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Teacher: Debbie Glaberman who teaches at Heritage Middle School in Wake Forest,, NC. Debbie Glaberman can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: P. E. Pals

Rationale/Purpose of Event: The purpose of P.E. Pals is to provide our adaptive physical education students with peer tutors/"coaches." This program provides opportunities for P.E. Pals to serve as mentors/role models for students with special needs, as well as to bond with students whom they might not otherwise have opportunities to become friends with.

Suggested Grade Level: 6-8

Materials Needed: * Students * Physical Education equipment * Incentives * Recordkeeping materials

P. E. Pals

1. At the end of the school year, the adaptive physical education teacher informs students in 7th physical education classes/health classes about the P.E. Pals program. (Most students have previously heard about the program from participating 8th graders and/or morning announcements.)
2. Students wishing to participate in P.E. Pals must write a 3 paragraph essay in order to "apply" for a position as a P.E. Pal. The essay MUST include:
* Why do you want to become a P.E. Pal?
* What do you plan to contribute to the P.E. Pal program?
* What do you hope to learn/gain from having
participated in this program?
3. Students are selected to participate in P.E. Pals, based upon their essays, grades, attendance, participation in physical education classes, etc. (You may set any criteria you feel is appropriate for acceptance into the program.)
- Our school is a "year round school;" consequently,it is important for us to have a 3:1 ratio per (P.E. Pals : Adaptive Physical Education student) because students' schedules allow for "track out time" (3 week vacations). It is important for each P.E. Pal to be assigned to a specific student, so that he/she can develop a positive rapport with his/her new friend; additionally, there should always be another P.E. Pal available whom the designated adaptive p.e. student is familiar with, just in case a P.E. Pal is absent.
4. P.E. Pals are matched up with a designated adaptive p.e. student. (This does take some time to discuss and plan with the Special Education Teacher(s).
5. P.E. Pals meet with the Physical Educator to review the role of a P.E. Pal, and discuss the format, responsibilities, and expectations during each class. They "job shadow" the 8th graders who are presently involved in the P.E. Pals program (to become accustomed and acclimated to the routine).
6. For 8th grade participants, adaptive physical education classes are held, and P.E. Pals serve as peer tutors/coaches/mentors during each class:
* P.E. Pals lead warm-up exercises as a
* P.E. Pals demonstrate/model sports/fitness skills.
* P.E. Pals facilitate/assist adaptive p.e. students in
performing skills at stations and/or during group
* P.E. Pals offer encouragement and cheer on other
* P.E. Pals assist in setting up/putting equipment in
appropriate place(s), as designated by physical
education teacher(s)
7. P.E. Pals accompany our adaptive physical education
students/Special Olympians to the local Special Olympics!
They help to provide support and encouragement to all
the athletes.
P.E. Pals has been a HUGE success in our school! Our P.E. program is fun, provides opportunities for fitness activities, promotes bonding, and elicits a sense of pride in what we do! Our P.E. Pals take their positions seriously; they show responsibility, support, and compassion each time they get together with their new friends! (We've actually had high school students come back to visit the middle school adaptive physical education students with whom they have worked!)


*P.E. Pals could certainly be done with other grade levels!
*You may set forth your criteria for participation in the P.E. Pals program as you deem necessary.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Encourage parental participation, if possible.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

*Adapt size/softness/texture/auditory response of equipment.
*Adjust space/time necessary to ensure student success.
*Foster an environment of patience and caring!

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Posted on PEC: 5/18/2009 and has received 118 votes.

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