Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Asher's Poem

dinosaur dinosaur

I wish you were home
I love you

she thinks she's taller than me but no. she says think what you think. mine is better. that's what I say. we have a little fight about it.

the stars explode when you come near.

trees and flowers that grow
the great sun
wait in the sun
a trick to get out
they disappear
it was done growing but one thing was wrong
it wanted to grow more but it could never do it
it could get bigger if it waits
before they knew it, the trees were everywhere
a human being walked outside and he saw the beautiful stuff outside
she said what lovely things in my backyard

the end, is that a good story

Recess, then Lunch

Can something as simple as the timing of recess make a difference in a child’s health and behavior?

Some experts think it can, and now some schools are rescheduling recess — sending students out to play before they sit down for lunch. The switch appears to have led to some surprising changes in both cafeteria and classroom.

Schools that have tried it report that when children play before lunch, there is less food waste and higher consumption of milk, fruit and vegetables. And some teachers say there are fewer behavior problems.

“Kids are calmer after they’ve had recess first,” said Janet Sinkewicz, principal of Sharon Elementary School in Robbinsville, N.J., which made the change last fall. “They feel like they have more time to eat and they don’t have to rush.”

One recent weekday at Sharon, I watched as gaggles of second graders chased one another around the playground and climbed on monkey bars. When the whistle blew, the bustling playground emptied almost instantly, and the children lined up to drop off their coats and mittens and file quietly into the cafeteria for lunch.

“All the wiggles are out,” Ms. Sinkewicz said.

One of the earliest schools to adopt the idea was North Ranch Elementary in Scottsdale, Ariz. About nine years ago, the school nurse suggested the change, and the school conducted a pilot study, tracking food waste and visits to the nurse along with anecdotal reports on student behavior.

By the end of the year, nurse visits had dropped 40 percent, with fewer headaches and stomachaches. One child told school workers that he was happy he didn’t throw up anymore at recess.

Other children had been rushing through lunch to get to the playground sooner, leaving much uneaten. After the switch, food waste declined and children were less likely to become hungry or feel sick later in the day. And to the surprise of school officials, moving recess before lunch ended up adding about 15 minutes of classroom instruction.

In the Arizona heat, “kids needed a cool-down period before they could start academic work,” said the principal, Sarah Hartley.

“We saved 15 minutes every day,” Dr. Hartley continued, “because kids could play, then go into the cafeteria and eat and cool down, and come back to the classroom and start academic work immediately.”

Since that pilot program, 18 of the district’s 31 schools have adopted “recess before lunch.”

The switch did pose some challenges. Because children were coming straight from the playground, the school had to install hand sanitizers in the lunchroom. And until the lunch system was computerized, the school had to distribute children’s lunch cards as they returned from recess.

In Montana, state school officials were looking for ways to improve children’s eating habits and physical activity, and conducted a four-school pilot study of “recess before lunch” in 2002. According to a report from the Montana Team Nutrition program, children who played before lunch wasted less food, drank more milk and asked for more water. And as in Arizona, students were calmer when they returned to classrooms, resulting in about 10 minutes of extra teaching time.

One challenge of the program was teaching children to eat slower. In the past, children often finished lunch in five minutes so they could get to recess. With the scheduling change, cafeteria workers had to encourage them to slow down, chew their food and use all the available time to finish their lunch.

Today, about one-third of Montana schools have adopted “recess before lunch,” and state officials say more schools are being encouraged. “The pilot projects that are going on have been demonstrating that students are wasting less food, they have a more relaxed eating environment and improved behavior because they’re not rushing to get outside,” said Denise Juneau, superintendent of the Office of Public Instruction. “It’s something our office will promote to schools across the state as a best practice.”

Children’s health experts note that such a switch might not work in many urban school districts, where lower-income children may start the day hungry.

“It’s a great idea, but first we’ve got to give them a decent breakfast,” said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital Boston. “A lot of kids skip breakfast and arrive at lunch ravenous.”

And for a seemingly simple scheduling change, it can create some daunting logistical problems. Children often have to return to hallways and classrooms after recess for bathroom breaks and hand washing and to pick up lunch bags. The North Ranch Elementary School regularly fields calls from schools in colder climates with questions on how to deal with coats, hats, galoshes and mittens. “In Arizona, we don’t have to deal with that,” said Dr. Hartley, the principal.

Many school districts say such problems make them reluctant to switch. A 2006 study in The Journal of Childhood Nutrition & Management reported that fewer than 5 percent of the nation’s elementary schools were scheduling recess before lunch.

But at the Sharon Elementary School, the principal, Ms. Sinkewicz, says the challenges have been worth it. In the past, children took coats, hats and mittens with them to the lunchroom, then headed outside. Now they have time to return coats to lockers so they don’t have to carry them to the lunchroom.

“For some reason, kids aren’t losing things outside,” Ms. Sinkewicz said. “The lost-and-found mound has gone down.”

Behavior: Napping Can Prime the Brain for Learning

It turns out that toddlers are not the only ones who do better after an afternoon nap. New research has found that young adults who slept for 90 minutes after lunch raised their learning power, their memory apparently primed to absorb new facts.

Other studies have indicated that sleep helps consolidate memories after cramming, but the new study suggests that sleep can actually restore the ability to learn.

The findings, which have not yet been published, were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego.

“You need to sleep before learning, to prepare your brain, like a dry sponge, to absorb new information,” said the lead investigator, Matthew P. Walker, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at University of California at Berkeley.

The study recruited 39 healthy young adults and divided them into two groups. All 39 were asked to learn 100 names and faces at noon, and then to learn a different set of names and faces at 6 p.m. But 20 of the volunteers who slept for 90 minutes between the two learning sessions improved their scores by 10 percent on average after sleeping; the scores of those who didn’t nap actually dropped by 10 percent.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pied Beauty - Gerard Manley Hopkins

Another one of my favorite poems - I'm hoping Elliot will memorize it for his poetry assignment at school:

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 1
Praise him.

Something (even human voices) in the foreground, a lake

Something (even human voices) in the foreground, a lake

A definite mountain (the upper with tableaux), foul water.

The air was back of the house, my knee sweet, intervening roses and
heavy-hanging apricot boughs as the morning advanced, an imposition of
isolated will upon the deck chairs, the docks and fragments (even human
voices), the watery glitter of bits of food afloat on the water's surface. That
hole, the size of fifty cents in someone's childhood. You always called
"Here, little fishy" when you dropped the orange and green flakes into the
round opening. I often looked for a dead one. Even a light bulb fooled me.
"You are glad it wasn't what you thought it was," you told me. You were
accurate but on another morning, I noticed, while sitting in a chair, listen-
ing to you speak a halting Italian on the borrowed telephone, a small silver
fish with clouded eye lying back-to-back with its reflection. Anything is in-
terchangeable with a small net. You know that.

One of my favorite poems by Kathleen Fraser

Friday, February 12, 2010

List of words for how they sound or look

1. palindrome
2. fragments
3. radiate
4. smooth
5. betwixt
6. taut
7. marigolds
8. inertia
9. periphery
10 palanquin
11. languid
12. effervescence
13. elude
14. quince
15. dogwood
16. cellophane
17. goldenrod
18. passerine
19. nest
20. fold
21. capellini
22. clavicle
23. anodyne
24. cure
25. waxwing
26. spinneret
27. mettle
28. spoon
29. convivial
30. insouciance
31, frisson

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Asher's Bestiary

Mom is a mouse who is very cuddly and small. Dad is a jaguar because he's fast. Elliot is an eagle. I am half dinosaur, half bear and half squirrel because I'm cute and can kill anything. I'm invincible.

Amy and I have a problem. When we go outside she's taller. When we go inside I'm taller. Something different is going on.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Childhood Songs

I asked Elliot what songs he remembers from the glory days of his early youth, and he said, "highway to hell." Ha. I reminded him that he hadn't heard that song until this year. I told him how he used to make me play certain Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash songs over and over again. He said he still likes Johnny Cash. Oh well. These are two songs I remember loving from my pre-5 days.