Monday, May 2, 2011

Healthy Kids!

Get Involved!

Let’s Move

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. (-from

Walking School Bus

A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. If that sounds simple, it is, and that’s part of the beauty of the walking school bus. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers. (-from

Healthy Children Healthy Futures

Great ideas on how to include kids in the grocery shopping process as well as money saving tips! Click here for more information.

Lesson Plans

MyPyramid for kids is a great place to download lesson plans that incorporate nutrition into a variety of subjects.


Did you know?

Earth has 6.8 billion people. About 5 billion have cellphones and 365 million have computers!

Student Cell phone Stats


With boom of smartphones and social networking sites, these numbers are quickly rising!

Even elementary teachers are being affected by this cell phone love affair.

More than 1/3 of children own a cell phone by the time they are eight years old.


“It’s a popularity contest,” Abernathy said. “And it really increases the amount of gossip.”
Abernathy is among many teachers who are feeling the harmful affect that these cell phones have on the classroom environment.


The increasingly younger ages of cell phone users could also impact their social development, according to a recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University. Technology use leads to small but significant increases in loneliness and a decline in overall psychological wellbeing.

According to a Texting Study conducted at the University of New Hampshire...

According to the study, business students text in class more than other students and women are more likely than men to text during class.

Texting Experiment conducted by Mandy Gingerich, an assistant professor of psychology at Butler University:

  • 1/2 of the class texts during a lecture vs 1/2 class does not text
  • After the 10 minute lecture, students took a multiple-choice quiz.
Results (67 students over the past three semesters):
  • Texting students average score = 60%
  • Non-texting students average score = 79%

Texting impairs comprehension of the material, which is consistent with the findings that people rely on inflexible memory systems while multitasking, which can impair learning, and that people lose time when switching from one task to another, especially when the tasks are complex or unfamiliar.

Student Laptop Stats


Professors are beginning to ban laptop use in classrooms. Laptop distraction has become so serious you can find videos online of instructors confiscating students' laptops to destroy them in front of the class!



Like cell phones, students are absorbed in their computers with the help of social networking sites, online videos, instant messaging, etc.


Laptops during class not only distracts those using them, but neighboring students as well with their glowing monitors, and tapping of keys.

Laptop study conducted by Winona State University

  • students in two large lecture halls were observed

Students who used laptops during class had GPAs 5% lower than their classmates who did not

What to do

"Be where the students are" and incorporate laptops and cell phones into the class curriculum.

Coaches have been using cell phones for spreading the word about practices and/or cancellations.

Many teachers are taking advantage of the students having laptops and cell phones by keeping updated lists of assignments on the Internet, allowing students to check homework or test dates.

Prakash Nair, RA, REFP refers to computers in the classroom as "digital teaching assistants." One of the most important benefits of having these assistants alongside your teaching is it frees up the teacher to spend more time with particular students for help as needed, when needed, without concern that learning in the rest of the class will come to an abrupt halt.

Teachers may ask students to search for additional information that would only come through experience or knowledge they lack.

Another innovative way to use cell phones in the classroom is to create an online, interactive poll.



Deady, B. (2011, April 6). Study shows students shouldn’t text in class. News. the butler COLLEGIAN. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from

Guzik, S. (2007, Febuary 12). Study finds laptops distract students. STUDENT LIFE. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from

Heller, P. (2010, October 27). Assuring Classroom Listening and Focus: The Need to Prohibit Electronics . High-level Administrative Issues and Policies. Paul Hel!er. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from

Kirst, S. (2010, September 8). 75 percent of U.S. teens have cell phones: What are they doing with them?. Post-Standard Columnist Sean Kirst's Blog. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from

Lenhart, A. (2009). Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years: Pew Internet Looks Back. Reports. Pew Research Center. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from

Nair, P. (2001). The Student Laptop Computer in Classrooms: Not Just a Tool. Articles. Design Share. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from

Olsen, E. (2010, March 17). Cell phones disruptive in elementary classrooms. News. CHS Globe. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from

Sovern, J. (2011, April 7). Law Student Laptop Use During Class for Non-Class Purposes: Temptation v. Incentives. St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper Series . Social Science Research Network.

Whitney, L. (2010, Febuary 16). Cell phone subscriptions to hit 5 billion globally. cnet Reviews. cnet. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from

Five School Strategies to Prevent Unplanned Pregnancies

But, there is more that schools need to do beyond sex education. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, disengagement, failure and dropping out of school are principal predictors of teen pregnancy.

The Campaign, along with the US Dept of Health and Human Services suggests the following five strategies in their manual, Get Organized: A Guide to Preventing Teen Pregnancy, that schools can engaged in to decrease unplanned pregnancies:

Promoting educational success and providing an enhanced sense that life holds positive options
Schools and communities must formulate powerful strategies for those young people who live on the margins, who are unsuccessful in school, who do not have nurturing families, and who live in disadvantaged communities. These very high-risk young people must be convinced that delaying parenthood will have benefits, and that not having a baby will improve their chances in life. (p. 78)

Helping youth create and maintain strong connections to parents and other adults
Some parents have great difficulty communicating with their own children, not just about sex, but about many issues. School personnel, such as teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, school nurses, and other support staff, can play a significant role in helping to fill this gap (p. 80)

Providing knowledge, reinforcing positive social norms, and enhancing social skills through various types of abstinence or sex education
Young people need the knowledge and skills to make responsible decisions about whether and when to initiate sex, with whom, and under what circumstances. Schools are one of the places where they can receive this information and guidance, supplementing what parents, faith communities, and others teach.

Offering contraceptive services (either in school or nearby) or making referrals for them
Some schools have chosen to provide direct access to contraception to prevent early pregnancy and STDs. Traditionally, schools are not expected to provide reproductive health care to teenagers, and most school systems do not (p.68)

Carrying out multiple approaches through school/community partnerships
Recognition is growing within schools and community agencies that partnerships that include schools can go even farther to strengthen initiatives to help children and families. (p. 87)

What type of program could you initiate the supports one of these strategies?

So What Can Schools Do?

Top 3 Information Agents re: Sex*

1. Schools
2. Parents
3. Friends

*With a close 4th....getting increasingly closer......the Internet.

…[T]hat’s a place [school] that I would expect to know what they are talking about, to tell me the truth, to educate me on what I should know.

—Indiana, male, 17, Asian , sexually experienced.
(Journal of Adolescent Research, March 14, 2011, p. 11)

Suggestions for Effective Sex Education Courses

- Schools typically put the greatest emphasis on condom use. Most schools offer minimal information regarding hormonal contraceptive options and with too great an emphasis on their negative side effects. Schools should try for more in-depth information on hormonal option.

- Teaching about absitinence and contraception is not incompatible and should both be presented in a comprehensive program.

- Teens are increasingly turning to the internet for information on sex, so schools should be pro-active in providing students with reliable sources.

What was your experience?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Teen Pregnancy Statistics

Statistics! Boring, I know. But these are statistics about sex! Now, your paying attention.


Seriously, folks. These are some pretty interesting, somewhat uplifting, but then somewhat sobering statistics regarding teen pregnancy in the U.S. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the most recent data (2006) on teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. is 71.5 per 1,000 girls ages 15 – 19, or 7%.

Some history here for perspective:
Pregnancy, and abortion, rates rose steadily from the 1970's – 90’s. But, starting in 1990 both the pregnancy and abortion rates started to decline. Research indicates that the main reason for this decline is an increase in contraception.

Rising again?
However in 2005, pregnancy rates started to rise and continued slightly through 2007. Data is mixed on the most recent trends, but preliminary information indicates a slight continued rise, with unintended pregnancy rates are highest among African American and Hispanic girls. Research indicates that the following may be reasons for the recent increases:

• Shifts in the racial and ethnic composition of the population
• Growth of abstinence only education programs at the expense of comprehensive programs
• Changes in public perception and attitudes about teenage pregnancy

So what's the problem?
According to the
March of Dimes:
• Only 40% of teenagers who have children before age 18 go on to graduate from high school, compared to 75% of teens who don't.
• About 64% of children born to an unmarried teenage high-school dropout live in poverty, compared to 7% of children born to women over age 20 who are married and high school graduates.
• A child born to a teenage mother is 50% more likely to repeat a grade in school and is more likely to perform poorly on standardized tests and drop out before finishing high school.

The teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. is twice that of any other industrialized nation.

Sweden's teenage birthrate is 7 per 1,000 births, compared with 49 in the U.S. (2006 data). According a US News and World report article, the difference may be attributed to schooling:

Since 1956, sex education has been compulsory in Swedish schools, from the earliest grades through high school. Sex is a natural human act, the educators reason, and most people become active before they're 20. Since there is no changing that, the Swedes figure, young people should at least understand sexuality and reproduction, as well as the risks of unprotected sex. (Grose, 2007)

Grose, T. (2007, March 18). Straight Facts About the Birds and Bees. US News and World Report, website.

The Guttmacher Institute website:

The March of Dimes website: