How Achilles Kids Can Inspire Special Education PE Classes

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achilles kids program collage

Two years ago, I was working at a summer day camp where I began talking to a co-worker about programs that we used with our students. I told her that I was a runner and I used the programs through the New York Runner’s Club. In prior years, I was struggling to find programs for my 12:1 special education physical education classes who were lacking motivation and not willing try something new. She suggested this great program that she used with her students with disabilities called Achilles Kids. I was really curious about the program, so that night I did my research on the program. Once I saw the video on YouTube explaining the Achilles Kids Program, I was sold! In the Fall of 2015, I took the plunge and signed up three of my 12:1 classes for the Achilles Kids: Run for Life Program with Karen Lewis. I was so glad I did!

My Journey Using The Achilles Kids Program

My first year with Achilles Kids was a huge success, but it was a challenge to get there. As was the case in years past, the students resisted the change from the regular routine and did not want to run and participate in the program. However, I started to run with them and told them about the different prizes that they would receive if they reached their goals. First, the certificates came in the mail, and for many of these students this would be the first award they had ever received! Soon, there was no more complaining and it was replaced with a motivation that I was so excited to see. They started striving to go a little further every time they came into the gym. Not only did they start to get moving, but they motivated me to start to run again and I started to go after my personal goal of running a marathon. Continue reading



Lift Up Autism Event at MidCoast CrossFit

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lift up autism
On September 24th, MidCoast CrossFit in Old Saybrook, CT participated in a very special WOD (Workout Of the Day) called “Luke”, in support of Lift Up Autism. This is a worldwide “competition for a cause” that seeks to support early diagnosis and treatment of Austism, raise funds for the Autism Tree Project Foundation in San Diego, and shed light on the very real and significant impact Autism places on families and individuals around the world. In 2016, 626 gyms and 7,012 athletes participated, raising $80,433.00. This year it was expected that over 1,000 gyms would participate. “Luke” is a challenging workout, especially when completed as prescribed below. However, all of the movements and weights can be scaled or modified so a wide range of ages and athletic abilities can easily participate. It’s a tough 5 minutes!

“LUKE” Workout Details: 

  • AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) in 5 minutes
  • 4 Power Cleans (155 lb for men/105 lb for women)
  • 24 Double-Unders
  • 10 Pull-Ups
lift up autism

Pictured here is the Norton Family. Their son Harry has autism and was the guest of honor.

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Featured PE Teacher – Taralynn Lorance

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This week for the Featured PE Teacher section on the PE Central Facebook page, the spotlight is on Taralynn Lorance:

featured pe teacherAbout Taralynn:

I am a Physical Education Specialist at Wainwright Intermediate, Tacoma School District, Tacoma, WA. I teach 6th and 7th grade PE, and I have about 200 students. I have been teaching for 8 years in a gym and spent 17 years teaching swimming.

Current Lesson Plan/Unit:

Currently we are working on cooperative games with a focus on communication and teamwork. Communication is the theme of the month at our school and cooperative games lend a hand to this. By providing these lessons in my PE classes, it gives students opportunities to use communication in a variety of ways. it also sets a high standard for the use teamwork and communication during the year in PE and every subject area. Continue reading



Why Teachers are Incorporating Yoga in the Classroom

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yoga classroom

Yoga has become a great way for classroom teachers, PE teachers, and even after school coordinators to help students de-stress from their day, re-energize and clear their minds to focus. Yoga creates the support for students to not just build up their minds, but their bodies as well, better preparing them for their future. Below we list the 7 major benefits of incorporating yoga into the classroom, introduce you to our friends at Yoga Foster, and share how one teacher is using yoga in her classroom.

Our friends over at Yoga Foster advocate and heavily support the use of yoga throughout the school day and have success story after success story from educators that have used their program. We are so inspired by the work Yoga Foster is doing that we’ve even partnered with them to create an online course for PE Teachers (which can also be tailored to after school professionals and classroom teachers) that walks you through introducing yoga to your students. Continue reading



Top 3 Literacy Support Materials for the Classroom

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classroom literacyBuilding strong literacy and language skills is so important. They are what forms the basis for learning in all subjects. With effective instruction and literacy development in early childhood education classrooms, teachers and educators can have a substantial impact on these skills.

With many schools and districts focused on increasing literacy skills right now, we turned to our friends at Steps To Literacy to help us gather the best support tools to help you. Steps to Literacy specializes in curating customized classroom libraries based on reading levels, genres, topics and specific students’ needs. The expertise they have developed from providing thousands of teachers with literacy solutions has led them to develop some exclusive support materials for the classroom. Back in July, S&S brought on a handful of our favorites. We are excited to take a closer look at them below and share with you how you can use them in your classroom. Continue reading



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