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School Lunches

Do you get this image in your mind?

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Are school lunches meeting the nutrition standards that parents would like?

Based on studies done by multiple sources, school lunches today have improved in both taste and nutrition. However, even though the lunches meet the standards in protein, vitamins, calcium, and iron, they still exceed recommendations for fat.

Some schools have tried to make changes to their menu to accommodate these statistics, but still many fall short.

Still, other studies have contributed to even more startling statistics. Lunches provided from home generally are even less healthy than those purchased through schools!

I thought about it, and things started to make sense. First, how many lunches from home that students bring include milk? According to studies, 87 percent of school lunches include milk, while only 7 percent of lunches from home do. Also, lunches from home include many more snacks than school lunches do. Chips, fruit-rollups, pudding, and candy bars may all include some vitamins and minerals, but they also contain a lot more fat than recommended.

Another issue that is often brought up is that "School lunches are gross. There's nothing good to eat. They're not appealing." To combat this complaint, many schools have used student surveys and other student input, as well as parental input to modify the lunch menus. This has improved the opinion of many students.

There are good arguments from both sides of the issue. And of course things vary from region to region, even school to school. My school in particular has had student input for the lunches. I eat school lunch about once every two weeks. I usually always purchase a milk from school to go along with a lunch I take from home.

Some interesting things to think about anyway.

Here are two links that discuss the school lunch issue. These take a more confrontational approach toward school lunches.

Consumer Reports for kids

Kids health for Parents

"You are what you eat, from your head down to your feet."


I Remember Him Now

This poem is in the fabulous collection of poems and short stories by Ivan Fitzwater titled "Laugh With Me, Cry With Me."

I Remember Him Now
I remember him now-- a shy little boy who sat in the
back of my class.
He never talked; he did his work just barely enough to pass.
He never tried to play the clown, nor did he seek my aid.
It haunts me when I think about the difference I might
have made.

The principal said I'd be the one to tell his family.
A suicide note addressed to no one simply said:
"I've got to be free."
"Why," I protested, "should I be charged to bring the horrible news?
I hardly knew him. I taught him, yes, but there are
others you should choose."

"It's because of this note that we found in his things
that we ask you to be the one.
The memory book that the dime store gives and the
kids find so much fun--
He only wrote on a single page, that pathetic little
He wrote your name on the page that says:

---All I could say when I read that the first time was "WOW!"
Everyone is important. Everyone is special in his or her own way.
I try to keep this poem in mind and let all my students know that
they are unique and important.

Suicide is not a light subject, and I chose to share this poem more
as a reminder to teachers that you do make a difference.

You are important to your students. True, as they get older it gets harder for them to express your significance in their lives, but they do appreciate you. You can make a huge impact on the direction they take. For some, all it takes is to show interest in something they are proud of. Or to take the time to comment or compliment them on something they put time and effort into. If they have a passion, take the time to boost their confidence, and set their heart soaring with pride.

Everyone is important... everyone is important.


Funny School Stories

A fifth grade class was in the media center for a dictionary/thesaurus lesson. As I went over the vocabulary words to be used in the assignment, two boys immediately jumped up and began strutting around when I said the word “haughty.” “That’s me!” each one proudly proclaimed. Seems they got “hottie” and “haughty” a little confused. Their classmates (and teachers) had a good chuckle over that.

True story - Kindergarten teacher comes to me in the office, and said a parent called her and said she's sure glad I was back from the illness and hoped there would be no more. Her daughter had come home after a day or two with the teacher replacement and told mom she had a "prostitute" teacher while Miss Kern was away.

When I was in first Grade, my teacher was having a spelling contest....One of my friends was going against another girl. The word was T H I S. Being young and wanting to come in first with the right word, she spelled SH** first. The whole class was stunned and we didn't understand. But our teacher laughed so hard she had to leave the room. And now 10 years later we still tease her about it.

I was waiting for my 4 year old son's preschool class to be dismissed when the door to his classroom opened and out walked one of his teacher's right over to me. Laughing she told me that after their goodbye song she exclaimed "TGIF" and then asked the class if anyone knew what that meant. She said my son, waiving his arm in the air shouted " I do, PAYDAY!!"


Happy Valentine's Day

Here's my favorite poem...

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

e e cummings


Bits of Wisdom

Just a few little bits of wisdom, leaving thousands more to come...

  • When asking a question, wait at least 5 seconds before looking for answers.
  • Read to your children every day
  • Listen to your children every day
  • Do things even if they don't appreciate them
  • Try something new at least once a month
  • Encourage every child to be an expert at something


Tears of a Tiger

For one of the college courses I'm taking this winter we had to read Tears of a Tiger, by Sharon Draper. I would like to recommend this book to anyone that teaches junior high, high school, or for anyone with a child that's of that age. I found the book to be very well written, and there are many follow up activities you can do with it. The issues of the book deal with teens.

We had to do a few different activities from Sharon Draper's website that go along with the book. I found them to be pretty creative. The main theme of the book can be found by clicking on the picture of the book, or by visiting Sharon Draper's website.

It was a quick read. I read it in about 3 hours.


Personal Reading Goals


Newbery Winners 1970-Present

My goal for the past year has been to read the Newbery winning books from 1970- now. In that time I’ve found it difficult to stick with these books because I want to read books that are sequels, or series books. I’ll also list the other books that I’ve read this past year. The ones that I’ve read in the past year are crossed out. The list itself is taken from the ALA Website.

2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)
2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi (Hyperion Books for Children)
2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park(Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin)
2001: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (Dial)
2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte)
1999: Holes by Louis Sachar (Frances Foster)
1998: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (Scholastic)
1997: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (Jean Karl/Atheneum)
1996: The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman (Clarion)
1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins)
1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry(Houghton)
1993: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (Jackson/Orchard)
1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum)
1991: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Little, Brown)
1990: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Houghton)
1989: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (Harper)
1988: Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman (Clarion)
1987: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow)
1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (Harper)
1985: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Greenwillow)
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (Morrow)
1983: Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt (Atheneum)
1982: A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard (Harcourt)
1981: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)
1980: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos (Scribner)
1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Dutton)
1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)
1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Dial)

1976: The Grey King by Susan Cooper (McElderry/Atheneum)
1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton (Macmillan)
1974: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (Bradbury)
1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (Harper)
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (Atheneum)
1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (Viking)
1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Harper)