Professional Development- After Hours
From my first two more formalized training sessions, I was then able to meet with the Coaches I work with to further talk about two Google Suites that we couldn’t Coach without.
These Professional Development opportunities were less formal as we didn’t have a PD day aligned at that time or staff meeting, but it’s great when you have a community of educators who continually collaborate to better their practice. Sharing ideas and new tips and tricks are always fun when getting to apply something you were using in the classroom and take it to your sport- passion. For example, mine being Running & Swimming- I love being able to apply the different activities we do in class and alter them to our sports to better build rapport with your students during the school day and have fun creating learning opportunities outside the classroom.
During the Cross Country season, I was able to meet with my Co-Coaches and go over how we were using Google Earth to help prepare for our season. We are lucky to have a forest right off our campus, but safety is crucial when running with 40 middle school students. We also use it when planning routes and courses for time trials and meets. Using this tool we are able to label our meeting spots and familiarize our runners with the map so they know where they are at all times. We hope to take it one step further next year by being able to create a virtual tour of the course, without ever having to actually run it ourselves beforehand. This year with the limitations and restrictions placed on us due to Covid, it was great being able to share routes and places with the kids before even stepping foot in the forest. This really maximized the time we had together, for just running in the woods. Working with a new set of coaches, and training them with Google Earth has allowed them to also feel more confident and comfortable in our large forest when I am not present to help lead the practice.
I was also lucky enough to Coach the cross country season with another Google Trainer- sharing ideas and ways to utilize the different features Google has to offer within sheets as well- to work with our students on collecting heart rates and monitoring their workouts and all the data that can be collected during a single workout. We both strongly feel all educators should be at a “Level 2” in terms of technology and Google Suites as it opens the door for more creative and collaborative lessons and training sessions.
Later on after weeks of digital and hybrid learning, we were finally able to get back to our swimming pool! I was thankful that I was able to meet with the swim coaches and demonstrate how Google Classrooms can be a great tool for community building. Setting up a Google Classroom for sports is extremely beneficial for communication and team building. This was especially true when 8 of our weeks of coaching were fully digital… and nothing says fun like coaching swimming ONLINE.
Here, we were able to post our workout videos, instructions, and even things like “Athletes of the Week”. Along with any informational sheets, parent communications, record boards, meet results, and personal best documents so students can keep record of their goals and times. Google Classroom allows a one-stop place for all things- Swimming! (Or XC)
Showing my fellow coaches how customizable GC is- from the templates to be able to add your own photos is one of the greatest features when making your sports GC feel like their own-building a site together that your athletes will want to visit.
We have been able to have fun with it, posting not just the specific training data, but battle wound photos to share out and celebrating a student each week for not just athletic performance, but for their character and other sought-after attributes that deserve celebrating as well within your team. Organizing by topics is easy and the GC stream utilized for any last-minute announcements is also extremely helpful. Adding fellow collaborators to the page also allows people in the administrative position access to all your data and find answers to the questions they typically seek.
It was great getting to share out what we do in XC and Swim so that our community of student-athletes continues to grow stronger and stronger. Moving beyond just Google- to all the games and other workout ideas that can be incorporated within a practice and shared on a common platform- one that students are already familiar with since they use it daily within their classes. I can’t even imagine Coaching (or teaching) at a school that doesn’t have GC readily available and accessible to its community- students and parents alike.
At this training, I was also able to share how Google sheets allow for efficient data crunching to utilize when comparing times from the start of the season to the end of the season- which is especially helpful when determining awards for things like Most Improved Swimmer (or Runner). As well as for attendance taking and knowing which kids were “in person” and which were “participating from home” when we moved to the hybrid huddles and working with only half of our kids every day while the other half was at home, being careful to track their on-campus presence in case of any “contact tracing” that needed to take place due to Covid. Again the conditional formatting that allows for a great visual, also helps coaches see who on their team is balancing their academics and sports effectively and who may need intervention or at least increased parent communication. Along with the comment feature, to help record minor injuries (soreness) as well as the formulas calculating the end of season attendance percentages which in turn helps determine participation awards and level of commitment to participating throughout the season.
How are you useing Google Suites to spread your passions?
Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash