January | February 2011
Here’s to Student Health
I applaud the efforts that schools are making to help students develop a healthier lifestyle (“Sizing Up the Obesity Crisis,” October/November). However, judging from my own appearance and that of a number of teachers whose photos appeared in this issue, I would say that the crisis does not just exist among students. Some of us need to take a look at our own eating and exercise habits. And, after all, what will really impact kids? Standing in front of class “flapping our jaws” about the need to eat healthy and lose weight, or examining our own bad habits and then taking action? Kids learn by example.
OK, now if I could just motivate myself to stop the late-night snacking!
Perhaps if we would stop taking recess away from fifth and sixth-graders by shoving them into middle schools where gym is limited, and perhaps if we would stop shoving greasy food down their throats in the school cafeteria, things might be a little different. I know that there are also other factors that play into this scenario, but eliminating these two issues might make a difference. It would be a start.
While much of the October/November issue was on improving the health of the nation’s students, not once was there a mention of a collaboration of school officials/teachers with the medical professional that might be present in the schools–the school nurse. A couple of your articles support the idea that a healthy child is one that learns, and yet the education system seems hard pressed to acknowledge that school nurses are an integral part in keeping students healthy.
I want to comment on “Order in the Halls” (October/November). At our elementary school we implemented a new system this year that is school wide. I learned it from another teacher in our district so I do not take credit for it. We taught the kids the following acronym for the word halls: Hands to yourself, All eyes forward, Lips zipped, Low speed, and Space between you and me. We say it to any child who is off task in the halls.
Better Tasting and Better for You
Like Jamie Barnhill, I was a kindergarten teacher for many years (“The Test Regime Reaches Kindergarten,” October/November). I taught in a small school in rural Maine. I, too, did many hands-on activities, indoor and out, with my students.
Each year in September we did an apple unit in which we made wooden apple necklaces, counted apple seeds, sung songs about Johnny Appleseed, learned apple poetry and baked apple treats. The final activity of the unit was a trip to my home where we picked apples in a neighbor’s orchard and made apple cider using my family’s apple cider press.
When I meet former students that I have not seen for awhile, they frequently say, “Mrs. Pribble, I'll never forget making apple cider at your house. That was so much fun!”
Jamie’s right—that is much better than six weeks of testing.
Check Your Civics
The article “Running Fast, Standing Tall” talks about Mindy Whisenhunt’s work with her students. I was totally insulted when I saw you refer to Puerto Ricans as “immigrants.” Do you proofread before you allow an article to be published? I would expect any editor for an education magazine to know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and not immigrants! Read your history. Go back to the Spanish/American war period and find out how Puerto Rico became part of the U.S.
Share your ideas, comments, and opinions with NEA Today in one of five ways: Mail: Write to Letters, NEA Today, 1201 16th St. N.W., Washington, DC, 20036. Web: Go to our Publication Feedback Form and choose “Send Letter to the Editor” from the drop-down “Subject” menu. Email: Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax: 202-822-7206. Facebook: facebook.com/neatoday. Letters are edited for length and clarity.