Category Archives for Afterschool

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Play Your Cards Right and Increase Physical Activity

Thanks to all who attended our “Play Your Cards Right and Increase Physical Activity” session in Seattle.  As promised here are three more activities you can do with playing cards.  For those that were not able to attend, think about all of the fun you can have with your students using just a deck (or two or three!) of playing cards.  Even though many have limited budgets, you can still provide fun and creative activities to keep your students active and fit.  Stay tuned next month for a few more ideas!  Until then, “Play Your Cards Right” and keep your students active!!

Card Run

Students walk and jog around the gym.  Each time they pass you, hand them a playing card.  After the students have 2-3 cards stop, have them add up the number of points they received.  Face cards are 10 points and Aces are 1 points.  Then based on their total, they do to the Fitness task card activity that represents that number (1-26) and complete it 10 times.  If they have more than 26 have them subtract 10 points to get their activity.  Collect the cards and repeat the activity.

It’s in the Cards

Students work with a group of 4-6 people.  Each group has a stack of playing cards.  They turn one card over and then do a fitness task card activity listed for that particular card.  Have the four suits assigned to one activity and they do the activity that number of times.  Encourage students to share the job of turning the cards.

Variation:  Use only cards with up to 9 and have students count by that number a total of 10 times (i.e. if it is a 4 of clubs and push up shoulder touches is assigned to clubs they do the push up shoulder touches counting by 4’s until they get to 40).

Cards are on the side of the playing area with Fitness task activity cards posted on the wall.  They come back to their group and lead the group in the activity.

Category Cards                                                                                                                                                     Students work in groups of 3, starting on the side line or outside of playing area. Spread the cards out in the center of playing area.  Students will be assigned a task, locomotor or sport skill (dribble a ball) as they move to the card area. Students pick up a card and carry to team area while doing skill. Keep cards at group area until activity is over. Options: Determine which cards they may chose-only Red cards, only even cards, a sequence of cards, add letters on the back of cards to spell classroom spelling list or Physical Education vocabulary.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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Convention Survival Tips

Convention Survival Tips

The Skillastics® Team has been to over 100 National Conventions in the past 20 years. We have some practical tips to share with you about how to get the most enjoyment, learning and connection out of those long days!

  • Don’t be a flipper.  You’ve seen them. Maybe you are one. The attendee who is constantly flipping through the program and realizing only too late that they missed the one session they wanted to go too.  Review the entire program BEFORE you get to the conference.  Create your own calendar and schedule. Set it up by day with the times and location of the specific sessions you will go to, who you want to see in the exhibit hall and which socials and meetings you want to attend.  Download your schedule to your phone – you won’t have to carry the big convention book around.
  • So many raffles, so little time! Print up a sheet or two of labels with your name, school, title, mailing address, email and phone number. Have them handy to hand out for mailing lists, raffles and for order forms. You’ll be glad you did.
  • If you are the convention with colleagues, split up to go to the sessions.  It’s always fun to stay together but you get more “bang for your buck” if you go to different sessions.
  • If you are in a session and it’s now what you expected, it’s ok to leave and go to another one.  Sometimes the descriptions and the actual session are not what you anticipate.  You need to benefit from each session you attend.
  • When you are in the exhibit area, if there is a vendor you want to go back and visit, take time to write down the information for where they are located-normally there are signs for each isle.  By doing this you will save time because you know where to go!
  • If you can’t make a purchase at the convention but find equipment that you think will be approved, ask the vendor how long the convention rate will be honored.
  • Leave some room in your suitcase for the return trip!  Or, there normally is a place at the convention center or close by where you can ship things back if needed.
  • But I can’t connect! Be prepared for difficulty connecting to the internet. Check in advance if the hotel has free wi-fi. And be prepared for access at the convention center to be limited or expensive. Research the nearest Starbucks!
  • Take care of the dogs! We’ve all heard the expression, “My dogs are barking.”
  • Conferences require a lot of walking. Frequently on concrete floors. Be sure to wear shoes that are comfortable and that will serve you well for 8-10 hours per day.  And will allow to jump, run and play during the active sessions and demo’s.
  • Get the attention you deserve!
  • Have a specific vendor you want to talk too? Call in advance and set up an appointment. And if you don’t get around to doing that, block out a couple times when sessions are happening but you go to the exhibit hall. Vendors have down time when everyone else is in the sessions and so that is when you get the best service, can ask lot’s of questions and will build a relationship with your vendor.
  • Take a rest. Schedule 20 minutes each day where you will go to your room orsit in a park and recharge your batteries.
  • Fuel! The air in convention centers is dry. And bottled water isn’t cheap.
  • Bring a stainless steel bottle and keep it full. Drink often. Avoid pastry and high carb foods. Pack some high-energy foods like almonds, bananas or protein bars. Eat before you are hungry and drooling at the pizza stand. Your blood sugar will thank you.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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Integration Strategies

With an increased focus on test scores, most if not all special area teachers (don’t you love being “special” J ) are being required to show how academic content is included in their lessons.  I heard a quote at a conference once that really stuck with me and I use it often because it helps us with this challenge.  The quote was “I don’t teach other academic areas, I integrate them”.  It’s not difficult for us to find ways to integrate academics into our lessons and still keep the focus on our physical education standards and objectives.  On the other hand, with the focus on increasing physical activity during the school day, it’s a great opportunity for us to help classroom teachers see how they can integrate movement into their lessons.  Here are just a few examples of how this can work as a two way street! 

Reading Common Core Standard, Grades 3-5:  Describe relationships and explain events, procedures, ideas or concepts in a scientific or technical way. 

Skillastics® Resource:  Fitness Skillastics® and Fitness Extreme Skillastics® Activity Kits                                        

Skillastics® Lesson Application Example:  Give students a 3 x 5 card and ask them to look at the mat and select one activity that can be done to help improve a specific fitness component. The student must give one reason they think the activity will improve that fitness component.

Mathematics Common Core Standard, Grade K:  Identify and describe shapes.                                                   

Skillastics® Resource:  Halfpint Skillastics® Activity Kit                                                                 

Skillastics® Lesson Application Example:   As students roll the shape die, ask them to call out the name of the shape that the die lands on. 

 

Classroom Integration Activity Idea for Reading Integration: 

“Teacher, Teacher”:  Give a copy of the task cards to classroom teachers.  The teacher has students work in small groups and each group has one task card.  Each group reads the directions, practices the activity and then demonstrates it for the rest of the class.  This can be done to help students review the activities for that specific activity kit and also helps the teachers learn the activities as well as giving students an opportunity to practice reading and comprehension. 

Classroom Integration Activity Idea for Math Integration:

 “Roll ‘Em”:  Students work with a partner for this activity, with each group having a pair of die.  On the signal, they roll the die and then find the “answer” based on what is designated (add them together, multiply them, subtract them, multiply the total by 2, etc.).  The teacher calls out one of the Skillastics® activities and the students do that activity the number of times of their “answer”. 

Remember, you aren’t “teaching” academics; you are “integrating” academics while you teach physical education! 

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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Moving with the Alphabet

Moving with the Alphabet”

 Equipment Needed:

·         Laminate the alphabet on 26 pieces of paper (one letter on one paper)

·         26 Skillastics® Task Cards (Any Skillastics® Activity Task Cards will work – Fitness, Fitness Xtreme, Let’s Move in School, Character is Cool, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis and Volleyball)

 Set Up:

·         Scatter all 26 laminated letter cards throughout the playing area. 

·         Lay a Skillastics® Task card next to each of the 26 laminated letter cards.

·         Designate an area in the corner of the playing area for children to go to after they have completed the “Moving with the Alphabet” assignment.  (Teaching Tip:  This area could include additional Skillastics® task cards, balls, beanbags, scarves, anything that will keep the children active).

 

Start Play:

·         On a signal or music, children scatter around the playing area, going to the first letter that spells their name.

·         When they find the letter, they look at the Skillastics® activity associated with that letter.

·         The child does the activity the number of repetitions that were determined prior to play.

·         When the child completes the repetitions, they search for the next letter in their name and repeat the process.

·         When a child finishes spelling his/her name, they jog to the designated playing area in the corner and do an assigned activity in that area until everyone in the class has completed spelling their name.

Options:

·         Appoint teams

o   Each team is told to spell a word (each team has a different word, but has the same amount of letters in the words.  For example, dog and cat). 

o   The first team to spell the word first and jog to the designated area, wins.

·         Partner Up

o   Partners work together on rotating to each of the cards and doing the activity. 

o   The partners pull a word out of a bucket and begin spelling.

o   When the word is spelled, they go back to the bucket and spell another word.

·         Sport Specific

o   Lay equipment next to each card.  For example, if you want the children to work on their basketball skills, lay a basketball or a ball that bounces next to each letter card and Basketball Skillastics® Task Card.  Teaching Tip:  Place the Basketball in a ring or in a bucket.  This will reduce the frustration of the ball rolling away.  Or, you can line the cards along a wall, and lay the ball against a wall.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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Physical Activity Before and After School and Staff Involvement

This month we will take a look at the last two components of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program, “Physical Activity Before and After School” and “Staff Involvement”.  A summary from NASPE/AAHPERD of these two components are below.

Physical Activity Before and After School

Physical activity before and after school provides opportunities for all students, including those with disabilities, to practice what they’ve learned in physical education, work towards the nationally recommended 60+ minutes of daily moderate-vigorous physical activity, and prepare the brain for learning. Additional benefits include social interaction and engagement of students in safe, supervised activities.

Opportunities include:

  • Walk and bike to school and implementation of a comprehensive Safe Routes to School program
  • Informal recreation or play on school grounds
  • Physical activity in school-based child-care
  • Physical activity clubs and intramural sports
  • Interscholastic sports

Staff Members Move in School

High-level support from school administrators is critical to a successful comprehensive school physical activity programs. Staff involvement in school-based physical activity provides two key benefits:

  • School employee wellness programs have been shown to improve staff health, increase physical activity levels, and be cost effective.
  • When school staff members are personally committed to good health practices, they are positive role models for students and may show increased support for student participation in physical activity.

One great way to bring attention to the importance of increasing physical activity before and after school is to take part in the National Walk and Bike to School Event that is scheduled for May 8.  Go to http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/ for more information on this event.   And, while you’re at it, why not get the school staff involved in this event to help them benefit from some fun physical activity as well!!

Another strategy to consider is using some of the Skillastics® activity kits for students attending before and after school programs and during professional development days with your staff.  The students will enjoy having the opportunity to be active and staff members will see the value of being active while having fun together!

This concludes the articles devoted to incorporating a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program into your schools.  In the previous articles you have been encouraged to sign up to be a part of NASPE/AAHPERD’s “Let’s Move in School Campaign”.  As most of you are probably aware, recently First Lady Michelle Obama announced her “Let’s Move! Active Schools” campaign.  AAHPERD and several other great organizations are collaborating on this project which will take the place of LMIS.  I encourage you to sign up at www.LetsMoveSchools.org and become a part of this initiative!

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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Become An Offensive Threat

Happy New Year! What a wonderful time to recommit yourself to becoming the basketball player you know you can become! And it’s really so simple, something you, and only you can do…that’s practice. The key is not how much time you spend practicing, it’s how you spend that time. So many times I’ve seen young athletes practicing with good intentions; however, the way they practice is completely wrong. And what they end up doing is developing bad habits (which are so hard to break). Why not practice all the basketball fundamentals the RIGHT way, so you won’t have to spend so much time later correcting them?

So, with this idea in mind, I want to talk a little bit about becoming an Offensive Threat. And the way you become an Offensive Threat is to develop into a fundamentally solid player. One of the unique and exciting features of basketball is that all players handle the ball. No matter what position you play, you must dribble, pass, shoot, and rebound.

The best way to prepare you to gain your first offensive advantage once you have the ball is to start in the triple threat position. You can use this position to become an offensive threat in three ways — passing, shooting, or driving to the basket. The option you choose depends on the defense and how your opponents are playing you. And the key is reading your defense and being able to react immediately in one of three ways.

Putting the Triple Threat to Work

Once you make a decision to pass, shoot, or drive, you must execute your option.

  • Jab and Shoot – Step or jab violently at the defense with your front foot (Jab step about 1 foot in front of you), while keeping the pivot foot stationary. If the defense reacts and takes the fake by backing off, explode up for a jump shot. Repeat this 10 times at 5 different spots around the basket.
  • Jab Step and Go – With the jab and go, your pivot foot must remain on the floor until the dribble starts. Make your first step explosive, because you want to get around the defense. Remember, if you jab step and go to your right, dribble the ball with your right hand. Repeat this 10 times at 5 different spots around the basket.
  • Jab Step and Crossover – This move is good to use when the defense is close. With the ball, jab step to the side of the defense. Then, step across and by the defense with your front foot. If you are right-handed, jab with the right foot. Left-handed, jab with the left foot (it’s good to learn how to go both ways however). Now, you can cross over in the opposite direction. You must protect the ball, taking it from the outside hand farthest from the defender. Quickly switch the ball low from right to left using your right arm and body to protect the ball. The dribble begins before you pick up your pivot foot. The key is to stay low. Repeat this 10 times at 5 different spots around the basket. Go 10 times to the right, two dribbles and shoot and then 10 times to the left, two dribbles and shoot.

How do you teach the Triple Threat Position?  Help others by sharing your comments below.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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Including Current Events in Your Teaching Practices

 One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.”  Knute Rockne 
When I read that quote, I have mixed feelings because I believe that we have a responsibility to teach our students the importance of
good sportsmanship.  However, if we don’t model it, and practice it so students see what it looks like, then our teaching
is in vain.  In addition to our own actions, we also have a multitude of current examples of actions on and off the
field to help in our efforts to teach the value of teamwork and sportsmanship.  Here are two examples to
get you started thinking about how easy it is to include current events in your teaching practices. 
 
 A local middle school has a student who because of medical issues can’t play football.  He
desperately wanted to be on the team so the coach allowed him to come to practice and suit up for every game
even though he couldn’t actually play.  Recently, the coach talked to his team and
the opposing coach and this young man was allowed to enter the game.  And….I’m sure you see where this is going!  Even though it looked like he was
trying to be tackled, he wasn’t touched and ran down the field for a touchdown, and successfully ran for the two point conversion.  Everyone on both teams had a part in showing
what sportsmanship looks like on the field.   When interviewed, the coach said, sometimes there are more important
things in life than winning a game.  Through his teaching, two opposing teams practiced sportsmanship that day. 
 

Now, an example of how poor sportsmanship might be used as a teaching tool!  I am a Kansas City
Chiefs fan and season ticket holder (yes it’s been rough year!!).  A few weeks ago the starting quarterback was
hit and ultimately left the game with a concussion.  The fans were “ripped” by one of the Chiefs players
for cheering when it happened.  I was there and can tell you not everyone cheered as was originally reported, and some were
cheering for the fact that the back-up QB was coming into the game.  However, even one person cheering when a
player is injured in my mind is inappropriate.  One of the ESPN commentators later in the week said his concern was the
message it was giving to the “young fans”.  I totally agree!  And, unfortunately, that type of behavior is becoming more and more common at all
sporting events.  The fans actions, and the way a player stood up for his teammate provided an opportunity to talk
about sportsmanship and teamwork.  Events like can be used as well as those “feel good” stories as teachable moments with
our students. 

Check out the Character is Cool Skillastics®  kit for a great resource for teaching several character traits with a variety of fun and
challenging activities!  And, so you know, for the rest of the football season I’ll continue to wear purple on Saturday
and red on Sunday!  Go Kansas State Wildcats and Kansas City Chiefs!! 

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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Skillastics® and Integrating Academics

Skillastics®® activities provide opportunities to integrate academics with physical movement or activities.  To accomplish this, classroom teach would need a  list of the Skillastics®® activities with a short description on how to  perform that activity.   Also, the teacher can incorporate these activities throughout the day.  The basic concept is for the students do one of the Skillastics®® activities for a period of time, which is then followed by a brief  math or language arts exercise before the next Skillastics® activity takes place.  Here are a few ideas of how to incorporate math into Skillastics® activities:

  • Instruct the students to multiply the number of repetitions by a number you chose so that you  increase the intensity of the activity while having students work on multiplication skills.
  • Instruct students to add the three repetition numbers listed on an activity,  and this new number becomes the  number of repetitions.
  • Give students a math challenge based on whether the number on the mat is an odd or even number (i.e. if it’s an odd number they add 3 to the reps if it’s an even number they multiply the reps by 2).
  • The teacher selects the  Skillastics®® activity, and  the students must add or multiply the numbers rolled on both dices to determine the number of repetitions or amount of seconds to complete the activity.

To incorporate language arts, give students some time to write a short paragraph that describes what they enjoyed about playing the game.  Or, each team/group writes a brief description  on  how the Skillastics® game is played.

Classroom teachers can use Skillastics® activities not only as a tool to provide movement in the classroom but also to integrate academics and movement.  Provide a list of the Skillastics® activities and a short description of each activity to classroom teachers.  They then can use them throughout the day.  For example, they can have their students do one of the Skillastics® activities for 30 seconds then give them a math problem to solve while they are standing beside their desk.  The teacher can call out a Skillastics® activity, have the students roll two dice and either add or multiply the numbers to know how many times to do the activity.

These are just a few ideas on how to integrate academics with the Skillastics® activities to reinforce the connection between movement and academics. Below are two quotes that support the fact that physical activity can improve academic performance.

  • “Substantial evidence suggests that physical activity can be associated with improved academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores.”  NASPE and CDC
  •  “Cross Crawls, a contralateral exercise, accesses both brain hemispheres simultaneously.  These movements activate the brain for crossing the midline, left-to-right eye movements, and improved binocular vision.  The academic skills of spelling, writing, listening and reading benefit from these exercises.”  Dr. Paul Dennison, Brain Gym   (Note:  many Skillastics®® activities include cross lateral movement.)

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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Basketball Skillastics® Review

Product Review:  Basketball Skillastics®
Courtesy: 5 Star Hoops
Reviewed by:  Jim Waite

 

This Is a Game Worth Playing

Sandy “Spin” Slade sent a product for review to the Highway and it comes as no surprise to us that the offering, Basketball Skillastics® like Sandy herself is well organized, and entertaining. Sandy, as many of you know is world renowned for her expertise in handling a basketball and as a motivational speaker, appearing before audiences in excess of 200 times per year during her career. She has performed and spoken at levels ranging from elementary school all the way to N.B.A. venues and is well respected throughout the basketball community.  After retiring as a performer in 2008, Sandy has taken on a new focus, that being physical fitness for children. Citing the fact that in today’s society 16% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight, Sandy has begun creating games geared towards ending this cycle.
Basketball Skillastics® is aimed at children in grades 1-8 and provides fun and fitness in a board game for physical education classes, parks and recreation centers, child care programs, etc. Children participate in 26 physical activities that are “challenging, yet non- competitive”.  This non-competitive angle takes on great importance when you consider that many children, because of a lack of coordination skills, shy away from getting involved in physically demanding activities in an attempt to avoid embarrassment in front of their peers. Sandy’s game takes this element out of the equation giving even less coordinated kids an opportunity to participate with fellow students in a sports oriented endeavor. Let’s take a look at how the game is played.

Physical Fitness Can Be Fun

Our game arrived to us in a neatly contained pouch that included everything one needs to get started. This nylon carrying case also serves as a great storage bag for the entire game when finished playing meaning that misplaced pieces of the game will be kept to a minimum as opposed to tossing the contents into a box or volleyball bag. The game set included 1-  5×7 synthetic leather mat (latex free), 6 assorted and colored 3- inch foam dice, 6 assorted and colored 2.5 inch miniature beanbags, 6 miniature game boards for each team involved which are exact replicas of the 5×7 version, and detailed instructions on how to set up and play the game. Fitness instructors, insuring the safety of the children, reportedly approve all drills and 1-100 children can play at any given time. The only equipment needed to get started are enough balls for each child who participates and this can include either basketballs or playground balls such as rubber balls, volleyballs, etc.

Putting The Game To Into A Real Classroom Test
Though Sandy Slade has a great reputation, like any product reviewer worth his salt, I wanted to put this product to the test. Readers of the Highway certainly deserve quality reviews and Sandy deserves a quality critique of her product consequently I had to go no further than down the hallway of my own home to my wife who is a second grade teacher. My agreement with my wife was this. On her first rain day in which she could not get her kids out of the classroom and onto the playground, I wanted her to try this product and give me some quality feedback. My wife took the product to her school and as agreed upon waited for inclement weather. On her classes first day of rain and unable to get outside to the playground, my wife brought out Basketball Skillastics® and put it to the test with her 2nd grade class. She had her children move their desk back to the walls thereby opening up the center of her room for placement of the 5×7 mat. She divided her 24 kids into 6 groups and assigned each a colored die and tennis ball. The game then began and my wife stated she found out something almost instantly about her 2nd grade class. She observed almost immediately that many of her kids were woefully out of shape! Imagine 2nd graders being out of shape. She stated the kids appeared to have a great time with this game and then she gave me a tidbit testifying to the strength of this offering. She stated that once the game ended, and classroom instruction began again, she found many in her class to be more attentive and alert and not as “wiggly” in their chairs.  Being a runner herself, she could only surmise that the heightened cardio work for each of her kids had helped to relax them and take them to an increased state of awareness. When I questioned her as to why this did not always seem to happen when outdoor recess ended she could only guess that it was because so many kids go outside during the break but never get involved in any kind of physical exertion, instead simply spending time idly talking on the playground or riding the merry-go-round. As a testament to the program, my wife claims that though the next recess day was sunny and clear, her kids asked repeatedly if they could play the “inside” game again.

It Teaches, It Works

Not to end there, I decided on one more test of Basketball Skillastics® and I took the product to a local after school program and dropped it off. Sandy claims that this game is perfect for after school programs, right? Boy was she correct. In speaking with the 2 program directors, here is what I found.  Having 40 after school participants can be a trying time for even the most skilled of teachers. Kids are full of energy and many are anxious to get home according to the directors. As such, many of these same children can find themselves looking for “things to get into”, even in an enclosed environment such as a gymnasium. Older kids sometimes pick on younger students and keeping up with children who “need to go to the restroom” born out of sheer boredom can become a teachers nightmare. But after letting the directors use the product for just 2 days, they became sold on its benefits.  As the directors told me, because they were able to place the kids in teams, oversight of the students became a non-issue as all wanted to participate and the activity was not only fun but also beneficial from a safety standpoint. Some children I am told, while in the midst of a game, made their parents wait until the game was completed before leaving for home. That’s a pretty solid testamonial if you ask me.

Summary

Folks,  Sandy Slade has made a career out of bringing smiles to the faces of people. Her hands on skills with a basketball are legendary and widely respected. Now she has taken her talents to a new and different level with the invention of Basketball Skillastics®. Not only will this product keep kids entertained, but it will enhance physical fitness with flexibility drills, cardio improvements and an increased self-image. I put this game to the real test with the everyday “foot soldier”, also known by the term “teacher”. If a teacher says a product is good, you can bet that it is and I can assure you that the teachers I spoke with loved this offering.  I rate this product 5 + and would recommend it highly.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.