In this episode of the PE Express podcast, Shannon Irwin talks with the creator of PE Fitness Frenzy, Lisa Triantafillou. Lisa shares the inspiration behind creating her YouTube channel for students during distance learning.
Today on PE Express podcast I have a special guest for you. Please welcome my special guest Lisa Triantafillou on our PE Express podcast.
[0:11] Lisa: Hi, hello, how are you?
[0:13] Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Two to three times a week, a PE expert will share a tip, activity idea or teaching strategy to help you become a better PE professional. Today’s host is a PE teacher, presenter and two time Teacher of the Year, who’s passionate about helping others improve their programs – Shannon Irwin
Lisa Triantafillou is the creator of PE Fitness Frenzy. Lisa and I met virtually through a Facebook group called “Online School Closures Educator Support for PE”. If you’re looking for ideas or need help navigating at home learning for PE This is a great resource for you. So Lisa has been posting her videos on this Facebook group and I immediately was very impressed but before we talk about your videos, Lisa, tell us a little bit about yourself, where do you teach? What age do you teach?
Lisa: Well, I am 18 years teaching at a school in New Jersey. I’m in Gloucester City Middle School, we used to be a fourth through sixth grade, upper elementary school and about three years ago, we merged to be a fourth through eighth grade school. So now our school went from about 400 people to 900 people, and 100 say, staff, faculty members, and we’re up to about 1000 people in our school. We have a we have a brand new school building and it’s been interesting teaching the upper levels. The last couple years that we have now Middle School, and we have the elementary so four through eight is a huge difference in levels and abilities.
Shannon: Wow, it’s hard for me to imagine a global shutdown for schools and schools all over the world are closed. Can you tell us a little bit about how long your school has been closed and when you could expect to return back?
Lisa: So our school closed officially back on March 13. We got word the week before that, we might go into closure. And we were going to do a two week trial period and then see from there, but two weeks came about and we ended up moving in another two weeks. And then we just got told we’re going to go to the end of April. So it’ll end up being about six weeks before we even know if we’re going to go back for the rest of the year. We’re hopeful we’ll go back we miss everybody. It doesn’t look so good. But for the safety of everyone, it might be just better off to stay home. Yeah. Oh, no crazy, not what we had expected. Let’s put it that way as we were preparing for so many end of the year have fun activities. No, it’s sad and it’s okay though. As long as we stay healthy, and we stay at home we should be alright.
Shannon: Absolutely. So we saw the creator of PE fitness frenzy videos. Her her videos are very impressive and very and how do I say put together professionally I am blown away I’ve been doing videos my whole career for people and sharing my information out there but and your videos really do impressed me. So what gave you the idea to create the fitness frenzy?
Lisa: So the first day we were home from school, I by students started to reach out immediately, like, what are we going to do? How are we going to do our warm ups? Like, I push my students really hard and I really make sure that they they come in and they are, you know, feeling the energy level from me every day. So what happened was is I the first day I was like, Oh my goodness, I’m not going to be able to see though. So we were like let’s try something different. So with the help of my husband, who does some video work, we decided that listen, let’s let them at least see you because at least seeing you will make them want to do it and they’ll still remember you because sometimes I get nervous out of sight out of mind. And I don’t want them to forget the things that we’ve worked on. So I said, Okay, let’s develop our warmup. Something simple. We don’t have to go into the extra activities and the skill levels yet, but let’s work on our. So we have a motto, we do three sets of three for 30 seconds. So I decided to take the warm ups that my students know. So in the beforehand, I said to them, all right, listen to all your warm ups with all the things you like, what are some of your fun ones you liked? What didn’t you like? And let’s work together on some of the fun activities. And let’s develop three sets of three. So with the help of my students on day two, we came up with lists of different activities. And I said, All right, but I’m a mom, and I’m home with my three children. And I have to teach them as well and they need to get physical activity. So what better way to incorporate it was to get them involved with me. And we developed the fitness frenzy to get them to exercise, pass them along, and then dad, my students follow along and they get to see a little bit of my home. life and my family as well.
Shannon: I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s a great way to stay connected with your kids. And in your students. I just love it. The name PE fitness frenzy is creative. It’s catchy. Can you tell us how you came up with that?
Lisa: We were trying to think of something to do with the fact that I’m a phys ed teacher. But we wanted to incorporate the fact that fitness is such a fun thing. And we are in this crazy, different element. And it we threw us into a frenzy. So together, we were like, Oh my gosh, this is perfect. It’s PE fitness. But it’s a frenzy kind of world right now. So let’s put it all together. And we came up with this unique name. Something different.
Shannon: I love it. I think it’s very catchy. In fact, one of the first videos I saw that you posted, you had this little digital clock, and that was going off the bottom of your screen. I was like, how does she do that? So can you tell us a little bit about your editing and your filming process?
Lisa: Luckily, I have a very talented husband who does a lot of Film Editing, and a lot of the work. So he does a lot of freelance work. So what he does on the side, for his Vimeo company, he does a lot of the editing for me. So he’s different programs. And he, you know, we’ll make sure that I am staying on time staying on track. He has different cameras set up. So he’s gotten a little bit more excited that now that we’ve been home that he’s focusing more on our family. So we’ve made it a family affair every day to do some video work. So he does a little bit of the graphics. He changes it up as he goes. So as you see as as you watch each day, different things change and we get better and better as the days go on.
Shannon: I think it’s phenomenal. Tell your husband Great job. I would love to know about that digital camera. Yeah. Can you tell us I know you hit touch base a little bit with this, but can you tell us why it’s so important for you to make these videos?
Lisa: My students really need to just make sure that they see get a glimpse of me every day. Now, sometimes I get on zoom and I’ll do a live workout with them. That’s great. But there’s a lot of different classes and times that that filter in so if one of my students tries to get on at 12 noon to watch me do my workouts with me and our exercises, they might have to do their language arts or their younger sister needs the video camera to do their class. So there’s so many people that are at home right now all using sometimes the same one computer. So I put my videos up online, so that if they don’t get to do it at my time with me that they can do it later on. And that they can watch the YouTube channel and go back and see me or if they miss me one day that they can catch up and go back to a video or two. So we try and do it each day of the week so that it’s a quick warm up a quick little break in between if you’re doing your spelling and you want to take a break and go before math, go do a quick warm up with Mrs. Trying to fill out the fitness frenzy and then go back to do something else and then there’s enough of them that you can Do more than one. But it’s just important to make sure that my students still could see me. And they know that I’m still working hard. And I’m still there for them even though that I’m not physically in front of them.
Shannon: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. I feel one of the challenges for educators and families during this time of at home learning is how content is being delivered. Some teachers use some outlets, some use different platforms. So what are the platforms that you’re using to push out your videos to your students and families.
Lisa: So a lot of the Google Classroom is one of our number one ways to get out there to get all these students involved. We use it a lot to make sure that they’re on task, their attendance and stuff like that. We use the YouTube it’s a lot of interaction with a lot of different activities, a lot of different. A lot of different sites that they can go on and go off of that they can focus on. On Facebook is another one that a lot of them can go to to get ideas like it’s a good resource for teachers. It’s a good resource for the students to help each other as well. They also go to, we’ve been using zoom as an outlet so that they can see video conferencing with us that we can get together. We’ve a lot of meetings online, a lot of activities, a lot of lessons are being done through zoom and Google Hangout as well. So we’ve tried to broaden our horizon by using a lot of different internet and technology resources together.
Shannon: What is the feedback you’re hearing from your students?
Lisa: My students are actually feedback has been phenomenal. They have been what they like, most of the time, it’s what they like they want to do more of this or more of that they they want more time with me. They said, Oh, your warm ups are so short, sometimes 10 minutes, you know, go so fast, and we have to do the next one with you but maybe more time and then others are saying oh well, I really don’t like burpees so much Mr. Transit fellow. Can you do something else besides burpees we know it’s coming. And they know my Friday. I like my Friday my Russian twist on Friday. So they get excited like, oh, you’re gonna do it on Friday or you might do it on Wednesday we don’t know and they get very excited and they started to comment to each other and even today they were texting each other Hey, don’t forget you know p fitness frenzy is coming online at 12 victory you hurry up and get online. So it’s been, they’ve been very positive. They’re making me happy, as well as themselves happy. So it’s nice.
Shannon: I think that’s fantastic. I think that connection is just so important to stay connected with your students. This time is so challenging. And kudos to you. This is your thank you very much everything that you’re doing for your students is just really phenomenal. So keep up the great work. So what’s next? What are your plans after you get back to your normal? Do you plan to continue your YouTube channel and your tune?
Lisa: I actually we’ve been talking about that we are going to try and you know change things up each week and make sure that everybody gets like Little bit of different time, we’re making sure that everybody sees like as, as our family, we stay together by still doing these videos. But as my students, as we get together back in school, I would really like to keep them involved and maybe make them a little bit a part of the PE fitness frenzy and have my students start to engage and you know, maybe with the help of permission from their parents, have them maybe do some of the activities with me, have our YouTube channel grow a little bit more in the sense of our videos, and stuff and have their ideas come forward and maybe then discuss everything and help us out and have them be the creators, too.
Shannon: I love it. I think you’re on the right track and to getting your students staying active at home and then continuing on I love the idea of allowing your students the opportunity to use technology and use platforms like YouTube and social media to get content out there. I think it’s fabulous. Have you ever considered uploading Any of your content to platforms like PE Universe?
Lisa: Um, no, but that sounds like a great idea. Thank you.
Shannon: Have you heard of PE Universe? I have not No. Oh, you have got to check it out. I think you will fit right in. It’s a great resource. It’s one of my favorites. So it’s PEUniverse.com. And I would love to see your videos posted there as well. And it’s really easy because you could just link your YouTube channel straight to your, your profile on p universe. It’s similar to face if I describe it, like Facebook meets the PE world it a lot of fun to get connected with other physical education, physical educators like that.
Lisa: It’s been really nice, bouncing ideas off of a lot of people and I really have enjoyed talking with you and getting ideas from you as well and creating different things with the idea of everybody else is helping. So this is a very interesting way of coming together as PE teachers, and just getting all of our ideas out there that we all have such great ideas.
Shannon: I love it. Well your videos are well thought out, they’re well executed. I love the idea. Lisa Triana fill out you really hit the mark with teeth and frenzy. Kudos to you and your family for staying involved and stay involved with your students. I know they love seeing your videos just like I love seeing your videos.
Lisa: Thank you very much. I really appreciate that.
Shannon: I hope you have a wonderful day and everybody else I hope you check out her YouTube channel again. It’s PE Fitness Frenzy. You can find it on social and hopefully seeing you can find it on PE universe.