It shouldn’t surprise you that many university students can’t remember how to form cursive letters…
Their argument is that handwriting skills are essentially irrelevant because the majority of the time, student work is done on the computer.
Some schools are even doing away with teaching cursive handwriting beyond the primary grades, preferring to focus on keyboarding skills and other digital communication.
Even so, proper cursive writing still has its place in education. Yes, more and more students use the computer for their assignments, but keyboarding skills can’t help when writing exams or tests, or when taking notes in class–not everybody has a laptop!
You might argue that printing works just as well during exams and for taking notes in class… if you can print what is the purpose of cursive? The answer is that when time is limited, cursive writing is quicker and more fluid because the pen doesn’t leave the page as much as with printing, and there are fewer stops and starts. This means that you can write more during an exam, or take down more of what the teacher said during class.
But, like everything else, practice makes perfect. You’ve got to practice penmanship daily, or you’ll end up with comments about illegibility on your tests.
Want to read more about handwriting? Read our post about neatness here.
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Building good eating habits leads to better performance in school. Studies have shown that poor diets, especially diets that are too high in fats and sugars, can have a detrimental effect on behavior — particularly behaviors that can help children succeed in school. Poor eating habits can cause problems with concentration, mood, energy, and focus, and can directly impact a child’s ability to learn, not to mention that fats and sugars can cause childhood obesity.
Develop Healthy Morning Habits
Be sure to start the day off right by eating a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast can disrupt metabolism resulting in the same symptoms as a poor diet — and who can focus on the teacher over the rumble of a hungry belly?
Eating a healthy breakfast is part of a good morning routine. Keep it simple and nutritious, something that both you and your children can agree on. Is your family too busy for a sit down breakfast every morning? Cut up apples, a banana and some trail mix for a healthy meal that travels well. It’s easy for kids to eat during the morning commute.
A Mid-Day Habit
Beat feeling sluggish mid-day. High in sugar, sodas or soft drinks might seem like a good pick-me-up to get over the afternoon slump, but the energy boost they provide is only temporary, causing a crash to follow. Scientific research continually examines the link between refined sugar intake and hyperactivity and aggression. Simple carbohydrates like sugar, flours, and juices can all affect the body the same way. That’s why it’s important to choose whole grains, fruits, veggies, and other foods with a minimum of refined sugar.
A better snacking alternative is small amounts of proteins and carbohydrates, like natural peanut butter on celery sticks — it will provide more sustained energy to carry through to the next meal.
Healthy eating habits at home provide a good foundation for optimum performance in school.
Want to read more about how nutrition affects learning? Check out this article on nutrition and cognitive learning from the University of Mississippi.
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A nationwide effort promoting stringent guidelines for stocking school vending machines called Alliance for a Healthier Generation will be launched in the US early in the New Year. (New York Times 10/07/2006)
Five of the largest producers of snack foods are set to replace fat and sugar-laden foods with healthier options in vending machines across the US. Here are some of issues that are being addressed by the Alliance:
- The Department of Agriculture, responsible for developing national nutrition guidelines, is under pressure from parents and school boards to put forth stringent regulations on snack foods. Currently, the Department has policy surrounding nutrition and caloric intake for school lunches, but does not have formal regulations for snack foods. But the Department has been working with the Institute of Medicine and is hoping to create some formal regulations on snack foods in the near future.
- Soft drink manufacturers and vendors have agreed to provide healthier alternatives in vending machines but independent vendors of snack foods who stock the vending machines are not part of the agreement. Participants in the Alliance are hopeful that strength is in numbers—and the snack producers and distributors will comply given that many vendors are complying.
- Some states are already compliant with state and federal nutrition guidelines and have their own efforts to provide better nutrition. Colorado, for example, conforms to caloric and nutritional guidelines for cafeteria school lunches. As well, Colorado has Bill 103, legislation to ensure all school vending machines provide healthier snacks and beverages by the 2006-07 school year. But many school districts still don’t have any policy surrounding snack items or vending policies at all.
- Vending machine policy is especially critical because for many students it is the primary source of nutrition as school cafeteria lineups can be too long, or meals are too expensive. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was formed, with the help of various partners, to help reduce childhood obesity issues.
- The links between good nutrition and school go beyond just issues of obesity. Poor diets—ones that are too high in fats and refined sugars have been linked to problems with concentration and focus, mood disorders, and behavioral issues.
Learn more: Alliance for a Healthier Generation
New York Times piece
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