Archive | June, 2012

Bullying has lasting effects

30 Jun

Thursday we talked about bullying in class, and when I came home I found this article on Jezebel about a Swedish study on lasting effects of bullying. The study followed almost 900 students from their teens to adulthood, and found that adults who had been bullied as youths were “more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

You can read the whole article here.

This is an aspect of bullying that I have never heard discussed. People often seem to think if you get past your school years, and make it to adulthood, you can put those times behind you and move on. However, this study shows that is not always the case.

Does being bullied or isolated make you unhealthy? We humans are social creatures. Our species would not exist without our social organizations and nature. We talk out problems, we divide tasks, we work together. If a child feels isolated, they are not receiving the benefits of our social culture.

As the article says, it’s incredibly sad that something like bullying, that children have no control over, can affect their entire lives and health.

On a side note, Jezebel has a whole section on bullying, and childhood body image, there are a lot of interesting reads.

Being sick

29 Jun

I’ve been trying to take good care of myself.

Washing my hands, drinking lots of water, eating my veggies. However, it seems inevitable that I will occasionally get sick. This time, it started with a sore throat. Friday, I was buying running shoes at REI (a very involved process) and I started to feel a pain in the back of my throat. I drank water, took Emergen-C, and told myself it was allergies, it would go away.

Saturday night I could feel my body aching. I went to bed early. Sunday I couldn’t breathe through my nose, I was coughing, and had a fever. Monday I felt a little better. Tuesday I took some cold medicine and went to school.

I hate missing school.

My head was foggy, my brain felt thick and clouded. It hurt to breathe. I’m so thankful to my friends and to my professor, who told me to go home and take care of myself.

Sometimes, I need to be reminded to take care of myself – I only have this one body, and I’m not doing anyone any favors by pushing myself too far.

I went home, and slept.

I’m finally feeling better, but it got me thinking – what about our students? They are often sent to school when they don’t feel well. Maybe they have a cold but no fever. Maybe they have a fever, but their parents can’t afford to take of work to stay home with them. What can we do when our students are sick? It’s nearly impossible to learn while you’re not feeling well, while you’re focused on your body and not on anything else.

What do you think?

Games in Education

27 Jun

As a theatre teacher, I have always had a “back pocket” set of games to play with kids when they need time to move. I’m excited to now get to incorporate those, and learn new games to incorporate, into my classroom.

I loved the idea of having students create and “perform” their own jump-rope rhyme about a given topic. This is something that could be done throughout the year, and shared with families and other classes.

I also really liked the idea of doing Zumba or something similar with students. We often talk about how kids “need to move” but, what does that look like? It can look like zumba or a relay race or even simply moving to another workspace in the classroom. Reading in Yardsticks about the developmental needs of students emphasizes how much they need to move – schools aren’t providing the recess or P.E. time for kids to move, so we as teachers will need to incorporate physical activity into our day.

A few years ago, I worked at an elementary school in Bellingham. Towards the end of my year there, as plans were being made for the next school year, it was decided that there would be no PE teacher or class, and teachers would be given a weekly time in the gym to teach “physical education.” Teachers were upset, for numerous reasons, but I was also struck by how they through themselves into figuring out how to incorporate PE into their classroom curriculum.

I hope my future school will have a PE teacher I can collaborate with, but if not, I am glad I have this cohort and this class to look to for support and inspiration on physical activity in the classroom.

Math is important!

23 Jun

A funny video for a good cause. Yay math education!

First week, done.

22 Jun

Yesterday was exhausting. I didn’t get enough sleep, we had a class about abuse, a meeting at lunch, and then another 3 hour class. I took a walk during a break just to get my blood moving, but I felt like a lump most of the day. I feel this is an important thing to remember – if I, as an adult, can’t concentrate after sitting in a chair for two, thee, four hours, then how can I expect a child to?

Spending the morning talking about issues of abuse and neglect was heavy. It’s important, especially since as teachers we will be mandatory reporters – if we suspect abuse, we are required to report it. I found it sort of strange – I have been told in the past that, as a classroom or special education aide, I was a mandatory reporter. However, I have never before received any training on how to recognize signs of abuse.

A disturbing part of yesterday’s class was, while we were talking about signs of neglect, I thought back to a particular student I once worked with. This student exhibited nearly all the signs of neglect – and not a single teacher suggested it as a possibility. This student was identified with many special needs, which I suppose could also be the reasons for his/her behavior, but when a child has an extreme emotional disorder, discusses suicide, and is physically violent, shouldn’t we look for the reason, beyond assuming the child is “depressed” or otherwise mentally ill? It is possible that this was discussed without me, as I was not a teacher but merely an aide, but I am still shocked and disappointed that it wasn’t mentioned or explored.

With the statistics we looked at, I know it is likely that several of my students will experience abuse. It saddens me, and I hope I have the ability to recognize it and do something about it – and to make sure my students always know that my classroom is a safe space.

Meal planning

21 Jun

One thing about keeping a food and activity journal – I am thinking more about both food and activity than I usually do.

Before the quarter started, I made it my goal to plan my meals a week in advance. I have an Excel spreadsheet. So far, I’ve followed it pretty well, only deviating when I realized I had tofu in the fridge that needed to be eaten. There’s not much food sold on campus that I can eat, so I need to make sure I’m packing myself enough healthy food to make it through the day. I can’t do that if I don’t plan ahead.

Want to see my plan for this week? Sunday’s not on here because I needed to give myself one day off.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Breakfast eggs Baco-Cheese Corn Muffin, coffee, banana Baco-Cheese Corn muffin, coffee, banana Baco-Cheese Corn muffin, coffee, banana waffles coffee, muffins
Lunch Cottage cheese, veggies Black Bean Enchiladas, green salad Black bean enchiladas BLT Pasta Turkey Wraps BBQ
Snack Yogurt, almonds, granola bar apple, yogurt, granola bar carrots & hummus, almonds
Dinner Black Bean Enchiladas, green salad Fried Rice BLT Pasta Pizza Chicken Fajitas Date Night

I promise I wrote this before classes began, and I had no idea we would need to keep a food journal.

Partially because I was thinking about my activity log, and partially because it was a beautiful day and I was feeling stressed, I walked home from the U-district today instead of catching a second bus like I usually do. It was a beautiful walk, and I got home in about 30 minutes, feeling rejuvenated. It’s awesome what a little cardio can do for your outlook on life.

Health, Sanity, and Summer Quarter

20 Jun

I had some serious stress-dreams the past few nights. Like realizing it was finals week and I had forgotten to attend a class. Or that I missed the first day of school because it was actually Monday instead of Tuesday.

So I was pretty happy to start class today, maybe my brain can stress out about something else.

But, after the first day, I’m starting to feel stressed about all we’re supposed to accomplish this quarter.

And the food journal thing? I understand it, I feel like it’s useful, but personally, I’m really tired of focusing on my food.

You see, three years ago I got really sick.

Really, really sick. Couldn’t eat anything. Tired all the time. Painful stomach cramps. Tests were run. Ultrasounds of my spleen, x-rays of my digestive tract… My doctor couldn’t figure out what it was. I asked if it could be a food allergy or sensitivity, she scoffed. I decided to test it myself. And so I started a food log, and began experiementing. I took myself off dairy, and felt the same. I took myself off wheat and gluten, and immediately felt better. Immediately, as in, the next day. And the next day, even better. And so on.

I don’t go to that doctor anymore.

And I don’t eat wheat or gluten anymore. It’s tough, but I love to cook and try new things so I have fun with it. I’m also, in general, a lot healthier than when I ate gluten, because I tend to eat mostly “whole foods” like fruits and vegetables, and rarely eat anything processed.

But honestly, I’m constantly thinking about what I eat, and a large part of me doesn’t want to spend more time thinking about it and writing it all down. And then we’re supposed to come up with a way to improve it? I hope, at the end of this week, I can look at my food journal and clearly see something that can be improved, but honestly, I’m not sure.

We’ll see!

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