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Fit and Fun Playscapes is Going to SHAPE!


– Written By Dr. Timothy Davis –  

In this blog we are excited to announce that the SHAPE America annual conference will
be held in Cleveland, OH for health and physical educators across the globe! And Fit
and Fun Playscapes will be there for the 6th year in a row!. Below is a quick
description of the national conference followed by information about the sessions and
our speakers!


We are proud to share that we are sponsoring three (3) sessions with incredible speakers!

The SHAPE America Annual Conference is the premier event for health and physical educators in the United States. SHAPE America, formerly known as the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, physical activity, and health education. The annual conference gathers educators, researchers, advocates, and industry leaders to share best practices, research findings, and innovative ideas related to health, physical education, recreation, and dance. Attendees can participate in workshops, lectures, panel discussions, and networking opportunities focused on enhancing teaching techniques, promoting physical activity, and advocating for health and wellness in schools and communities.

We are grateful and excited to share that the session presenters are all outstanding physical educators and former state and national TOY’s. Our presenters include Ann Griffin, Matt Wood, Danielle O’Neil, Miranda Heffner and John Jones. The session title and descriptions are listed below:

Promoting Self Confidence, Sensory Health, and Sensory Continuity Through Movement

Danielle O’Neil, Miranda Heffner, and Dr. Timothy Davis

Literature suggests physical activity enhances social emotional learning and confidence. This session addresses the critical need to help children build confidence through physical activity using concepts of “Sensory Health” and “Sensory Continuity”. Frequent practice of fundamental motor skills and sensory- based movements help children achieve age-appropriate grade level outcomes. Strategies that employ overall Sensory Health and Sensory Continuity will engage participants as they move during this session.


Up, Down, and All Around: Connecting Directionality, Laterality, and Perception
to Sensory Health in Children

Ann Griffin, Matt Wood, and Dr. Timothy Davis

This session will discuss directionality, laterality, and perception as part Sensory Health in children. Literature suggests 15% of neurotypical children struggle with sensory processing disorder (SPD). Studies indicate 34% of children demonstrate delays in gross motor skills. Additionally, 85% of children with disabilities are sedentary. Sensory integration skills are essential for effective perceptual skill development. The concepts of Sensory Health and Sensory Continuity are explored while participants engage in directionality/laterality and perceptual motor activities.


Secondary Physical Education: Big Ideas for Big Spaces

John Jones

Middle and high schools kids are tough and you need some great ideas to get their attention, right? This session will help you actively engage tweenage/ teenage students effectively in ways to set the tone for improved student motivation and participation. You will learn solutions to common dilemmas and maximize your students'; success in large group settings. These practical tips and tools are ready-to-use lessons that you can implement right away.


Get to know our speakers!

Below is a quick snapshot and a few quotes from our speakers!

Danielle O NeillDanielle Oneil

If you could have any space or environment in the WORLD to teach in - where would you want to teach and what would it look like?

I would want to teach in a place that experiences all four seasons and has a spacious outdoor area to teach PE. I am a firm believer that being outside in the sunshine and fresh air does wonders for the soul and body. I would love to combine teaching students about how to be physically active with the benefits of spending time outside!

What piece or set of Fit and Fun Playscapes equipment is your favorite to use?

My favorite Fit and Fun Playscapes product is the large Face Your Feelings® Super Stickers®. I have placed the four, small emoji-faced decals on the floor and the large circle with the “feeling” names on my door. I use it every day as students walk in and walk out of PE. They step on the face that best suits them at the time. I love this quick check-in and check-out where students can self-reflect on how they are feeling at
that moment.

Ann Griffin PictureAnn Griffin (Retired)

If you could have any space or environment in the WORLD to teach in - where would you want to teach and what would it look like?

I'm thinking preschoolers here and although I am not a huge world traveler I would like to teach in Finland. From what I understand it might be a good place and they value motor/ movement/ physical activity, etc. but my favorite environments include lots of
equipment: mats, wedges, bolsters, climbing, swinging, spinning, balancing equipment and with an abundance of other cool equipment like multi-sensory, action-reaction, ways to increase practice and experience on a variety of surfaces, etc. I also like good acoustics, dimmer switches, and maybe some fenced in fresh air spaces. I like lots of opportunities to move and lots ways to be successful!

What piece or set of Fit and Fun Playscapes equipment is your favorite to use?

I don't have a favorite...I love ALL of the products because they encourage an increase in movement across school settings and environments. They encourage kids to move in hallways, on playgrounds, or in large spaces when there is little instruction available. The Roll-Out Activities® are intuitive for kids. These portable mats require no instruction and it’s a great way to let the kids take the lead in getting their activity needs met!

MirandaMiranda Heffner

If you could have any space or environment in the WORLD to teach in - where would you want to teach and what would it look like?

I really enjoy the gym I have right now. It's a full basketball court, with hardwood floors, a stage that I can use anytime I want. If I could add Florida/Hawaii weather (sunny and warm) and have an open space that has a flat surface about half to two-thirds of a football field, but then have a nice hill to the side to teach outside that is also walkable distance to the beach/water, that would be IDEAL! I think teaching water sports like surfing or water skiing would be a BLAST!!

What is your favorite aspect of your current teaching and or life situation? Everything!

I get to be a kid with the kids, share my passion for sports, health, and fitness, be active, and of course, wear athletic clothing every day. I am also very spoiled with the gym set-up I have. I get my fix of my littles K-5 during the day, and now that track has started, I get to enjoy the high school athletes. 

What piece or set of Fit and Fun Playscapes equipment is your favorite to use? 
I would have to say Fun2MOOV!® Roll-Out Activities® with the different locomotor variations to spread out for my students have been a blast to use. This was a fun way to start our warm-ups and allow students to be themselves. I love to see the students’ excitement when I have them out. I can't wait to use them for our final locomotor test/station.

Screen Shot 2024-03-11 at 9.00.06 AMMatt Wood

If you could have any space or environment in the WORLD to teach in - where would you want to teach and what would it look like?

I already have an amazing elementary gym with lots of technology, but I would love to have a bigger space with wood floors and more storage! Additionally, I’d love to have access to a pool. Swimming is one of the best ways for kids to be physically active and
the skills can be used for a lifetime.

What is your favorite aspect of your current teaching and or life situation?

I love that I have the flexibility to teach what I feel kids need and using student voice to guide me. I also enjoy having the opportunity to collaborate with school, district, and community partners on projects that expand learning opportunities for my students. Additionally, I appreciate the support of my administrators for my advocacy work for our profession and students!

What piece or set of Fit and Fun Playscapes equipment is your favorite to use?

I really like using the Fun2MOOV!® Roll-Out Activities®. They are very versatile, and I use them with my APE class as well as my general ed classes.

Screen Shot 2024-03-11 at 9.11.00 AMJohn Jones

If you could have any space or environment in the WORLD to teach in - where would you want to teach and what would it look like?

I’ve been to 44 states and Alaska is one of my favorites with the natural scenery but also the challenges that climate brings. On warm days, I’d like to be anywhere outdoors with markings on the fields with lots of options for my students to use when we could. I’d mix it up, blending local and other, perhaps, other local favorites together like for example, four square with snow shoes on! Have you ever seen that? Haha!

What piece or set of Fit and Fun Playscape equipment is your favorite to use?

I really like using Skelly Board Roll-Out Activities® especially for my older students. That is why I chose these for my session. I will have two sets out and will really challenge the participants about how important it is to keep everyone moving and engaged during PE.

Fit and Fun Playscapes is proud to attend and support the SHAPE America Annual Conference which provides a valuable opportunity for professionals in health and physical education to stay updated on the latest developments, gain new skills and knowledge, and collaborate with peers to promote health and physical literacy for all individuals. If you attend, stop by their booth, #301, where they will have some activities for you to try out, some freebies and an awesome show-only promotion like never before. Of course, check out any of the sessions by these amazing educators and
presenters – it will be worth it!

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