Meat Free Monday__Asian Style

Hi Everyone!  I hope you all had a terrific Monday!  Here in Shanghai we were blessed with absolutely beautiful weather and abnormally low pollution!  More on that in a minute..  

First I want to share my TWO Meat Free Monday meals for this week.  I also chose to photograph the meals in a different way for the bean dish, so please give me some feedback!  I'd love to know if it's more helpful to have the pictures as a guide, or just a recipe written out.  I'd like to apologize for including white rice in my MFM meals, but it was all that I have in the house!  I am resisting a trip to the grocery store next to my house, because they are so damn expensive!! I have to wait until the burn from my last purchase there wears off!  Shopping at that market is almost as painful as excessively spending in Neiman Marcus.

With some yummy food in the belly, it was time to get outside this afternoon!

My 6th grade class was especially fun because the students played Frisbee Golf.  The class split into two teams, and each team had to design their own course.  These courses had to be easy enough to score favorably, but hard enough to challenge the other team, when it was the time to switch courses.  Special kudos to the kiddos; my grade 6 group was so cooperative, and displayed really friendly game etiquette to each other, which pleased me greatly!

My intention for you today is to go outside, be still for a moment, and embrace the fact that you are alive; right here, right now.

<3paz. amor. felicidad siempre

To keep a "journal" or not, that is the question...

Today's post is dedicated to the "Emotional Health" domain of wellness.

As I've mentioned in other blog posts, I journal pretty frequently, for both professional and personal purposes.  I also promote the importance of journal writing to my 7/8th grade students during the personal fitness unit of study.  I find it so important for the teen population to have an outlet for expression as it is vital to stay optimistic and accepting of one's feelings.  Even this blog about wellness that I'm writing from Shanghai can be called a journal of sorts, as it helps keep me optimistic while living and working in China.

Many people don't know where or how to start a journal.  Of course there are a variety of journal formats one may choose to utilize, but please allow me to suggest the "7 minute free write".  Here's a sample, using the following action verbs to guide your thoughts:

12 Sept 2014

1. Listening to African musicians P Square and D’Banj.
2. Eating pistachios and dried apricots.
3. Drinking watermelon juice.
4. Wearing yoga pants and Zumba top.
5. Feeling hopeful for the weekend ahead.. got lots to do, places to go and people to see!
6. Weather  It is raining here in Shanghai; every day since I’ve been back! Eek!
7. Wanting to design a fitness application.  I’m still in the design phase; it is harder than I thought it was going to be!  Plus, I still have to figure out some coding!
8. Needing to book my October holiday ticket. Or else I’m going to be left behind in Shanghai!
9. Thinking about the Dr. Wayne Dyer movie I just watched, called “The Shift”.  Thinking about how I can continue to serve others, and transcend beyond my ego/outside influences/societal norms which hinder my personal growth.
10. Enjoying spending time with my dog and watching him play with my socks and his little soccer ball.

Finished 23:35

I hope you will find this format to be a quick and easy way to reflect on a regular basis.  Remember, any type of journal is useful for staying optimistic and accepting the ups and downs that we all experience.  If you have any questions or suggestions for a different style of journal writing, please leave the feedback in the comments section below.

PS More on that movie, "The Shift" (these notes are not part of my "7 minute free write"):

Men before experiencing "The Shift" perpetuate societal norms:
Their most important values are to have:

After "The Shift" (quantum moments):
Their most important values are to have:
personal peace (less stress, anxiety)
family (what is it that is important to me in my life?)
God's will (I have a sense of purpose)
honesty (authentic to self, to feelings)

Women before "The Shift", perpetuate societal norms:
Their most important values are to have:
family (be a good mother, to be a good daughter, to take care of your children)
independence (conflict with the first one)
fitting in (be like everyone else)
attractiveness (How do I look? Women are trained to think they have to be pleasing to everyone else all of the time!)

After "The Shift":
personal growth (How am I growing as a human being?)
self esteem (Am I a valuable human being?)
spirituality (Is my connectedness to something bigger and greater than myself?)
happiness (Am I doing what I'm "supposed" to do, rather than feeling that I have the right to choose happiness?).
forgiveness (Letting go of resentment.)

In order to live a fulfilled life, one must reach out and serve others! Forget about yourself, because everything you need already exists.  The mistake that people so frequently make, is to think, "Well I'm just going to attract what I want into my life".  In actuality, you do not attract what you want 
You attract what you are.

If you want to see the doors open in your life, you need to detach yourself from your ego and allow yourself to live from a divine place called "spirit", as defined by Lao Tzu, and his four virtues to live by:
1. reverence for all of life (respect)
2. sincerity
3. gentleness (manifests as kindness in our lives)
4.  support (offering service to others)

To believe that you need what you don't have is the definition of insanity.

The ultimate goal in life is to serve; to act in a way that someone else's life can be profoundly touched because of your existence.  I hope this for you and everyone you know.


Fitzness Friday__Total Body workout!

Hi, everyone!  Happy Friday!  I hope you have all had a productive week, and are ready for the weekend.  Before you set off to enjoy your weekend, here are three HIIT workouts you can use with an interval timer like TuneTime.  

I guarantee that this 30 minute Fitzness Friday workout is all that you'll need to feel the burn in your glutes, abs and arms!

In today's Fitzness Friday workout, you'll want to do as many reps of each exercise as you can within one minute before moving on to the next exercise on the respective list.  

Since this Fitzness Friday workout is designed to be a HIIT workout, I would recommend that you keep track of your reps, and try to beat your personal score each time you complete this workout.

Stay tuned for Monday's post, as I'll walk you through some easy 
Meat Free Monday recipes that are fall-tastic!

Until then, paz. amor. felicidad <3!

Wellness Wednesdays__Instructional Strategies to Spark Student Interest

Today, my Wellness Wednesday reflection is dedicated to my occupational health.

Sometimes we have to go against the grain, in the face of conformity.

In university, I took a "Literacy in the Classroom" course with other education majors. Despite my personal love of reading, at the time I thought it was a big waste of time.  Why would I need to teach students reading and writing strategies if we would be busy playing sports?  I remember my professor identifying and defining many strategies that we could use, but we never had an opportunity to apply this knowledge in that classroom.  Needless to say, I sold that textbook back to the bookstore soon after the class concluded!

Now fast forward 8 eight years, I can't speak enough praise for these same strategies.  After practicing these strategies for the past three summers in my Masters studies, and now with my diploma in School Administration in hand, I fully appreciate the potential of literacy in ALL classrooms, including Physical Education.  I have learned how important it is for administrators to support literacy efforts in ALL classrooms in order to maximize student success, differentiate instruction, offer accommodations to visual learners and to second language learners.

In the spirit of beginning the BEST YEAR EVER, I'd like to recommend a few strategies I've used to enable students to work in collaborative, productive ways (while also incorporating literacy!). 

The "Remembering" Lesson:

To begin your unit, I recommend using a "Question Carousel".  Simply post five questions around the room with blank pieces of paper for students to write their answers.  I would recommend having students travel around the learning space using specific locomotor skills as they visit each question.  You could also have them dance, move into a balance, or practice a skill in the middle of the teaching space while music plays.  When the music stops, they can stop what they're doing and run to respond to a question on the "carousel".  You could also make text posters and have the answers already written out in QR form.  Students can then visit each poster and scan/review the information using a QR code reader.

David demonstrating the "Question Carousel" in my Masters class.

The "Understanding" Lesson:

Marzano stresses the importance of comparing and classifying information, processes and/or events.  This can easily be accomplished in the physical education classroom by using an "Ordering Game".  

One idea: List muscles and bones on slips of paper (laminated of course!) and have students sort the terms from "head to toe". 

Michael and José demonstrating the "Ordering Game".
This challenge can be completed for a quick warm up activity.  In a relay fashion, students can perform an exercise from a fitness deck, earn a term for their team to organize and sort.  First team to organize the terms in the correct order wins the challenge.

The "Applying" Lesson:

 Towards the end of your unit, I recommend using a "Toss Across".

You can use this strategy to address NASPE Standard 4: Responsible Personal and Social Behavior, especially during a cooperative games unit.  Each student can write their name at the top of a paper and describe how they were a good teammate.  They can then toss the paper to their other classmates, until everyone has written a nice compliment.

Or, you can use it as a reflection tool during rock climbing, as students work through a challenge and/or after they have completed a challenge.

Also in the "Applying" Lesson:

Have students apply their knowledge by answering a guiding question and organizing their thoughts into a positive/negative chart.  You could also post multiple charts and use the "Question Carousel" method.  This could be utilized during a nutrition exercise, with pictures of "healthy" foods (granola bars come to mind!) and their corresponding food labels and the question, "Could this be considered a healthy food?".

Last but not least, for classroom teachers, use a mini xylophone to bring your class to attention!  
PE teachers, use an electric whistle (much better than a mouth whistle)!
Dr. Copeland with his mini xylophone and digital xylophone on his laptop.

Sometimes physical education doesn't get the academic respect it deserves.  How could it, when as of 2010 (in spite America's serious obesity problem), no federal law requires physical education to be provided to students in American schools.  In fact, only five states in the country—Illinois, Iowa,
Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont—require physical education in every grade K-12.
Thankfully, I'm proud to say (as I'm certified there), New Jersey and Rhode Island require physical education in grades 1-12.   

However, physical educators don't have to settle for being second rate.  Physical educators can strive to unite in collaboration with other teachers, use literacy and instructional strategies that are common within the school, and strive to incorporate other academic disciplines.

I hope you found these strategies useful, and please stay tuned for more teaching tips!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Fitzness Friday Workout__PUMP IT UP!

Happy Friday, everyone!  Here's a workout I designed with the song, "Feel Your Love" by Kim Sozzi in mind.  

It's a fun, high-energy song, perfect to celebrate the Chinese Labor Day (3 day weekend) ahead.  

I'm traveling this weekend for a yoga retreat.  It's going to be great!

Where will you be exercising this weekend?

If you're in the New York City area, check out the US Open this weekend in Flushing!

<3 paz. amor. felicidad.