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I’m back from two weeks of traveling with my daughter. We flew to Switzerland and then to Los Angeles. What a wonderful, exhausting, and crazy experience it was. I drove a HUGE van in Switzerland! Yes, I’m the roundabout queen now. I can still hear Arielle yelling, “second exit, take the second exit!” I met Harrison Ford, slept in an airport, survived without my luggage for two days, and ate more bread and chocolate in two weeks than all year! Yum!

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I’ve returned from a fantastic trip to Los Angeles! Driving on the freeways, eating in fabulous restaurants and strolling along Santa Monica Pier brought me back to twenty years ago when L.A. was my home.

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Let me introduce you to an incredible young man! Ryan Chalmers is a wheelchair athlete at the University of Illinois. I’m very partial to the University of Illinois because my beautiful daughter, Arielle, goes there and is also a member of the team. Ryan is pushing across America using his racing wheelchair. He began yesterday in Los Angeles and will finish in New York. Check him out here on Good Morning America: Click on the picture to see the interview.

Teachers this is a great opportunity to talk to your class about disabilities and the importance of determination and hard work. Hey, why not follow Ryan on his journey? Here’s the map: Ryan’s journey

As a class you can use math to calculate the amount of miles Ryan pushes daily and how far he has to go.

For social studies you can have students research each state Ryan will travel through.

History and reading can be incorporated by researching the history of the racing wheelchair.

Those are just some ideas off the top of my head. I’m sure you can think of more. This is very exciting because Ryan is bringing awareness to wheelchair athletics along with breaking down barriers between the able-bodied and disabled. We all face challenges in our lives and that is the common thread that ties us together.

If you have more ideas for lessons please post them in the comments section or on Facebook. I love it when teachers inspire teachers!