Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Must Read - SPARK by John J. Ratey, MD

Jane Panicucci, creator of PA's Adventure Curriculum for Physical Education, k-12 and Achieving Fitness, says, "This is a great read! Ratey illuminates the many connections between adventure, cognition and fitness".

A groundbreaking and fascinating investigation into the transformative effects of exercise on the brain, from the bestselling author and renowned psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD.

Discussing the "New PE", Ratey talks about how Naperville, IL's physical educators, Phil Lawler and Paul Zientarski say, "In our department we create the brain cells. It's up to the other teachers to fill them up".

Zientarski goes on to talk about how the public, when asked about what skills they want student to leave high school with say communication, small group work, problem solving and risk taking. "Where does that happen?" Zientarski asks on page 25 of SPARK, "Science class? I don't thinks so."

Sound like adventure? Since 2005, Physical Educators in Naperville have been trained using PA Adventure Curriuclum for PE.

And don't think SPARK is only valuable for physical education and fitness. Ratey, also author of "Driven to Distraction", "Shadow Syndromes", and "A User's Guide to the Brain" delves into the connection between physical activity, fitness and anxiety, depression, stress, attention deficit, addiction, hormonal changes and aging - making this a must read for special educators, counselors or anyone who is striving for tools to transform their ability to connect with, teach and support students, clients and participants.

Now available through Project Adventure, order your copy of SPARK by calling 1-978-524-4556 or email

304 pages, 2008. $25.00

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mentoring, leadership and positive youth development

Since 2003, a youth center in Ciero, NY has used Project Adventure activities and programming as the catalyst for getting teens to positively mentor and build relationships with younger youth.

This is not the first such program or likely to be the last. Bill Bates, formerly Director of Physical Education, Health and Wellness at Cambridge Public Schools outside of Boston, MA (and now a full-time PA consultant) began a great program of community dialogue nights where youth used PA's methodology to create and facilitate community based discussion on topics of importance to them.

In the Bronx, NYC, Global Enterprise Academy uses PA methodology in the Adventure Leaders program. And Greenwich CT Public Schools had used the PA methodology in their Peaceable Playground program, Urban/Suburban exchange programs where youth from diverse communities learn about each other, and in their dialogue night model which grew from the one Bates implemented in Cambridge.

Adventure Happens at the Alternative Learning Enviornments Conference - Hot Springs, Arkansas

Deb Walter, 2007 NASPE National Teacher of the Year from Rogers, Arkansas spoke at the ALE conference recently in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Deb introduced her fellow alternative educators to the tools, tricks and great activities she uses in her classes.

To bring the excitement and fun of advenure to your conference, professional development program, school or Beth Wonson ( ).