Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Adventure To Fitness- No Barriers!

Hello Adventurers!

I wanted to let you in on an update from HQ! The number of schools, teachers, and minutes used is rapidly increasing! We are seconds away from 6,000 schools, we are over 25,500 teachers, and up to this very second, physical activity has increased with Adventure To Fitness by 3,153,784.5 minutes!!! That is pretty incredible and as always we thank you the teachers for jumping on board and getting your kids healthy!

Mr. Marc was also just in San Antonio spreading the word this week and soon he is heading to Chicago to do just the same! But he's doing more than just that. Remember in a previous post I mentioned the Mr. Marc Skype visits with the top classrooms in the nation? Well that has been going full speed! Updates and highlights on that to come but...

There IS something very interesting I want to share with you. We planned a Skype visit with one of the schools over in Alaska. That is cool all on its own. But to top it off, this school is very unique. The school is in a village community of Razdolna which is an Old Believer Russian village. They have isolated themselves in order to preserve the culture and so the school is located within the village for the children there. However, physical activity is of course important to them as well. They have no gym and so wondered what they could do to get the kids active during the school day. Then along came Adventure to Fitness! That is what struck us over here at HQ: With the use of technology, everyone can be reached. There are no barriers! We are reaching people everywhere as long as they have internet. Even remote areas. As Mr. Marc says in the episodes, "Nobody gets left behind." We try to do that by making sure every teacher hears about us and our mission! This way, every child can have the opportunity to get fit with Adventure to Fitness!

So remember teachers, you are one of many as part of this mission and we want your kids to be inspired to move! So, "Just Hit Play!"

As always, keep it moving, my friends!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Adventure To Fitness- Great Practice

Hello everyone!

We have had some calls and emails asking about the best ways to implement Adventure To Fitness into the classroom and I first want to say thank you for asking! We have some concepts that can help and I wanted to share with you:

Kids benefit from repetition. I know I'm preaching to the choir about repetition (you probably have dreams of the alphabet and multiplication tables every night! Ha)! Teachers are amazed when we say that many of the schools across the nation that use Adventure To Fitness work our program into their schedules for the kids 3 times a week! Most include it once a week on the same day every week so the kids know to expect it and get amped for it. For 3 times a week, you might be thinking: "Wow... those schools must have teachers who just put this on so they don't have to teach the kids anything." But that is the farthest thing from the truth! I was actually curious about that myself, so I looked into all of our high user schools (I'm a realist, you see) and time after time I was finding that they are exemplary schools- A schools that are recognized for their achievements in academics and various other efforts. Good job to you all! In getting some of their feedback, they said that they pride themselves in keeping the kids engaged and steadily motivated through out the day. The episodes help do that! This goes back to the times I have mentioned that physical activity helps activate the brain for better attentiveness, retention and memory recall. 

So, great implementing of the program: Repetition! Finding at least one time a week where you carve out 30 minutes to do a full episode with the kids. (P.S. I personally know what a Sherpa is now after watching the "Abominable Ascent" episode a few times!) Repetition will help your students retain the academics included in each episode. It will also teach them the value in being physically active if they know that at certain times each week, they will be exerting some energy. That's what this is all about anyway! Keeping kids healthy.

Before and after episodes, we suggest reinforcing the academic elements from the episode. They just learned about the Mayans in an episode? Try reinforcing the facts with our activities that we have pre-made for you! I know teachers love to see activities that are ready to use! Try them out because that repetition about, say, the Mayans can help out a lot when you're doing a lesson on them! Use the Episode Standards guide in the PDF format next to the episodes to help you understand what subjects the episode applies to. 

Maybe you don't have enough time in your day to carve out a whole 30 minutes for an episode. That's OK! Adventure To Fitness episodes can be stopped, paused, re-wound and fast-forwarded however you need. Give your kids a brain break from the monotony of sitting at their desk writing and listening to lectures. They need movement too! So get them up for even just 5 or 10 minutes with a quick clip from one of our adventures. This helps to get that blood flowing again, giving them a little more energy to get through the rest of the day. Some teachers have even written about how they use Adventure To Fitness as a reward. If their students do well on a test, or behave exceptionally well, they put on an episode, and the kids love it! As you can probably remember being a student yourself, class was always more fun when the teacher did something out of the ordinary (even if it was study-oriented!). So revitalize your students and your day by getting everyone up and moving!

Repetition, Reinforcement, Revitalizing! Implement these concepts and your students are on their way to becoming some top adventurers who are healthy and ready to take on whatever you give them!

As always, we are here for your questions and comments so don't be shy! 

Keep it moving!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Adventure To Fitness- Keep It Moving Tour

We at Adventure to Fitness recently came off our Fall 2011 Keep It Moving Tour and boy was that a ride. We visited the top schools around Florida and the kids went WILD for Mr. Marc!!! It was so refreshing for all of us to see how much Adventure to Fitness has made an impact on the lives of these young kids. I realized we're impacting the health of these kids in a way that can help them make smart and healthy choices for the rest of their lives. An idol of theirs (Mr. Marc) is running with them for 30 minutes a week (if not more! Which with most of these classes, was much more!) and encouraging them to eat nutritional foods while taking them across the globe! If you had one of your favorite actors come hang out with you and exercise each week, you think that would effect your choices? Oh my goodness, I'd want to be healthy and fit and ready to run. I'd want to carry on those habits. Especially if that person made doing the exercise something fun to look forward to.

Random thought: I also really liked how, aside from the kids being huge fans of Mr. Marc as a celebrity, they were also just itching to show him how fit they are. If he was talking about one of the bicycle fitness moves in an episode, all the kids would "ironically" start leaning back and their feet would just start levitating somehow- waited for his permission to start doing the bicycles. Once they did, they pushed hard and had a great time.

Well I digress...

Once the kids would calm down enough for Mr. Marc to speak, he was able to get into the importance of eating healthy to support Mega Mode fitness levels. He also touched a bit on how eating healthy and exercising are great on their own but that they help get our brains moving as well (Sound familiar? Like a previous blog post or something ;) ).

Then he would open up the floor to location ideas the kids would have for future episodes. Let me tell you, those kids were a riot! So creative! I think the top ideas from all our visits were probably to have an under water episode and a planet episode. So we'll see what we can do ;)

We have a video we made with pictures and footage from the tour at various schools. You can view it at our youtube channel. Here's the link: Fall 2011 Keep It Moving Tour Video

Thank you to those of you who participated and thank you for your great feedback about the visits. It was a pleasure and a lot of fun :)

Now, we have moved onto our Mr. Marc Skype visits! We're on a mission to honor the top 5 Adventure To Fitness teachers in each state with a personalized Skype visit from Mr. Marc. With over 25,000 teachers enrolled across the United States, it really takes an impressive class to be ranked in the Top 5!!! So congratulations to all of those who are going to get the chance to Skype with Mr. Marc for being such great fit and healthy adventurers.

We do these sort of rewards for great classrooms occasionally so keep it moving and one day, maybe your class can be visited or Skyped in too!

For now, we at HQ hope that you have a great week and as always, Keep It Moving!!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Adventure To Fitness- Mass Population, Any Questions?

Hello fellow adventurers!

This is a quick post (nearly impossible for me) because I am very curious to hear from you! The teachers! You are the experts. You are the ones in the classrooms with the kids everyday. Each of you has a unique perspective on being a teacher and each of you teach at a school that is unique to its own environment. So we want to hear from you! Give us your questions. Your comments and feedback. Your ideas. As always, let us know how your kids are doing with the program! Favorite episodes??? Also, what do you think is the best way for us to spread the word? We think every child should have the opportunity to get active with Adventure To Fitness (that's a huge reason why we are fully funded). So what are your creative ways to get others on board? We love hearing from our audience! So comment here or if you're shy, send me an email! Comments are always welcome!

Looking forward to hearing for you, the readers, teachers, and leaders!

As always, KEEP IT MOVING, my friends!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Adventure To Fitness - For ALL students

Hello fellow Adventurers!!! I hope that all is going well! Here at HQ, we are celebrating! Why? Because we just passed 5,000 schools today across the nation! We were excited when we reached 20 schools. But this is great! Congratulations to all of our schools, our teachers and kids. Thank you for keeping it moving and getting more people on board with living healthy lifestyles- bodies and minds.

A sweet encouragement during my day is that Mr. Marc and I get to look through all of the fan mail - from the cute little ones with the squiggly attempts of drawing Mr. Clock and then from our great teachers who have offered us generous thanks and insight on how Adventure to Fitness is helping their students. I was just going through some of Mr. Marc's fan mail when I stumbled upon this gem and thought I would share it. If any of you know teachers working with special needs children or if you are such a teacher yourself, this program is also for your students so spread the word. In fact, we have gotten many messages and phone calls from special needs classes saying that they've never found a better fit for their kids. Talk about encouragement for us here at headquarters! (I know using the term "headquarters" may be super cheesy and perhaps reveals my age and need to feel cool with my geeky "in-crowd" language... but I'm gunna let it stick! Plus, if you've seen any of the episodes, the lingo is not new to you!)

Anyway, here is a letter from a teacher in Florida (yeah hometown!) who wanted to let people know one positive effect Adventure to Fitness has had with her autistic class:

Hi Mr. Marc,
Unfortunately, it is a common trait of those with autism to have unusual eating and drinking habits. They tend to eat and drink the same thing and much of it is very unhealthy such as: chicken nuggets, hotdogs, juices, sodas, chips, pizza, candies etc. They hardly ever eat any fresh fruit or vegetables although it is offered daily in our cafeteria. This is very typical of children with autism. Every year I do my best to teach them healthier eating and drinking habits. I have always encouraged the children and their parents to send in water bottles daily. The majority of my students rarely drank any water throughout the day, even with me role modeling it and teaching it to them. I had a student (4th grader) that his mother told me in the beginning of the year, that he would never drink water - only juices. The rest of my class would drink water as a last resort, and they would only drink juice throughout the day. Once we started doing Adventure to Fitness and the children were really working up a sweat, they started drinking water from our fountain in the room. They would all line up at the water fountain in the room when you [Mr. Marc] told  them to hydrate. As we continued to do more of your adventures, I encouraged them to bring in their own water bottles for their water breaks - and they did! The one student that never would drink water, is now drinking water, and ALL my other students are bringing in their own bottles and/or drinking more water from our fountain. 

My next mission is to continue to encourage healthier eating habits. I think if I tell them the healthy foods Mr. Marc eats, they will try it :) 

We look forward to the future adventures.
Ms. Brennan
ASD Teacher - NBCT
Neptune Elementary School

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adventure To Fitness - Standardizing Season. Yikes!

Oh the woes of the standardized testing season! I come from a family of educators so I can feel an ounce of your exhaustion/annoyance/boredom/business absolute joy to be in this season in the semester with your kiddos. Whatever state you are in with your particular state's form of the test, you are probably weighed down in language arts and mathematics and have grown very aware of your kids who are falling over in their seats sleepy and unhappy to be practicing and then to be tested. A lot of schools have been pushing to maintain recess and Physical Education and a few have been realizing the importance of maintaining physical activity mandates as well. Smart people! Me and my team here at Headquarters (oh yeah... I went there! If you're currently a user, I'm sure you know that means that I personally know Professor Maddison ;)) did some research. You may have heard these things in passing and thought "Oh my gosh I have no time to worry about that! I have to jam all this info into my day and the kids are riled and struggling!"(Gosh... not to depict you as a yelling crazy person! Just a person with lots on their to-do list. ::smiles:: I feel you.) BUT, physical activity is tremendously helpful for brain activity. Have you ever felt sluggish, took a walk, and then felt better and quick minded?
This is why:

 I would take a student with the right brain in my classes over a student with the left brain because they will be more engaged and absorbent (great word choices, huh?). By the way, that picture was sent to us here at Adventure to Fitness in a PowerPoint that a teacher over in Arizona created to show his teachers the importance of meeting the physical activity mandates for their kids. (shameless plug: we LOVE getting those sorts of emails so that we know our teachers are spreading the word about the program and joining us in the mission!) He had a few other great things about how there is a positive correlation between physical fitness and test scores. This means that as physical fitness increases, test scores increase. This is so important for this crazy testing season all of you are going through right now. Maybe joining Mr. Marc on a 30 minute adventure could even help YOU shake off some of the anxiety or sluggishness of everything. Bring in those sneakers to class! The kids will be amazed and inspired to watch Mr/s. Teacher break it down into Mega Mode! Do it!

For interesting and enlightening research on the topic (because you have endless amounts of time on your hands, right?) check out this article. Put the title in parentheses in a search engine and it should be your first result as a PDF: Effect of Physical Education and Activity Levels on Academic Achievement in Children

Happy Testing and Healthy Kids!!! We wish you the best of luck!

As always, KEEP IT MOVING, my friends!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Adventure To Fitness - Who are we, you ask?

Hello fellow social networkers! My name is Amanda and I am a school liaison for Adventure to Fitness (that title sounds so official does it not?) and I love what this company stands for. If you've meandered to this blog, my guess is that you are an educator of some sort- perhaps a TA, a good 'ole teacher, principal, or parent. Whether you are a veteran Adventure to Fitness user or you just stumbled upon us while searching for a way to get your students physically active (mandates, anybody?), WELCOME! I am going to try to make this a place you can come to see what we are all about and how you can stay informed and keep our children active. For starters, here is the Adventure to Fitness mission statement (since all schools are into mission statements, right? ::smiley face::). We are:

Inspiring children to lead healthy lifestyles through imagination, education, and movement.

AND WE ARE DOING JUST THAT!  As of this very second as I type this very word, we have 22,330 teachers utilizing the program across the United States and more people are jumping on board every day (No joke. Every day. Including weekends. Now that's what I call A+ teachers!) 

Something you may have heard about the program (or are desperately seeking as you read this post as the most important factor) is that we are a FREE resource for schools to use!!! Yup. FREE! If you have not read my description, here is a recap of what the Adventure to Fitness resource is:

The Adventure to Fitness Physical Activity Resource provides age appropriate co-curricular programming streamed directly into the general education classrooms using existing technology. With one click, classrooms are propelled into a world of fun, excitement, education, and activity. When children embark on weekly adventures, the classroom walls come alive, and students become totally immersed in their mission; from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to venturing deep inside a rumbling volcano in Yellowstone National Park, students of all shapes, sizes, and abilities actively engage from beginning to end.

Check out this video for a quick (and dramatically realistic!!!) overview of what we offer (if it doesn't link, then just copy/paste into a new browser): 

Weekly adventures (episodes) assist schools in fighting obesity by increasing physical activity from the safety and comfort of the classroom while aligning to state standards in health, reading, writing, social studies, science and math. Corresponding Teacher Guide's and worksheets align to Common Core Standards.

So let's team up- you and me. Let's get the children of this generation back into healthy choices and lifestyles! One person cannot spread this mission alone. So join the growing 22,000 other K-5 teachers in getting all of our elementary students moving at LEAST once a week! Let that be your goal and your guide. If we show our kids consistency, they will incorporate consistent physical activity into their lives as they grow up (articles on that in the future sometime probably).

To create your username, click on over to our adventuretofitness.tv website and fill in the blanks putting your school email as the username (it is used solely for log-in purposes and since this is currently only a school resource, our system only recognizes school domains). Verify your username once you get the validation email (sent immediately) and then "Just Hit Play!!!" as we like to say. It's a 3 minute process. Then you can get your classes up and moving!

If you ever have any questions, are having some technical issues, or need any help give us a call!!! We have great customer support (if I may say so myself. That's not even a biased remark. Other teachers have blogged about our great customer support!). Our number is 407.324.KIDS(5437).

Or send me an email with questions at: blog@adventuretofitness.com

Or better yet, to go with the blogging idea, ask your questions HERE. At this blog! Leave a comment! Gosh I love exclamation points!

That's a good 'ole novel for my first blogger post!! You're probably cross-eyed now. But don't let that keep you from coming back! I project posting here once a week with interesting features we have, articles galore, and awesome facts. I look forward to our growing relationships and bridges between program and people.
Spread the word and as always, KEEP IT MOVING, my friends!!!