November 15th, 2012
07:03 PM ET

Students sing complaint to Ms. Obama

(CNN) The goal of new USDA rules on school lunches is to make students healthy, but for many, the rules are also making them hungry.

Students have been complaining about the new rules for school lunches all over social media.

In this video from CNN affiliate KXJB, three athletes at Milnor School in North Dakota - Wyatt Mund, Andrew Martinson, and Colin Yagow– take their complaint all the way to first lady Michelle Obama, who championed the new school lunch guidelines. Their music video is titled "First Lady that I Used to Know," a parody of the Gotye hit song.

Principal Ned Clooten appreciates the intent of the new lunch rules and says that there are a lot of changes that are very good in the school lunch program.

"But the number of calories that we're providing some high school students just isn't enough," says Clooten.  He supports the students who made the video.

The athletes hope their voices will be heard and bring about change in their school cafeteria.

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Filed under: School lunch • Voices
November 2nd, 2012
01:00 PM ET

School board member wants football ban

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - A New Hampshire school board member says that he wants to ban football in his district. Paul Butler, a retired surgeon and first-term board member for the Dover school district, says that the risks of injury in the sport are too great. "I think it's bad to take this away I certainly do. But it's worse to let it continue," Dr. Butler told CNN affiliate WHDH.

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t just call football a contact sport. The medical group also refers to it as a collision sport, because participants routinely slam into each other or into the ground.

AAP released updated guidelines in 2010 on dealing with head injuries in children, recommending that some student-athletes retire from football after multiple concussions or if symptoms from a concussion last longer than three months.

The medical group doesn’t say young people shouldn’t play varsity football, which is what it said about youth boxing in 1997.

Some parents say there are benefits to playing on the gridiron. "I think there's a lot of positive things you can get from playing football. A lot of good lessons kids learn, teamwork, working together for a common goal," Harold Stephens says in the video above.
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Filed under: Kids' health • Policy • Sports
For math-phobic, numbers pose threat of pain, study says
November 1st, 2012
04:57 PM ET

For math-phobic, numbers pose threat of pain, study says

You're at a big group dinner and it's time to pay up, to divide the total and multiply a certain percentage for the tip. How many people tense up and say something like, "Oh, I'm so bad at math"?

Fear of math is everywhere – in the adult world where there aren't official pop quizzes, and in schools where the next generation of scientific problem-solvers are struggling with homework.

Researchers report in a new study in the journal PLoS One that this anxiety about mathematics triggers the same brain activity that's linked with the physical sensation of pain.

"I’m really interested in understanding the source of the anxiety so that we can help all students perform up to their best in this important area," says Sian Beilock, a University of Chicago researcher and one of the study's authors, who is also the author of the book “Choke.”

Read the Full Story from "The Chart"
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Filed under: Kids' health • Math
October 23rd, 2012
06:38 PM ET

School ditches the can, grows fresh food

by Matt Abshire, CNN

(CNN) A fresh fruit and vegetable bar isn't exactly a common option you'll find in school cafeterias, but Rene Sellgren is helping initiate a new program to provide that very idea.

Sellgren is the chef at Spokane School District's Community School in Washington.  She is leading the charge into a new scratch cooking project aimed at creating lunches from the fresh produce students have grown in a campus-run garden.

In short, the students pick the produce, and she creates a menu around what they bring in.

"What we're really doing is getting away from cans and bags and already prepared food, and using whole food that we actually do all the cooking instead of it coming frozen or in a can," said Sellgren in an interview with KXLY.

The project is part of a wider initiative by the nonprofit organization Empire Health Foundation to help school districts create healthier, fresher lunch menus for students while minimizing costs. And the idea seems to be paying off. Both students and administrators are excited about the new program that feeds while teaching healthy habits. (KXLY video)

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Filed under: Practice • School lunch • video
October 23rd, 2012
01:08 PM ET

Homebound student learns via Skype

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - When students are sick, many teachers send lessons home. At Father McGivney Catholic High School in Maryville, Illinois that’s 20th century thinking. Homebound teen Alixandria Horstmann uses technology to attend her classes there virtually.

Horstmann’s medical issues meant she had to stay home for about three months. The school already has replaced textbooks with laptops and iPads, so one of her classmates came up with the idea of carrying a laptop from class to class. Horstmann sits in her living room, listening – and contributing – via Skype on her iPad.

Father McGivney principal Michael Scholz told CNN affiliate KSDK that virtually attending school has advantages beyond academics. “The student who’s gone can still feel a part of your school and community,” Scholz said.

Parents: How do you think your child would handle learning via Skype?
Teachers: How would you accommodate a child who wants to learn virtually?

Please tell us in the comments below.

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Filed under: At Home • High school • Kids' health • Practice • Technology • video
September 28th, 2012
03:23 PM ET

Pictures inspire school lunch boycott

By the Schools of Thought Editors

(CNN) New federal guidelines are requiring school lunches to be healthier, but many kids say something is missing: Quantity, and more importantly, taste.

In this video from CNN affiliate WDIV, a student's pictures of unappetizing school lunches have led to a brown bag movement in his school.

CNN Student News asked its audience of middle- and high-school students and teachers if they've noticed changes in their school lunches this year, and if those changes were for the better or worse. Here's a sampling of their responses:

Jonas: I have seen a huge difference in my school's food this year. I don't have enough food to eat and as an athlete, I need all the energy I can get. I feel sluggish and tired. I feel I was better off with the old food. Don't get me wrong, people do need to change their eating habits, but the government doesn't have to tell us how to eat.

Maddie: I completely agree with limiting school lunch calories. People are consuming calories, but not working them off. This can cause obesity... and I cringe at the percentage of American obesity be 2030.

Alivia: At our school we have to take fruit and milk even if we don't eat or drink them and just throw them away. This is partially a waste because some people just throw them away, but on the other hand it is good to tempt kids to try fruit and get that in their system for the day.

Ryan: Our school lunches have changed for the worse. Do they really think that one piece of pizza and an orange plus milk would feed us? Well it didn't feed me; I would still be hungry right after lunch was over, so now I bring my own lunch. That way I won't be starving at my football practice.

Mr. Hartrick's 2nd period class: We think that school food is not enough to eat because sometimes the school food is not very appetizing and some children will throw their food away and be hungry later. Most students bring their lunches nowadays because they don't like the food that the school serves. In a way the school is losing money because less kids are getting school food.
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Breakfast comes to the classroom
September 7th, 2012
03:24 AM ET

Breakfast comes to the classroom

by John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - Less than half of the children in America who are eligible for a free or reduced breakfast take advantage of the USDA-provided meal. A program called "Breakfast in the Classroom" is trying to get more lower-income students to eat breakfast. The program, managed by a group of organizations known collectively as the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom, brings food to the students in class after the morning bell. That way, students don't come to school early just to eat, and they aren't rushing to get to class, skipping breakfast on the way. The program was launched in five school districts around the country and expanding to include ten more this school year.

Research suggests that there are educational benefits to eating breakfast at school, even over students who eat the meal at home. These include better attendance, behavior and higher standardized test scores.

Knox County Schools in Tennessee, which opened its doors to students on August 14, is a newcomer to the in-classroom meal program .

Jon Dickl, the director of school nutrition for Knox County, told CNN that there are several advantages to eating breakfast in class. "The students are in their seats ready to learn as soon as the bell rings," Dickl said. "It reduces tardiness and discipline issues and provides an opportunity for teachers to develop relationships," he continued.
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Filed under: Kids' health • Nutrition • Practice
Back to school by the numbers
September 4th, 2012
04:10 AM ET

Back to school by the numbers

By Amy Roberts and Caitlin Stark, CNN Library

(CNN) - It’s back to school time. Starting dates around the U.S. vary by state and district: Some schools started on different dates in August, while others start this week.  As we embark on the 2012-2013 academic year, here’s a numerical snapshot of education in the U.S.

Grades K-12

54.7 million – Number of students enrolled in elementary and secondary schools, both public and private, in the U.S. in 2011.

3.7 million – Elementary and secondary school teachers working in U.S. schools in 2011.

$11,467 – The estimated average amount a typical public school will spend on each student in 2012-2013.

31.8 million – Number of children who received free or reduced price lunches through the National School Lunch Program in 2011.

3.4 million – Students expected to graduate from high school in the 2012-2013 school year.
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Filed under: At Home • College • Economy • Elementary school • High school • Middle school • Practice • School lunch
July 26th, 2012
04:10 PM ET

App gives kids with autism a voice

How are apps allowing kids with autism to communicate?  (From Newsroom.)

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Filed under: Autism • Practice • Technology • video
July 11th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Schools want to ban homemade sweets

A classroom celebration without homemade sweets? Schools in Easton, Massachusetts want to ban sugary treats from home as part of the district’s effort to provide students with healthier food choices in the classroom.

Instead of cupcakes, officials are suggesting a list of "safe foods" that fit a wellness policy.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments: Would banning baked goods during school celebrations be bittersweet? Can you celebrate a birthday without a cupcake?

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Filed under: Kids' health • Policy
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