Good morning, Boys and Girls, Mrs. Ferrara here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. This is not your garden variety health tip. It’s time to start digging – in the garden, that is. Digging, planting, watering and harvesting are good for us. The rewards are many. Lifting, bending and twisting keeps muscles strong, limber and builds endurance. People are more likely to eat vegetables that they’ve grown themselves. Who among us couldn’t stand to eat more fresh, whole foods without any added sugar, fat or food coloring? So, get out there. Plant some broccoli, carrots, zucchini or lettuce. Watching something that you planted can be exhilarating. It’s too bad we don’t have the soil or climate here in Wilmington to watch our buddy the banana bloom.
Gardening can even help you do better in school. In a garden, you most solve real life problems, work cooperatively, and practice patience. Successful gardening requires loads of patience. A dedicated gardener takes pride in accomplishing and reaching a goal, sort of like mastering prime numbers or figuring out the mean or average of something.
Plants teach us about the life cycle and about the necessities of life. Plants need water, sun, air, soil in the same way people need water, shelter and food. Through gardening, we learn to care about our environment and respect all living creatures, even the yucky ones living under rocks.
Ooops – a – daisy. I almost forgot. Gardening has a calming effect and reduces stress. Even houseplants can improve our quality of life. Gardening is also a wonderful way to have some family fun time. Sharing stories while watering or weeding is great. You may even learn someing new about your family.
Boys and Girls, I am not leading you up the garden path when I say that we, human BEANS, are wired to benefit from communing with nature. So, get outside and grow a garden. Have a physically fit Friday.
Good morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. F. here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. Tomorrow, March 2, we will not only celebrate Dr. Seuss’s 109th birthday, but also Read Across America Day. Read Across America Day promotes reading, particularly for children and young adults.
Reading has many benefits for your brain. Reading makes kids smarter and keeps adults sharp. No matter what you do in life, you can’t do it without knowledge. Reading gets you where you want to go. Here’s how. Scientific studies show that reading helps you master language development. Language is more than letters and sounds. It is words, context, sentences, grammar, syntax or patterns and putting it all together for meaning. Reading improves your vocabulary and spelling. Reading builds your listening skills. Listening is not the same as hearing. Listening helps you do well in school. It helps you become a friend and experience true friendship. Reading increases your attention span and your ability to concentrate. Reading enables you to express yourself confidently, easily and clearly in written and spoken terms. Reading makes you curious about the world, creative and imaginative. Reading calms your fears and teaches you how to act appropriately. Reading reduces stress. After a stressful day, a good book can distract us. Even analytical thinking is improved by reading. That means patterns become more obvious and problem solving improves.
Simply put, reading is the building block for learning. It educates, it entertains, and improves communication. Reading gives us perspectives on history, people, places and things. It helps us concentrate, and remember things.
But just like our buddy the banana, reading is FUN. I can’t think of a single reason not to read. The libraries here at school and in town are amazing. Free books, free knowledge.
Have a physically fit Friday and read a good book this weekend.
Good Morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. Ferrara here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. By now, you’ve heard that it is going to be a unique flu season. Here are some tips to reduce spreading viruses. Remember that when you must cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm. Keep you hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Hand washing is proven to halt the spread of viruses. Good hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of colds and flu. If you don’t wash your hands properly, especially when you are sick, you can spread germs directly onto surfaces that other people touch. Before you know it everyone around you could be sick.
Here is the correct way to wash your hands.
- Use warm water.
- Use soap – any kind will do.
- Rub your hands together vigorously. Lather both sides of your hands up to your wrists. Scrub between your fingers and around your nails. Do this for 20 seconds or as long as it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday”. It is probably best to sing it in your head.
- Rinse well with warm water and pat your hands dry with a clean towel or paper towel. When there is no soap or water available use a hand sanitizer like the one in your classroom.
Boys and Girls, the next time someone asks you if you heard the story about the germ, you can tell them, “Never mind. I don’t want it spread all over.” Remember, proper and frequent hand washing prevents illness. Eating a banana couldn’t hurt either. So hum a few bars of “Happy Birthday” and lather up. Have a physically fit Friday.
Good Morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. Ferrara here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. If you were to guess what kids like about the holidays, what would it be? Most people would probably say, getting presents. Think of all those people at the mall and all those shopping catalogs that come in the mail. Kids MUST be thinking of presents they will get. Right? Wrong!
In a survey, kids said that they look forward to much more during the holidays. Things like being with family and friends; singing; decorating; saying traditional prayers. In the Jewish faith, kids look forward to lighting the Menorah. Kids said they look forward to traveling and spending time with parents who work long hours all year. They also like to hear about Christmas in the olden days from grandparents and parents.
Another thing kids like about the holidays – special family foods and treats that are fun to make and even more fun to eat. Chocolate covered pretzels, lobster, gingerbread houses, mashed potatoes, banana cream pie. What special foods are traditions in your families?
What else do kids like about the holidays? Decorating with lights, candles, music, snow. Kids also said that they enjoy helping others by supporting food banks, donating toys and donating clothing. Just like we did here at the North.
It’s clear that the holidays are more than presents to kids. It’s the priceless gifts that we remember. Sometimes a simple smile can mean more than a million dollars to someone.
“Smiling is infectious. You catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled, I realized I passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile. Then I realized its worth.
So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected.”
Keep those smiles going. Have a physically fit Friday and a virtuous and vivacious vacation.
Good Morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. F. here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. This time of year makes you feel emotional. It may bring parties or thoughts devotional. Whatever happens or what may be, here is what report cards and the holidays may seem to be. “Wow. I am really stressed out.” We all feel stressed at one time or another. For some of us it happens before speaking on the morning announcements or in front of the class for a book report or project. For others, it might be math or the MCAS or some other type of test. What causes tension for you may not be stressful for someone else.
What is stress? Stress is what you feel when you are worried or uncomfortable about something. The worry in your mind can make your body feel bad. You may feel angry, frustrated, scared or afraid which can give you a stomachache or a headache. When you are experiencing emotional strain, you may not feel like sleeping or eating OR you might sleep or eat too much. You may feel cranky or have trouble paying attention in class. If you have ever felt overwhelmed and developed a headache or a stomachache, then you know what it is like to feel STRESS.
You may have heard grown ups say that they are stressed out or that something is totally worrying them. Kids have a lot of things going on in their lives that can cause difficulty too. The top five things kids worry about are: grades, school and homework; parents; friends; brothers and sisters; and mean or annoying people.
In small amounts, stress can be a good thing. It can motivate you to meet a deadline and be more productive. Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach or had sweaty palms? These could be signs of good stress. You may do a better job on your book report if the anxiety inspires you to prepare well before you present it in class. On the other sweaty hand, too much stress can interfere with life activities and health. Stress can affect the way you think, act and feel. This happens when those tense feelings persist over time. You may not feel well if your parents are arguing, if a family member is sick, if you are having problems at school. Those types of stress are not helpful.
It’s important to recognize when you are becoming stressed so that you can do something about it. Talking about what is bothering you can be helpful. Your parents or an adult whom you trust may have ideas about how to solve what is worrying you. Living a life that balances work and play reduces stress. Some kids have so many after school activities that they have no time to relax. It’s important to make good decisions about how to spend your time. If you are dealing with school stuff and have little or no time to play, you may become stressed. Follow this acrostic. You know, those poems where the first letter of the line spells out the message. Envision the word SELF. Cut down on stress with plenty of Sleep, Exercise, Leisure (fun stuff) and Food that is healthy. By that I mean, eat a banana. You will feel less stressed if you take care of yourself. Remember that stress is a temporary thing and that stressed is Desserts spelled backwards. And by that I mean eat something sweet, chocolatey and gooey.
Have a clam and peaceful physically fit Friday.
Good Morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. F. here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. Next Thursday we will celebrate the truly North American holiday of Thanks giving. A day when families gather, put aside their differences, watch football and celebrate the good things in life. It is a day for both thanks and giving. Thanksgiving marks what was not just a big meal shared by pilgrims and Native Americans, but the first harvest meal. It is a symbol of cooperation between the colonists and the Wampanoag tribe. What was on their menu? Back then, life was no turkey shoot. They didn’t pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes. They didn’t even eat turkey. They likely ate deer, lobster, eel and cod.
Turkey became associated with Thanksgiving when the pilgrims found that wild turkeys were more available than the geese they were used to eating during times of celebration in Europe. Let’s talk turkey. Turkey is an excellent source of protein. Protein maintains healthy hair, skin and nails and helps wounds heal. Turkey also contains selenium, a mineral that can protect your body against heart disease and helps your muscles. Turkey contains vitamins that boost your energy levels. Turkey also contains an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan encourages the production of serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin regulates sleep. Some people think that if they eat a lot of turkey they will want to take a nap. However, scientists think that it is more likely that people become sleepy after gobbling up a turkey dinner because of all the other fatty foods and carbohydrates included. Not to mention the amount of food consumed.
Of course, I wouldn’t expect anyone to go cold turkey on the apple pie, pumpkin pie or, my personal favorite, pecan pie. Oh, and don’t forget to add some banana to that fruit salad.
Speaking of overeating on Thanksgiving, don’t be a turkey. Instead of watching fooftball on TV, get outside and play football. Have some fun and get some exercise. Have a physically fit Friday.
Good Morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. Ferrara here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. “Eat your fruits and vegetables.” That phrase is a tried and true recommendation for a healthy diet and for good reason. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is good for your heart, digestion and your vision.
Active children your ages should eat two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables every day. I realize that the brilliant banana is our recurring buddy this year, but I’d like to say a bit about the appetizing apple. Apples are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Apples help your immune system and reduce tooth decay but destroying bacteria in your mouth.
Did you know…..
….that apples float because 25% of their volume is air?
….that there are over 7,000 varieties of apples grown throughout the world?
….that the most popular variety in the U.S. is the red delicious?
….that there are five seeds in the average apple?
….that, on average, each American eats 120 apples per year?
So bite into a crunchy apple, chop one up and add it to your cereal, oatmeal or salad. Try a new variety with your lunch. Did I mention that apples are great for getting rid of those pesky loose teeth?
Remember an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Have a physically fit Friday.
Good morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. F. here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. This one is HOT off the presses. Our bodies create a lot of heat. Fortunately, they are usually cooled through sweating and radiating heat through our skin. High temperatures, high humidity, and vigorous exercise in RED HOT weather can interfere with the body’s natural cooling system causing heat to build up to dangerous levels. No doubt this will leave you HOT UNDER THE COLLAR and suffering from heat illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke.
Heat cramps are brief, severe spasms in the muscles of the legs, arms, or abdomen that occur after strenuous exercise in extreme heat. They are warning signs of a possible heat emergency. Sweating causes the body to lose salts and fluids. The low salt level causes the muscles to cramp. Kids are prone to heat cramps when they forget to drink enough water. Although painful, heat cramps are not serious. They don’t require special treatment. A cool place, rest, fluids and massaging the muscles can ease discomfort.
Heat exhaustion is more serious and occurs when someone in a HOT, HOT, HOT climate doesn’t drink enough water. Athletes, fire fighters, construction workers and factory workers are at risk. Signs of heat exhaustion include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, stomachache, rapid breathing, and irritability. If you show any of these signs, you must STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT. This means go indoors or into the shade immediately and do the following: loosen clothing, eat or drink something cool, bathe in cool water, and call your doctor.
Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke which can be most serious. Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency. It happens when people ignore the signs of heat exhaustion. Body systems become overwhelmed by heat and stop working. Overdressing and extreme physical exertion in hot weather with inadequate water intake increase the risk for heatstroke. Get emergency help if you show the symptoms of heat stroke: flushed, hot dry skin with no sweating, a body temperature of 105 degrees or higher, a severe headache, weakness, dizziness, confusion, sluggishness or fatigue, loss of consciousness. While you wait for help, get into a shady area, drink sips of water.
Boys and Girls don’t be full of HOT AIR. The best thing to do is to stay hydrated by drinking water when it’s hot outside. Think about staying cool under an umbrella. They will be selling like HOT CAKES. Wear light-colored, loose clothing. Remember that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun. Participate in activities before noon and after six pm.
Thank you to everyone who voted for next year’s featured food. You offered some interesting suggestions and the voting results are posted on my office door. As we bid a fond farewell to our crazy, culinary treat, kiwi, we say hello to the chosen…….the beautiful……the bold……the bodacious……BANANA!!!!
Be cool, stay in school and have a physically fit Friday.
Good morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. F. here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. Here comes the sun. The weather is warming up, the days are longer and there is more time for doing fun things outside. You may want to soak up the sun. But, if you venture outside on a hot, sunny day, you will need to be safe.
Sun-day will never be the same. The sun keeps us warm. It makes flowers and plants and kiwi grow. It even gives us vitamin D so we can better absorb calcium into our bodies for strong bones.
When we let the sunshine in, it sends light which includes invisible ultraviolet rays. These are sometimes called UV rays. Some ultraviolet rays pass through air and clouds and penetrate the skin. When your skin has been exposed to too many of these rays, you can get a sunburn. Ouch. You won’t be walking on sunshine when that happens.
Some people get a sunburn faster than others. If you have blond or red hair, light-colored skin, blue or green eyes, you will likely burn faster than someone with dark skin and dark eyes. That’s because you have less melanin. Melanin is a chemical in the skin that protects the skin from sun damage. People with darker skin have more melanin, but can still get a sunburn.
Sunburns look bad and feel worse. They cause more than a blister in the sun. They cause blisters on your skin. They keep you inside while everyone else is having fun outside. They increase your chance of getting wrinkly when you get older. Believe me, that’s not good. Worst of all, they can lead to skin cancer when you get older. Because wrinkles and getting sick don’t happen right away, you may think these things could never happen to you. But you still need to be careful. Don’t let the sun go down on you.
Take these simple steps:
Limit your time in the midday sun. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00am and 4:00 pm.
Seek shade. Stay under an umbrella when you are at the beach or pool. Follow the shadow rule. Watch your shadow. Can’t see your shadow? Get to the shade.
Always use sunscreen. Use one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 on exposed skin. Reapply every 2 hours when outdoors. Waterproof sunscreen can come off on your towel, when you sweat or if you stay in the water too long. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, the back of your neck, the part in your hair, your face and the tops of your feet.
Sunrise, sunset. Wear a hat. A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection for your eyes, ears, face and the back of your neck. Your future is so bright you have to wear shades. Sunglasses can provide 99-100% protection of UV radiation. This significantly reduces the possibility of developing cataracts and eye damage. You can even wear your sunglasses at night.
Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine and your own sunscreen.
Boys and Girls, as you know, the kiwifruit has been the heart and soul of our Friday mornings this year. It has been a joy, but I think the cool, crisp and kindly kiwi will fade into the sunset. Next week, you will find a box on the table outside of my office. Consider your favorite fruit or veggie over the long weekend and have a say in next year’s recurring nutrition theme. The winning vittles will be announced next week.
Have a physically fit Friday.
Good Morning Boys and Girls. Mrs. F. here with your Physically Fit Friday health tip. Today we celebrate the birthday of another seriously, super-smart scientist. On this day in 1946, Robert Koffler Jarvik, an American surgeon and inventor, was born. Dr. Jarvik invented the Jarvik-7, the first artificial heart used as a permanent implant in a human. The Jarvik-7 pumped blood, powered by hoses to an external compressor. Although not wholly successful, it did spark further research into the artificial heart.
Long ago, people were aware that the function of the heart was to circulate blood throughout the body. They knew that the heart beats faster when a person is upset or excited. Based on that, people believed that the heart was the place of emotions and feelings. Even though it has been scientifically proven that emotions come from our brains, the heart remains a powerful symbol of love.
OK. Enough mush. No need to wear your hearts on your sleeves. Let’s get to the heart of the matter. What really makes your heart go pitter-pat or more accurately what makes your heart go lub-dub? Muscles make your heart beat. Your heart pumps blood throughout your body day and night. During your lifetime, it will beat nearly 3 billion times.
I know that everyone at the North is kind, thoughtful and has a very big heart. But just how big is your heart? No matter your age, it is just about the size of your clenched fist. And it is shaped more like a fist than a valentine. You may think that your heart is located on the left side of your chest, but it is mostly in the middle of your chest with part of it leaning to the left side. That’s the part you can feel beating.
The average ten year old’s heart beats 90 times per minute. An adult’s beats a little slower, around seventy beats per minute. An athlete’s heart is well developed. Each beat of an athlete’s heart bumps more blood. So, an athlete has a heart rate of forty to sixty beats per minute.
Good health is something you should know by heart. I only have your best interests at heart when I tell you that research proves that eating kiwifruit is heart healthy. It reduces blood clots by eighteen percent and triglycerides by fifteen percent when you consume three kiwis daily. Kiwifruit is rich in phytonutrients which prevent blood clotting and control fatty acid levels in your blood.
My heart is in the right place and from the bottom of my heart, I wish you a physically fit Friday.