Monthly Archives: March 2016

Spinach Chicken minus the Spinach…

This is going to be the last learning project post outside of my finale, which still is being figured out.  I made some Spinach Chicken, but I did not have any spinach so I altered the recipe a bit.  It was extremely easy to make and pretty tasty it u like cream cheese.  I found out after a few bites that one of the critics did not like cream cheese… Oh well.

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Here are the videos.

This last video is the change of heart from the initial response.  Keep in mind that the sheer fact she is trying this without ketchup is a stretch.

Outside of the grand finale, I wanted to shout out to anyone who gave me feedback and watched the videos for this learning project.  Your will the cooking oil that kept this engine going…

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Are anxious kids in the classroom the same as at home?

So I am starting to feel like I am that annoying person that is inundating everyone in class with the over exposure to the same issue.  So if you are sick of me talking or seeing stuff about my kids then I will not be hurt if you do not read this post or watch my videos of my kids critiquing my cooking.

My 7 year old in grade 2 is a bit of an emotional mess when it comes to school (or anything else for that matter) and I wanted to look into whether or not anxious behaviours at home manifest differently at school or if they look the same.  We (my wife and I) have done some inquiring about my daughters behaviour at school and her teacher says that she does not see any issues.  So I wanted to dig a little deeper.

What I found were some good tips from a parents standpoint of what to do and for teachers, what to look for.

I think that being aware of why students are acting a certain way is crucial to good teaching.  I have read some great articles based on tweets and posts from other ECMPers.  I think the best advice that I have heard but is often difficult to practise is being proactive to behavioural issues is more affective than being reactive.

In regards to the title question?  I think that its impossible to tell whether or not the two anxieties will look the same unless you are home schooled.  With the environments being so different anxious kids would act differently depending on where they are and who is around. Making it so important to have open dialogue between teachers and parents. Thoughts?

The Dua(e)l of a Teacher Parent after watching Sext Up Kids

I started, stopped, started again and then had to take another break before finishing the documentary” Sext up Kids“.  My aversion to watching it all at once has to do with parenting two young girls and how terrified I am that they are going to be exposed to a hyper sexualized world that a lot of parents are not prepared for.  But that is not the only reason why I had to stop and start.  I see some of the subtle behaviours that were discussed in the documentary with the kids I work with.  I see my sons obsession with his phone and curiously wonder how much time he is spending on explicit sites.  The documentary also got me thinking about my experiences during internship and wondering how much of the hyper sexualized behaviour was going on underneath the watchful eyes of teachers.

Rather than dissecting the documentary I think that I want to come at this from an angle of a teacher who is a parent.  I see that this is a problem and when you see a problem you want to find solutions.  The problem is that the solutions start with allowing people to have real conversations to kids about this hyper sexualized digital world that has filtered into the physical world.  I believe that one of the teachers comments was, “how do you get them (students) to think critically”, about what the media is throwing at them. He also refers to the influx of pornography as the “elephant in the room” in schools.  So if we know that this is happening and we know that it is a problem, who is going to take on the responsibility of talking to kids about it?

This is where I see the issue.  If I am going to teach grade 8 sexual education to students, I feel pretty confident and comfortable about delivering this curriculum.  However, to address this information from the documentary to students, I know as a parent that there will be some uneasiness about discussing these realities, if the information is coming from a teacher.  Personally I feel that if a teacher presents the material in a way that allows students to critically analyze this information and ensure that appropriate discussions are being had, then I want my daughters to be engaged in these classrooms.  But not all parents will agree with me and not all teachers will be comfortable or effective in delivering this content.  I think that because of this it will continue to be the “elephant in the room”.

From the teachers perspective, as important as it is to have these discussions, is it worth it to go out on  a limb and deal with the backlash from administrations and parents if you want to have real discussions about the content in the documentary?  Because some parents will not want teachers to go there with their kids, even though the documentary said that 20% of teenage females had performed anal sex within a 2 month period, why take the risk. The statistics suggests that there needs to be a dialogue, but I do not think any teacher would risk their job to address it.  In the US you might not even be able to have any type of conversation about it.

There needs to be ways around this, and sending a girl home because the principal thinks her skirt is too short is not it.  I can have these discussions with my daughters at home.  I can make them aware of what is out there both in the digital and physical world.  But not all parents know because not all parents will watch these documentaries.  This lack of knowledge prevents a dialogue at home and it needs to happen somewhere.  If that somewhere is not school than where else will young boys learn that porn is not real or that girls do not need to feel invisible if they do not feel comfortable dry humping an enormous wrecking ball while wearing a thong in the rain.  Teaching about body image, self esteem and sexEd is one component to this but I feel that this is where the conversation stops in most schools.  Parents, teachers and administrators need to get comfortable and literate about this phenomenon fast or we will be left in the digital dust.  Leaving our kids to learn about these issues from pornstars, disney, miley and the beebs… Now that is scary.

 

You can’t win em all

I have been swamped with school work, work work and family stuff over the past few weeks and even though I have some meals to post I have been neglecting my learning project.  I popped in to the local foodery after class in hopes of picking up some fresh Salmon.  Unfortunately, the combo of cost and size prevented a fresh purchase.  So I bought some frozen salmon and decided to give a different recipe a try.  Super simple, super quick and hopefully super tasty..

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Looks can be deceiving.  I am not too sure if I over cooked the salmon, but it was by far the worst thing I have made so far.  My daughter Madeline’s response was an 8 which proves her bias.  My daughter Lucy gave it a 10, which clearly suggests that a kindergarten does not fully comprehend the 1 to 10 scale.  She did eat all of it though…

I will post the Frozen dinners and their recipes in the next couple of days.  I am hoping to cook a couple more meals for the overall learning project and then have an ECMP invite only dinner party.  The invite only is not due to my dislike for anyone in the class, but rather the cost of food and I am far from being a banquet chef to accomodate 50 plus people.  I am not aware of whether or not it is conflict of interest to invite the professors of the class to a dinner party.  Even if it is not appropriate, or a massive kiss up move, I think the major concern would be potential food poisoning resulting in a failing grade.  Either way when I figure out what the final project looks like I will post something.  Sorry in advance if you get an unvitation.

Social Activism, the Internet and Go Fund Yourself…

(Sorry, this is all over the place and I guess that is kind of where I am at regarding my own activism…enjoy)

In no way will I pretend to be a trumpeting advocate for social justice.  There are social issues I follow, that I care about, that I want to care about and that I should care about… but I never get to involved or to invested.  Why?  Time, finances, lack of knowledge are some of the excuses that I would use.  At the end of the day they are excuses and people need to feel comfortable about passionately standing up for social issues because without the dedicated people involved these injustices will continue to slip through the cracks.

What injustices you ask? Without even using the internet, open up a local paper and see what is going on in your community.  I think that one of the problems is that people become so focussed and overwhelmed with the exposure to all the awful things that are happening around the world that we forget what is happening at home.  Poverty, homelessness, addiction, status of recent refugees that just moved to Regina.  All of these issues lack momentum because there is so much out there via the internet/social media that winds up eclipsing issues that are occurring in our own communities.   In a way there becomes a numbness to the issues.  I am not saying that this is all bad, but I think that the overwhelming exposure that people receive on these issues almost push people away from being a part of something that they are on the fence about being involved in. The shift that needs to occur is the connection between awareness and action.

So what role can the internet play to redirect slacktivism to activism?  When I open up Facebook/Twitter and see all of these socially active posts, but often times the personal connection does not go deeper than just taking a glance feeling a little shame that you are not directly experiencing something and then moving on to the next post of a person losing her marbles over a mcrib and bad service at a McDonalds. (video has some bad words but its off the charts hilarious)

The worst connection that I see comes from the notion of sites like gofundme.com.  I see the value that can come from financial hardships that people experience and it is a good way to get the word out if people need help, but helping pay for a couples honeymoon through internet donations is a mind boggling scenario.  And I think that these situations often turn people off from actually using the internet to help out because of the disconnect that comes from seeing Jack and Jill not being able to afford food for their wedding.

I see hope in the dedicated people that are using the internet as a forum to get people thinking and in many cases acting. I guess if one person sees a twitter link that motivates them to get involved then it has served a purpose.  I think what the challenge will be as teachers is to make it personal regardless if we feel the same compassion about a subject as our students.  I know that because of my aloof approach to social justice that I am not role modelling the importance of issues from local to global.  Students buy in when teachers are invested. If we are not invested and not inserting passion and value into activism then the issues that are being ignored continue to slip through the cracks…

 

Tender(loin) and care

The learning project experience has become a lot easier and I am finding that it has become much easier to find new recipes and simple ways to cook food.  For todays meal I am using the slow cooker again and trying to have something ready to go for the “fam” when they get home from school/work.  The food needs to be ready to roll when they walk in the door because they have to go to swimming lessons right after supper.  I am cooking a pork tenderloin meal that I found on youtube with some baked veggies and minute rice.  I do not think that kids are going to like this meal so this will be a strong indicator of bias if they say they like it.

There will also be a rant at the end of this post regarding some of the struggles that families are facing to maintain a healthy diet.

The recipe…

 

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And the responses.

I am going to try and spend some time next week prepping some freezer meals for the slow cooker.  Should be interesting, but I feel like I need to because of my lack of preparation last week led to a family stop at McDonalds.  I was a bit miffed when I got home from work and saw the remains of 2 Happy Meals in the garbage.  I have been looking into some of the issues surrounding nutrition and how difficult it is with the pace of life to keep up with healthy eating. I think that there are 2 things that I want to look into for my next post.

  1. The cost of eating healthy
  2. The ease of eating unhealthy

 

Fingers, Fries, Bette Midler and the Jolly Green Giant

On the menu today are homemade chicken fingers and fries.  I do not own a deep fryer and I have always been super annoyed when you make fries in the oven and they turn out soggy.  I am trying 2 new recipes so I was a bit worried if they bombed.  Also I hate cleaning up so using cooky sheets covered in foil really made clean up easy.

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I also tried to incorporate some sick tunes into the cooking experience.  Let me tell you, Bette Midler is truly the wind beneath my wings…

House did not burn down but the girls basketball game took close to 2 hours so the fries were a bit cold by the time we got back.  I did not have time to fancy up any veggies for the meal so the kids were stuck with Jolly Green Giant frozen vegetables.  Here is what the critics had to say.

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Next post will be a legitimate slow cooker meal prepared for when I am at school.  I hope my wife can remember to get some responses from the critics before swimming lessons but I won’t hold my breath on this happening.