Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just Add music!


Recently I decided to set up some stretching and core strengthening stations for my 1st – 5th grade PE classes. I combined some Yoga and Core Strength poly spots for this. One concern I had was that there would be a lot of whining and complaining due to holding a pose or feeling some muscles work that they weren’t accustomed to using. 

I decided to add a hurdle station in which they could race against a partner (this one addition would probably have been enough from the sounds of excitement when they saw the hurdles set up). I also decided to go with a couple of station standbys--jump rope, hula-hoop, and running through a cone course. I thought that seeing something familiar would help those who are a bit reluctant to try new things be more comfortable. I also added *music-a kids radio station on my IPad was perfect for this set up.

Day one - I introduced each station and demonstrated the rotation so that all would go smoothly. For the 1st grade students I left out some of the more difficult stations. At the end of class they had had so much fun they wanted to do it again next time (which I had planned) so we decided to start where they left off for the next class meeting.

Things went very well! I saw excitement and determination on many faces and I was mildly surprised that some of the students as young as 1st grade knew the words to the songs and began to sing (with great enthusiasm) along as they exercised. It was fun for me to watch the creativity in which students combined some dance moves with the stations and seeing some of the more reserved students break into a dance move and sing along was refreshing.

*I often add music when we do stations and obstacle courses

Monday, September 23, 2013

Water is GOOD!


It has been a very good start for the 2013-14 school year! Students are great, staff is great, and the school lunch program well… that is another matter.
Our food service director, who had been overseeing the K-12 lunch program for the past 10 or so years retired over the summer. She worked tirelessly to improve the lunch program and build the breakfast program in our district. We went from “air” bread to whole wheat, high starch and fried foods to baked and low starch options. Yes, some of the changes were mandated from the State but the school health team and food service director worked to stay ahead of the mandates. Students adjusted to the changes and were known to ask for ‘new’ foods they experienced at school (much to the surprise of some parents). Water was made an option at lunch for those students who either did not like milk or had intolerances/allergies to the milk options.
Now that we have a new food director, most of the changes remain in place, predominantly because of the changes made in State and Federal requirements. The one glitch is, the new director refused to serve water at lunch. Parents weren't happy, students weren't happy, teachers were confused.  On the first day of school one Kindergardener, when told she could not have water but could have milk even 'new' strawberry milk, was not only very sad but was overheard to say (as only a Kindergardener can) "But I'm lactose intolerant". 
I kept out of this ruckus as long as possible. I heard from many people what they had been told the ‘reasons’ were as to why water was not offered. Finally, after week 3, I had heard so many different reasons I decided to ask the director myself, so that when I was questioned about this (being the ‘health teacher’ who teaches that water is GOOD and it is a good beverage to have with meals) I could respond with first hand information. 

The other day I decided to ask about ‘why no water was offered at lunch?’ I was told that:
1) There is no nutritional value in water
2) Water should never have been an option at lunch
3) It was not a reimbursable part of the meal

I have not received any information from the food service, so I decided to check out the School Lunch Program on our state.gov web site.

Here is what I found out:

1.During the Meal Service Section 203 of the HHFKA amends section 9(a) of the NSLA (42 U.S.C. (1758(a)) by requiring that schools participating in the NSLP make potable water available to children at no charge in the place where lunches are served during the meal service
2. There are a variety of ways that schools can choose to implement this requirement. For example, schools can offer water pitchers and cups on lunch tables, a water fountain, or a faucet that allows students to fill their own bottles or cups with drinking water. Whatever method is chosen, the water must be available without restriction in the location where meals are served.  While potable water is required to be made available to students, it is not considered part of the reimbursable meal, and students are not required to take water.
3. There is no separate funding available for this provision and reimbursement may not be claimed. However, reasonable costs associated with providing potable water would be an allowable cost to the non-profit school food service account. (My underline)
As far as I can tell number 3 was correct

Here is what I found out about the “nutritional value” of water

Water is an essential nutrient. While not a provider of calories, an adequate amount of water must be consumed on a daily basis for proper functioning of the body and overall good health. By regulating thirst and controlling urine output the body is able to keep a delicate water balance. When this balance is not maintained the body's ability to function is dramatically compromised.

If your child's school is not serving water as an alternative or in addition to milk-start asking questions and do some research.

So, in conclusion Water is GOOD! Drink water!  When ever & Where ever possible! Especially in place of sugary drinks-this includes soda as well as chocolate and strawberry flavored milk!




Friday, June 14, 2013

Keep Calm


Design and production

The poster was initially produced by the Ministry of Information,[1] at the beginning of the Second World War. It was intended to be distributed in order to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster, such as mass bombing of major cities using high explosives and poison gas, which was widely expected within hours of an outbreak of war. Over 2,500,000 copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers, and never saw public display.[5]
The poster was third in a series of three. The previous two posters from the series, "Freedom Is In Peril. Defend It With All Your Might" and "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory" were issued and used across Britain for motivational purposes, as the Ministry of Information assumed that the events of the first weeks
of the war would demoralise the population.[6] Planning for the posters started in April 1939; by June designs were prepared, and by August 1939, production had begun, and the posters were ready to be placed up within 24 hours of the outbreak of war. The posters were intended to be associated with the Ministry of Information, and to incorporate a unique and recognisable lettering and design, with a message from the King to his people. An icon of a "Tudor" crown (a widely used symbol of government authority) was chosen to head the poster, rather than a photograph. The slogans were created by civil servants, with a career civil servant named Waterfield coming up with "Your Courage" as "a rallying war-cry that will bring out the best in everyone of us and put us in an offensive mood at once". These particular posters were designed as "a statement of the duty of the individual citizen", un-pictorial, to be accompanied by more colloquial designs. The "Your Courage" poster was much more famous during the war, as it was the first of the Ministry of Information's posters.[2]
However, although the campaign was prompt, and although 800,000 of the "Freedom Is In Peril" and "Your Courage" posters were distributed, many people claimed not to have seen them; while those who did see them regarded them as patronising and divisive. Design historian Susannah Walker regards the campaign as "a resounding failure", and reflective of a misjudgement by upper-class civil servants of the mood of the people.[7]

 Design


This parody of the Keep Calm was designed in response to the new mandates of evaluations for educators. So far as I can tell no one likes the process (administrators/teachers alike). Everyone is stressed out because of these evaluations and (most) teachers feel as though they are under attack. So, I thought I would come up with a slogan that expressed this frustration while at the same time cast a bit of humor on the situation, show support for teachers, and maybe…just maybe boost morale.



The meme 'keep calm' has been used in a wide range of sayings since its reintroduction in 2000 to include everything from simple silly sayings to more serious intentions
For more Keep calm suggestions this is just one of many sites you can visit 

If you are interested in purchasing a Tee-shirt to show support for teachers please contact me for details
 




Saturday, March 9, 2013

People Do Play in the Snow!


My last post was about parents NOT letting their children play outside in the winter because they were afraid the children would fall and get hurt. Well, I must say I had the most pleasant surprise the other day when my husband and I were out for a walk along the shore of a local lake.






A Mom, A Dad, A Boy, & A Dog









As we parked our car we noticed what appeared to be two adults, a child, and a dog out on the ice with a wind surfing kite and snowboard. We could hear the adult encouraging the child to get the kite into the wind so he could be pulled on the snowboard. I thought “that is pretty cool” and we continued on our walk.
When we returned from our walk, they were still out on the ice, I thought to myself “what a great way to get some exercise and spend time as a family”.  We stopped to watch the snow surfing.
The dog came to shore to greet us, it seemed like a friendly dog, so I decided to wander out and check out this unusual sight. I met a mom, dad, and son (I'd already met the dog), we chatted for a few minutes. The parents shared that they often get outside to play during the winter and that they use the winter as a time for their son (a 5th grader) to practice his Kite surfing skills. The parents shared that their son was very active and that he also played basketball.
Seeing this family out enjoying the winter weather has given me some hope that there are other families out there who get outside in the winter and play together --Thank you.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Go PLAY in the SNOW!


Hey wait a minute! What happened to February? I was shorted at least two days!

It has been an incredibly busy month and one of the snowiest in a long time. I think this school year may have seen a record number of snow days. The only other year I remember having had this many snow days was 1982, my senior year in high school-six weeks straight of Mondays off.

I read recently that 1 in 4 parents will not allow their children to play outside in the winter because they are afraid that their child(ren) will fall and get hurt. I was also told this same thing by several students when I suggested that they play outside more to build stronger bodies and build their aerobic capacity. With all of this snow we have gotten-that is a lot of children staying indoors! I have also read that children who spend a lot of time indoors especially in the winter, have a higher incidence of illness.  If children are ill they spend less time in school and learning potential suffers.

If these statements are true we are doing a great disservice to our children.

Go out and PLAY in the SNOW!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Years Resolutions


I thought I’d give New Years Resolutions a few days to take hold (or not). If/when you find you are having trouble sticking to 2013 Resolutions consider the wording of your goal. If you have included the word “try”, leave it out. MRI imaging reveals that the brain does not recognize the word “try”. Instead use wording that includes “I am”, “I have”, “I do”…  Action words--those are what light up the brain and Action is what you want to happen. So, when you find your Resolution wavering revisit the wording. 
PS (You may have noticed, “I tried” to post in November/December and “I am” posting in January) ;)

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hopscotch--It’s just a Game…or is it?


Last summer I read an article called ‘Why Hopscotch Matters’ posted on http://movingsmartblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/why-hopscotch-matters.html, which I linked to from @movingsmart. This post did a fantastic job of breaking down why playing hopscotch is good for children. What first caught my attention was how this game helps midline development. In other words by hopping on one foot a child develops more concrete connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which in turn have a positive impact on learning, creativity, and social development. The rest of the article convinced me that this ‘game’ should be brought back to our school.
Last weekend, my husband and I painted two hopscotch courts on the playground for the students to use during recess and this week students are learning how to play hopscotch.  I wasn’t sure how well this ‘new’ game would be received especially by the boys, but so far everyone has been captivated.
As I supervise students practicing the hops and jumps, and watch the personal interactions between students, it’s as if I am watching the “wheels” turn as they preplan motor movements for themselves and anticipate what the other students are doing while completing the course.  One student reached the number 5 and the other children who were waiting their turn began clapping and congratulating that student for doing well. High fives all around!
The looks of concentration and even frustration turned to smiles of accomplishment and confidence as each student began to master the different skills necessary to be successful.