Benjamin Carlson is an elementary physical education teacher where he has dedicated the last 20 years of his professional life to the children of Hartford Public Schools.
He attended South Windsor High School (SWHS) where his Physical Education teacher, who was also his Track coach, Bob Labreche gave him his first opportunity to teach a unit on softball to his classmates. This experience made him think that teaching might be his future profession. While attending SWHS, Mr. Carlson was heavily involved in Boy Scouts earning the distinguished rank of Eagle Scout. Mr. Carlson graduated SWHS and attended Salisbury State University (SSU) in Maryland, where he briefly studied Sports Medicine. As he reflected back to that first teaching, he realized that his passion was not in training room but inside the classroom.
After graduating SSU, Mr. Carlson moved back to South Windsor and was a substitute teacher in various school districts. In the fall of 1998, he accepted a position as the Physical Education teacher at Thirman L. Milner Elementary School. He spent ten incredibly gratifying years at Milner, and during that time he earned his Masters’ degree in Physical Education from Central Connecticut State University. While at Milner, Mr. Carlson began integrating Math and Geography into his Physical Education lessons through a Games from Around the World curriculum he developed.
As his career progressed, Mr. Carlson took the opportunity to challenge himself by transferring to Sarah J Rawson Elementary School, where he created another integrated curriculum. He weaved CMT strands into his lessons through a curriculum of his own design which he called Adventures in Literature.
When Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School opened in 2010, Mr. Carlson was excited yet again to embark on a new professional growth plan where he was hired as a K-8 elementary physical education teacher. He challenged himself by integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math into Physical Education curriculum to support student’s 21 century skills. Through an inquiry based approach, he challenges his students to learn about measurement, elapsed time, forces in motion, friction, fractions, and the use of technology like force plates and slow motion cameras.
Mr. Carlson presented the “Inquiry Approach to Teaching Physical Education” at the Connecticut AAHPERD (SHAPE) conference in the fall of 2016 to share best practices with fellow educators across the state.
Some of Mr. Carlson’s proudest moments as an educator took place outside the classroom. Giving back to the Hartford community is very important to Mr. Carlson. While at Milner with a colleague, he created a performance for the night of the arts program at the Bushnell. They took a cultural dance, The Raj, and mixed it with modern music. Also at Milner, he gathered toy donations from a local teen organization he worked for at Christmas time. Mr. Carlson then distributed the toys to his students, in order to ensure they would have a Merry Christmas. Currently at Annie Fisher STEM he has created a food drive, where the cans are first used by students to exercise, then the cans are donated to a local food pantry.
Mr. Carlson is married to Debra Carlson, a School Social Worker at Sport and Medical Sciences Academy. They have two amazing children, Evan and Lucas. Mr. Carlson enjoys coaching his boys’ sport teams, and continuing to educate student athletes in South Windsor.