Archive for November, 2011

Wisdom

This is an incredibly inspiring, motivating video about wisdom? How do you define wisdom?

What’s in a label?

I don’t like pat answers to anything.  I don’t favour easy conversations – at least not just because they’re easy.

And I think that the way we describe a significant percentage of the students in our schools is pat.  I think that when we describe students as having learning disabilities, we’re taking the easy way out. If there is something in their design that impedes them from fitting into the educational system, then surely the system cannot be held accountable if they can’t learn, or if they drop out of school at twice the rate non-disabled students do.[i]

It isn’t that I don’t think there are neurological and genetic differences among people.  Sure there are.  But when 10% of the population[ii] struggles with learning the way learning is presented, I think public education needs to move beyond the square-peg-in-the-round-hole attitude and adopt a system that is less focused on fitting children into slots.

Rather than singling out the children who don’t fit in, I think it’s time we re-evaluated our concept of education, its purpose, its limitations – and the variety of alternatives to the traditional model.

I’m not suggesting we stop providing support for those who do not fit in.

What I’m suggesting is a conversation (maybe a debate)—an ongoing, honest, sometimes heart-wrenching exchange that begins with social values and ends… I don’t know where.

This week, I’m posing one specific—but challenging question to the parents, grandparents and teachers reading this.

In the currency of a child’s life, what is the value of the coin we refer to as “learning disability”?

Diane L. Duff is a certified high school English and French teacher and a former private school principal. She provides literacy and academic assessment / consulting to students throughout Ontario. As well, she conducts teacher professional development (and/or parent training) workshops throughout Canada in the areas of reading development, dyslexia, and structured language teaching. Diane is currently completing a Master’s degree in literacy and Montessori teacher training. For more information, visit www.dianeduff.ca


[i] Putting a Canadian Face on Learning Disabilities (PACFOLD)   http://www.pacfold.ca/news/03_23_07_en.shtml

[ii] Ibid

Dragonfruit

The other day while grocery shopping we came upon what my step daughter described as the most pretty fruit ever. She asked if we could get it, and not wanting to say no to a request for fruit I said yes. Then came the realization as I got this pretty pink specimen home, that I had no idea what to do with it. So after some quick internet research here it is! How to prepare a dragon fruit:

Step 1 – make sure it is ripe. Look for vibrant colour and a ready to eat one should feel like a ripe kiwi. Soft, but not too mushy when squeezed between your thumb and finger.
Step 2 – cut the dragon fruit in half as you would a kiwi or melon. It should be pretty easy if it is ripe.
Step 3 – remove the white fruit with black specs with a spoon, like you would an avocado or melon. If you want to be fancy you can save the skin for serving.
Step 4 – make sure you remove any left over pink skin from the white and black fruit.
Step 5 – Slice it up and enjoy!

Pretty simple really and a great, exotic treat!

Jodi Lariviere is a blogger and food writer with a real passion for healthy, local ingredients and she also writes two of her own blogs: Simply Fresh – www.simplyfreshottawa.com and the new Vegging for Two – www.veggingfortwo.com

Veggie Nachos

Healthy Veggie Nachos

Sometimes it’s just fun to eat with your hands. No matter your age, it’s true. Honestly, some nights when things are crazy and I’m looking for a fun, easy meal I turn to nachos. But not just any nachos, healthy veggie packed nachos. There is no rule about tasty fun food not being good for you too!

So here are some tips on how to turn your nachos in to a healthy veggie packed meal or snack:

- Use low sodium, multigrain chips. You are going to be eating a few of them so make sure above all else you get good ones.

- Make sure you use a low fat protein. My favourite are low sodium black beans. As easy as opening a can of low sodium beans and giving them a rinse. They are also a very affordable option. Left over cooked chicken and lean ground beef are good options too.

- Add every veggie you can think of. Avocado, corn, fresh tomatoes, green onions, a bit of shredded lettuce, peppers, mushrooms. The list goes on. This is your chance to make sure that you are getting a load of veggies in every bite.

- Use low fat cheese, and make sure you use something with a sharp taste like old cheddar. You can use less of it but still get the full impact of the flavour. Also use low fat sour cream if you choose to use it.

Ingredients

Corn Chips

One jar Sodium Reduced Salsa of your heat preference

Low fat protein of your choice

As many veggies as you have in the fridge that you think would go nicely on nachos

Low fat cheese and sour cream

1/2 TBSP of each Cumin and Chilli powder

1/2 TSP of each black pepper and garlic powder

In an oven safe dish layer salsa, the protein, veggies and cheese. Give it a stir with the spices. Place in a 400 degree oven until heated through. Serve with chips and sour cream on the side.

Jodi Lariviere is a blogger and food writer with a real passion for healthy, local ingredients and she also writes two of her own blogs: Simply Fresh – www.simplyfreshottawa.com and the new Vegging for Two – www.veggingfortwo.com

Real Life Education

Wow.

This beautiful video stands alone – in all its messages.

As teachers and/or parents – how many lessons do you see happening here?

Would you ever wish for this kind of life for your children?

D

Diane L. Duff is a certified high school English and French teacher and a former private school principal. She provides literacy and academic assessment / consulting to students throughout Ontario. As well, she conducts teacher professional development (and/or parent training) workshops throughout Canada in the areas of reading development, dyslexia, and structured language teaching. Diane is currently completing a Master’s degree in literacy and Montessori teacher training. For more information, visit www.dianeduff.ca

Tamales

These great little Mexican rolls really adapt themselves to any flavours you want to add. Start with this base then try one of the suggested flavour combos below. They are mild enough in flavour for any little one to enjoy.

Ingredients
1 cup masa harina (a type of corn flour. I found it at my regular grocery store so not to worry)
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/8 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
Stuffing of your choice
Banana leaves or corn husks (you can buy dried ones that you need to soak for 10 minutes prior to using, or I just used my fresh corn husks after shucking my corn for dinner)

Mix the masa harina, broth, oil, salt and pepper together to form a cookie dough like texture paste. If needed add more liquid or masa harina until you have the proper consistency.

Make your flavoured filling – come up with one of your own or try one of the suggestions below!

Place two husks or leaves on top of each other with narrow ends going in opposite directions. Add 2 TBSP of the masa harina mixture and press down until it’s flat. Add 1 TBSP of filling and wrap in the corn husks like you would a burrito. Tie the ends with string or a strip of the husk.

Place in a steamer basket over boiling water for 25-30 minutes until the dough is solid but not hard. Unroll and enjoy!

Topping suggestions
- diced zucchini with cumin, olive oil and cilantro
- spicy salsa
- cooked squash or sweet potato with cinnamon

There are so many ideas for flavourings! What kind are you going to try?

Jodi Lariviere is a blogger and food writer with a real passion for healthy, local ingredients and she also writes two of her own blogs: Simply Fresh – www.simplyfreshottawa.com and the new Vegging for Two – www.veggingfortwo.com


 

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the Yummy Mummy Club!