My Guide to Leading Enthusiastic Student Groups

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student groupsDuring the majority of my career I have been on the fringe of creating a student leadership group at the elementary level. The idea in my mind was that this group would consist of 12-15 students and we would meet to come up with projects that would benefit the school population as well as the members of the group. While the idea was appealing and intriguing to me, I kept coming back to the potential obstacles.

  • How would I meet with students during the day when I rarely have time to eat lunch?
  • If I could find the time, how would I convince classroom teachers that time spent on this project would be worth it?
  • How would I choose when so many students might potentially want to become involved? How could I get parent support?
  • What if the group was challenging to manage?
  • What projects would we do?
  • Where would we come up with resources to carry out the projects?

The questions kept coming but the answers did not, so for many years I was in a state of indecision. Then, I had the opportunity to attend an event run by Fuel Up to Play 60 and saw groups of students enjoying the experience with their teachers and with each other. I attended this event with a colleague who is a classroom teacher and has always supported our efforts to teach students to make healthy choices. Together we decided then and there that we would take the plunge and start a group the following fall. Continue reading



Must-Have Holiday Gift Guide Pre-Schoolers

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With the holidays right around the corner, we asked some of our associates with children what they were planning on purchasing for gift giving. This is one of a series of posts written by our employees on what they think the must-haves are for their children this year.

My daughter is a fun age for the holidays this year, she will be 4 in a few short months. So I am looking forward to the excitement and magic that the holiday season will bring her. Here are a few items that my wife and I have been considering purchasing to hide under the Christmas Tree this year.

  1. We are always looking for active games to play inside during the cold winter days. I think she (and I!) would enjoy this Popcorn Game. Maybe before one of our Friday Movie Nights.

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    Continue reading


Ideas Worth Sharing – Staff Appreciation

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We survey many of our customers and sometimes we ask them what they use the products they are buying for. We continue to be wowed by your creative, resourceful and genius ideas, so we want to share them for others to enjoy!

A CEO from a non-profit organization shares with us their thoughtful and creative idea using our  Variety Erasers to appreciate their staff in a purposeful way. They highlighted the unique ways each person contributes to the team.

“My hardworking, non-profit staff deserved to know I appreciated their special talents and efforts, so I wrapped up a baseball pencil, notebook, and an eraser that signified my appreciation. Our salesperson, with a great deal of drive, got a car eraser. The staffer who always seems to save-the-day got a helicopter. Our accountant got a hammer since she just keeps hammering away at us to do things correctly. The erasers are really fun, colorful and even have moving parts!! These were a much appreciated treat.”

erasers for appreciation



Must-Have Holiday Gift Guide for Toddlers

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With the holidays right around the corner, we asked some of our associates with children what they were planning on purchasing for gift giving. This is the first of a series of posts written by our employees on what they think the must-haves are for their children this year.

1. I have decided that I no longer am worried that my almost-two-year old will eat Play-Doh. We are almost past the putting items in our mouth stage, so I am ready to try this fun and creative toy this year. Not only will I be purchasing Play-Doh for my daughter (probably the Play-Doh Fun Factory or Play-Doh Ice Cream Castle) but I am also going to be purchasing some kits for my nieces and nephews. One of my nieces really loves playing school, so the Play-Doh Tools Assorted Schoolpack is perfect for her.

holiday gift giving2. Sesame Street is a huge hit in our household. Not only does he sleep with his Elmo every night but he also decided that was the only Halloween costume that he could be this year. So when I saw this Sesame Street LOVE2LEARN Elmo I just had to purchase it. I love that it is an interactive toy, and he can have fun while learning letter and numbers at the same time. It has sensors in the nose, hands and belly so it’s really engaging to kids. Continue reading



The Fall and Rise of Physical Education: Part 2

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As George Graham takes us through the eight categories that he believes Physical Educators fall into in Part 1 of his series: The Fall and Rise of Physical Education, we assess his statements within our PE community. Now, 8 days before the PETE conference in Atlanta, George assesses the effectiveness of PETE programs, and offers his candid opinion on creating successful clinical faculty.

Below is an introduction to Part 2 of the series. You can read the full post here.

This is the second of four blogs I am writing related to K-12 physical education in the United States. In the first blog, the Fall and Rise of Physical Education, I suggested that physical educators could be classified into eight related categories—rollers, gamers, fitters, brainers, innovators, at-riskers, activators and teachers. The last category of the eight was teacher. For me this is the most desirable category of physical educator because in my view these individuals are attempting to implement quality programs that lead to the physical literacy of their students as defined in many of the Shape America documents. In my opinion it takes a great deal of knowledge, expertise and practical experience to become a teacher of physical education as defined in the previous blog. Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programs are no doubt the major influence on whether an undergraduate becomes a teacher—or one of the other seven categories of physical educator described in the previous blog.

Typically future K-12 physical educators attend a college or university and major in a program that is designed to prepare them to teach in the schools. These programs often lead to state licensure or certification. Some PETE programs are more effective than others and their graduates begin their careers ready to begin implementing quality programs of physical education—i.e. they are on their way to becoming teachers. Other graduates, however, appear to lack the prerequisite skills, background and understanding necessary to implement quality programs. Or perhaps, equally or more importantly, they lack the commitment and dedication to do the hard work necessary to develop quality programs in less than ideal environments.  Why?



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