Archive for November, 2015


Healthy Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

After the holiday feast is over, you’re not just left with full bellies; you’re left with a fridge full of leftovers. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to eat turkey and stuffing for a week straight. Even so, it may surprise you that, according to the USDA, Americans throw away 35 percent of edible turkey meat.

turkey wrap

But you don’t have to stick with the traditional holiday recipes; opt for a variation once your feast is over. To make the most out of your leftovers, consider these tasty recipes you can enjoy the week following a holiday feast.

Turkey Noodle Soup

When you’re unsure of what to do with your mounds of leftover turkey, indulge in a non-traditional take on chicken noodle soup. Slice up your extra turkey and toss it into a pot of stock (which you can make from the turkey carcass) and fresh noodles. Then, add leftover veggies like potatoes, corn, and carrots. Throw in some fresh veggies like celery if you have them in the fridge. Serve with buttered dinner rolls if you have any remaining from your big meal.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

If your family didn’t manage to gobble up your candied yams or sweet potatoes, you can use them in this ingenious recipe. Start with your sweet potato casserole (the kind with marshmallows on the top), or use good old mashed sweet potatoes and add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. Then, mix these ingredients together in a food processor:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

  • 1 cup left over sweet potatoes

Add 1/8 to ¼ cups milk as needed. Then, roll your biscuits out, cut them to size, and cook at 450 degrees for 9-10 minutes.

Turkey Avocado Wrap

When you’re looking for a tasty turkey treat to take to work the Monday following Thanksgiving, consider stuffing your leftover turkey into an avocado wrap. Start with a flour tortilla—choose whole wheat for a healthier option—and then add turkey, avocado, lettuce, ranch dressing, and whatever other toppings you like. Food Network suggests mixing your ranch dressing with chipotle salsa and grated orange zest.

Thai Curry Turkey

If you need a change of pace to the traditional holiday flavors, switch it up with Thai curry turkey. This recipe will use up leftover turkey and sweet potatoes. Plus, when you use coconut milk instead of oil, you’ll be slashing calories for a healthier supper. To make, boil 1 cup light coconut milk, ¼ cup chicken broth, 1 teaspoon green curry paste, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Then, add 1 ½ cups leftover sweet potatoes, 2 cups leftover turkey, and ¾ cups green peas. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro and red pepper strips.

Turkey Pot Pie

This recipe will help you use up any extra veggies and meat you have in the fridge. Start with the linked recipe as a guide, or get creative and make up your own recipe. The key is to get a thick turkey/veggie mixture using chicken or turkey stock as a base. Pour that into a prepared pie crust and cover with the second half of your pie crust. Food Network suggests cooking your pie at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until crust is brown.

Open-Faced Turkey Sandwiches With Cranberry Chutney

When you’re looking for a recipe that will help you use up your extra cranberry sauce, this recipe is perfect and fairly light—great for a quick lunch. Start with two slices of whole wheat bread. Spread each piece with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Add spinach, turkey, and a slice of Swiss cheese. Broil your sandwich in the oven for two minutes before adding a scoop of cranberry chutney to top it off.

Which one of these recipes will you try this holiday season?


Which Sport Is the Right Choice for My Child’s Personality?

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Sports are a great way to teach your children to be a contributing part of a team, challenge themselves, and get active. It can help shy children blossom socially, and teach every kid how to incorporate physical activities into their daily lives in an enjoyable manner. Sports are both challenging and rewarding, and the valuable lessons learned in socializing, following rules, and being accountable can be applied to other areas of their daily lives.

A child’s personality can have a lot to do with which sports they will ultimately take to, and which activities will eventually fall by the wayside. From basketball and softball to swimming and track, recreational sports are wildly varied in the experiences they offer and the personalities they cater to best. Here are a few tips on how to help your child find their passion in a sport that complements their personality.

children sports

Increase their Exposure

In order for children to choose a sport that suits them, they have to first be exposed to the wide array of options available. Personality, athletic ability, access to practice time and equipment, and their interest level are all part of finding that perfect activity. Do what you can to expose them to all available possibilities, and allow them to try and reject more than one sport. It may take some trial and error before they find what works for them. That may mean revolving equipment, repeat learning curves, and many possible attempts and failures, but try your best to be patient. Make sure they stick with each sport long enough to get a full understanding of the game, but if they don’t seem to continue to find consistent enjoyment in their practice, allow them to move on and pursue other options.

Set Them up for Success

If your child spends most of their time in front of the television, getting them up early in the morning to speed around a track, tackle on the football field, or run around bases might lead right to stubborn refusal by your young one. On the other hand, trying to teach a child prone to hyperactivity the precise and patient game of golf may lead to early frustration. Try to find a good fit by first pairing your child with activities that are closely related to their personality and activity level.

  • Highly active: track, dance, hockey, martial arts

  • Low activity: golf, bowling, fencing, archery

  • Introverted: gymnastics, tennis, yoga, swimming

  • Extroverted: soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey

Avoid Instilling Your Own Preferences

Try not to influence your child’s preference too much by pushing your own. You may have been a star on the football field in your youth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your child will find the same passion for the sport.

If their chosen sports team meets early in the morning or agonizingly late on your Friday night, it’s still up to you to try your best to be accommodating in lieu of steering them away for personal reasons. If your child’s sports interest is impeding on your own work/life balance, consider swapping responsibilities with other parents to cut down on the weekly grind of carting your young sports enthusiast to and from their games and practices.

Perhaps you have a shy child who struggles making friends. It might be tempting to steer them towards sports that are individualistic in nature, such as tennis, to help them take to a sport. But there is also something to be said for challenging children to expand their comfort zone. If your child shows an interest in a highly interactive sport, it can be good practice to encourage them to explore it while being flexible with them if they find it unpalatable after just a short time.

Finding the right sport for your child’s personality can be complicated, and the search is not always intuitive. It’s important to remain flexible but also firm enough to ensure your child has a chance to truly experience each sport in which they show an interest. Oftentimes our children can tell us what is right for them. We merely need to open up and follow them in the direction they find for themselves.


16 Ideas for Teaching Dance in PE

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Keeping students interested in physical education can be a difficult task. This is especially true in the case of larger classes, limited equipment, and a wide range of student abilities. To combat all of these issues, some PE instructors have started incorporating dance into their lessons. By using dance as a teaching tool, these instructors are able to use creativity, involve more students, teach life skills,  and use resources wisely, all while allowing students to become fully involved in the teaching process. Also, keep in mind that Dance & Rhythms is in the National Standards and should be considered when teaching physical education.

teaching dance

Why Teach Dance in PE?

  • Many students can feel left out or inadequate in traditional PE activities such as team sports. Often, these activities focus on the students who are already good at sports, which discourage others. Dance can offer a break from these activities and allow these students to shine.

  • “Dance” is an incredibly wide area of study. This means you can appeal to a number of backgrounds through dances from the hula to line dancing.

  • Teaching dance teaches students skills they can use at events outside of the classroom, such as social events. Additionally, exposure to rhythm helps children understand other concepts, such as music.

  • Instructors can adapt dance lessons for any ability or age group. This allows for a wider range of students to feel as if they can succeed in the activity, which encourages enthusiasm.

  • Students can bring in their own music, which also allows for more involvement.

  • Teaching dance uses little equipment—generally, all an instructor needs is a large space, something to play music, and maybe a screen to show moves more easily. This helps with keeping costs low.

  • Forming dance steps can easily incorporate other fitness ideas, such as calisthenics, in a fun way.

How to Use Dance in PE

  • As stated above, using student input to choose songs allows for more involvement.  Using different kinds of songs can get students with all kinds of backgrounds more engaged.

  • Make sure that there are large spaces and enough room for everyone to move around.

  • Consider using steps that can be modified to fit abilities. This will help more students feel as if they can participate and do well.

  • On a similar note, remember that the main goal of this is to keep students moving. This means that it’s better to encourage students to do their best rather than emphasizing doing the steps perfectly.

  • The jigsaw method can empower students to feel as if they are capable. In this strategy, the instructor organizes students into small groups and assigns each group to learn a step of the dance. When the groups have learned that step, they teach it to the rest of the class.

  • Starting with small steps helps make the process seem less daunting and easier to learn.

  • Websites such as YouTube and Vimeo have many examples of dances and ideas that other instructors can adapt or build off for their students.

  • If you have a space with a stage or a screen, you can use it to your advantage. Showing steps on a stage elevates you, so more students can see you. Additionally, using a screen allows for video use.

  • Make sure to encourage students that all sorts of people dance, regardless of gender or other interests.

Teaching dance in physical education classes can benefit both teachers and students. Dance allows instructors to be creative and engage students who might not get as much out of other activities. Students also benefit from being more involved in the planning process and having flexible goals that allow them to feel achievement in these lessons.

Have you ever used dance in your classroom? What are some of the ideas you used to keep students engaged in the process?

18 Ideas to Keep Kids Engaged in a Large PE Class

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Keeping kids engaged in a large class of any subject can be difficult. When the subject involves the high energy and movement of a physical education class, the challenge can be even greater. An additional risk is the students feeling disconnected or uninterested in the activities. Finally, budgeting and equipment concerns plague instructors everywhere. Planning, engaging, and creating routines are all ways to address the needs of students, even in a large class.

large class

Before Class Starts

  • Use a standard warmup routine can cut time spent trying to teach a room full of students more information than the original lesson plan.

  • If you can, use aides or volunteers. Even if these people aren’t other PE teachers, they can provide another set of eyes on the students.

  • Consider having signs and posters of physical activities and rules throughout your space to serve as a reminder of what is expected of your students.

  • Designate an area of “time out” for disruptive students.

  • Consider having alternative activities in case you finish early or if an activity is not working.

Separating Students

  • Have a system in place for setting up partners and student pairs. Some teachers use the “count off” method, but there can be creative ways to divide the students into groups, such as by number of siblings or letters in their name.

  • Some teachers may benefit from having groups or partner pairs set up at the beginning of the term to minimize transition time.

  • Allowing students to have groups of two or three helps avoid issues when people are left out or absent from school that day.

Why Separate Students?

  • Using groups allows students to help each other and spend more time actually doing the activity.

  • For team games, separating students allows for minigames that can be played in separate areas. This allows for more activity and practice.

  • This can allow you to see the students more often and around the perimeter.

  • Peers can evaluate each other to give you another perspective on where students are.

  • Some instructors use the “Jigsaw” method. This is where groups of students learn a skill and then demonstrate it to the class. This not only teaches physical activity, but gives the students a responsibility and encourages social skills.

Activities to Consider

  • Creating separate stations of activities can provide a variety of tasks to keep the activities more interesting.

  • Stations can also have different levels of activities, such as a simplified and more strenuous version of an activity. This allows students to learn at their own pace and their own ability to allow them to feel successful.

  • Due to size and equipment restrictions, some schools are moving away from the traditional team sports. Instead, these teachers are focusing on skills their students will be more apt to use later, such as yoga or biking.

  • You can also create a wider approach to wellness when looking at the your national, state, or district standards by including units about topics such as nutrition and ideas such as heart rate monitors.

  • You can also find other activities online (sites such as Pinterest and YouTube are good places to start) for ideas. For example, one teacher integrated moves such as jumping jacks into a dance to a popular song.

Above all, it is a good idea to remember that the aim of teaching a physical education class is to help students become physically literate individuals who have a love and understanding of movement so they can be active life-long. Even in large classes, it is important to remember that children need to learn about wellness and healthy choices that they can take beyond a classroom.  Creativity in how you use resources and appeal to students’ interests is a key method in keeping students engaged in your classroom. Expanding the definition of what can go on in a PE class can help you create a fun and enlightening environment for all students.