Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Thanks to C.J. Cain, Physical Education Teacher at Panther Run Elementary School (Lake Worth, FL) for providing this opinion piece.

“Coach” - one who instructs or trains ; especially : one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a competitive sport and directs team strategy

“Teacher” - one that teaches; especially : one whose occupation is to instruct

I’ve wrestled with my thoughts on being called “Coach” Cain for years. Here in Florida Physical Education teachers are often called “Coach”. I believe that everyone is a teacher to someone. Maybe it’s our children, our neighbors, the students under our supervision; in one way or another we teach others through our actions. I certainly consider myself a teacher and not just a “Coach”.

I look at how Physical Education is widely viewed in schools. We’re widely seen and regarded as “coaches” as Webster defines the word “instructs players in the fundamentals of a competitive sport and directs team strategy”. This is old-school Physical Education. This is not how we should be defined and we should move away from the sports-model of PE.

By allowing ourselves to be called “coaches” are we in a way allowing ourselves to be seen as lesser than what we are? We already have the US Dept. of Education, and state/local school boards of education and school administrators not valuing Physical Education. Our profession as a whole does not have the perception in the public that we wish to or should have. It leads to the questions of “How do we change the way Physical Education teachers are viewed and valued in our country”? “What can we do?”

Many of us out there are doing great things. Many of us within our local schools, local districts, state/national level and in some cases internationally are being recognized for the things we are doing. How do we get more people to pay attention and to learn about these great PE programs that exist? To understand what we do and our importance in schools? How do we move all Physical Education teachers forward?

Many questions crossing my mind lately. I watched a great documentary film over the weekend and thought – wouldn’t it be powerful if there was a documentary film on how childhood obesity is impacting our children. A really personal documentary following children throughout their day, home and school. Feel that would help the public understand just how serious this epidemic is.

Would also be a great film looking at the failing of the American Physical Education system. Show the “roll out the ball” teacher vs. someone like a George Velarde and his amazing program in Sierra Vista, CA. This entire diatribe from me speaks to the need for us to have serious conversations about our roll within education and how we can improve what we do for this generation and future generations of children….

I’m now officially off my soap box. :)

Christopher J. Cain
Panther Run Elementary Physical Education
Lake Worth, FL

Friday, October 22, 2010

Northwest Arkansas Project

PE4life Arkansas is excited to begin professional development and trainings with 10 schools in NWA! Thanks to the Care Foundation, PE4life has granted 5 previously funded schools and 5 newly funded schools to receive unique professional development and apply for equipment scholarships.

The previously awarded schools are in Springdale, Arkansas – Hellstern Middle School; JO Kelly Middle School; Tyson Middle School: Bentonville, Arkansas – Old High Middle School; and in Siloam Springs, Arkansas – Siloam Springs Middle School.

They will receive a one day PE4life training; two days of Project Adventure and an evening with Jean Blaydes Madigan featuring Action Based Learning. Each of these schools may apply for up to $5,000 in equipment scholarships.

The newly funded schools are in Springdale – Bayarri Elementary; Parson Hills Elementary;  Bernice Young Elementary and Central Jr. High: Siloam Springs – Siloam Springs Elementary.

They will receive a two day Intro to PE4life training; two days of SPARK and a day with Jean Blaydes Madigan featuring Action Based Learning. Each of these schools may apply for up to $10,000 in equipment scholarships.

This is the first of a three year project through the Care Foundation that will enhance previously funded schools to continue and develop their programs and start up new programs in schools that show progress. The hope is to grow these programs in this NWA and showcase each of these schools for future trainings.

To learn more about PE4life's efforts in Arkansas visit  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Standing Up to Sitting Down

Side note: Our friend Phil Lawler spoke of these work-station treadmills years ago...

Standing Question: Could sitting too long at work be dangerous?

Doctors Warn Sitting Too Long is the New Smoking
By Deborah Roberts and Jessica Hopper

Work can be back-breaking; hours spent hunched over at a computer with all the pressure resting in your neck. But what if you worked standing up?

Those who stand at work say that it helps them stay focused, avoid feeling they need a nap in the afternoon and even helps them shed pounds. Famous figures like Donald Rumsfeld and novelist Philip Roth have done it for years. And now some doctors say that you should do it too.

Marc Hamilton, a physiologist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, discovered that when he prevented lab mice from standing up, an enzyme that burns fat gets turned off, which can lead to weight gain.

"This enzyme is virtually shut off within hours of not standing, completely independent of diet, completely independent of weight changes," Hamilton said. "I think sitting is very dangerous."

That research prompted Hamilton to speak out that our culture of sitting is unhealthy.

Hamilton isn't the only doctor standing up to sitting down.

A study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that sitting for long stretches, more than six hours a day, can make someone at least 18 percent more likely to die from diabetes, heart disease and obesity than those sitting less than three hours a day.

Treadmill Desks and Walking Meetings

When ABC News first visited SALO in 2008, the fun-loving employment placement firm was growing as fast as their employees' waistlines.

"There's always an abundance of food," Langer said. "We're a high energy group."

The average SALO employee put on ten pounds their first year in the company. Obesity expert Dr. Jim Levine moved his research lab into the offices of SALO, launching a six-month study to see if a moving office could actually help workers lose weight.

Levine brought in treadmill desks. Walking at around one mile per hour, Folkestad and Langer answer phones, respond to emails and even hold walking meetings.

Dr. Levine said to forget those old desks-- a standing, moving office worker is the employee of the future.

"If we can create a world where offices are doing better and the employees are becoming healthier, we’ve got a golden solution.

Sitting has become the most common human behavior, literally, it outstrips the amount of time we spend sleeping," Hamilton said.

Watch a video segement with Diane Sawyer and read the full article on ABC News here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Light Board To 'Revolutionize' P.E. Class

Check out this article from featuring Hanawalt Elementary, a PE4life Model Site, and their new Light Board. Looks fun!

A Des Moines school has just added technology to its physical education classes. They're using a light board to get active at Hanawalt School.

Students are using the first Light Motion Fitness Wall to be installed in an Iowa school.

Hanawalt P.E. teacher John Baker is pumped up because the touchscreen technology is making his students move. The giant light board keeps kids from getting bored during P.E.

"The kids have absolutely been enthralled with it. What it does is helps with the visual tracking and helps with the reading and it also increased hand and eye coordination and reactionary time," said Baker. "This is going to change the culture of physical education."

Click here to read more of this article or to watch a video of the Light Board in action!

To learn more about PE4life's efforts in Iowa, visit