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Student Blogs to Effect School Change

saladTired of being forced to eat what she felt were nutritionally sub-par meals at school, a 9-year-old student took to her blog in an effort to draw attention to the issue. It didn’t take long for that attention to go viral as Martha Payne's blog, Never Seconds, was eyed by several media outlets in her native Scotland. The attention grew to the point of a nationally-televised interview with the BBC. She explained how she would take pictures of the meals presented to her with a digital camera and write up a summary of the food including a Food-o-meter rating of how much she likes it, a mouthful count, a health rating and a number for how many pieces of hair were in the food.

She started in April and by May 15, school and town officials were seen leading journalists on tours of the school’s dining area. It was then that Payne blogged that there was a new system for ordering food, and that "cherry tomatoes, radishes, carrot and cucumber shreddings," began appearing in the meals.

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Early Childhood Podcasts for Students...

Podcasts have become a new way of learning. As teachers, leaders, childcare providers, etc., we must commit to being lifelong learners. Today it is easier than ever to learn by listening to colleagues, veterans, and even new to the profession by turning on a podcast. A podcast allows you to listen and learn in the car, while you are working, at the gym, on an airplane, and even out on a walk. There are thousands...

Students Have Some Nerve: Exploring...

(Note: The following is the first installment of a three-part series based on my upcoming book, Calming Student Stress in K-12 Classrooms: Mindfulness, Meditation, and Other Strategies to Reduce Anxiety and Enhance Learning, due out by Rowman & Littlefield in early 2024).

Despite coming out of the pandemic and returning to in-person learning, stress, anxiety, and trauma remain prevalent in the classroom. For example, according to a...

Teaching Students to Be “Digital...

The Samurai were fierce warriors of Feudal Japan (we’re talking 1100 to 1800s). They lived during times of constant fighting, whether between warring lords in Japan or against invading enemies, such as the Mongols.

Samurai had to be incredibly sharp, focused, centered, calm, and ready to leap into action at any moment. This explains why they were drawn to the practice of Zen Buddhism and training the mind through meditation.

Today, the enemy or constant threat isn’t so much...

Don’t Take this Serious! Mindfulness...

Mindfulness in the k-12 classroom has been shown to improve school-related skills, such as executive functioning, social-emotional skills, working memory, sustained attention, and self-regulation (see Mindfulness in the Classroom).

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Starting the New Year Off with...

mindfulness

Educators, you have probably heard the term, mindfulness, thrown around a lot at this point. You...

Educators - Do your homework!

I have recently retired as a school administrator after 51 plus in education.  I have been reading about a lot of new administrators who are all ready burning out, feel overwhelmed, overworked, and under compensated.  I was fortunate to have worked in more than a dozen schools and similar number of other educational positions. I worked in seven states and two countries. My point in saying this as I changed jobs, I had to thoroughly investigate each one before accepting the new assignment. ...

Pumpkin Time is Here!

Learn about Pumpkins! 
 
1. Pumpkins are thought to have originated in Central America, specifically Mexico. Some seeds found date back to 5500 B.C.
 
2. Top pumpkin growers are U.S. farmers, growing more than 1.5 billion each year.
 
3. The word pumpkin comes from the French word for “large melon”,
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Tips and Tricks for Back to School

Back to school---it’s here!

There are many emotions and thoughts about returning back to school. Excitement, joy, pressure, sadness, and anxiety might be a few. It depends on who you are, what kind of emotion you are feeling. Are you a first-year teacher? Are you a veteran teacher, and maybe it is your last year? Are you a new student in a school district? Maybe you are a graduating...

Family Forums: What are They?

As you begin your new school year, I wanted to share with you something that I did to involve, engaging and build relationships with families----I call them “Family Forums”.  I decided that Family Forums would not only become a normal part of building a successful reciprocal relationship with the families in my classroom but also a time to teach and learn from one another. My forums were a party for my families, not a meeting but a place to come and have fellowship with others. It was also a...

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