Tag Archives for " Physical Education "

Custom Card Download for STEM

Custom Card Download for STEM

How would you like to integrate classroom teachers lessons into your program? Our STEM Custom Card Download makes it easy. Here is how it works. 

1) Ask a classroom teacher if they wouldn’t mind including questions on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in your program.

2) Provide them the STEM Custom Card Download Template

3) The classroom teacher would type his/her questions into the template and email it back to you when completed.

4) You would print the template, laminate it, and add the cards to the already existing question cards that are included with STEM Skillastics®.

5) You have now included real-time questions that classroom teachers are reviewing in the classroom into PE. The classroom teacher will be thrilled and you will love seamlessly integrating more academics into your program.

For more information, contact Jess Wadleigh at jwadleigh@skillastics.com or at (310) 431-8205.

Basketball Tips and Ideas – Focus on the Present

I remember the first time I performed at the halftime of a Boston Celtics game. What a thrill it was to perform on a court with so much history associated with it! When I started the dribbling routine of my performance, my mind started to wander – here I was standing on the Leprechaun, thinking about all the historical games that were started with a jump ball right here. I was thinking completely about something else other than thinking about what I was doing in front of 20,000 people at that moment! I made a slight mistake, which shocked me back into focusing on the present and then I finished the performance successfully.

Have you ever felt your mind wander during an important moment in a game? We’ve all experienced this at one time or another in our lives, and it’s easier said than done to “snap out of it” and get back to focusing on the task at hand. Below are 7 Keys to Staying Focused in the Present:

  1. Refocus – Become aware of the slip of attention, and then choose another focal point or direction of attention to turn your mind to.
  2. Use Task Goals – Concentrate on the specific challenges of the event. This may include technique or strategy points, executing plays, or simply being involved in the game.
  3. Keep it Simple – Do not become overly analytic in your desire to take an “active mind” approach to performance. Do not fill your mind up with so many thoughts.
  4. Plan for the Competition – Planning well in advance of the event involves working out where to focus at different parts of an event. By preparing mental plans in advance, you are free to carry out the plan during performance.
  5. Make Back up Plans – These are developed by preparing responses, or refocusing strategies, to use in adverse competitive situations. Of course, you can’t plan for all possible scenarios, but working out in advance how you would respond can facilitate an appropriate response being made when the “heat is on.”
  6. Practice Concentration – Here is a meditation exercise. Sit in a comfortable position. Take a note of the time on your watch. Close your eyes and focus on one thing (for instance your breathing). Pay attention to your breaths in and out. Do this for as long as you maintain this focus. Open your eyes when your focus moves and note the time on your watch. Continue to try to increase your focus time.
  7. Direct your attention – Dissociate the emotional content from the noise of the crowd. Know that the crowd is there, but don’t let it affect your feelings.

Some information in this tip comes from: Flow in Sports: The Keys to Optimal Experiences and Performances.

Skillastics Soars in After School

Skillastics® Soars in After School

Did you know Skillastics® is the #1 physical resource in After School?  After School sites love its simplicity, versatility, and its alignment with the 5 Core Competencies in Social & Emotional Learning. 

CLICK HERE to Learn how Skillastics® Aligns with the SEL 5 Core Competencies.

Skillastics® Partners With Active Schools

We are excited to announce our partnership with Active Schools, the national movement to ensure that 60 minutes of physical activity a day is the norm in K-12 schools.  They act as a hub to help schools access best practices, programs, and resources to increase physical education and physical activity opportunities for students.  They also use communication and activation strategies to engage champions, influencers, and decision-makers to help make systems and policy changes that will enable our schools to educate the whole child – by reimagining school environments to provide opportunities for academic, social, emotional, AND physical learning so that all children have the ability, confidence, and desire to lead active, healthy lives.

We are thrilled with our partnership with Active Schools and look forward to passionately promoting their mission. 

To learn more about Active Schools, visit: www.activeschoolsus.org

Success Isn’t About Winning

With summer just around the corner, children will be busy competing in many different club tournaments and attending a variety of different camps.  With all this competition, it’s nice to be reminded what really important when it comes to being successful.  I came across this story that’s apropos…

A woman having lunch at a small cafe was seated next to a family celebrating their son’s basketball game. Their conversation was so lively that the woman joined in. “You must have been on the winning team,” she said.
The kid grinned from ear to ear. “No, we lost by 20 points. The other team had a killer defense. We were only able to make one basket.”
“Did you make the basket?” asked the woman.
With his mouth filled with cake and ice cream, the boy shook his head no. His father reached across the table to give him a high five. His mother hugged him and said, “You were awesome.”
The woman at the next table rubbed her chin. The boy looked at the confused woman and said, “At last week’s game I took nine shots, but they all fell short of the basket. This week I took eight shots and three of them hit the rim. Dad says I’m making progress.”

~Adapted from “Ice Cream Party”, Rochelle M. Pennington

Making progress. Every time you practice, every time you play in a game, examine your play and ask yourself; “Did I make progress?” If the answer is yes, then you know that you are getting better. It’s a slow process, but the rewards are great. Start the summer by changing the way you view your play. Don’t base your success on how many baskets you make, how many rebounds you get, or how many games your team wins. Base your success by examining if you’ve made progress in ALL aspects of the game. Before you know it the points you score will increase, and your overall game will become much better.

The Key Components of a Quality Physical Education Program

The Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE), provides several tools to help physical educator’s and school administrators evaluate the school’s physical education program. 

According to SHAPE, there are four components of a high-quality physical education program.

  1. Opportunity to Learn (provide a developmentally appropriate program)
  2. Meaningful Content (instruction in a variety of motor skills, fitness education, opportunity to improve social and cooperative skills, promotion of physical activity)
  3. Appropriate Instruction (maximum practice opportunities, full inclusion, out of school practice)
  4. Student and Program Assessment (assessment is ongoing, assessments align with state/national physical education standards)

Skillastics®® has been recognized as a valuable resource for following best practices in a quality physical education program.

  • Skillastics®® Activity Kits are developed to provide appropriate practice opportunities for all students
  • Skillastics®® Activity Kits can be used to teach and reinforce a variety of motor skills
  • Skillastics® Activity Kits can be used to teach and reinforce fitness concepts for all ages (PreK-12)
  • Skillastics®® engage students in a cooperative setting
  • Skillastics®® activities can be used on fitness calendars and by classroom teachers to promote increased physical activity during the day
  • Skillastics®® activities can be modified to be used with special populations
  • Skillastics® keeps all students active by providing maximum participation (80%)
  • Skillastics® is an excellent assessment tool
  • Skillastics® aligns with the National Physical Education Standards

So, the next time your administration schedules a time to visit or evaluate your program, consider including Skillastics®® as the resource of having students fully engaged and aligned with a quality physical education program.

What ways have you found Skillastics®® to help contribute to YOUR quality physical education program?  Help others by sharing your comments below.

For more information, download SHAPE’s Guidance Document HERE.

National Childhood Obesity Facts, Figures and a Solution to the Epedemic

Childhood obesity is a major concern in the United States. Over the past few decades there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children suffering from obesity. Kids are staying indoors more with limited physical activity and increased caloric consumption, resulting in a nationwide epidemic of obesity in our children. There are hundreds of organizations, large and small, fighting to stem this trend and help get our kids’ health back in check. But a business or non-profit can’t do it alone. Parents and kids must both be willing to change their habits to create a healthier lifestyle.

Causes of Childhood Obesity
There are many causes for childhood obesity, and sometimes a complex combination of circumstances work together to put our children at risk. One thing we know for sure is that reduced physical activity in school is a component and a risk factor for childhood obesity. Studies have shown that throughout our nation, less than one third of school-aged children (age 6-17) engage in physical activity – that is, activity that makes them sweat and increase breathing and heart rate for at least 20 minutes. And that’s just the minimum recommended amount of physical activity. There is no surprise here that childhood obesity has become a frightening epidemic in our country.

Risks of Child Obesity

•High Cholesterol and Blood Pressure: High levels of “bad” cholesterol called LDL and also high blood pressure are common in obese children.
•Bone and Joint Problems: There have been numerous cases of obese children experiencing a slipped growth plate in their hip bone.
•Sleep Apnea: Obstruction of the child’s airway is common and can result in many other day-to-day problems like poor school performance and nighttime bedwetting on top of the primary risk where the individual stops breathing in their sleep.
•Psychological Problems: Probably the most severe risk of obesity in kids is their emotional and psychological health. Kids will develop poor self-esteem and accept the fact that they will be obese their entire lives, making it extremely difficult for them to change their lifestyle in later years.
•Type 2 Diabetes: What used to be only of concern in adults and very rare in children is not a major concern for obese kids.
Child Obesity Statistics

•Prevalence of Obesity: Among children ages 6-11, there was a 6.5% rate of obesity in 1980 which increased to 18.6% by 2008. Ages 12-19 increased from 5% to 18.1% in the same time period.
•Cardiovascular Disease: 70% of obese children from 5-17 years have at least one symptom and risk factor of cardiovascular disease like high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
•Low-Income Obesity: 1 of 7 low income children in preschool is obese.
•13 million children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese.
•Obese adolescents are 80% more likely to end up as obese adults.
•Healthcare expenses directly related to childhood obesity are $14 billion every year.
One Solution to the Epidemic: Quality PE in Schools
The problem of childhood obesity is urgent – changes need to be made immediately. Children need positive influences from the adults around them to make better choices. And who better to provide that than a physical education teacher? In general, children attend about 5 or 6 hours of school, 5 days per week. Physical education classes might take up about an hour per day. Imagine the good that could be done for children if that time was optimized with fun, challenging, and healthy activity.

Implementing quality PE in children’s school schedule would be a great first step to turning this epidemic around. PE classes should be used to really teach children about how important a healthy lifestyle is. We can reverse the stigma about PE classes being boring, awkward, and repetitive by breathing new life into old games and activities. Children can learn that challenging themselves and staying healthy are great for self-esteem and making new friends. Teachers should be passionate about their purpose, and lead by positive example.

When students are able to connect with teachers and create a respectful relationship, they are highly more likely to engage in activities and try their hardest. With energetic and fun teachers, a challenging and exciting curriculum, and education about the crucial importance of physical activity and healthy eating, children will take fitness seriously. We will improve the PE in our schools, and let our children reap the benefits