Monday, November 24, 2014

Tips on how to snack in a healthy way

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:

(this message fits into the PdC Public School staff challenge of MAINTAIN, NO GAIN over the Holidays season)

We all need a snack here and there during the day, but there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to snack.

Several warnings surround snacking if you are trying to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, but if you’re picking the right snack, it can actually be beneficial and stop you from munching more at later meals. By snacking, you can satisfy your hunger and stop yourself from consuming hundreds of extra calories a day by not overeating at the next meal. Advice from health professionals about snacking can include not keeping junk food in the house, and watching out for nutrition labels, especially on foods advertised as “low-fat” or “fat-free.”

In addition to this snacking wisdom, lots of healthy snack habits exist to help fight off hunger and control weight.

1. Don’t snack where you slack: Designate certain snacking zones like the kitchen, and avoid eating in front of the TV. Pairing snacking with watching TV can create an association that could lead to mindless munching.

2. Power up with grains: Looking for some energy from your snack? Look to whole grains like whole-grain pretzels or cereals that will provide a lasting boost.

3. Snacks can be sweet: If you find yourself not being able to deny your sweet tooth, mix in low-fat puddings, frozen yogurt, or frozen fruit bars as an alternative to other, more sugary treats.

4. Go nuts!: Nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts can be filling snacks that may also improve your heart health by lowering cholesterol.

Information from:
Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tips to help students to stay healthy in cold/flu season

This Mayo Clinic Health Note is something school staff and parents are all too familiar with - students getting sick from all the germs getting spread around. Here are some tips that can help your student stay healthy.

Does it seem like school age children are always coming down with something? When children are at school they are exposed to a lot of different germs and bacteria, putting their immune systems to the test. In addition to getting a goodnight’s sleep, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, those at school can take other precautions to stay healthy.

1. Hand-Washing. Frequent hand-washing can help prevent spreading disease. Hand-washing should occur before eating, after going to the bathroom and blowing one’s nose, and also playing outside.

2. Hand Sanitizer. Using hand sanitizer before eating and after sharing communicable objects like pencils sharpeners or a computer mouse can help kill the bacteria that can linger on these community objects.

3. Cover Up. If sick, try to avoid coughing or sneezing into the open air by using a tissue, or if a tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into the crook of the elbow.

4. Hands Off. Bacteria can enter through the open areas of the body like the eyes or mouth. Keeping hands out of these areas can prevent the spread of disease by not allowing these bacteria into the body. Not sharing personal items like water bottles or food can also stop the spread of bacteria this way.

5. Stay Vaccinated. Staying up to date on vaccinations, especially the yearly flu vaccine can help kids be healthy and stay in school.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tips on how your family can get more rest

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:

As the kids get back to school, we hear a lot about how important it is for them to get a good night's sleep. The same is true for adults. Getting the right amount of sleep can be essential to staying healthy by letting your body have enough time to restore and heal during nighttime hours. The amount of sleep everyone needs varies depending on age, but a good rule of thumb is 9-11 hours for school-age children, and 7-8 hours for adults. Often the many factors in our busy lives can interfere with the required amount of sleep needed each night, but you can take steps to try to help yourself or your child get the right amount of shuteye.
  1. Stick to a sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends or holidays, to help create a consistent sleep pattern. However, if you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something else to avoid agonizing over falling asleep.
  2. Watch what you eat and drink: Being hungry or too full when going to bed can cause too much discomfort to fall asleep.
  3. Have a bedtime ritual: Create a ritual in which you do the same things before bed every day to help tell your body it’s time to wind down.
  4. Be comfortable: Work on a sleep environment that is comfortable to you, this often means cool, quiet, dark, and bedding that suits you.
  5. Limit daytime naps: Napping during the day can interfere with sleep at night. If you do nap, try to take the nap in the midafternoon and limit it to 10-30 minutes.
  6. Exercise: Including daily exercise can help you fall asleep faster, and sleep deeper. Exercising too close to bed however can interfere with sleep by increasing energy.
  7. Manage Stress: Working on managing the daily stressors in life can help calm your mind and provide peaceful sleep. Before bed, try jotting down what is stressing you out and set it aside to be dealt with tomorrow.
From: Amy A. Every; Mayo Clinic Health System

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Are dietary supplements needed?

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note on Supplements vs. Whole Foods:

It is important to meet your nutritional needs mainly through your diet, but what if you struggle to get the nutrition you feel you need? Is it ok to take a supplement instead? Some supplements may be a useful way to get the nutrients you may be lacking, but they cannot measure up to the benefits and nutrients of whole foods. 

Therefore, before you start ingesting supplements, it is very important to know and understand what they will and will not do. If you are usually healthy and eat a wide variety of foods each day, you probably do not need to take a supplement. On the other hand, if you do not consume enough calories each day, are a vegan or vegetarian and do not eat a wide variety of foods, are a woman and have heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle, or have a medical condition in which your body does not properly absorb nutrients, you could consider talking to your doctor about what supplement would be best for you.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bronze Boys Of Prairie Du Chien


Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, is a portrait of small-town America. It’s the type of place where everyone waves to each other, where people marry their high school sweetheart, where blue-collar men work at the local factory. Set along the eastern banks of the Mississippi River, the town is home to less than 6,000 people — making it highly unlikely, by just about any statistical calculation, that even one Olympic bronze medalist would come from there. Imagine the odds of two.

More than that, imagine that those two just happened to have graduated in the same class of less than 130 kids. Such is the case for Matt Antoine, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in skeleton, and Joe Delagrave, 2012 Paralympic bronze medalist in wheelchair rugby. Their stories are the same. Their stories are very different.

Click on the picture below to read the rest of the article

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Digital Library on Formative Assessment Tools and Practices is coming

Excerpt from memo from Troy Couillard; Wisconsin DPI Director Office of Student Assessment

Digital Library Rollout: June 3

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is committed to creating an integrated, balanced assessment system that provides actionable information to help teachers prepare students for college and careers. This system includes next-generation summative and interim assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The Digital Library on Formative Assessment Tools and Practices is also a key component of this system. The Digital Library is a searchable, interactive online tool composed of instructional and formative assessment resources that have been selected by educators and screened against a set of Quality Criteria established by experts.

For more information on the Digital Library, see the webinar “Quality Criteria for the Digital Library,” available at:

Smarter Balanced invites district and school staff in member states to preview the Digital Library from June 3 through September 30, 2014. During the preview, the Digital Library will contain initial functionality and a limited set of initial resources that will help educators understand the future utility of the Digital Library.

The process for districts to register users for the Digital Library preview includes filling out a template of user information and uploading it to a secure site. The template and instructions for preparing it for user registration will be available in mid-May. At that time, districts may use the template to prepare the list of users whom they want to be able to access the preview beginning on June 3, 2014.

This preview is an exciting opportunity to try out user rating, review, and comment features on the Digital Library resources, as well as collaboration features that encourage conversation among educators from across the Consortium. Smarter Balanced welcomes widespread participation in this preview and encourages districts to register all interested educators and promote their use of the Digital Library this summer and during professional development activities at the start of the next school year.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Summary of changes coming on the New SAT

From USDE:

A revised version of the SAT, widely noted by the education press and of much interest to many students, parents, and academic counselors, was introduced last month by the College Board. The revision, representing the first major changes to the test since 2005, reverts to the pre-2005, 1,600-point scale (from the current 2,400 point scale) by making optional the essay part of the exam, formerly required since 2005. The revised test, to be administered starting in spring 2016, will have three sections: “Evidence-based reading and writing,” mathematics, and the optional essay. This article focuses on the eight major changes to the SAT, as explained by the College Board.

The focus of the new test is on requiring students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the few essentials that matter most for readiness for and success in college. A first major change in the evidence-based reading and writing section is the ability to use relevant words for a given context.

Second, test takers will be required to interpret, synthesize, and employ evidence to demonstrate their understanding and command of evidence in a variety of sources. In a third significant change, the redesigned essay section will ask students to explain how the author builds the argument in an assigned passage. The test takers will be required to demonstrate close reading and careful analysis of the text, as well as clear writing.

The fourth change pertains to the mathematics section of the SAT. This section will delve more deeply than does the current SAT into three essential areas of mathematics: (1) Problem solving and data analysis—quantitative literacy for solving problems; (2) the “heart of algebra”—mastery of linear equations and systems; and (3) “passport to advanced mathematics”—knowledge and manipulation of more complex equations. The SAT will sample other mathematical topics, but the focus will be on these three.

Change five redesigns the SAT to engage test takers with questions “grounded in the real work,” that is, questions that are representative of those encountered in college and in the workplace.

Asking test takers to apply their skills in reading and writing, and their knowledge of language and mathematics to respond to questions in the domains of science, history, and social studies constitutes the sixth major change.

Another, seventh, change to the SAT will engage test takers with ideas addressed in the founding documents of the United States or in the “great global conversation”—issues focusing on, “freedom, justice, and human dignity.” The goal with this change is to focus on what is important to know to be a citizen.

The eighth major change removes the penalty for wrong answers in the new SAT. The current SAT penalizes students for wrong answers. In the new SAT students earn points for correct answers.

This summary provides an overview of the major changes to the SAT. Interested readers will want to examine these changes and their implications in more detail. The College Board will provide the complete specifications of the new SAT along with sample items for each of the eight sections on its website in mid-April.