym is labeled North-South-East-West. We discuss the towns that are near/far in those directions. I have had a parent tell me, ‘I told my daughter we were going to Terrell. She said, ‘then we are going south! Greenville would be north! I learned in P.E. Thank You.'” This kind of teaching is the kind of interactions that Wendy and her dynamic duo partner, Sandy Dickerson, incorporate into their physical activity.

She has passion, and her love resonates each day in her classroom.

We asked Wendy to tell us about a lesson she could sell tickets for, and this is what she shared:

As a Physical Education teacher, I teach basic movements, rhythms, pathways, directions, and lead-up skills. The main lesson I teach my students (700+) is the importance of exercise and eating healthy. Healthy active kids make better learners is our motto.

Given that we have already discussed the cardiovascular and circulatory system in elementary terms, the Heart Smart lesson is the most fun and educational for my students. I break it down into stations that each grade level (Pre-K – 2nd) can demonstrate the understanding of how blood flows through the body and veins, the purpose or job of the red and white blood cells and why the heart beats. Two examples of her stations are as follows:

Station 1 – White Blood Cells (WBC) fight and protect the body from germs and infections. We use white yarn balls for the WBC and green camouflage yarn balls for the germs. (I sent out a district-wide email asking who can crochet. I bought the supplies, and various staff members from other campuses helped me out!) The student throws the white balls to fight off the germs coming at them.

Station 2 – Plaque buildup in the heart-unhealthy diets and lack of exercise can cause an increase in the heart that slows down the blood flow. Using orange and yellow cones scattered in the area, students will dribble basketballs (blood) around the space to make it through the clogged arteries.

There are four more stations for this lesson including Blood Circulation, Red Blood Cells, and Heart Beat. Wendy creatively teaches each of these lessons in hands-on stations similar to the first two. We are incredibly proud to have a teacher in this district with such great creativity, passion, and resourcefulness.

Congratulations, Wendy Harsin!