Friday, November 30, 2012

Working with Youth

While I love coming up with creative, fun, educational things for kids to do, sometimes the behavioral side of things can be a challenge.  A nicely planned lesson can be thrown off course by some distractions that were not envisioned in the plan.  

Scanning the research for assistance and tips on how to deal with challenging behaviors, I am reminded of some basics in working with children, and the importance of prevention.   An article on the Teaching Pyramid Model (Fox, Dunlap, Hemmeter, Joseph & Strain, 2003) popped out at me.

The Pyramid Model stresses that prevention is important; the best way to deal with challenging behaviors is to avoid them as much as possible in the first place.  What are some things that help prevent issues?  The article points out that our relationships are critical and we can focus on building a warm rapport with the kids and really show interest in each individual.  Also, how we arrange the program is crucial as well; the flow of the schedule, how the environment is arranged, and how we teach them our routines and expectations are effective tools.  If we spend time on these things, we are building a stable structure.  Another basic they mention, which interests me, is the notion of teaching youth “emotional literacy”. 

Many children need explicit instruction to ensure they develop competence in emotional literacy, anger and impulse control, interpersonal problem solving, and friendship skills”.  Wow.  I could use some explicit instruction myself!  I imagine, what it would have been like in previous scenarios of my life if I or someone else had an instructor who was coaching us on how to identify what we were feeling and constructive ways to interact with others......
(read more......)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fresh, local food available all winter through High Country CSA

High Country foodies are already missing farmers’ markets. Fortunately, with a little planning, fresh, local food may be accessed all winter long through the High Country Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. This CSA supports farmers with greenhouses and local food producers with marketing and distribution for year round income.  

The process requires ordering on-line and then marking calendars. No membership or minimum order is required. The online catalog features bread, pasta, goat cheese, fudge, pastured meat, and organic produce. Check it out at There is a specific time period to order, and a date when the food must be picked up. The next on-line catalog opens November 20 and closes the 27th, with the pick up being Saturday, December 1st between 2-4 pm at the Agriculture Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Rd. in Boone. Cash and checks are accepted, but no credit or debit cards. In an effort to make this incredibly fresh food available to everyone, EBT, formerly known as food stamps, is also accepted. Bringing a bag, basket, box, or cooler to carry the bounty is encouraged.

High Country CSA's mission is to support and assist in the growth of beginning and small farms. Organic certification is a lengthy and expensive process, so while they do not require certification, they do require that their farmers follow organic standards and practices. 

The program requires everything to be preordered, so there is less risk and loss for the farmers during the difficult winter season. The catalog is open twice a month, November through April, with the schedule posted on the website.

This recipe was submitted by a High Country CSA summer program member on their website, taken from Smitten Kitchen. Eat all the chips you want without feeling guilty!

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Bake for 17 minutes, or until crisp (keep a watch on them, because they brown quickly). Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mabel school children enjoy greens at harvest party

The majority described bok choy salad and chard sautéed with garlic as “yummy”, with only a couple ranking the recipes as “so-so” or “not my favorite”. That’s because when kids have the opportunity to grow, harvest, and prepare vegetables, they are invested in the entire process, including tasting them.

Mabel elementary first and second graders planted their fall garden on September 10th. Many wanted to plant their favorite vegetables, such as corn, tomatoes and green beans, instead of greens. They learned that a fall garden has to be able to withstand cooler temperatures and be ready to harvest relatively quickly. The cold tolerant vegetables were put to the test during the blizzard last week. While lettuce and Swiss chard were slightly damaged, the bok choy, napa cabbage, and collard greens were unharmed.

After washing hands and vegetables, the children tore the leaves of the greens into bite-sized pieces. The smell of garlic permeated the classroom as the greens were stir-fried. They measured and poured ingredients for making salad dressing, and shook the dressing in a jar.

Cold tolerant greens not only taste great, they work hard to keep you well. People who eat merely three to five cups each week have been found to have a lower incidence of a variety of cancers. What an important taste to cultivate early on!

Greens contain beta-carotene and vitamin C, which are both anti-oxidants that protect cells from damage, reducing our chances of developing cataracts and lowering our risk of skin cancer. Vitamin C is vital for proper function of the immune system, which keeps us healthy.

Here are our child tested recipes for greens:

Chard or kale with garlic
6 large chard leaves or equivalent amount of kale
1 large garlic clove
Olive oil

Cut the stems out of the chard leaves and dice. Coarsely chop the leaves. Mince the garlic. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chard stems and garlic and stir around for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the chopped leaves and continue to stir until tender. Add salt as desired. Makes 4 servings.

Bok choy salad
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bunches baby bok choy, cleaned and sliced(or around 4 cups of other greens)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/8 cup slivered almonds, toasted
5 ounce package chow mein noodles
In a glass jar with a lid, mix together olive oil, white vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Close the lid, and shake until well mixed.
Combine the bok choy, green onions, almonds, and chow mein noodles in a salad bowl. Toss with dressing, and serve. Makes 6 servings.