Month: July 2015

We have to stop drinking soda

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Today I read an article about what Coca Cola does to your body after it is consumed (see info-graphic below). It’s frightening to think children are drinking these sodas sometimes daily. I’ve made a conscious effort to decrease the amount of coke (I’m from Texas, where everything is a coke) I drink purely because I realized how much sugar was in it! Drinking one Coca-Cola will give you 100% of your daily recommended sugar intake. WHAAAT?

I watched the documentary, Fed Up on Netflix and they compared picking a diet coke over a regular coke to picking lite cigarettes over regular (they’re just as bad for you). This really made me think before I picked up my last can of Diet Coke. If you haven’t seen the documentary yet, I suggest you do. Check out the trailer for it below:

As a future educator I think having healthy options for snack time is essential. With that, I also think it’s important for teachers to eat healthy food as well (not only for your own health!) to set an example for students. What would a student think if a teacher spent all afternoon talking about how great bananas are for the body and then the student sees the teacher chowing down on some T-Bell and a 32 oz coke at lunch time? No, no. Research healthier options and learn to cook in the class, how fun is that?! Plus you can get some great math, science and literacy standards in there (:

My last part of this rant will go back to the coke. We must stop this trend of teaching children sugar is a reward and/or treat. We must stop giving students candy when they finish something. We must stop rewarding them with food period. Food is a basic necessity and should NEVER be used as a reward.

Please take a look at the info-grafic below. I know the letters are small, but if you click on it the image enlarges.

Coke Infographic(Source: http://bit.ly/1h7WErD)

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Yoga in the Classroom (Morning Meeting)

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Too often students are required to sit for long periods of time at school. This can occur due to a variety of circumstances: lack of outside time, lack of physical education resources, testing, the curriculum, the district, etc. the list goes on and on.

However, teachers can combat the lack of exercise and gross motor movement in their classrooms by doing yoga! Yoga is a quick, easy, simple, and effective way to get students moving and grooving. I love yoga personally because it really encourages self-regulation, something really important to develop in grade school, and relaxation of the body.

Here are a few simple yoga moves you can do even in a cramped space. I combined information from the following source (Ebert, M. (2012). Yoga in the classroom. Green Teacher, I. 97.) and added in a few poses of my own. The source suggested doing this yoga sequence in the morning before the day begins.

1. Begin in Standing Mountain pose (shown below) feet shoulder width apart, head staring forward, eyes opened or closed, and have students bring hands to the sides instead of in the air,. Tell the students to inhale through their nose and exhale through their mouth. (This type of slow breathing will need to be practiced before the sequence begins so students understand how to control their breath.) Stay here for a few breaths.
mountain-305x205

2. On an exhale, have students lift their right knee to their left elbow and then the opposite side, SLOWLY and with their breath.

3. Sitting Mountain pose is next, have the students sit in their chair and scoot forward slightly to bring the back and bottom away from the back of the chair. Feet should be flat on the floor and students should be sitting up straight and tall. Have students breathe here for several breaths. Tell the students to focus on their breath and try to let all of their air out on the exhale.

4. After this sequence, I would encourage the students to do a sitting back bend. Starting in Sitting Mountain pose, the student’s hands are at the back of their chair and they reach the top of their head back. (Below is a picture of students doing this pose standing, which is also an option.)
art.child.yoga.3.cnn

5. After this pose, have the students come back into Mountain Pose, reach their hands over their heads, then dive down into a forward fold. Encourage the students to move around in this pose by shaking their heads ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and/or holding their elbows and swaying back and forth.
yogaSimplePoseSilhouetteForwardFold

6. Lastly, have the students slowly roll up, reach back up over their heads with their hands, and maybe even bend backwards if that feels good for them. Finally, have the students bring their hands to their hearts and together say:
“I stand up strong just like a tree.
I use my mind, and body, and breath,
To focus myself, and do my BEST!

yogasimpleMountainPoseSilhouette

After the sequence is finished, start your day strong! I encourage teachers to do the poses with the students and model how they are to be done. Yoga is not supposed to be stressful or straining. Also do some extra research and take a class (or 20!) before trying it in the classroom. (Additionally, this would be a great way to start a unit on different cultures!!!)

As my practice continues to grow and mature, I hope to post more helpful yoga sequences to do in the classroom.

Namaste!

Music and Early Childhood

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Piano

Who doesn’t love music? But more importantly have you ever met a preschool kid who didn’t love to ‘get jiggy with it’ (sorry I had to) to a good tune? I haven’t yet. Music education shouldn’t begin and end when students go to their music class, rather music should be all around them in the classroom. I love using music to enhance my lesson plans and use them during transitions, which are typically a little challenging for little ones.

Below I’ve listed some benefits the Center for Children and Families in Norman noted.

1. Improves memory:
“Further research has shown that participation in music at an early age can help improve a child’s learning ability and memory by stimulating different patterns of brain development” -Eduardo Maruret, Conductor of Miami Symphony Orchestra

2. Helps develop language and reasoning
Basic knowledge of music and early training help develop the part of the brain associated with language, reasoning, and retention of information.

3. Promotes emotional development and empathy
Music can be an excellent resource for people who may have trouble verbalizing their emotions. This is especially beneficial to younger kinds. Incorporating activities that could help expand their vocab and the understanding of the emotional context of the music would be amazing to their development as young people.

4. Helps with pattern recognition
Student could benefit in almost every academic aspect with the development of pattern recognition.

5. Auditory skills
A well known advantage of training in the musical arts is acute auditory skills. Linguistically, students will develop a sense of tone and “information bearing elements in sounds” which will help with communication as their vocabulary expands.