Monday, January 30, 2012

All the Food is Poison

This is a poem I wrote called "All the Food is Poison."

All the food is pasteurized
Processed, packaged, fortified
All the food is canned and frozen
All the food is maltodextrin
Mechanically separated
Ground and Formed
Reduced, Conditioned,
Refined and warmed
Factory farmed, hormone stuffed
Partially hydrogenated, patented, puffed
All the food is modified
Colored with carmine and yellow 5
T.G.S and T.B.H.Q.
Fructose, saccharin, and aspartame too
Corn syrup solids, sodium citrate
Whey protein concentrate

Gaur gum, xanthan gum, emulsifiers
Humectants and stabilizers
All the food is riboflavin
Artificial, synthetic and imitation
Mono-sodium glutamate
Manufactured on equipment that processes wheat

My poem takes its title from this clip from the Adult Swim show Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Review of the Reggio Emilia Approach

An example of non-Reggio teacher-defined and regulated art
Although I have never seen the Reggio Emilia Approach in action, it appeals to me a great deal.

One aspect that I applaud is the emphasis on the process of learning. There is another educational philosophy called the Project Approach that closely resembles Reggio Emilia. I've been told that International Baccalaureate schools teach with an emphasis on learning how to research information rather than memorizing facts. The Project Approach and the Reggio Emilia Approach both seem beneficial to that end. In a world where so much information is available on the Internet and the reaches of human knowledge are constantly expanding, skills to gather, critique, and synthesize information are vital.

What is the Reggio Emilia Approach?

A child's drawing from Reggio Emilia, Italy
The Reggio Emilia Approach is a philosophy and set of practices for early childhood education that were developed in Italy in the city of Reggio Emilia. The approach has gained popularity in America, and while only a handful of preschools are strictly “Reggio,” a growing number are “Reggio inspired.”

The first Reggio Emilia school was opened after WWII. The community was rebuilding, and in a backlash against Fascist ideology, the town wanted to make sure the new school allowed students to define what they learned, rather than allowing traditional top-down teaching. The resulting school was one in which teachers spend a great deal of time observing children and then presenting information of interest to them.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Empowering Children to Solve their Own Problems

My last post was about letting children solve their own problems. Even as young as three, I find that children can resolve their own conflicts if you empower them with the right phrases. Preschool children want to get along with their peers, but sometimes they don’t know what to do when problems arise.

For example, when one child bumps into another, the child that was bumped into might start crying and run tell the teacher. The child who did the bumping might not know what an accident is, and he might think that any time he hits someone else, he could get in trouble. He might not know that a simple “I’m sorry,” can solve the problem.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Adult Intervention

I recently watched the following scene take place among fourth grade boys on the playground. The boys were playing kickball. One boy kicked the ball deep into the outfield. As he rounded second base, the shortstop intentionally stuck his foot out and tripped him. The boy stumbled, but did not fall over. He stopped running and turned to the boy and said in a condescending tone “What are you doing?” The batting team started yelling at their teammate to keep running. The boy ran and tagged home and then turned back to the kid who had tripped him and said “But seriously man, what are you doing? What’s your problem?” He didn’t yell, but he got close to the boy’s face. The boy had nothing to say, and the base-runner finally dropped the subject.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Creativity for Life

“We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.” Maria Montessori

In my last post I mentioned that secondary and post-secondary education often do not deliver the skills most needed in the workplace. Creativity is one of these skills, and its absence in education extends all the way down to preschool.

Bloody Mary: The Perfect Drink?

Lately, I've been on a Bloody Mary kick. Its a great all-purpose drink. It's salty, spicy, and delicious. It has tomato juice for nutritional value. According to my V-8 container, one glass contains two servings of vegetables, and I put lemon and lime juice in mine as well. Best of all, your allowed to have one with breakfast. That covers all my criteria for a great drink.

I try not to buy pre-made mixes because they come with MSG and preservatives. I've been tinkering with some other recipes, and I've put together my favorite Bloody Mary recipe. Its pretty flavorful and spicy, but feel free to tone it down to your tastes.