The NJ AHPERD (Association of Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance) hosted their yearly conference in Long Branch, NJ. This is truly one of the premier state conferences in the country. There were over 1400 people that came to learn, connect, and better themselves.

I rolled up on Tuesday morning and sat at a table with the guest Teachers of the Year that are invited to present at the conference. Every year the American Heart Association hosts the breakfast for all the Jump Rope for Heart facilitators. This is truly one of the favorite parts of the conference for me. First I get a free buffet. Secondly, I am able to pick their brains about a litany of issues. We discussed the direction of SHAPE America, regional districts, and technology. When else can I hang out with teachers who have done amazing things and learn from them with no one else around?

I went to Brian Devore’s presentation of technology in the classroom more as a let’s see what this guy is all about than I will learn anything. I was so happy to be proven wrong! He had many tips and tricks that I had no clue about. Check out his presentation here. The one new piece of tech that I really enjoyed was My Simple Show. This was similar to Powtoons but looked easier. I would recommend you go check it out.

The next session I went to was facilitated by Mark Friedrich. This dude is a living legend. If he presented 6 times I would go and watch him every time. His games are fun, team building, and great for multiple age levels. This session was all about using blindfolds and teamwork. He started with the classic minefield, then went to minefield with partner far away, then minefield with getting a piece of equipment from middle and bringing back. We progressed to partner directions of moving from number poly spots in order.

We finished using individual blindfold activities. The first time we were blindfolded and had to find our groups by making animal noises. The second round we could make up noises. The final round was the best. We made a circle and found out who was to the left and right of us. We spread out and put our blindfolds back on. Everyone walked around and called out the people’s names we were trying to find. We all found the people to the left and right of us and recreated the circle blindfolded! It was super cool. Check out his YouTube Channel here.

My next session was a new game call Paddle Zlam. This is going to be the first of a billion times you hear me spout about this new game. It is the best new game I have played since Baggo. You play with four paddles, two Paddle Zlam cones, and a pickle ball.

Object: First team to reach 21 points wins.


Two teams of two (4 people) are required to play this game.

Teammates line up opposite one another and assist one another with hitting a paddle ball against or into a small plastic gaming cone.

The plastic gaming cones must be 20 – 30′ apart, depending on skill set.

Players must reach exactly (21 points) using the scoring system above, or deduct points for anything over.

I played the game for an hour straight. The success rate is high, you burn tons of calories, and you work on teamwork and communication. You really need to get this game!! Check out a video of it here

I finished the conference off with a session on brain boosts. Here is a copy of my facilitation. The best part of my session is that I learned from the people in the room more than the people in the room learned from me.

I would highly encourage physed and health teachers to attend their state conference and join their state and national organizations.


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