Monday, August 29, 2011

Where did that Healthy Eating Post Go? ...AKA Getting Organized for Better Teaching

Eating disorders and body image issues can be life changing for students during the adolescent years. They are, at the very least, a distraction from learning and can escalate quickly into a major problem for your students. Seeing these types of issues in the school setting, has reminded me how important it is to include life skills in my teaching. We are in the business of teaching our students how to be healthy and successful as much as we are in the business of teaching them the specifics of our particular subject areas. 

As I was reading Joann’s overview of eating disorders and body image, I thought about some previous posts we have written about nutrition and exercise.  These columns are very relevant to teachers trying to tackle issues of self-esteem, body image, and healthy living in the classroom.  If you are looking to encourage healthy eating, try implementing some ideas and resources from our previous posts, You Are What You Eat and Battle of the Bulge.  Good health habits are not formed through healthy eating alone, and with current budget cuts teachers can’t always rely on a P.E. program to encourage exercise. Get Out and Run! and Brain Gym present physical education ideas that are easy for classroom teachers to implement during regular classroom time. 

As I was searching our blog site to find these entries, I realized how hard it can be to find specific things online, even when I know exactly what I am looking for.  Ideas I come across online every day can get lost in the shuffle if I don’t have an easy way to bookmark them to find them later.  How often have you read a great idea in a blog or website that you decide revisit later, when you “have time?”  The real problem is remembering what you wanted to come back to read and where you found it. (Finding the time is hard, too, but I haven’t come across any solutions for that one!)  I am constantly reading blogs from my Google reading list, Facebook posts, and Twitter updates from fellow educators.  I can “Like” them, retweet them, and join in discussions about the ideas, but that doesn’t help me easily organize the ideas so I can find them again when I am ready to use them. 

It’s nice for teachers to be able to organize findings to use later, and we can pass on this very valuable skill to students for their own research and organization. 
There are quite a few methods to keep track of notes and webpages you don’t want to forget.  You can bookmark sites on your computer or use one of many online bookmarking tools.  I haven’t worked with too many of these tools, and I would like to know if there are certain ones any of you suggest and have used successfully.

A friend of mine who is an avid technology user and kindergarten teacher suggested one method for organizing my online findings. (Thanks Mr. K!) I have been really happy with it, since I can access my saved pages on different devices like my phone or iPad.  It’s been keeping me more organized, and hopefully it will help you stay a little more organized this year, too. 

This blog post, A Web-to-Evernote Workflow that Works Everywhere, explains the process well.  Basically, I signed up for two different accounts: Instapaper and Evernote.  I dragged a “Read Later” button onto my computer’s toolbar from Instapaper’s site, and I click it anytime I come across a page I want to read later.  When I find some extra time to look at my archived pages, I click a button in Instapaper to send the ones I like over to Evernote, where I can organize them however I like.  I installed Evernote on my Android phone and my iPad, so I can access my notes and saved pages from anywhere.  I can also access them on the web by signing into my account from any computer.  Cool, huh?

I hope the resources and suggestions Joann and I present each week are immediately useful.  If not, click “Read Later” and save these ideas and resources for later!

~Peggy's Corner - 8/26/2011~

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