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      Perspire to inspire

      Free2Play is a new and free program that teachers are using to incorporate exercise into their literacy classes. Fourth and fifth graders at Bothwell Middle School have been using the program since March with excellent results. "Perspire to inspire" is the motto behind the Free2Play program. For less than 10 minutes a day, students learn a new exercise and the science behind it. The program insists that every child is an athlete. "It's better than sitting on the couch doing nothing and being lazy. You actually get to move and have lots of fun with your friends," said fifth grader Trevor Swick. An online coach guides the class. This lesson is all about jumping jacks. "It's cool because I thought there was only one type of jumping jack, but I guess there's like thousands," said fourth grader Eli McFerrin. Free2Play is designed for more than just fitness. By helping students understand each individual exercise, educators hope that they will take their knowledge home with them and teach others. In other classes, teachers and students say they're performing better thanks to Free2Play. "It helps us get ready for reading and it helps the blood pump," said fifth grader Carly Lang. "We've found that it's been outstanding for the students. They get the wiggles out, they get to exercise, they're learning all kinds of new vocabulary that they can then transfer to the reading program," said fourth and fifth grade teacher Ann Piereson. "What's really amazing is that when we go back to our classroom and read, how much better they're able to concentrate and focus." Piereson refers to it as fitness literacy. Free2Play also teaches new vocabulary and a new phrase in sign language with each lesson. "I want to do it throughout the whole entire year, and then I want to try doing it in college, and I'm going to keep doing it so I can stay healthy," Swick said. Free2Play is also being used at Superior Hills Elementary School in Marquette. The free program can be used anywhere there is Internet with a big screen and it is easy to start. Free2Play is also easily used at home. For more info, contact Brett Conklin at (906) 869-4990.