Wednesday, January 26

SNACK TIME national hot tea month

Time for Tea
January is National Hot Tea Month! Winter is the perfect time to drink one of the world's most popular and ancient beverage, tea. Cold and flu season peaks during the winter months and drinking hot tea can soothe a sore throat and open up sinuses. Researchers have found that drinking tea may help strengthen the body's immune system response when fighting off infection giving people more reason to brew a hot cup of tea on chilly days.

Tea is widely available, comes in a variety of flavors and aromas, is easy to make and contains unique health promoting properties.  Whether it’s black, green, or oolong, tea is made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, it’s the processing of the tea leaves that produces changes in not only color and flavor, but a class of compounds called polyphenols These compounds include flavonoids, catechins and theaflavins—widely researched for their helath promoting properties.

What’s the difference between black and green tea?
Black tea is fully fermented whereas green tea is not. Oolong tea is only partially fermented. Both green and black tea contain flavonoids, potent antioxidants linked to lowered risk for cancer and heart disease.

Tea Trivia…
Americans drink 50 billion cups of tea each year, 40 billion of which are served as iced tea
Herbal teas are not actually teas, but are concoctions of peels, flower leaves, herbs, and spices, and are caffeine free. 
The caffeine content of tea is about 40 mg per cup compared to 100 mg of caffeine per cup of brewed coffee. 
Compounds found in tea can stop the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath
The tea bag and iced tea was invented in the US in 1904

Too much of a good thing?
Because tea contains caffeine, drinking too much or too close to bedtime can interfere with ability to go to or stay asleep.

Is bottled as good as freshly brewed tea?
Due to processing methods, bottled tea is probably not as high in polyphenols as a freshly brewed cup of green or black tea, however, both offer varying levels of health-promoting compounds and also contribute to hydration. Watch for sugar content by checking labels to keep them minimal. 

Enjoy your tea, hot or cold! 

Contributed by Leslie K. Kay, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Management Services

Tuesday, January 25

BOOK REPORT anaheim hills suggests some "sweet" reading

Anaheim Hills second grade teacher Ms. Erin Brewster has a recommendation for all those little sweet teeth out there.  Here's what she has to say about: 

The Chocolate Touch
By: Patrick Skene Catling 

The book is about a boy named John Midas who loves all kinds of candy and sweets but his favorite is chocolate.  He complains when he has to eat healthy foods. On day he finds a silver coin with the picture of a chubby boy on one side and JM (his initials) on the other side.  He takes it into a candy store and buys a whole box of chocolates.  He sneaks the candy up to his room and gobbles it up.  

The next morning everything to puts into his mouth turns to chocolate.  At first John loves this new trick, but after a while, he starts to get thirsty and wants water and other foods that don't taste like chocolate.  Soon he starts getting red spots on his body.  He goes to the doctor and the doctor tells him he has Chocolate Fever.

The turning point for John is when he kisses his mom and she turns into a pillar of chocolate.  He runs back to the candy store and pleads with the store owner to change his mother back.  When John finally admits that he is responsible (because he was greedy) the store owner assures him that everything will be okay.  He runs back home to find his mother back to normal. 

The best part for me is when John starts realizing how his behavior is not only affecting him but the people he loves. Even then he's not healed immediately.  The store owner waits until he is desperate to have his mother back before he takes the Chocolate Fever away.

Contributed by Erin, Anaheim Hills

BOOK REPORT edgewood shares classic theatrical literature

Ms. Yvonne DeVane’s eighth graders at Edgewood recently finished reading the play "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry.  Here’s a synopsis of the story that has become a classic in American literature:

In the first scene of “A Raisin in the Sun,” we meet the major characters, learn of the 1950’s setting and themes and discover the major conflict. All of the Younger’s await the arrival of a $10,000 life insurance check, resulting from the death of Walter and Beneatha’s father. Walter, the protagonist, believes he will be able to use the money to invest in a liquor store with his two friends. His dream is to be a successful businessman. Beneatha, his sister dreams of being a doctor.  Walter’s mother, known as Mama, and his wife Ruth dream of buying a house.

Mama, to whom the money actually belongs, uses it to put a down payment on a house in Clybourne Park, a white neighborhood, fulfilling her idea of achieving the “American Dream”. After much conflict, Walter gets the remaining money, part of which was to go towards Beneatha’s college education.  One of Walter’s friends steals the money, which is the climax of the play. Walter is upset and his family is very angry about his irresponsibility. 

The rest of the play centers on how Walter and the family handles the loss. In order to recoup some of the money, he decides they will sell the new house to the Clybourne Park Association (who had earlier tried to buy them out) for a handsome profit, destroying the hopes of Mama and Ruth in the process. In the end, he stands up to Mr. Lindner and refuses to sell. His decision proves he has regained his pride and come into his manhood. Although the money is lost, the Younger’s stand strong.

The success of the play arises from its realistic portrayal of an African American family during the 1950s. The message is that a family such as the Younger’s, who suffer from poverty and discrimination, can survive, even thrive, in spite of overwhelming obstacles. Hansberry never strays from this central theme throughout the entire play.

Contributed by Yvonne, Edgewood campus

BOOK REPORT mable's book looks a lot like lincoln

The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln
By Mike Reiss

What Mable first-grade teacher Mrs. Wagner says about the book:
"I like this book because it teaches kids that it is okay to be different.  This book helps us to remember that the things about us that make us different are also the things that make us special.  Also, I love the illustrations."

What says about the book:
Benjy has an unusual problem. He looks just like Abraham Lincoln-right down to the wart and beard. Needless to say, his life isn't easy. He gets gifts of Lincoln Logs and stovepipe hats on every birthday. He gets stuck playing Lincoln in every school play-whether he's part of the story or not. And the teasing is unrelenting. When school ends he plans on spending another summer sitting inside alone, but his parents have a surprise. They're sending him to Camp What-cha-ma-call-it-The Camp for Kids Who Look Like Things! Within scenes reminiscent of Bosch and Brueghel, Benjy learns that he's not unusual-he's unique! And when he realizes what's special about himself, it doesn't take long for others to realize it as well. Mike Reiss and David Catrow have created a wonderfully hysterical tale that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt a little different from his or her peers.

Contributed by Karen, Mable campus

BOOK REPORT citron cheers for rodney rat

Hooway for Wodney Wat
By Helen Lester

Here's a story for those of us who love underdogs--or underrodents as is the case with Rodney Rat.

Rodney has trouble saying his r’s. The other rodents at school tease him and make him feel very alone. One day a new student joins the class, Camilla Capybara. She is bigger, meaner and smarter than everyone else, just ask her. One day they play Simon says outside. Wodney Wat is the leader. As he gives directions the students follow, yet Camilla Capybara doesn’t know about Rodney’s r’s. She misunderstands and does everything wrong. Eventually she “goes west”, as per Wodney’s directions. Wodney is the hero of the class because Camilla is gone forever.

Contributed by Jody Moran, Citron campus

SCHOOL NEWS new elementary science curriculum

This year Fairmont has begun implementing a new elementary science curriculum.  Designed by our science specialty teachers, it incorporates the latest in best practices for teaching science, encourages technology use and promotes an inquiry-based learning approach.   Exploratory, hands-on, project-based, - are all terms that describe it.  Inquiry-based learning is student-centered, a brain-based learning approach focusing on questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving. 

There is an old adage that says, “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.”  When we involve students (using the inquiry-based method) in the processes of science, they really do understand and they get excited about what they are learning.   Involvement requires skills and attitudes that enable students to ask relevant questions and seek appropriate resolutions.  These habits of mind go well beyond memorizing facts and information.   

Chief among the misconceptions associated with inquiry-based learning is that it just “fluff and stuff.” Nothing could be further from the truth.  Our primary goal at the elementary level is to teach the students the processes of science – how to observe, record, question, test, analyze – real world skills needed more than ever before.  The textbook becomes just a resource not the central focus of this kind of learning.  Assessments look different and measure different things

The knowledge base for science is constantly changing and expanding.  New ideas and discoveries are daily occurrences. No one can ever learn it all.  Today’s students need the skills and the ability to continue learning.  “What we know” is not nearly as important as “how we come to know.”

We want parents, students and our teachers to understand the intention of and goals for our new science curriculum.  We are on a journey of discovery, an exciting one, but it will take time to reach our destination.  

Warmest regards,

Sandy Cosgrove
Director of Education


Friday, January 21

SCHOOL NEWS re-cap: chalk talk with chef tanya

Last night we were pleased to host Chef Tanya Petrovna, owner and Executive Chef of Native Foods at our Anaheim Hills campus for a Chalk Talk about healthy eating for families. Tanya's energy for life and passion for good food radiated throughout the room from the minute she arrived. I had the pleasure of hearing stories about her decision to rescue a diabetic dog from the pound and her adventures in her yoga class earlier that day and learned that Tanya is definitely a woman who practices what she preaches.

Tanya kicked off our Chalk Talk with the story behind Native Foods--a restaurant chain that grew from Tanya's exposure to whole foods as a child and her love for animals and the environment. She knew she wanted to create a healthy, sustainable, vegetarian restaurant alternative on every corner, but she didn't know exactly how to get there. So Tanya looked to the wise words of Ghandi ("If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning") and drew the inspiration to just start somewhere and believe that the right path would be revealed to her. Now Tanya's restaurant is a huge success with 7 current locations and many new locations in the works.

Chef Tanya shared some tips about making small changes in your life to help you and your family start eating more healthily. Some of her recommendations were:
  • To start the day off with oatmeal as a great source of whole grains 
  • To always keep legumes around the house (lentils, beans, chick peas, etc) 
  • To incorporate more leafy greens in your diet 
  • To make sugars a once-a-week treat for children instead of a daily expectation 

To learn more, please visit Chef Tanya's blog. Thank you to everyone who attended this Chalk Talk, and here's to a happy and healthy 2011!

Contributed by Alyssa, Marketing