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

From http://www.teamusa.org/News/2014/May/14/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: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/resources-events/webinars/.

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.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Struggling with trying to quit using tobacco?

Health Note from Mayo Clinic: A number of different strategies for Tobacco Cessation can be successful. It’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for you.

What kind of strategies have you tried to help break your smoking habit? Some people want to stay away from nicotine-based treatments like nicotine gum or the transdermal patch, because they want to stay completely away from nicotine. One natural way to quit smoking is "cold turkey." For some, using willpower alone to quit smoking may seem unmanageable, but according to a large study by the American Public Health Association, this method was used by 85% of all successful long-term quitters. Plus, it’s the cheapest option. Pick a realistic target quit date and decide what you are going to do with the cash you will be saving. Having something in mind that you want to spend the money on can give you an extra push of motivation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is another natural way to quit smoking, where the individual works with a therapist who helps redirect the smoker’s mind away from nicotine. This type of therapy has helped smokers identity what causes their cravings and reinforces healthy behaviors to replace the nicotine.
Lastly, self-help books can also assist in breaking smoking habits. Allen Carr says in his book, Easy Way to Stop Smoking, “Once smokers lose their fear, it really is easy. The idea that smoking provides any genuine pleasure or crutch is a delusion. The stress that nicotine supposedly relieves is actually created by the nicotine itself - We remove this delusion.” So when you’re ready to quit, know that the many possibilities to help you make that change will be available, and hopefully that behavior change will be a permanent one.

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stop stressing, start living

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note: Daily life presents us with all kinds of stresses. How can you be sure you’re handling those stresses in a safe and effective way?

Stop stressing, start living. We all know that chronic stress can be unhealthy for us, especially when we “handle it” in unhealthy ways. Learning to deal with stress appropriately is more important than trying to remove it completely.

So how can you better manage your stress? There are many ways, but one important one is to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your judgment, making you more likely to break at petty irritations. It is also important that you prepare for your responsibilities by setting small realistic goals for both big and small tasks. Stress tends to pile on when we run out of time or unplanned events come up, but by preparing ahead of time and managing your time with those unplanned events in mind, you deviate away from stress. Also, when possible cut back on your obligations or delegate work to others. Give yourself permission to say “no” once in a while! With fewer commitments you will have more time for yourself and less things to stress over.

To learn more, visit: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-management/SR00032/NSECTIONGROUP=2