Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why Garlic Belongs in a Healthy Diet

I suspect many of you will shutter when you learn that I spent last Sunday at a Garlic Festival!  That's right, I was surrounded by some of the strangest, kindest, most interesting, most eccentric, and passionate people anywhere! I tasted a bit of fresh garlic and bought ground, pickled and fresh garlic.  I have to admit, I avoided the garlic red velvet cupcakes but I did gobble down a lot of garlic popcorn! Then, as if I had not had enough, I came home and ate more garlic pesto.  I used to avoid garlic thinking it would make me smell, but now, after several years of attending the "festival" for several years, listening to endless garlic lectures, tasting lots of garlic, listening to lots of passionate people, and lots of reading, reflecting, and thinking, I am beginning to believe  how amazing and healthy garlic is, and I eat quite a bit!  

Did you know:   
  • Garlic appears to have cancer protecting properties.  If you let garlic sit after chopping, you get more of that wonderful, healthy nutrition.  Mircrowaving appears to negate the cancer protecting properties. It may be the alliu in garlic that is the key here.  It's a pretty complex mechanism involving nucelar erythroid factor and a mechanism that helps cells want to abandon the "shut down" process.  
  • Eating garlic every day may lower the risk of all cancers except breast and prostrate.
  • Garlic may improve your metabolism!  Sulfides in garlic may increase production of ferroportin, a protein that is important to the transport of nutrients within a cell/  
  • Garlic appears to have cardioprotective benefits, too! Red blood cells take the sulfur and use it to protect our blood vessels and blood pressure. 
  • Garlic may even help control the number of fat cells in our bodies!  It's the flavanoids we can thank for that! 
  • Leeks and onions are cousins of garlic
  • Garlic appears to have antibacterial and anti viral properties. It might just help ward off or shorten the flu or a cold.
Garlic is not just for getting rid of vampires.  It has many healthy benefits.


Garlicky in Saugerties

Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to believe what an exciting life I live!  
Just this weekend, we were at a GARLIC FESTIVAL to replenish "seed garlic." 
Supposedly, there were 50,000 crazy, garlicky smelling folks 
hanging out in the hot September sun.
We spent a lot of time at the garlic lectures!  
Seriously, there were people talking about the "botany" behind garlic growing 
as well as the science behind garlic cooking!  
Garlic vendors, from great big farms and family gardens at the side of the yard, 
from all over the Northeast, stood side by side. 
If you were adventurous, you could also buy cheeses, farm raised ostrich or deer!
I can assure you I did not come home with them,
but SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, who is hopefully working outside,
by themselves,
is eating Habanero pickled eggs and pickled garlic this week for lunch! 

It was near the end of the hot day in Saugerties,
when we came upon Mike and Dave, the mushroom men
Selling kits which would allow all of us 
to grow mushrooms on a log right on our kitchen counters.
Weird, different, call me crazy,
but I think it might make an unusual holiday gift for someone!

Inquiry Based Learning

Great Post over at Te@achthought about questions that can guide student research at any stage:

20 Questions To Guide Inquiry-Based Learning

You really need to READ the article in order to understand what they have created and why.  Then,save this FABULOUS Graphic they created.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

#celebratelu Date Night at the Depot

Thanks to Ruth Ayers, I am reflecting on the small celebrations of my week:

* Students, even the ones who struggle mightily, have not only recovered their "summer slide" but also soared ahead assuring me, once again, that good foundations for reading and writing hold up through the summer!

* My mother, who had taken to her bed just a week ago and assured us all that she was "done," decided it was time to get her hair done the other day assuring me, once again, that a good hairdresser will carry you through many of life's adversities!

* I spent the morning with a dear friend sharing memories, stories, lives, and books.  Our lives were bonded by our shared love for reading, writing, our families and books.  Things haven't changed one bit even if I only get to see her a few times a year assuring me that real friends share a bond that surpasses distance and time.

* Then there was "date night" at the Depot in order to pick up a water heater!  This week, my husband will go beyond the "requirements" of his "job" but will certainly make this world a better place when he installs it for someone who really needs it!  

* As we pulled into the "Depot" parking lot, a fireworks display, in the distance, was there to mark the occasion.  I know that they did not do this for "him" but it somehow assured me that good deeds, no matter how small, do not go unnoticed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#sol 2014 Bags

I carry quite a bit of  my life in my bag.
Bills, brush, band-aids, 
Usually, a book.
Cell, coins, credit cards.
Always, keys.
Mints, mirror, 
Sometimes, even, money.

I carry my bag 
Through the seasons,
Till the strap frays 
Till its lining wears,
Carrying many, many
Slices of My Life 

This magazine purse 
Would not work for me.
Why waste a magazine anyway? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#celebratelu At That Moment

photo from Google images, not my phone!  

If my day is off to a good start, I reach a milepost on the Interstate as Charles Osgood shares his Osgood File.  I was right on schedule the other day when he started talking about one of the top wide receivers in the country, Malcolm Mitchell, who was reading things he never dreamed he could read and was eagerly participating in a book club consisting of 40-50-60 year old women!  (You Can't judge a Book By It's Cover, September 17, 2014)

I work with kids who find reading challenging, so my focus was heightened.  I took a mental note of the name thinking maybe I'd try  to get a picture and create a bulletin board about him...or maybe I could get him to autograph a picture and offer it as a reading incentive....but the last thing I remember about the Osgood File that day was something about football coming naturally to him, ...a gift....unlike reading....he had to work hard to read.....

It was a good thing my mental acuity had been heightened because at that moment, traveling with the pack well above the speed limit, a little black car right next to mine began to enter my space. Somehow, I knew I could not move left as another car was in that slot.  He or she was not looking and my heart began to beat outside of my chest. Somehow, I placed the palm of my hand firmly onto my steering wheel and laid into the horn as if pressing harder would somehow create a magic bubble around my own silvery transporter.  Yet, he kept coming, and while I pumped my brakes and hoped the guy or gal behind me was also experiencing a moment of enhanced acuity, I saw, for a moment, my life, my future, my hopes, and my dreams vanish.

Somehow, at the very last possible moment, with only a sliver of space between us, the black car corrected his course.  Perhaps he or she had been talking on the phone or maybe even texting (although for the life of me I cannot figure out HOW someone could do that at 70+mph on a crowded interstate no less). Perhaps he or she was entranced by the sunrise where fuchsia encased clouds were surrounded by gold fringe.  Perhaps he or she was listening to another radio station!

Thanks to Charles, Malcolm and a Guardian Angel or two, or three, the rest of my trip was uneventful.  I finished sipping my coffee as I stopped at the light nearest to school and marveled that I had made it to school on schedule.  I celebrated small not always acknowledged moments of the day like lunch duty!  I celebrated Open House where I assured parents that sometimes learning to read is hard work, but working together, miracles happen, every day.

I made it to today and I really need to acknowledge Charles, Malcolm and Guardian Angels, everywhere, who not only were hard at work at that moment, but who were also using their gifts, helping small miracles to happen for so many, all week, in all the corners of my life.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pinning or Pining for PD!

My anchor charts for citing evidence from the textClassroom Organization"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." —Theodore Roosevelt #quotes
I could never have imagined, pinning for PD; however, Pinterest really is a powerful and ongoing means of diverse, yet focused professional development!  The inspirational quotes are really just the tip of the iceberg and yet they catch me, at those weak moments, when I forget how important teachers are.  The practical bulletin board, classroom, and activity ideas inspire me, they really do, just like the old Instructor magazine clippings I used to keep in a recipe box!  The difference is that on Pinterest, I will see them again, and again and yet again as my "friends" pin the best of the best and the great ideas spread across the internet!   
How are you motivating students to learn? Read Carol Ann Tomlinson's three spheres of student motivation in her latest column in Educational Leadership.Just holding the universe together ...
I'm "using" (well maybe "keeping" is a better word here)  my old box for recipes these days :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#SOL14 When your best friend no longer answers

She was a classy lady,
Who loved kids,
Yet had none of her own,
Living next door,
To our trailer

She and my mother spent many a day
Drinking coffee, talking endlessly, sharing, stories,
Mornings, afternoons, nap-times, cocktail-hours
Deep in talk
Until we all moved away
Our lives drifting in different directions.

She moved to Florida
Where it's always warm
Where it's OK to age

Drinking grown-up drinks on Saturday afternoon
They continued to share,
Complaints, pains, aches, hopes, memories.
Now, she no longer answers her phone.
Now, my mother has no one to call
On Sunday afternoons.

We'll all miss her
A bushel and a peck
And a hug around the neck

We'll all miss her
But, only those who have lost a BFF 
Know the emptiness my mother feels.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I Won't Ask You To Do Something I Wouldn't Do

I've asked my going to be master teachers to reflect on and write about some aspect of their own literacy learning .  It seems like such as an easy task, and yet they will go through the complex process of selecting a topic, determining a focus, finding a small moment of time, drafting, revising, rewriting, editing and sometimes, even discarding and starting over.  They will do the work they ask their students to do!  I too am writing about some of those who have shaped on my own literacy learning journey.

I worked hard to make sure everything I did for Mrs. Peters was perfect.  At night, she filled boards with impeccably written chalk tasks for us to complete each day.  Then, she sat at her desk and corrected work glaring over her glasses at anyone who dared to disturb the quiet.  I dreaded being called to her desk where certainly, you would be berated for handwriting deficiencies, calculation imperfections, or wrong answers. I dreaded read-around the room.  I dreaded raising my hand and asking the whole class if I could use the bathroom!  Yet, from Mrs. Peters, I began to learn what kind of a teacher I didn't want to be.
There were lots of great models along the way, like Mr. Jackson.  I would have done anything for him!  He always had a "point of praise" and shared a "point of growth" on anything you did.  He shared bits of his own life and modeled (what a novel idea) what he wanted those biology lab write ups to be!  We lived biology that year and I began to wonder if I should be a doctor when I grew up.  I loved that we "turned and talked" during his class!  I learned more than I needed to know about the subject and that I could make mistakes as well as about the kind of a teacher I wanted to be.  
I've taken more courses in person, on video-tape (remember that?) and online than I can count.  I've read more books, attended more workshops, watched more peers, and reflected on the process of literacy teaching and learning for the better part of years of my life.  The more I learn, the more questions I have and the more I realize I will never know it all!  

Yet, it was on the sidelines of a lacrosse (or perhaps it was a football) field, where I began to understand that effective teachers really serve more as coaches of learning.  Have you ever watched an effective coach carefully?  What they do is really hard and yet totally magical at the same time!  They first make certain their players are immersed in the sport, the plays and the options.  They spend time encouraging bonding, film viewing, and building muscle memory.  They demonstrate again and again and yet again through their own modeling and through mentor texts and videos the moves of effective players.    
Effective coaches do not expect their players to go into the game without trying out plays and positions. They make sure their players are fully engaged in playing the sport!  Even if a win is unlikely by most wise spectators' expectations, coaches expect players to give it 100% and maybe, even to win!  Finally, but perhaps most importantly, effective coaches give effective feedback. They pat players on their helmets if they have done their best even if their approximation of the play was far from perfect!  They don't waste time and airspace with empty words of praise like, "That was great." They clearly tell their players what they did right and what they did wrong.  They find words to encourage after defeat and words to celebrate what worked and what didn't.    

Along my own literacy journey, I've realized that reflective life-long learners learn not only what they don't want to be but also what they do want to be!   Effective teachers realize that everything they say and do can impact those they are coaching.  Effective teachers demonstrate, immerse, engage, encourage, and provide feedback as their students engage in real life reading, writing, listening and speaking activities. We know our actions, models, and words matter. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy New Year
It's 4:40 in the morning.
It's September 2nd,
It's hot and humid,
Why is that alarm bugging me?
Summer's still got 19 days.
I need one more day,
Maybe a few more.
It's dark, damp 
Not a nice morning.
I slept like a hummingbird,
Darting in and out of dreams.
It's a fresh start.
 Better exercise
So that dress will look good.
First, better check the email, 
Facebook, Twitter.
Sigh, time flies when reading blogs.
Not enough time to a walk
Maybe a few weights before I hit the shower.
I hope to be at school early.
Better hop into the shower,
Perhaps I have the stomach flu?
No, silly.
It's those old butterflies
Back again.
New skirt, new shirt.
It's stylish, I hope.
Blue and lacy.
Fun but maybe it's too young?
What if parents think
I'm trying to dress like them?
.Don't forget the new notebook,
The one with the  Steve Jobs quote.
Oh those butterflies,
I'll need a lunch,
Grab your  sneakers.
I will exercise this afternoon.
Pumpkin spice just this one time.
Buses everywhere!!
Why so many this year?
Where did they all come from?
Why is there a traffic jam?
Where are they all going?
Why so many trucks?
It's a celebration day
Today's the first day
Hope springs eternal
From every corner,
At the end of every driveway,
In every new outfit,
Within every new pair of shoes,
On every face
Happy New Year.