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How Olympians and Athlete Mentors are Inspiring Kids

March 19, 2020

When I first connected with the team at Classroom Champions, I couldn’t wait to share it with my readers. Students across the world are facing school closures and the possibility of finishing the school year at home. The high-quality resources from Classroom Champions are all about inspiring kids in the classroom and beyond. They are now offering streaming options for use outside of the classroom.

Classroom Champions Inspiring Kids

If you’ve ever watched a game or match come down to the wire, or followed the career of an athlete through all of their ups and downs, you know just how compelling these stories can be. Classroom Champions and two Olympians are leading the charge of over 150 athletes and counting, to help students, teachers, and families around the world who are facing the challenges of school closures.

Christian Taylor is an Olympic Gold Medalist and Classroom Champions Board Member and mentor, and Steve Mesler is an Olympic Gold Medalist and President and CEO of Classroom Champions. During this public health crisis and the school closures impacting millions of students and families, Classroom Champions has been talking with teachers to see what their athlete mentors can do to help during this time. 

In this blog post, I’ll share with you the story behind Classroom Champions and how you might use this popular classroom tool and its powerful resources outside of the classroom.

Social and Emotional Learning with Classroom Champions

Classroom Champions is a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum with mentorship programs for students. The resources are designed to improve engagement, build students’ growth mindset, and inspire a positive classroom culture.

How does it work? Classroom Champions connects volunteer Olympians, Paralympians, Student-Athletes, and Professional Athletes to K-8 classrooms. They use a social and emotional learning curriculum and mentorship experience to solidify these connections and help address essential skill-building that isn’t found on a standardized test.

The athlete mentors share stories about their accomplishments and the obstacles they faced along the way. Students learn about the lessons they learned from the challenges they faced and how perseverance and goal setting all play a role.

I really love how this program anchors conversation on social and emotional learning topics in real-life experiences. The athlete mentors who are part of the Classroom Champions program have a diverse background and range of experiences to share with students. Side-by-side with the Classroom Champions curriculum, the mentors bring SEL topics to life for students.

Classroom Champions Outside of the Classroom

How do these powerful classroom experiences and the SEL curriculum transfer to learning outside of the classroom? Well, after talking with teachers, Classroom Champions decided to make its new SEL lessons available to everyone. These lessons come from inspiring Olympic and Paralympic athlete mentors and are now free and accessible to anyone who wants them.

All you have to do is head over to this special landing page and click on “Get Started Now.” Then you can use the drop-down menu to choose which set of resources you’d like to access. You can choose between the SEL Foundations for K-2, 3-5, and 6-8.

Regular readers of the blog (sign up here) know that I taught fifth grade in New York City for several years. So when I first went to explore this new resource, I headed straight for the SEL Foundations for 3-5. This resource includes dozens of lessons, a video library, and lots more.

Once you choose the bundle of resources you’d like to access, you can log in with a single sign-on or create a new account. You can access all of these resources as a teacher. Or you can share the link to the resources (or this blog post) with families. Then they can create their own account and access these resources, too!

Inspiring Kids

In response to the current challenges facing students, teachers, and families, Classroom Champions has created a handful of new resources. These new resources include the Mindful Minute videos I mentioned above, parent toolkits, and some new activities. 

I loved the mindfulness example from Tiffany Parker, a USA Heptathlete, and 2022 Bobsled Olympic Hopeful. She shared a kid-friendly strategy for focusing on your goals, even when you are feeling stressed out. It is relatable for students (and adults!) of all ages. And these resources can definitely prompt a discussion at home in addition to a classroom setting.

The team at Classroom Champions is also hosting daily Classroom Champions LIVE video chats starting Monday, March 23rd. These take place every morning at 10 AM MT on Facebook. During these LIVE video chats for kids, an athlete mentor will teach lessons on different topics. This includes video chats on mindfulness, workouts kids can do at home, read alongs, and even healthy cooking tutorials!

Getting Started with Classroom Champions

I know that these resources from Classroom Champions would be perfect in a traditional classroom. But they lend themselves really well to distance learning, too. You might decide to jump into the curriculum and handpick select activities for your students to try out at home. Or you might put together a newsletter with recommended resources. This is a fantastic (and free!) option to share with families.

Use this link to try out the new curriculum for free or use these resources at your home or classroom. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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