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The STEM Zombie Apocalypse

Edutopia – Amy Schwartzbach-Kang and Edward Kang

“So many adults, including teachers, joke about not being able to do simple math or not being a “science person” that many students enter STEM classrooms with negative views. This creates a fixed mindset as students believe they need certain natural abilities to be successful in math and science. As educators, we need to create opportunities for students to overcome these deeply planted negative views.” (more)

Can you solve it? A little Swedish magic

The Guardian – Alex Bellos

“Today, I’ve four puzzles from the country of Abba, courtesy of Swedish magician and puzzle author Fredrik Cattani. His most recent book was his highest ever release; he dropped a copy out of a light aircraft flying at 120m. (The pun might work better in Swedish).” (more)

The play’s the thing for elementary ed

District Administration – Lori Keorner

“Play is not a luxury; it is a necessity. In many districts across the United States, recess in elementary school is being questioned, reduced and even eliminated to increase instructional time. The assumption behind this is that Common Core has placed more pressure on teachers and students to score better in the classroom. There has been little research that has proven that more time in the classroom, and less time at recess, equals better academic outcomes for children.” (more)

For Young Brains, a Storytelling Sweet Spot

Edutopia – Youki Terada

“As a parent, one of my favorite activities with my toddler is storytime. These days I have plenty of good options: I can tell my son a story, we can read a picture book together, or I can turn on the TV or break out the iPad and watch a cartoon with him. At least that’s what I thought. A new study suggests that only one these experiences hits the “Goldilocks Zone”—that sweet spot where my son’s brain is highly active, his imagination is fully engaged, and he can spare a few moments to think about the story.” (more)

High-quality food is the foundation for a healthy life

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

There never seems to be enough time in the day, especially when you have a job and kids. After a long day of work the last thing most of us want to do when we get home is worry about preparing a meal. As a result, many of us stop for take-out, pop TV dinners in the microwave, or go through the drive-through on the way home.


While fast, pre-prepared, and restaurant food is quick, convenient, and satisfying it is often low in nutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients; high in refined carbohydrates; and full of artificial colors and flavors. In addition, these foods are generally easy to digest and high in trans-fats or processed vegetable oils. Worst of all, many prepared foods are designed for “sensory-specific satiety” which makes it easy for us to eat more than we need and to become addicted to the product.

Sadly, the impact of consuming these foods is not usually immediately apparent. In many cases, it takes years or decades for symptoms to develop. As a result, it is easy for parents to overlook the impact food may be having on the long-term health and welfare of their children.

More information on the hazards of poor food choices has reached the mainstream press recently. Dr. Eva Selhub wrote about the connection between food choices, brain structure and function, and mood in the Harvard Medical School Health Blog. “If your brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition, or if free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells are circulating within the brain’s enclosed space, further contributing to brain tissue injury, consequences are to be expected. What’s interesting is that for many years, the medical field did not fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food.”

Also, according to research conducted by Sanjay Basu M.D., Ph.D. at the Stanford University Medical Center, “increased sugar in a population’s food supply was (is) linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.”

Although it might seem overwhelming, ditching processed foods is possible even if you have a super busy schedule. The key is advanced planning, selecting healthy items when you get to the supermarket, and cooking enough extra food that you can have leftovers on days when there is no time to cook.

Once you adjust to the new approach to food, you will likely notice that everyone is less cranky and feels better, there are less sick days, and that you have more energy and patience.

Why Teenagers Should Understand Their Own Brains (And Why Their Teachers Should Too!)

NPR – Elissa Nadworny

“A teenage brain is a fascinating, still-changing place. There’s a lot going on: Social awareness, risk-taking, peer pressure; all are heightened during this period. Until relatively recently, it was thought that the brain was only actively developing during childhood — but in the last two decades, researchers have confirmed that the brain continues to develop during adolescence — a period of time that can stretch from the middle-school years into early adulthood.” (more)