Archive | May, 2013

The 05/23/13 Joy Jar

23 May


Moi is anticipating the Loooong Memorial Day Weekend. She needs the rest. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar is the anticipation of a restful Memorial Day Weekend which heralds the anticipation of Summer.

After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.
Kenneth Grahame

The only way to go on holiday is with your expectations at ground level. Convince yourself before you go that the weather’s going to be dreadful and there will be nylon sheets. You’ll then be pleasantly surprised.
Jenny Eclair

I’m a minimalist. I don’t really need much to enjoy a good holiday – just my family and the bare essentials. Jean Reno

Thank God its friday, thank God for the long weekend, thank God for my BED. Unknown

Working hours are never long enough. Each day is a holiday, and ordinary holidays are grudged as enforced interruptions in an absorbing vocation. Unknown

A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.” John B. Priestly

Oregon school finds success with the ‘Fit to Live and Learn’ physical education program

22 May


The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn.There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and obesity is often prevalent among poor children. The American Heart Associationhas some great information about Physical Activity and Children


An Oregon school has had success with a physical education program called “Fit to Live and Learn” which is based on the book the book “Spark” by Dr. John J. Ratey.


Portland Public School News reported about the success Benson school has had with the “Fit to Live and Learn” program in the article, New Benson PE/Health curriculum is fat-burning success:



Benson teachers have redesigned their PE/Health curriculum with pound-shedding and academic-performance-enhancing results for students.


PE/Health teachers Katie Meyer and Linda McLellan began talking last year about re-designing their curriculum. After reading the book “Spark” by Dr. John J. Ratey, they decided to blend PE and Health into one course taught daily for a block period. Fit to Live and Learn was born.


The book presents a strong argument for the connection between brain function and physical activity. Benson’s Fit to Live & Learn program provides physical activity for freshmen everyday as well as lessons on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Students set physical and academic goals and track their progress.


Benson has a full time Health Corps staff member, Amy Barras, who has also been instrumental in the design of the program and has assisted in forging community partnerships and writing grants. Nike has contributed $20,000 and a Nike fuel band for every freshman to use the second semester to track their exercise. Approximately 30 staff members are also participating in the fuel band activity.


Decisive results


The results in the first three months of the program have been compelling:


  • 240 freshmen lost a total of 868 pounds – 3.6 pounds per student on average – with one student losing 39 pounds.

  • Endurance has improved with 300 total minutes cut from the mile run time, an average improvement of 1.3 minutes per student.


In addition, compared to last year’s freshmen, there is preliminary data that shows an increase in the number of students who successfully earned credit the first semester and a decrease in freshman referrals for disciplinary reasons compared to last year.


“Health Corps is very interested in the design of the program and will potentially use it as a model for other high schools,” said Principal Carol Campbell. “The teachers are using the data as part of their professional development this year in the form of action research. Congratulations to Katie Meyer, Linda McLellan and Amy Barras for their collaboration and hard work, thanks to Nike for being such a great partner and way to go Benson freshmen!”


Benson students “weigh in” on experience:


It helps me stay fit and also teaches me that if I don’t exercise in the future, a lot of health issues could come up.”

“I have become very responsible since I started this class.”

“I love the fact that I have good sleep, I feel stronger and it releases my stress….”

“It really does help my mental strength and endurance. Even if I really hate exercising sometimes, I get through it and improve.”

“I actually want to exercise now.”

“Because of this class, my work ethic, my attitude and how careful I am about my health has changed.”


See the class featured on KGW Feb. 25.


Here is information about the physical education program on which the Benson program is based,Exercise before and fitness activities interspersed with lectures lead to a state of heightened awareness and improved academic performance:


Discover how Sparking Life can help your students achieve their maximum potential


While Naperville’s model of scheduling PE before academic classes (Math, Science, English) and achieving robust levels of exercise has increased focus and boosted cognitive abilities for those students, other programs have found success by incorporating movement during lessons or frequent breaks.


What model is right for your school?


Consider the outlines below and then call us at Sparking Life: We’ll help you develop programs tailored to the needs of your school and your students. Join our fitness movement by calling 857-221-1839 or click


1) Naperville P.E. Model


  • Mr. Phil Lawler pioneered this model at Naperville, IL

  • Moves P.E. class away from a “sports-driven” model to an “individual student fitness” model

  • Skill development no longer the primary goal of P.E.; rather, focus shifts to facilitating each student in raising heart rate at his/her own individual ideal pace

  • Elements of student autonomy in both the selection of daily activities and the maximum heart rate achieved (duration and intensity)

  • Primary focus in P.E. class involves high-intensity interval training two days per week, and motor development and recreation/play the other three days

  • Use of heart rate monitors by every student to enable and ensure participation at each individual’s personal optimum peak activity level

  • Use of heart monitors by students to assign grades for P.E. class (i.e., student needs to raise heart rate to a zone between 145–185 bpm for twenty minutes to receive an A grade for that day – based on individual student heart rate target levels)

  • Use of heart monitors by P.E. teacher to direct individual exercise programs and for overall class evaluation

  • By scheduling P.E. before academic classes (Math, Science, English) and achieving robust levels of exercise, program increased focus and boosted cognitive abilities (specifically in the hour immediately following P.E.)

  • Represents an excellent first step along an evolution that fully incorporates exercise’s benefits throughout the school day


      Subsequent adaptation at Naperville: Zero Hour P.E. Model


  • Students voluntarily participate in high intensity exercise BEFORE the school day begins

  • Model initiated for lower-performing students in order to create optimal brain chemistry BEFORE school starts

  • P.E. Teacher coordinates activities and exercises for students, performed on their own time with no grades attached

  • Grew out of awareness that P.E. before the toughest classes of the day was as useful as Naperville’s New P.E.

  • Guidance counselors suggest to students that they should schedule P.E. before toughest classes

  • School administration had known about the academic power post exercise

  • Not just for lagging/poor but also high achieving student


Naperville’s latest exercise innovation Learning: Readiness P.E. Model (L.R.P.E.)


  • Classroom for reading class, as well as its curriculum and class rules, designed to allow students to choose the physical manner of their daily participation in class (i.e., sitting at a conventional desk, standing, balancing on a ‘bo-so’ ball, ‘kick-boards’, balancing on an exercise ball, or riding a stationary bike either slow or fast)

  • Voluntary program that targets students in grades nine and ten who are underperforming in reading

  • New P.E. scheduled immediately prior to an L.R.P.E. reading class

  • Optimum heart rate zone raised to between 160–190

  • Hybrid of the Saskatoon Model and the Naperville P.E. model in combination with advanced teaching techniques that encourage movement during classroom content instruction


2) Saskatoon “In-Class” P.E. Model


  • Model adopted in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan school system

  • During teacher instruction, students have ability to choose to sit, stand, walk, run, or cycle while listening and doing their work

  • Allows use of treadmills and stationary cardiovascular equipment within the classroom during instruction time

  • Incorporates weight training two days per week


3) Finnish P.E. Model


  • Allows students and teachers time to exercise or play between every class for twenty minutes, with encouragement and support

  • Enables exercise’s benefits on the brain to be sustained throughout the school day


4) Proposed Concept P.E. Model


  • Promote physical fitness as a central and underlying school theme

  • Co-curricular learning involving interdisciplinary synergy of P.E., science, and mathematics departments

  • Re-design curriculum to maximize benefits of physical activity on brain function and learning throughout the school day, encouraging genuine school-wide subscription and universal participation

  • P.E. focuses on principles of personal physical fitness and its impact on cognition and well-being, as well as student mastery of personal activity data collection (electronic or manual heart rate diagnoses)

  • Science class touches on Krebs cycle, brain composition, and cardiovascular components

  • Mathematics class curriculum includes understanding, review, and analysis of empirical evidence, tables, equations, and statistics

  • Increasing heart rate does not have to be an expensive proposition, funding demands can be minimal; while heart rate monitors are seen as beneficial and desirable, they’re certainly not essential


Re-design curriculum to maximize benefits of physical activity on brain function and learning throughout the school day, encouraging genuine school-wide subscription and universal participation


Physically fit children are not only healthier, but are better able to perform in school.




Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests


School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children


Children, body image, bullying, and eating disorders      


The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity


Seattle Research Institute study about outside play



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The 05/22/13 Joy Jar

21 May


People do it. Dogs do it and cats do it. What is it? Yawn. KidsHealth attempted to answer the question of Why Do I Yawn? There was really no good answer other than we do. Moi just couldn’t stop yawning today. A couple of the yawns would get points for style. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is a really good yawn.

You can have the greatest player in terms of mastering an instrument and you could be yawning your head off when you hear them. So, it’s not what you do, but the way you’re doing it and in the end that’s all that we have.
John McLaughlin

Yawns are not the only infectious things out there besides germs.

Giggles can spread from person to person.

So can blushing.

But maybe the most powerful infectious thing is the act of speaking the truth.”
Vera Nazarian

The director is simply the audience. So the terrible burden of the director is to take the place of that yawning vacuum, to be the audience and to select from what happens during the day which movement shall be a disaster and which a gala night. His job is to preside over accidents.

Orson Welles

A yawn may not be polite, but at least it is an honest opinion”


Cherish forever what makes you unique ‘cuz you’re a real yawn if it goes.”
Bette Midler

House politics attempt to intervene in school lunch program

21 May

Moi wrote about the school lunch program in School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children:

There are some very good reasons why meals are provided at schools. Education Bug has a history of the school lunch program

President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson extended the program by offering breakfast to school children. It began as a two years pilot program for children in rural areas and those living in poorer neighborhoods. It was believed that these children would have to skip breakfast in order to catch the bus for the long ride to school. There were also concerns that the poorer families could not always afford to feed their children breakfast. Johnson believed, like many of us today, that children would do better in school if they had a good breakfast to start their day. The pilot was such a success that it was decided the program should continue. By 1975, breakfast was being offered to all children in public or non-profit private school. This change was made because educators felt that more children were skipping breakfast due to both parent being in the workforce.

In 1968, a summer meals program was offered to low income children. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks are still available to students each year, during the summer break. Any child in need can apply for the program at the end of the school year. Parents that are interested in the summer meals program should contact their local school administration.

Since its inception, the school lunch/meals programs have become available in more than 98,800 schools….

Hungry children have more difficulty in focusing and paying attention, their ability to learn is impacted. President Truman saw feeding hungry children as a key part of the national defense.

Nirvi Shah reports in the Education Week article, U.S. House Offers Not-So-Fresh Version of Fruit and Vegetable Program:

For at least the second time, a U.S. House of Representatives committee is offering a version of the massive farm bill that would dramatically change a snack program that is intended to develop a taste for fresh produce in children from low-income families.

In the version of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act marked up by the House Agriculture Committee this week, the word “fresh” is stricken from language about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

The program, created 11 years ago, provides snack-sized servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to children in high-poverty schools, children who are the least likely to be exposed to these items outside of school. (Fresh produce can cost far more than dried, canned, or frozen versions, and more than fried, salty, and sugary snacks.) The theory is that, by introducing the items to children, they will develop a taste for them, making them lifelong consumers of items like kale, carrots, and cantaloupe.

One recent study showed that kids at schools with the program actually do eat more fruits and vegetables.

“This is targeted at children most likely not to have access to fresh items,” said Kristy Anderson, the government relations manager for the American Heart Association. Her organization supports serving children other forms of fruits and vegetables—canned, frozen, and dried—at school meals, but it wants to see the integrity of this program remain intact.

“This could open doors to a whole cadre of things that aren’t even fruits and vegetables,” Anderson told me.

She said it would only take the creativity of food engineers to change the program completely. Sugary fruit snacks, high-calorie trail mix, and even fruit-based candy could end up in the program if it’s changed. “I’m sure somebody out there could figure that out.”

Why change the program? It’s worth about $150 million per year—a lot of money over the five-year life span of the farm bill—and could open up a new market for frozen, canned, and dried fruit and vegetable companies, and possibly others in the food industry.

I talked to some schools about the possibility of this change when it came up last year, and they didn’t like it.

Moi wrote about the politics of the school lunch program in The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress:

There is the saying that “we have the best government that money could buy. We don’t. We have the government that money interests will allow. Moi recently discussed the political wrangling about school lunches in the post, School lunches: The political hot potato The World Hunger Education Service describes why nutritious school food is so important in the article, Hunger in America: 2011 United States Hunger and Poverty Facts:


Fifty-five percent of  food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs ( USDA 2008, p. iv.) The programs are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the new name for the food stamp program (Wikipedia 2010), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) (Wikipedia 2010), and the National School Lunch Program (Wikipedia 2010).

SNAP/Food stamps  The Food Stamp Program, the nation’s most important anti-hunger program, helps roughly 40 million low-income Americans to afford a nutritionally adequate diet. More than 75 percent of all food stamp participants are in families with children; nearly one-third of participants are elderly people or people with disabilities.  Unlike most means-tested benefit programs, which are restricted to particular categories of low-income individuals, the Food Stamp Program is broadly available to almost all households with low incomes. Under federal rules, to qualify for food stamps, a household must meet three criteria (some states have raised these limits)….

National School Lunch Program The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program that provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children from low income families, reaching 30.5 million children in 2008.  Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents. (For the period July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010, 130 percent of the poverty level is $28,665 for a family of four; 185 percent is $40,793.) Children from families with incomes over 185 percent of poverty pay a full price, though their meals are still subsidized to some extent by the program. Program cost was $9.3 billion in 2008. (USDASchool Lunch Program)

Ron Nixon reports on the weasels in Congress who backed down on new rules which would provide more nutritious meals for school children. Many of these children rely on school breakfasts and/or lunches as their primary source of nutrition for the day. In the New York Times article, Congress Blocks New Rules on School Lunches, Nixon reports:

A slice of pizza still counts as a vegetable.

In a victory for the makers of frozen pizzas, tomato paste and French fries, Congress on Monday blocked rules proposed by the Agriculture Department that would have overhauled the nation’s school lunch program.

The proposed changes — the first in 15 years to the $11 billion school lunch program — were meant to reduce childhood obesity by adding more fruits and green vegetables to lunch menus, Agriculture Department officials said. 

The rules, proposed last January, would have cut the amount of potatoes served and would have changed the way schools received credit for serving vegetables by continuing to count tomato paste on a slice of pizza only if more than a quarter-cup of it was used. The rules would have also halved the amount of sodium in school meals over the next 10 years.

But late Monday, lawmakers drafting a House and Senate compromise for the agriculture spending bill blocked the department from using money to carry out any of the proposed rules.

In a statement, the Agriculture Department expressed its disappointment with the decision.

While it is unfortunate that some in Congress chose to bow to special interests, U.S.D.A. remains committed to practical, science-based standards for school meals that improve the health of our children,” the department said in the statement.

Food companies including ConAgra, Coca-Cola, Del Monte Foods and makers of frozen pizza like Schwan argued that the proposed rules would raise the cost of meals and require food that many children would throw away.

The companies called the Congressional response reasonable, adding that the Agriculture Department went too far in trying to improve nutrition in school lunches.

Unfortunately, the lobbyists won this battle against the interests of children.

For an incisive analysis of the school lunch lobby read  The School Lunch Lobby  by Ron Haskins  which was published in Education Next


School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children                                            

School lunches: The political hot potato             

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch?                           

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


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The 05/21/13 Joy Jar

21 May


There is heartache and heartbreak in the heartland of America. The New York Times reports in the article,Vast Oklahoma Tornado Kills at Least 91:

MOORE, Okla. — A giant tornado, a mile wide or more, killed at least 91 people, 20 of them children, as it tore across parts of Oklahoma City and its suburbs Monday afternoon, flattening homes, flinging cars through the air and crushing at least two schools.


Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the faith to weather any storm.







































I don’t think that you can let the storms of life overwhelm you. When you do that, you are no better than the craziness that caused you to be under attack.
T. D. Jakes

























I have weathered many different storms and I know who I am and my friends know who I really am.
Delta Goodrem






















Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Vivian Greene

























When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Haruki Murakami,
Kafka on the Shore























Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe




















It takes a real storm in the average person’s life to make him realize how much worrying he has done over the squalls.”
Bruce Barton
























There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love.
Charles Stanley


What is the National Association of Manufacturers ‘Skills Certification’

20 May

Moi wrote in The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students:

There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree  follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:

The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of

the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence

to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.

There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The comprise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college?

Now, there is a new program in community colleges. According to the NAM site, NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System:

Close the Skills Gap! Take Action Now!

  • 82% of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage in skilled production workers.

  • 75% of manufacturers say the skill shortage has negatively impacted their ability to expand.

  • 600,000 jobs in manufacturing are unfilled today because employers can’t find workers with the right skills.

To help close the growing skills gap, the Manufacturing Institute has launched the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System.  This system of nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials validates both the “book smarts” and the “street smarts” needed to be productive and successful on the job.  For more information, see the following sections:

Manufacturers can no longer afford to wait.  Each manufacturer must take action NOW to help grow the next generation of manufacturing talent.  Learn more about the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System and how it can make a difference in your workplace!

The Adult College Completion Network describes the program in Manufacturing Skills Certification System

This effort allows 12 states to align their educational and career pathways with a nationally-recognized skills certification system.


The project is supporting 12 states to join five current states (North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, Indiana) that are leading efforts to align their educational and career pathways with the National Association of Manufacturers-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System. The states in the project were scheduled to begin implementation over a four-year period; however, during year one there was such demand from manufacturers for action that the Institute initiated efforts in all the states. The states are: Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Iowa, New York, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Nevada, Illinois, Tennessee, and Kansas. The project is scaling up the model to align stackable industry-recognized skills certifications in advanced manufacturing with educational degree pathways that span from high school to community colleges to four-year institution programs of study.

Expected Outcomes: 

  • Increase in the number of students who earn a postsecondary credential with value in the workplace.

  • Creation/validation industry-aligned postsecondary pathways with advanced manufacturing career pathways, using real-time data on each state’s economy map.

  • Mapping the Advanced Manufacturing educational pathways in the states.

  • Integration of industry credentials into early adopter postsecondary institutions’ programs of study.

  • Modularization of the college curriculum to shorten time to credentials and provide more on/off-ramps in postsecondary education.

  • Strengthening of employer engagement with education.

  • Creation of a community of learners among states to share best-in-class tools to facilitate implementation.


Brent Weil

Senior Vice President



1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600

Washington, DC 20004

United States

There shouldn’t be a one size fits all in education and parents should be honest about what education options will work for a particular child. Even children from the same family may find that different education options will work for each child.


Vocational Education Myths and Realities

Vocational Education in the United States, The Early 1990s


The IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC)                             

Borrowing from work: Schools teach career mapping       

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The 05/20/13 Joy Jar

19 May


Moi loves thumbing through books in the sale bin. It is a bit like panning for gold in a river. Quite often moi takes home several jewels which appeal to her even if they did not appeal to other people. There is nothing like the feel and smell of a book. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are those lonely little books in the sale bin waiting for people to take them home.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
Thomas Jefferson

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.
Abraham Lincoln

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
Maya Angelou

Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own.

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
Oscar Wilde

I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.
Thomas Jefferson

He that composes himself is wiser than he that composes a book.
Benjamin Franklin

There is no friend as loyal as a book.
Ernest Hemingway

You cannot open a book without learning something.