Thursday, August 26, 2021

Wellness for Innovative Educators - Supplements

As the pandemic hit the United States, I found myself working extremely long hours to help our schools move to emergency remote learning. I also spent an abundant amount of time publishing numerous articles around ways to do remote learning successfully. As a result, I was not finding the time to exercise. I was eating convenient (often unhealthy) food. I was not connecting socially. After a few months of this, I realized I needed to reset, take time for myself, and start living a healthier life.

About a year into my journey I reached my goal: I lost the COVID 19. In other words, I lost 19 pounds as well as reduced body fat, my BMI, and increased muscle.

One way I found the time to do that was by taking a break from writing in my blog and focusing my attention on studying wellness. We know wellness is important for students. It's also important for the adults who care for them. I've learned a lot over the past year.

Now that I'm back, I'm excited to share what I've learned.

Here's how I did this:

  • I discovered the keys to longevity: Eat a healthy diet, exercise, get enough sleep, avoid tobacco, manage stress, stimulate your brain, and nurture a healthy social circle.  
  • I figured out which key opens these doors. These were: supplements, diet, exercise, health trackers, books, podcasts, and a few gadgets. 

In this next series of blog posts, I'll summarize what I learned. In this post we focus on supplements.

Supplements

I always hated the idea of supplements. Wouldn't a healthy lifestyle and diet give me what I need? And, if not, how would I find what is right for me? What I found is it takes a lot of research, finding a doctor who knows about integrative and functional medicine, and knowing what areas you want to address. My areas of focus are as follows:

Immunity

Since there was a pandemic, I wanted to know what I could take to boost my immunity. I wanted to take what would keep me from getting the Corona Virus and/or help me fight it off should I become sick.

Bone, joint, muscle health

Like many people of a certain age, I suffer from some of the "itis." You know the "itis." Arthritis, bursitis, etc. This is caused, among other things, by inflamation. Since I was interested in enhancing my exercise routine, it was important I found some natural supplements to address this.

Diet / digestion

A healthy diet means healthy digestion. There are supplements that can support digestion.

Hair, skin, nails

Having beautiful hair, skin, and nails is a part of any good wellness program. There are supplements that can improve how you look on the outside.

Antihistamines

I suffer from allergies and was taking a few traditional medications for that such as Claritin and Benadryl. I learned that taken often (I was taking them daily) there could be long-term negative effects. I stopped taking them and found a healthier, natural alternative.

Supplements that aligned to my priorities and personal needs

You can check out the table below to see the six supplements that I take aligned to my areas of focus. Do NOT take these blindly. Get a physical. Go to a doctor. Make sure what you take is right for you and your needs as verified by your doctor. What I share below are the best supplements for me based on advice from experts in the field. They also have the stamp of approval from my integrative/functional medicine doctor who is based in New York City and also happens to take my insurance.

Supplement

Immunity

Joints, muscles, bones, ligaments

Hair, skin, nails

Anti-aging, mental performance

Antihistamine / allergies

Digestive Health

Turmeric Quercitin Bromelin $21.89

X

X



X


NMN / Resveratrol $29.68

X



X



Naturewise Vitamin D3 $14.99

X

X





Move Free - Glucosamine Chondroitin $20.76


X





Collagen Powder $34.39


X

X



      X

Dr. Formulated Probiotics $27.94

Garden of Life Probiotics for men $29.94
X



X



Screenshot of supplements listed in the post


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

I'm Back! Wellness Ideas for Innovative Educators

Hello innovative educators. I've missed you, but I'm back with a lot of ideas to help you focus on you and your wellness to start this school year off right! During the pandemic, I took the time to reset and take a look at my own wellness. I focused on areas such as diet, exercise, supplements, and social health.

I didn’t want to do this alone. So a few friends and I got together with a simple goal: Losing the COVID 19. We called ourselves the “COVID Chicks." In addition to losing weight, we wanted to increase muscle, lose fat, feel great, streghthen relationships, and live a long and healthy life. Over the course of about a year, mission accomplished! 

Chart showing a 19 pound weight loss as well as a reduction in BMI and body fat

How we did it and how you can too 

We focused on the keys to longevity, which are obvious when you think about it: 

Eat a healthy diet, exercise, get enough sleep, avoid tobacco, manage stress, stimulate your brain, and nurture a healthy social circle.  


You may be thinking that sounds good, but how can you focus on all these areas? One lesson I learned was that it is great if you can do more than one of the items above at a time. For example, exercise and/or eat healthy with your social circle. Or listen to a podcast while exercising.


I also learned that there are a number of supports to look into when pursuing a long healthspan. I asked myself questions about the following: 

Supplements

What supplements will support my immunity and health? This post on supplements answers this question.

Exercise

What equipment do I need and what type of exercises should I be doing for a stronger healthier body?

Diet

What should I be eating for a life-long diet that will support my health?

Health trackers and gadgets

What’s the best way to track health data like activity, sleep, mobility, weight, body fat? 

Books and podcasts

What are the best books and podcasts to read and listen to support my health and fitness?

So, what are the answers?

Read my next series of blog posts where I will outline what I focused on in each of these areas.


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Update: Why I Haven't Been Writing

Writing during a pandemic

You would think a pandemic would be a wonderful time to write. And, it was. At least for the first six months of the pandemic. At that time, I was writing a lot. It was at this time that hardly anyone was seeing anyone outside their home face-to-face. Most people weren't traveling either. I was not living with friends or family, so my interactions with people was strictly video or with neighbors who happened to be outside (six feet away) when I was.  

Connecting during a pandemic

Once October rolled around however, some of my friends and I began connecting outdoors in our small group of beach volleyball players. It felt good to reconnect for the first time in months, with those close to me. We went back to the beach and played volleyball outdoors several times a week. We played in the mornings, afternoon, and evenings. After we played we watched the ocean, the sky, had food and drinks on the beach. 

After being isolated so long, all I have wanted to do in my spare time is be outdoors, on the beach, playing volleyball and hanging out with my friends. It trumps all other activities, television, social media, dating, and even writing.  

When you have something taken away, you appreciate and value it more. For that reason, my priorities right now are the face-to-face time I can spend outdoors on the beach with those close to me. Today, the weather is not conducive to playing and it's a weekend, so no work either. Since I had the chance, I jumped over here to my other passion, writing, to say I'm still here, but just with different priorities right now.

I'll be back

I have some ideas for future blog posts, so please do stay subscribed and know that while I'm not sure when I will be back, it will definitely happen.

Four women on the beach in front of a beach volleyball court
Beautiful beach volleyball day & beautiful friends

Monday, February 8, 2021

Podcast Playlist - 10 Podcasts for Innovative Educators

While some people Netflix bindged during the pandemic, I choose another form of entertainment: Podcasts. Podcasts are great for multitaskers like me. Whether you’re jogging, cleaning, driving, flying, doing yoga (don't judge me) or out walking your dog, a podcast provides a great way to keep the learning going while you’re doing something else. Check out the playlist below to see what I'm listening to these days.

Screenshot of Google Podcast Subscriptions

Podcast Playlist 2021

10-Minute Teacher Podcast 

  • Overview: Full-time teacher Vicki Davis, dives into what matters most to classroom teachers. The best and brightest educators and idea creators will inspire you as they are interviewed on this show. You'll learn behind the scenes tips, classroom ideas, and practical mindsets for anyone working with today's kids.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Quick bite-sized tips and ideas for busy educators.

Class of 2025 

  • Overview: Class of 2025 offers an in-depth exploration of some of the issues that students from Oregon face today, seen through the lens of the students themselves. 
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: There are unique insights into learning during the pandemic.

Code Switch

  • Overview: Fearless conversations about race hosted by journalists of color. This podcast tackles the subject of race head-on, exploring how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. 
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Great conversations about race that are relevant in classrooms today.

Ed Surge 

  • Overview: Join EdSurge reporters as they sit down with educators, innovators and scholars for frank and in-depth conversations about education and how it is changing.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Talks about current topics and trends in education like should teachers use TikTok.

Exponential Wisdom

  • Overview: Learn about how technology will impact and change the present and the future, often faster than you think. 
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Provides insights into areas like education and careers from leaders in the field.

HBD IdeaCast 

  • Overview: A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.
  • What innovatie educators may like about this podcast: The podcast gives food for thought about the world we should be preparing students for.

Mic Drop

  • Overview: Mood-swinging, dream-chasing, rule-breaking dramas and adventures told directly from teens.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Get insights about teens, from teens.  

Nice White Parents

  • Overview: If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents. A five-part series from Serial Productions, a New York Times Company. Hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: If you teach in a diverse system, this podcast may give you unique perspectives.

Throughline

  • Overview: The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Throughline goes back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Great for innovative educators who discuss social studies or current events with their students.

WSJ Tech Briefing

  • Overview: The Wall Street Journal's reporters and editors highlight leading companies, new gadgets, consumer trends and cyber issues. 
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: If you're an innovative educator, you're interested in the lastest in tech. This podcast gives it to you in 10-15 minute episodes. 

Your turn

These are some of the podcasts I'm listening to these days. What about you? Are you listening to some of these? Are there any that sound of interest?

Sunday, January 3, 2021

5 Books for Families Who Are Rethinking School

For many families the pandemic brought school home giving them a birds eye view into what their children are learning. While some parents are seeing their children thrive, others are frustrated by what they see. They find it hard for their children to sit all day working on screens. They are discovering a lot of what their children are doing is having information fed to them that they could have easily learned by watching YouTube videos. When they see what kids are learning, they're wondering if this is really that useful for their 21st century lives. They are also realizing that this is not just a pandemic problem. It is likely equally hard for their children to sit all day being fed information in class too. 


Book cover: Fix the school, not the child

Fix the School, Not the Child

Many parents are doing everything they can to help their children succeed. But perhaps it is not the child that needs help, but the school that can teach and support learning in a way that better meet the needs of children. 

To help with that parents can read “Fix the School, Not the Child.” The book provides parents with 20 concrete actions they can take to advocate for the rights of their child in school today. 

Supporting Student Personal Learning Networks

Book cover: Supporting personal learning networks
Some working parents are having a particularly difficult time having to support their children at home while also doing their jobs. However, it doesn't have to be that way. Parents can support their children in developing
Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). These are connections individual learners make to suit their specific perceived learning needs. 

We know that there is value found not only in what you know, but also who you know and how to make the most of those connections. This holds true for youth as well. Supporting Student Personal Learning Networks walks parents through how to help their children build their own personal learning network with first-hand accounts and advice from students and their parents.
Book cover: The working home educators guide to success

The Working Home Educator's Guide to Success

For working parents who find their children are thriving at home and considering making a change to homeschool but are not sure just how that can work, there is The Working Home Educators Guide to Success. The book has advice and stories from parents who homeschooled their children while also working.

Parents will learn that homeschooling does not have to look like school at home for their children to thrive. They'll also find there are numerous creative and unique ways to do scheduling and learning so children and parents will succeed and maybe even have more time then when their children were in school.
Book cover: How to Opt Out (not drop out) of School

How to Opt Out, Not Dropout, of School

For parents with teens who are considering continuing to learn from home there is How to Opt Out, Not Dropout, of School. This book will help parents on a path to empowering their child to take control of their own learning and discovering their own path to pursuing their passions.

The book provides the information and encouragement young people need to determine their best education option to meet their goals and be prepared for the present and future college and/or career.
Book cover: The Uncomfortable History of Schooling in America

The Uncomfortable History of American Schooling in America

While many families are eager to get back to the normal life they're used to, the pandemic provides an opportunity to reexamine how children spend their days. Many parents and children are enjoying the family time. The time to pursue hobbies and interests. The time to spend more time outdoors and active.

The Uncomfortable History of American Schooling takes a look at why we do what we do when it comes to school. Then it challenges us to consider if back to normal is really what we want or if it’s just what we know. It helps us grapple with the question: Could there be something better? For answers to that we look at the through-line from our past starting in the 1500s until today. We consider what our Prussian model of compulsory government schooling is designed to do: turn out well-disciplined students who would move by bells and follow orders without questioning authority. Then we look at alternatives that worked in the past, and could work in the present, and future to see if there is something better.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ideas for Connecting with Families Remotely

Slide saying: Parent Coordinators Professional Learning 2020
After the pandemic hit, Lorrie Ayers, a family leadership coordinator in Brooklyn, New York realized she needed to brush up on her technology skills so she could continue to help families in her district feel welcomed. She attended weekly learning sessions offered by the district on various ways to use technology to connect with families. In the sessions hundreds of staff members who support families come together not only to learn, but to network, connect, and share how they are putting what they learned into practice. 

She took what she learned and put into practice new, innovative, and even better ideas for connecting. 


Ideas for connecting remotely with families:

  • Bitmoji: Make it fun! Use Bitmoji in communications with families to add a little fun and flavor to your outreach.

  • Social emotional check: It’s important to acknowledge how families are doing. Before interacting, do a little check to see, acknowledge, and address how they are feeling.

  • QR Codes: Make it easy for others to access your content by adding a QR code that can easily be scanned. 

  • Mentimeter: Use live polls, quizzes, word clouds, Q&As and more to get real-time input - regardless if you’re remote, hybrid or face-to-face.

  • Virtual Coffee and Tea: No matter the beverage or time preference, virtual meetups make it easier for families to connect with schools. Provide weekly options for parents to connect with school staff from wherever they are.

  • Digital scavenger hunts: Families are encouraged to go outside, learn, and share using the district’s hashtag.

  • Zoom baking classes: It’s easy to teach a baking class from your own kitchen and learning to bake in your kitchen works well too. 

  • Social media: Families may not read their email, but many of them love connecting with schools on Instagram and Facebook. Find the right hashtag(s), make it accessible, and strengthen the home-school connection.

  • Virtual fundraising success: Gone are the days of sending home envelopes with donations. Virtual fundraising enabled one school to have record-breaking fundraising success.

  • Digital elections: Rather than having to come face-to-face for PTA elections more votes could be counted with an election on Zoom and digital voting.

  • Virtual wine tasting: Tasting wine from your home is a great way to support local business, connect families, and have a toast safely.

  • Virtual award ceremony: Canva video lets you take creative content to the next level and design with amazing templates that can be used for celebrations, award ceremonies, exercise classes and more.


Lorrie shared that these classes made her unafraid to try using new technology and to share what she learns with others. Check out the video below to hear directly from Lorrie.