Muscle Madness



Muscle Madness

The team that collects all the necessary muscles to assemble the body first, Wins!

Grade level:


How to Play:

  • 2-3 people to a hoop
  • Each hoop contains a poly muscle head and 2 dice
  • Students take turns rolling dice (each rolls 1 dice)
  • Students add the two dice together
  • Students run to the sign that has the sum of their two dice.
  • Once at the sum. They must do the exercise that it says to do then grab a muscle from pile under sign and return to their hoop
  • Team that collects all the necessary muscles to assemble the skeleton first, Wins!


  • Can be played with bones instead of muscles.
  • Can add more stations totaling up to 36 and use multiplication instead of addition.
  • Can have students answer a bone/muscle fact first before grabbing one to return to their home hoop.

Muscle Madness Stations by #

  1. Sloppy Dice: No muscle, Run 1 lap while singing ABC’s
  2. Traps: 20 Shoulder shrugs (10 forward and 10 backward)
  3. Deltoids: 10 Shoulder Taps
  4. Pecs: 1 Partner chest Bump & Grunt
  5. Biceps: 10 Arm Circles
  6. Obliques: Medicine ball twist exchange with partner
  7. Abs: 15 second leg lifts
  8. Forearm : Arm curls using exercise band
  9. Groin: Leg swings facing wall (both hands on wall, swing leg across body)
  10. Quads: 30 second wall sits
  11. Gastroc: 20 toe raises
  12. Hands/Feet: Give Partner a “high 10” and yell “woo-hoo”

Jumbo Deck Rings



Jumbo Deck Rings

Games utilizing Jumbo Deck Rings!


Ring Shuffle

Objective: Get rings into shuffleboard type areas with point values.
Equipment: Jumbo Deck Rings, shuffleboard courts and soft Pillo Polo sticks.
Directions: Play similar to shuffleboard with teams of 4-6 players. Every player has a chance to add points and push rings.
Variation: Do not use knock out rules, just have players add all points scored.


Demolition Derby

Objective: Agility skills and increased endurance.
Equipment: 6 Jumbo Deck Rings, 12 poly spots and music for the activity.
Directions: Scatter 6 poly spots behind each endline on each side of gym, these areas are designated as the junkyards. Divide class into 3 groups, groups 1 and 2 on each endline, group 3 in the middle of the gym. Give Group 3 the Jumbo Deck Rings. Group 3 holds Jumbo Deck Rings in front of them, they are the cars and the rings are the front bumper. When the music starts, the groups from the junkyard run back and forth between junkyards trying to avoid being tagged by the front bumper of the cars. When bumped they have a flat tire and must go to the nearest poly spot and perform 10 jumping jacks to inflate their tire to rejoin the game. Switch groups so all have a chance to be the center group. Switch activities performed at poly spots.


Toxic Waste

Objective: transfer ball on ring with ropes from one cone to another.
Equipment: 1 Jumbo Deck Ring, 4 jump ropes, 1 large ball and 2 cones per each group of 4
Description: Tie jump ropes around deck ring so 4 students can carry ring. Place ring over cone and balance the large ball on top of cone. Students must communicate and work together to raise the ball off the cone and transfer it to the other cone without spilling the “Toxic Waste”. Use as a cooperative activity or race with other teams.
Submitted by: Lisa Davis and Dave Hoffa, Honey Creek Elementary, Terre Haute, IN


Kickball Knockdown

Objective: Kicking team must topple cones before fielding team can retrieve all kicked balls and place them in Jumbo Deck Rings.
Equipment: Jumbo Deck Rings, playground balls and cones- each for half the class.
Directions: Divide class into two teams- the kicking and fielding teams. Scatter cones on one half of playing area and scatter Jumbo Deck Rings on the other half. Each member of the kicking team lines up on the baseline with a ball to kick. The fielding team is standing on the opposite baseline waiting to receive the balls. On signal, the balls are kicked! The kicking team races to the cones and topples them with their hands and returns to the baseline. The fielding team retrieves the balls and places them in the Jumbo Deck Rings and returns to their baseline. Whichever team completes the task first receives a point. Teams switch roles so everyone has a chance to be kicker or fielder.
Variation: After the students have played a few times, add this twist: start with the cones toppled over and have players stand them up- it’s much harder!
Submitted by: S. Kursar, C. Vetter & J. Folley of Indian Springs School Distrct, Naperville, IL

The Math Derby



The Math Derby

Turn your card over to see how you must travel your next lap! 

IXL standards:
2nd Grade…Y.7-8, T.10-11
3rd Grade…F.1-13, G.2, G.9-10, G. 15-16, G.20, H.
4th Grade…D.1

Grade Level: Grades 1 & 2 – Addition and Subtraction • Grades 3+ – Multiplication and Division


  • Cones to set up an oval (race track) (21049-PS)
  • Team hoops with dry erase boards (21202-PS), markers, scratch paper and erasers
  • Enough Flat Hoops to have 2 kids per hoop with equipment above within them. (14004-PS)
  • Buckets with math cards (you’ll need lots of copies, laminated) (15607-PS)


  • Set up a large oval race track with cones. Put buckets with math cards at each end.
  • Place hoops inside the interior, and place a marker board, markers and eraser in each hoop.

How to play:

  • When the music begins you and your partner jog a lap around the cones.
  • After you finish the lap, one partner will stop at a bucket to choose one math card. They will then take it back to their teammate who is at their team’s hoop.
  • The partner that was waiting will write out the problem on the marker board and complete the problem.
  • The pair will then turn over the card to see how they must travel their next lap, watching carefully for safety and space.
  • As they continue to finish laps, they should take turns getting the math cards and writing on the marker board.
  • The teacher will move around the center of the track and check answers to problems. If they encounter an incorrect response, they will erase it and let the team try again.

Spelling Super Stars



Spelling Superstars

Spell a sight word by touching the alphabet poly spots while doing a jog or skill! 

To spell a sight word by touching the alphabet poly spots while doing a jog or skill.


Scatter the alphabet poly spots all over the gym. Put the dice on an end wall. Put the word cards on a table or in a hoop on the floor.

How to Play:

  • Have each student select one word card.
  • They will travel around the gym looking for the correct letters that go with their spots.
  • For example, if your word is cat, you will jog and touch the letter C, then the A, and then finally the T with your foot. You don’t need to stop for long at the letters.
  • Once you complete a word, you earn a roll of the dice. Roll the dice, do the exercise 10 times.
  • Choose a new card and repeat the process until your time is up or you run out of cards. Depending on the number of word cards you have, you could have your students keep the words in their hand an continue collecting them, or you can have them return them to the pile and select a new card.

Do the activity with a piece of equipment. If you are in your soccer unit, have the students dribble a ball from spot to spot to spell the word.
Do with math equations (1+3=4) by using numbered poly spots on the floor.

  • Students should take turns with each job when they are ready to try to go across the gym again.
  • Students should not touch other team’s cubes at any time.
  • Students will take the first sight word card they touch. Remind them not to spend much time in the sight word card area. Remind 2nd – 3rd grade students to not repeat sight words.
  • Each student gets to choose the exercise to complete for their sight word card AND the WHOLE team must complete the exercise.

Magic Number Dribble Addition



Magic Number Dribble Addition

Reach the Magic Number by adding the numbered poly spots together! 


Students divide up into 6 groups and go stand in a line at a hula hoop. Each group gets one ball. Numbered spots are spread out (number side up) in the center of the playing area.

Description of Game:
Before we start, I call out a “magic number” for the round. – this is the number that groups are trying to create by adding the numbered poly spots together. Groups must use a minimum of 3 poly spots that add up to equal the magic number. When the music starts, the first student from each group dribbles out to the center area, picks up one spot, dribbles back to their group, gives the ball to the next student and places the numbered spot in the hoop. Play continues in this fashion until the group has at least 3 spots that (when added together) equal the magic number. After a group wins, have all teams return their spots (# up) in the center of the playing area. Call out a new magic # and play again.

You may have multiple teams win a round. Ex. Magic # is 45. A team could get 21, 20, and a 4. Another team might have 16, 15, and 14. If a number a team needs is not available, they can dribble back to their hoop, take a spot out, dribble it back to the middle and take a new one. Remind students to dribble the ball at all times.

The Zone™ Cannon Launcher Games


The Zone™ Cannon Launcher Games

A customer favorite! Here are 4 games you can play with our Cannon Launchers! 

Court – Similar to a baseball field, Set up 3 Cannon Launchers to create a “home plate” and place the Poly Spot or any Base where the pitcher’s mound would be. Increase or decrease the distance between the Cannon Launchers and the Poly spot depending on the age/grade level of participants. Game Play – Separate the class into two teams. Have one team go into the outfield and one team lines up as the Jumping/batting team. Each player on the Jumping/batting team takes turns jumping on the Cannon Launcher to send the foam ball into play. To score a run the jumper/batter must run to the Poly spot and back to the launchers to score one point. They can choose to stay on the Poly spot and wait for the next jumper to get them home. The team in the outfield can get the jumpers/batters out by catching the ball in the air, or making a force out by getting the ball to the base before the runner gets to the base. There is no tagging and every place must be a force out. Also, once a runner has left the Poly spot to go home they cannot turn back or they are out. This will eliminate the runner changing direction and potentially running into someone running behind them. Teams change sides when 3 outs have occurred.

Cannon 500

Needs six Cannon Launchers – Any large space will work. Line all six Cannon Launchers up in a row with one person behind each one. Each launcher can launch two balls at a time. Each ball needs to have a unique number on it. Examples are 25, 50, 75, 100, etc…..

Game Play – There needs to be one person behind each Cannon Launcher. This person is responsible for loading and launching the Cannon Launcher. Everyone else picks a spot 50-100 feet away in front of the Cannon Launchers. When the teacher yells “Launch” the people behind the Cannon Launchers jump on them and launch the balls towards the players in the field. The players must collect enough points to reach “500” Points. Once they have reached the point value they can replace one of the Cannon Launchers and the game continues. Options – Instead of having individuals catching balls you can create teams of six. When the team has enough points to hit 500 exactly then the team replaces the team using the Cannon Launchers. You can also add different multiplication symbols to the balls to teach addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and so on. You can also use letters to spell words, or use words to spell sentences.

Cannon 300

Needs six Cannon Launcher – Any Large space will work.  Line all six Cannon Launchers up in a row with one person behind each one.  Each launcher can launch two balls at a time.  Each ball needs to have a unique number on it.  Examples are 25, 50, 75, 100, etc..  Each player in the outfield has one bucket per player.  Large Jumbo Speed Stacks cups.

Game Play – The game is essentially played just like Cannon500 but there are no teams.  Each player must catch the cannon balls in the air and roll back the balls that are not caught to the cannon launchers.  Each them they catch a ball they must place it in their bucket.  Buckets should be placed on the sides or at the back of the court and out of the way.  Once a player collects 300 points they take their bucket and hand it to one of the cannon launchers and then take that persons place. The person who receives the bucket must now go into the outfield.  This is a continuous game and last’s a predetermined amount of time.

Cannon Shoot

Needs six Cannon Launchers, 6 Hoops, 6 Hoop Holders, 30 Spots (5 of each color red, blue, orange, green, yellow, purple)

Set the Hoops up using the hoop holders in a horizontal line at one end of the Gym or playing surface.  Then place the poly spots in a line every 12-15 feet away from the same colored hoop.  So if the hoop is yellow, you would make a row of evenly spaced yellow spots leading away from it.  Then place the yellow cannon launcher on the closest spot to the hoop facing the hoop.  Each person in that line would receive a yellow cannon ball (included with the cannons).  The object of the game is to shoot the cannon balls through the hoops at each poly spot.  After each successful shot the cannon is picked up and moved back one spot.  The first team to make a successful shot from the last spot is the winner.  Each player must receive their cannon ball after they shoot it and return to the back of the line.

Cannon Catch

Needs six cannon launchers and 30 spots (5 of each color red, blue, orange, green, yellow, purple)

This game is just like Cannon Shoot without the foam targets.  Instead of using a hoop to shoot through you have one player from each team stand 20 feet away from the closest spot.  The object is to catch the ball in the air when shot by a teammate.  After each successful catch the cannon is moved back one spot, the person who launched the cannon ball will change places with the person who caught the ball and the catcher goes to the back of the line of their team.  The first team to make a successful catch from all 5 spots is the winning team.  You can even make the teams reverse direction when they get to the back spot and have to work their way back to the first cannon again.

The Zone™ Super Straps Games


The Zone™ Super Straps Games

Super Loop, Super Straps Brainiac’s and Tail Stomp are just a few games you can play with our wildly popular Super Straps! 

Equipment needed:

Note: Super Straps and Flags can be bought individually.  The two sets above will cover a class size of 36 students.

Rip Flag

Objective – Collect as many Super Flags as you can.
Court – Any large open area inside or outside will work.  Size of space should be determined by the number of participants.  Typically a volleyball or basketball sized court will work.
Set up – Each player starts with one Super Strap and two Super Flags (colors do not matter).
Rules – When the teacher signals the start of the game each player tries to collect as many Super Flags as possible.  If a player loses all their flags they must go down to one knee and extend one arm into the air.  Any other player may give them one flag to get them back into the action.  Players must put any Super Flags collected on their Super Straps right away and are not allowed to have more than one in their hands at a time. 
Capture the Flag

Objective – Collect as many Super Flags as you can.
Court – Any large open area inside or outside will work.  Size of space should be determined by the number of participants.  Typically a volleyball or basketball sized court will work.
Set up – Each player starts with one Super Strap and one Super Flag of each color (set of six rainbow Super Flags).  Students should be spread out in the playing area before play starts.
Rules – To start the game the teacher yells out one of the six rainbow colors.  Once a color is called, each player tries to collect as many flags of that color as possible and add them to their Super Strap.  After 30 seconds the teacher blows a whistle to stop play.  All players must remain in the same place for 5-10 seconds until a teacher calls out a new color.  This method is repeated again and again.  Note: it’s very important to give the students enough rest between trying to catch flags as this is a very high intensity game.  Players must put any Super Flags collected on their Super Straps right away and are not allowed to have more than one in their hands at a time. 

Tail Stomp

Additional Super Straps

Objective – To be the last player left with a tail
Court – Any large open area inside or outside will work.  Size of space should be determined by the number of participants.  Typically a volleyball or basketball sized court will work.
Set up – Each player starts with one Super Strap around their waste.  Depending on size of your Super Straps and player Height you can attach a Super Strap to the back of each player creating a tail that drags on the floor.  Note: the tail must be long enough to drag on the floor when the player is in motion.  You may have to connect two Super Straps together to make a longer tail.  Do this by over lapping the short Velcro and the long Velcro from the two Super Straps.  Do not try to connect the Velcro to itself and make sure the overlapping Velcro attaches to the felt part of the Super Strap.
Rules – Students should be spread out on the court before the game starts.  When the teacher signals the start of the game the students must try to remove the tails of the other players by only using their feet and stomping on the tails while the other players are in motion.  If you are standing still and someone puts their foot on your tail, your tail must be removed.  When a tail is caught and comes off a Super Strap it is simply left on the floor.  The last player with a tail remaining is the winner.
Variations – Team Play

Create teams by using the Super Strap colors worn around the waste.  The last team with at least one person with a tail is the winner.  Team play creates more strategy.  Teams are not allowed to make a circle to protect a team member on the inside.

Super Loop

Set up – Depending on the student’s ages, you will connect two or three Super Straps together, creating a large Super Loop.  Always connect the larger piece of Velcro overlapping the smaller Velcro piece.  This creates a firm bond.  Have the students stand in a circle holding hands. 
Rules – pick one student to start the game by placing the Super Loop on their left shoulder.  Note: the students will have to break holding hands to put the Super Loop on the shoulder.  That student begins the game by making the loop go from his left shoulder to his right shoulder all while holding hands with the person on his left and right.  Once he has accomplished that gets the Super Loop to slide to the person’s right through their connected hands and that person must keep the loop going around the circle.  The game ends when the Super Loop as made it all the way around the circle the designated number of times by the teacher.
Variation – Start with two Super Loops directly across from each other.  The players race to get the Super Loop to catch the one from the other side.  The game if over when one Super Loop catches the other one.
Super Straps Brainiac’s

Objective – Learn shapes and letters through teamwork while building verbal communication skills
Set up – Connect 30 Super Straps together in one large circle.  Note: make sure to connect the Super Straps by overlapping the large Velcro end and the small Velcro end by attaching the Velcro to the Super Straps and not the other Velcro piece as are both the hook Velcro and will not stick to each other very well.   Have the students stand in the middle of the circle holding the Super Straps up behind them.  The students should back up until they create a circle strong enough to hold up the super straps at waist high without having to hold the Super Straps with their hands.
Rules Students are not allowed to use their hands or hook their hands under the Super Straps using their elbows to hold up the Super Straps.  Once they are set, the teacher says a shape (example: Triangle) and the students must use their verbal skills to communicate how they are going to move to form the shape given.  Once the task is complete the teacher gives the students a different shape.  The game is lost if the Super Strap circle falls and touches the floor/ground.  Students can make shapes such as stars by going under the strap and walking inwards from the outside.  Remember, the only rule is they cannot use their hands or arms to hold up the Super Strap circle.  Once they know this technique, they can make any letter of the alphabet as well as any shape.

Other Uses:

Hockey puck – Roll the Super Strap up as tight as you can starting with the small Velcro piece on the inside.  Super Straps work great as hockey pucks on smooth surfaces like wood and tile floors. 
Soccer Disk – Using 3-4 Super Straps, roll them up tightly into one large hockey puck over lapping the small and large Velcro ends.  Make sure it is tightly wound so it stays together when kicked.  This is a great way to play soccer even out the good players from the bad.  As it is very difficult to beat another player one-on-one and impossible to lift the puck into the air by kicking it.   So it becomes a soccer game of passing skills to advance the Soccer Disk up and down the court.
Three Legged Race – Simply use the Super Strap to connect two legs together below the knee.
Hoops – Super straps can be connected into a circle and placed on the floor to create circle targets for tossing bean bags and other objects into.
Tail Ball – Roll up one Super Strap into the shape of a hockey puck.  Then peel the large part of the Velcro back 80% and attach one Super Flag to belt and locking it in place by reattaching the large Velcro end.   Students can then hold on to the Super Flag end and toss them under hand into a target, hoop, bucket, etc.
Partner games – You can use the Super Flags or extra Super Straps to connect two students together by simply using the Velcro on both ends to connect them together by attaching one Velcro end to each student.  Then they can play partner soccer, partner tad and so on.
Sash – Super Straps can be worn like a sash to designate team colors in not Super Strap games.
Crown – Super Straps can be worn as a crown to designate team colors
Relay Pick Ups – Roll one Super Strap into a puck shape and attach a Super Flag to it so it looks like a kettlebell.  Then place them on the far end of the court/field and have students race to pick one up and bring it back.  Can be played individually and in teams.

Bonkers 4 Bonds

Set- Up:


Bonkers 4 Bonds

A partner activity that combines fitness and math skills perfect for K-2! 

Bonkers 4 Bonds is a partner activity that combines fitness and math skills such as number bonds and sequencing. Students will practice social emotional skills as they exercise and solve math problems together.

Grade Level: K-2

Shape Standards: P.E. Standards 1, 3, 4


Before students arrive set up 6 cones to create a large rectangle (i.e. use volleyball court lines). In the middle of the rectangle (center basketball circle), set up 2 hula hoops side by side. In 1 hula hoop, set all the Fill It In Fitness Cards FACE DOWN. In the other hula hoop, set up all the dominoes FACE DOWN (you may need more than 1 hula hoop if you are using the giant dominos). Spread out 12 hula hoops in their own space inside the rectangle. In each hula hoop, place 1 12-sided die. Place 1 matching color poly spot outside of each hula hoop at the bottom.

Sequence of events:
Number Bond Examples:

Composing (adding) number bonds: composing (adding) number bonds

  1. Divide the students into partners and send each partner group to a hula hoop with a die.
  2. The object of the game is complete as many Fill It In Fitness Cards AND number bonds as possible.
  3. Partners will take turns retrieving a Fill It In Fitness Card from the center hoop. They will bring it back to their hula hoop and BOTH partners will complete the exercise. Students must first figure out the missing number in the sequence. This is the number of repetitions for the exercise.
  4. After the partners complete the exercise, the SAME person will trade in their Fill It In Fitness Card (FACE DOWN in the Fill It In Fitness hula hoop) for 1 domino.
  5. They will bring the domino back to their hula hoop and place it face up on their poly spot.
  6. The partners will work together to COMPOSE (add) the 2 numbers on the
    dominos together to find the total (i.e. 2 + 3 = 5). It may help for you to refer to this as part-part-whole. The domino represents the 2 parts, and the die is the whole.
  7. The partners will use the 12-sided dice to show their answer. They will place the answer face up on the die.
  8. Once the students have the correct answer, the OTHER partner (take turns) will trade in their domino (FACE DOWN in the domino hula hoop) for another Fill It In Fitness Card.
  9. The partners will repeat #’s 3 – 7 until time runs out.

Decomposing (subtracting) number bonds:

  1. Remove the hula hoop with the dominos and the poly spots. Add 1 white board, dry erase marker and eraser to each hula hoop.
  2. Divide the students into partners and send each partner group to a hula hoop with a die.
  3. The object of the game is complete as many Fill It In Fitness Cards AND number bonds as possible.
  4. Partners will take turns retrieving a Fill It In Fitness Card from the center hoop. They will bring it back to their hula hoop and BOTH partners will complete the exercise. Students must first figure out the missing number in the sequence. This is the number of repetitions for the exercise.
  5. After the partners complete the exercise, the SAME person will roll their 12- sided die.
  6. The partners will work together to DECOMPOSE (take apart or subtract) the whole number on the die into 2 parts. Again, it may help students if you refer to this as part-part-whole. The die is the whole and they are trying to figure out the 2 parts. The partners will write the 2 parts OR a number sentence on their white board.
    • If the students write 2 parts on the white board, there may be many possible correct answers (i.e. an 8 on the die could be: 1 and 7, 2 and 6, 3 and 5 or 4 and 4).
    • If the students write a number sentence, it can be either subtraction or addition (i.e. 8 – 5 = 3 OR 5 + 3 = 8). Again, there are multiple correct answers for the number 8 (i.e. 8 – 4 = 4 OR 4 + 4 = 8).
  7. Once the students have a correct answer, the OTHER partner (take turns) will trade in their Fill It In Fitness Card (FACE DOWN) for another Fill It In Fitness Card. While this is happening, the other partner can be erasing the white board.
  8. The partners will repeat #’s 4 – 8 until time runs out.

Rules and Safety:

  • Students will be moving in various directions. Remind students to be aware of their surroundings.
  • Student must keep their die in their hula hoop at ALL times.
  • Remind students to place the dominos and Fill It In Fitness Cards FACE DOWN when they are putting them back into the hula hoops.
  • Students must take turns trading in dominos, rolling the die and trading in Fill It In Fitness Cards.
  • BOTH students must exercise together.


  • Use white boards for both the composing and decomposing version (eliminates the dice)
  • If whole numbers up to 12 are too difficult for the students, choose dominos that only go from #1 – 6 OR use number cards (playing cards or UNO cards #1 – 6). If you play with cards, students must take 2 cards each time from the hula hoop for the 2 parts (part-part-whole).
  • Use Double 12 dominos to increase the math challenge. You will need to only use white boards for this version.
  • Use number cards (playing cards or UNO cards). If you play with cards, students must take 2 cards each time from the hula hoop for the 2 parts (part-part-whole).
  • Use craft sticks to show the answers rather than dice or white boards
  • Incorporate other fitness activities rather than Fill It In Fitness Cards

Is ESSER III Right for Me?


As we enter the 2023-24 Academic Year, we also enter the final months for the availability of ESSER III funding. This funding technically ends on September 30, 2024. However, the products that you are using the funds for must be purchased and delivered by that date. I have also heard of some districts that are seeking to have the funds encumbered by the end of this academic year to allow time for the shipping and receiving of products. I have been asked a lot of questions about these funds, so let’s address some of the ones that are asked the most.

How much money does my school have? Monies were distributed to districts, so how those funds might be allocated can vary. One thing to do first is to check your district website. Most districts have a page on their site that outlines how much funding they received and how those funds are being allocated. If you cannot find the web page with the correct answer, the next question may give you that information.

Whom should I contact about these funds? This is the most common question I was asked by both teachers and administrators. The reality is that ESSER funding is from the Federal Government. You want to reach out to the Director of Federal Funding in your district with questions. Many moderate and smaller sized districts may not have a specific individual with this title, so you may have to contact the Treasurer or CFO of the district. I have seen many districts where the funding was then allocated to schools and programs where there was a secondary lead figure. This is an important person to know as the remaining funds have more flexibility in what can be purchased.

Can I buy whatever I want? The simple answer is no. You want to work with your district leads to make sure that what you are hoping to order fits under both the federal and district guidelines. Unfortunately, some districts ran afoul of the government with ESSER I funds as those had very specific purposes. Anything outside of those purposes was misuse of the funding.

So, what can you use the funds for? You can use the funds for anything that supports students through overcoming any potential loss from learning that may have occurred on account of the pandemic and is still hindering the student’s ability to learn. This is where I have seen devices like the Reader Pen2, ScanMarker, Livescribe Pen, and switches or tools for access have been able to be purchased. Assistive Technology is one of the areas where fund usage is permissible.

What is covered under the idea of supporting mental health? This question has arisen from many districts. The implementation of sensory/calming rooms has demonstrated positive support for all students, especially those prone to escalation. Sensory room products can be purchased. The caveat is groups that want to include other classroom furniture. I have worked with some districts who thought that any chair or desk could be included. That is not always the case. Always work with your district to make sure that what you are getting again lies within the guidelines. In this case, a beanbag chair is acceptable while a standard desk chair may not be. Don’t think that you can only buy sensory room packages. Work with the groups that you trust to help in the design of a room that best meets your needs and the needs of your students. Both Jodi Szuter and I are available to support you with questions and recommendations.

I have time so do I have to worry about this now? Please start thinking about your plans now. Your district may have an end date for the encumberment of these funds. I know of several districts where that date is around the end of this academic year as I mentioned in the first paragraph. When you are dealing with federal funds, the end date means that you have already ordered AND received the products. If an audit were to be conducted on the following day, you could show the auditor the products or, at least, the boxes they are still in on district property. That is an important distinction as with other types of funding, the items simply need to be ordered and invoiced. There is a difference here and those in your district overseeing the funds will be focused on that. Another reason I bring this up is because there is still a global chip shortage. For example, there are still schools waiting for chip-driven devices like some types of screening devices and AEDs because of the lengthy delays in getting chips. We are seeing production of these chips going up, but still not catching up to the demands over the last few years. Be sure to work with your sales representative to determine if the products are available and will be able to be delivered on time. Another point to be aware of is the fact that some products are not even being manufactured anymore. That discussion with your sales representative will help to guide you the correct way.

There are a lot of groups speaking about “ESSER-approved” products. Is there a list somewhere? Please reach out to your lead in the district about this. There are some districts which are being more restrictive about the funding to protect everyone legally. There is no list of “ESSER-approved” devices, generally. Some groups may simply be referring to what other districts have purchased. It is better to ask the folks in your district first before simply placing the request with them. When I work with groups, we look at products that support potential learning loss, assistive technology, items that maintain a healthy physical environment (including air purifiers), and products which support mental health and well-being, like sensory products. Your district will have any specific information you might need.

Should I just stock up on cleaning supplies? The short answer is no. Utilize these funds to get those devices and products which best support the students and think about purchasing multiple items of products that can work for many students. I have seen large deployments of Reader Pen2s and ScanMarker Readers because of the overall impact devices like these have on learning. By utilizing these funds and thinking ahead, you can support the next several classes of students. I have seen some districts utilize their funds by purchasing AAC or access devices to have back-ups in case a student breaks or loses one. Think about what was difficult to purchase in the past and buy now. Cleaning supplies and simple items can be purchased annually when this funding ends.

If you do have any other questions, feel free to reach out to me at and I will support you as best I can!

Fitness: Engage, Motivate, and Include

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gabriel Ryan, School Health Blog Writer and Contributor

A couple of years ago, I was intrigued when I came across a workout video online with all the participants seated using wheelchairs, and the most enthusiastic, positive, encouraging fitness trainer I’d ever seen! I was glued to my screen. My initial feeling was shock, and I said to myself “this… is awesome, an engaging workout for people that use a wheelchair.” My feeling quickly turned to wanting to be a part of this experience and in no time, I was stretching, reaching, and moving with the music. This workout session was part of an Abilities Expo Conference. The trainer was Justin Graham with W.O.W. Wonders on Wheels. Recently, I learned that W.O.W. offers this wheelchair-friendly fitness class live online, so I signed up for a fitness pass. This was my first week participating and it was great fun! This experience prompted me to focus this month’s Access Angle on encouraging exercise and fitness for all.

The Commit to Inclusion video beautifully highlights aspects of inclusion in fitness and beyond. Great video! Commit to Inclusion is a campaign that supports guidelines and programming for people with disabilities to empower and promote healthy and active lifestyles through physical activities and nutrition. 

A few related Access Angle blogs full of ideas to learn more about fitness and creating realistic goals for yourself or children/students you work with:

Don’t forget to incorporate hydration! In previous posts, I have written about the Giraffe Bottle Handsfree Drinking System, which I use. No matter how you hydrate, keep in mind you may need to increase your intake as you increase your activity.

School Health has numerous fitness resources and supports. Browse through the School Health website under categories such as Sports Medicine, Special Education, Early Childhood, and Physical Education to find products and ideas to support a variety of fitness goals. School Health Physical Education is your one-stop shop for all things PE, including equipment and programs for those with differing abilities. For example, the Visual Exercise System offers a variety of premade, color-coded visuals that look like real people doing real exercises. The visuals facilitate communication and provide structure in exercise programs. The Exercise Buddy Pro is also a great tool that incorporates evidence-based practices, videos, and progress monitoring. These tools can help diverse learners better participate in physical education programs and stay engaged! 

Fitness goals are different for everyone. Find an activity you love and most importantly…remember to have fun!