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'Buying into the change' -- New Belfield P.E. teacher brings new ideas

Dickinson State University graduate Colton Hill is Belfield Public School's new physical education and health teacher, and he's bringing physical education into the 21st century. "I think (physical education) is coming a long ways as far as where...

Colton Hill's third-grade physical education class participates in a hopping game with hula hoops while he supervises. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)
Colton Hill's third-grade physical education class participates in a hopping game with hula hoops while he supervises. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson State University graduate Colton Hill is Belfield Public School's new physical education and health teacher, and he's bringing physical education into the 21st century.

"I think (physical education) is coming a long ways as far as where it used to be," he said. "It used to be looked down upon by your colleagues, but I don't think that's the case anymore."

Hill said P.E. jobs can be hard to come by, so when he saw the opening, he applied.

"It was just a perfect fit, too. I'm from a small community, so I was pretty excited that it was going to be a smaller community," he said.

Despite his arrival in the middle of the school year, Hill said his students have been receptive to him and his new ideas.

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"They're all buying into the change, which is kind of shocking to me. ... I was expecting a lot more teenage angst or backlash than I have gotten, so that's definitely a plus. ... I think they're pretty excited about what we've got going on," he said.

Hill has his own approach to P.E. that his students are getting used to, particularly in his weightlifting classes.

"When I came in, we started a strength program that I have," he said. "We went through and demoed all the lifts. We took about two weeks doing that, just demoing and working with the bar and doing light weight. That took a while for some of them to buy in, cause I think they were used to coming in and doing their own thing there."

Hill said physical education has changed since he was in school.

"In high school, we played a lot of dodgeball ... There wasn't a lot of checklists or partner checks or goals," he said. "It was more we just came and played the game. We never did any reading, as far as physical education."

In Hill's classes, he's implementing techniques and ideas he learned at DSU, one of which involved changing the overabundance of elimination games such as dodgeball, in which students who are eliminated must remain sitting for the rest of the game.

"We don't have them necessarily sit out, cause the whole point of phys ed is to be active ... and to teach you lifelong skills to stay active," he said. "If there are elimination games, you simply just require some sort of activity, then you're back in the game. It makes it fun for the whole class."

Hill has also implemented partner checklists, in which students check each other's techniques.

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"If I'm throwing, am I stepping opposite foot, opposite arm? (Have) I turned my body to my target? ... Your partner can also learn by teaching," he said. "He or she gets to look at you, and if they see that you didn't step opposite foot, opposite arm, then they can write that down. Now that's a reinforcement for them."

Related Topics: HEALTH
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