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    Bridgedale Academy Blog

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Common Core: Mental Junk Food? - Part 1

    The Debate on Common Core Rages On

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    Few education topics are debated more heatedly these days than the Common Core State Standards (“CCSS”). Whether it has to do with CCSS's creation, passage into law, implementation or results, nowhere will you find a more wide-ranging array of alleged “truths” about a single subject.

    Bridgedale Academy uses a classical school curriculum, i.e. that of Hillsdale (MI) Academy, and so does not subscribe to Common Core, as most other schools in Illinois now do.

    Because Common Core continues to be such a political hot potato, with the arguments for and against it so diametrically opposed, I decided to dig deeper.

    Truths or Myths?

    Proponents make certain claims about the virtues of CCSS, while opponents argue these claims are more mythical than anything else, i.e. myths propagated and maintained by a well-financed propaganda machine. 

    After spending more time than I care to admit reading books and online articles about Common Core, I have come down solidly on the side of CCSS’s opponents.

    In find myself in agreement with Joy Pullman, author of "The Education Invasion: How common core fights parents for control of American kids," when she refers to much of what is force-fed to kids in CCSS schools today as "mental junk food."

    In other words, I find the main arguments in favor of CCSS to be deceptive ... to be myths.

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    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Developing Physical Literacy - Part 4

    The Physical Literacy of Youth Athletes Today

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    (This is the fourth of a 4-part blog series about developing physical literacy in young athletes.) 

     

    A young athlete’s physical literacy, developed between birth and the onset of puberty, is the foundation upon which his or her athleticism is built. It is defined as “the development of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to move confidently and with control.” (See Developing Physical Literacy - Part 1.)

    The Long Term Athlete Development model (LTAD) is a science-based approach to athlete training that defines 7 physiological-age based stages of training, the first 3 of which are for the development of physical literacy. Although LTAD has been around in one form or another for more than thirty years, programs that effectively adhere to it are very limited. (See Developing Physical Literacy - Part 2.)

    The phenomenon of “early developers” and “late bloomers” has also been known for many years, but only recently has the concept known as “relative age effect” (RAE) received much attention. The potential impact of RAE on developing athletes (and on youngsters generally) is profound and far-reaching. (See Developing Physical Literacy - Part 3.)

    This article, Part 4 of the Developing Physical Literacy series, discusses the physical literacy of today’s youth athletes. It first examines the development of physical literacy in youth hockey players, including the risks of early specialization, and then offers some general thoughts for parents and coaches of youth athletes.

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    Sunday, May 7, 2017

    Developing Physical Literacy - Part 3

    Early Developers versus Late Bloomers

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    (This is the third of a 4-part blog series about developing physical literacy in young athletes.) 

     

    In Developing Physical Literacy - Part 1, we discussed the concept of physical literacy generally. In a nutshell, the physical literacy that a young athlete develops prior to the onset of puberty forms the foundation for his or her post-puberty athleticism. 

    In Developing Physical Literacy - Part 2, we looked at the Long Term Athlete Development model, and how it focuses on physiological age versus chronological age in outlining its seven stages of athletic development.

    This article looks at how physical literacy might factor in to the phenomenon of early developers versus late bloomers.

    The early birthday phenomenon

    It is well-documented that youth sports tend to be dominated by early-maturing youngsters. This is obviously true during adolescence when the “early developer,” having already reached puberty, is bigger, stronger, faster and more aggressive than the late developer.

    But the phenomenon also occurs well before adolescence, when so many of the top-performing youth athletes are simply “older” (i.e. born earlier in the year) than their same birth-year teammates and opponents. 

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    Saturday, April 29, 2017

    Developing Physical Literacy - Part 2

    Physical Literacy and Long Term Athlete Development

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    (This is the second article of a 4-part blog series about developing physical literacy in young athletes. The first article discussed the general concept of physical literacy. This article discusses the Long Term Athlete Development model.) 

     

    What is the Long Term Athlete Development model? 


    When it comes to how physical literacy relates to athletics and the training of high-performing athletes, the Long Term Athlete Development model (“LTAD”) is the gold standard.

    Pioneered in Canada in the mid-90’s in order to help develop athletes for national and international competitions, LTAD was the first “athlete development” model to truly apply science to human athletic development.

    With chronological age as a guide, LTAD breaks the athlete development process down into a sequence of age-appropriate stages, each stage representing a "window of opportunity" for certain aspects of the process. Physical literacy is developed in the first three stages.

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    Thursday, April 20, 2017

    Developing Physical Literacy - Part 1

    Laying the groundwork for athleticism

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    (Part 1 of a 4-part blog series about developing physical literacy in young athletes.)

     

    So what's with the late bloomer?

    We’ve all seen it: 

    The athlete who appeared to be merely “okay” at his sport as a child … but then blossoms into a dominant (maybe even world-class) athlete as a young adult.

    Most observers would be amazed only at how this athlete had “developed” so much after puberty.

    But if that's all they saw, they are missing the most important thing.

    Because when it comes to developing world-class athletes, what happens before puberty is almost always more important. 

    It has to do with what sports science refers to as an athlete's “physical literacy.”

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    Friday, March 24, 2017

    Youth Hockey Development in the Off-Season

    Getting to the Next Level

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    What can a youth player do in the off-season to get to the next level?

    Every year thousands of youth hockey players try out for their next season’s teams. Virtually all are trying to “get to the next level.”

    In Illinois the next level might be AAA, or it might be their club’s Central States or Gold level teams. In some cases it might simply be making that first travel team.

    But one thing is certain: All these players aspire to improve.

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    Sunday, March 19, 2017

    Developing Athleticism at Bantam Major

    Why Bantam Major season is so crucial

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    How much longer can fundamental athleticism be developed?

    For youth hockey players approaching their Bantam Major season, it’s a good time to take stock. 

    It’s an important year from many perspectives, not the least of which is that for many of the boys it marks the beginning of the end of the optimal athleticism development years.

    By this I mean that once a boy gets to puberty, the “window of opportunity” for the development of the foundational elements of Agility, Balance and Coordination (the ABC’s of athleticism) begins to close down … and quickly.

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    Friday, March 10, 2017

    Academic March Madness using Teach with Tournaments

    The Excitement of March Madness in History Class

    By Josh Hoekstra, HS History Teacher Extraordinaire and creator of "Teach with Tournaments"

     

    Everyone loves March Madness!

     

    This time of year is always exciting.  You hear people talking about it at the grocery store, gas station, at work, and beyond:

    • “How are your brackets?”
    • “How about that upset?”
    • “Sweet sixteen.”
    • “Final Four."

    Yes, it is NCAA Basketball National Tournament time - March Madness.  

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    Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    Mindset and Youth Hockey Development

    The best way for a youth hockey player to develop

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    What kind of mindset does a player need to get to the next level?


    My last article discussed some of the off-season programs for youth hockey players striving to reach the next level. This article takes a more philosophical approach to the youth hockey development process.

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    Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    Youth Hockey Development in the Off Season

    Spring Tryouts and Beyond: Getting to the Next Level

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    How can a player get to the next level?

    Every year thousands of youth hockey players try out for their next season’s teams. Virtually all are trying to “get to the next level.” In Illinois the next level might be AAA, or it might be their club’s Central States or Gold level teams. In some cases it might simply be making that first travel team.

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