Healthier Students = A Healthier World

I really like the way the way Logan approaches his education (Hackschooling).

I am constantly frustrated with the lack of emphasis on health education within the schools that I have worked in.  Unfortunately not everyone agrees that learning important life skills such as how to make a decision and lead a healthy informed lifestyle is very important when it comes to developing our province’s future citizens, innovators and leaders.When I share with fellow educators that my major area of study in my degree is health education I often get a surprised and confused reaction. Many of these people shake their heads and say “Ohh really?  I didn’t know health was offered as an area of study.” These reactions depress me as I am feeling as though my chances of actually being able to teach what I am passionate about, is only a pipe dream. I am constantly reassured of this as I see many health classes being combined with other subject areas or pushed to the wayside to save time and allow students to get their credits to graduate. I recognize the importance of the other subject area’s  mandated within the Saskatchewan curriculum, but I wish there was more support  and guidance for schools and their staff to better integrate health education programs into their school communities.

Being a substitute teacher I have a lot of time on my hands during the school day to observe students and school life. Everyday I am reminded that students aren’t receiving the support and health education that they need. The bullying, the drugs, the cutting, the depression it’s all so very obvious to me.  My hope is that schools and their staff start to recognize the need for health education within their schools. If their students are properly equipped with the health skills the curriculum seeks to provide students with teachers and staff may see improvements in others areas of  a student’s life and school experience.  For example students who are able to properly deal with the stresses that teenage life is proven to bring on (drugs, self image, relationships, peer pressure, time management, part-time job, school work, bullying, choosing future career… etc.) will be better able to manage attending school and focusing on their learning.

Health literacy is essential for success in all area’s of a person’s life, and can result in  healthier and happier students and teachers. I believe this can also result in a healthier, and happier world. 🙂

-Madison

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Teachers <3 Technology

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This graphic was shared with me earlier this year and I think it’s a great visual representation of the change that is currently happening in today’s classrooms. Being a new teacher just finishing up my education degree this month I have had first had experience with this technology revolution, both as a university student and a pre-service teacher.

Technology is not going away and we teachers need to embrace the learning possibilities that technology offers both teachers and students. Study after study have found that technolgy increases student engagement and therefore productivity in the classroom.

As a teacher I can also see the benefits of online assessment tools, online learning communities and keeping my classroom organized.

If technology going to be constantly evolving and present in our society we as teachers should embrace these tools and encourage safe use of technology in our students rather than confiscating student’s personal devices and associating technology with negative consequences.

( Graphic Organizer- http://bit.ly/143PN9o )

-Madison

War- Zones in Unexpected Places

This compelling video looks into the cycle of bullying and how society has created this malicious behavior. Schools are swimming with this behavior and because of it the victims are afraid to go to what we call some of the safest and most important places in a child’s development. How do we as teachers turn our schools into a safe place for learning and fun?

-Madison

The Impact of Social Media: Connecticut Massacre

Last Friday something awful happened in Newtown, Connecticut.  26 people were killed in a mass shooting, this included 20 children. Of course when news of this tragedy caught wind internationally the media went wild. This is like any other tragedy, it will be on the news for months and posts on twitter and Facebook will be tweeted and shared for a few more months until the tragedy’s after shock will ease.

The people who post , tweet, share, like statuses and pictures that honor those affected in the community of Newtown all mean well and want to help ease the pain that those people are feeling. Do these posts actually help ease the pain that the people of Newtown or do they fuel the fire that will ignite more massacres similar to this? The insane amount of attention that this shooting has received makes me wonder if others who have the intent of getting the world’s attention within a matter of minutes will consider trying  the same approach.  Does all of this attention and constant talk about Newtown  and similar events in Auroura, Colorado just months before make some individuals thrive to achieve the same fame as the person before.

If there were no social media posts about these mass killings would the world be a safer place? Would there be less knowledge about these killer’s murder plots? Would these tragic events be less glamorized and in turn not as likely to be repeated in another community of unsuspecting victims.

In no way am I trying to say that I do not feel sorry for the people affected by this unbelievable act of hatred. I feel just as sorry as those people who decide to share status’ and pictures all over the internet that honor those killed and people who will be forever affected by the events of Friday December 18th 2012. I hope that next time you consider sharing a tweet or post that honors those affected by a tragedy such as this, you think about the consequences of these posts. Think about who those posts will actually affect.

-Madison

Organ Donor Status on Facebook…

I just recently read an article that talks about how Facebook is getting involved in organ donations. People now have the option to commit to being a donor on Facebook. The article also talks about how there is a real crisis in terms of organ donations in Canada. Many of the provinces have turned to using social media and the internet to inform people about becoming an organ donor. Many of the websites also allow you to sign yourself up for organ donation. Saskatchewan’s website for organ donation also has an area that connects you to the Facebook app that allows you to show your friends your personal choice.

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Personally I think that having people become more aware of their options of becoming an organ donor is wonderful. There are many people who are in need and an organ donation could save someones life. Is it necessary that we need to let our social network of friends know about our personal choice? Isn’t it enough that our closest friends and family know our wishes? Or is this another way for people to make themselves look like a good citizen through the eyes of their Facebook friends?

-Madison

Another Rant about Health Education…

 So I am sitting here studying for one of my university courses in the education program. One of the areas of focus for this course is educational administration. I am currently studying the information we have learned about resources that are provided for education within Canada. Where they come from, why they are important, what affects the amount of resources we receive etc…. Some of the challenges to publicly funded education is the lack of funding. Each province has a budget and so much money needs to go to each provincial responsibility. Health care is taking up a huge amount of money. More health problems = more health care. Makes perfect sense, but I think we need to start moving towards prevention and I think education is the key.

More health education within the schools would most likely reduce the amount of health care needed. People need to become more educated on how to make healthy decisions and properly take care of themselves. Now I am aware that this isn’t the only reason that health care costs are on the rise, but I think that more health related knowledge among our citizens could definitely help. Seems simple right? With more of a focus on health education there would be maybe less money going into health care the provinces could put it toward something else……like education!

Well it isn’t that simple. As of right now our society isn’t into the whole “health” thing.

Health is not seen as a priority in a students education, its been this way for years. Math, science and English take precedence over health education in schools. Apparently its more important to be able to dissect a frog than it is to be able to make healthy and informed decisions that could affect the rest of your life.  I understand that health is important, but why doesn’t anyone else? How can we start to make a change within our schools and within society?

I would love to hear your thoughts and advice!

-Madison

Good or Bad…. There is always learning to be had

Recently for one of my university health classes all 36 students were to plan, organize and embark on a learning experience together. This field trip was to meet learning outcomes that we had developed as a group. This portion of the class was to help us understand what all goes into planning and implementing a field trip. There were many committees within the class that were in charge of different areas of the field trip. Some of these areas included: budget, transportation, accommodation, food, activities, liability and safety.

This past Monday and Tuesday all 36 students and 2 professors set out on our adventure. In the end the trip was a great success. Prior to and during the learning experience some students were doubting the group’s decisions regarding the trip. Some people complained constantly and others thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the trip.

During our trip we talked as a group about the importance of place / experience based teaching and learning. After going on the field trip and taking part in experience based learning most of us pre- service teachers were sold on this concept. Learning through first hand experience is a great way to make learning relevant and find a deeper meaning and understanding. In the end there were still some that had negative things to say about the trip. In my own personal reflection I have realized that no matter what happens during place based learning we can still take some learning away from it. Having any experience at all is better than having none. Every experience presents itself with an opportunity for learning. It is up to the learner to decide what they want to do with that learning.  It’s easy to dwell on and regret the not so great parts of the experience we had. What I think we need to remember is that we can always learn from our mistakes our moments of being uncomfortable. The important thing is that no matter what we are always learning from our experience.

We need to remember that if the experience turned out good or bad there is always learning to be had.

-Madison