Author Archives: tretrosi2013

About tretrosi2013

Gymnastics Coach, Gymnastics Educator, Part time stand up comic.

How to Stay Healthy This Winter

How to Stay Healthy This Winter

These 15 secret weapons will help you and the family stay well during the cold, dark months of winter.

healthy family

Fancy Photography/Veer

Beat the Winter Blahs!

In winter, viruses and bacteria abound like snowflakes. Work and school environments test our immune systems. And exercise likely takes a backseat when icicles are in view. But don’t despair. You and your family can hang onto good health in spite of the challenges. Here’s how.

children washing hands

Radius Images/Getty

Wash Up

Preempt viruses and bacteria by frequently washing your hands—and teach your kids to do the same, says Maritza Baez, M.D., a family physician in Buffalo, New York. Nothing fancy is required. Simply do this: “Work up a lather and wash for at least 30 seconds before eating and after you go to the bathroom,” he says. Wash under your fingernails too. That’s where germs lurk.


child brushing teeth

Fancy Photography/ Veer

Change Your Toothbrush

“Use a new toothbrush after you’ve had a cold, the flu, a mouth infection, or sore throat,” says dentist Jeff Golub-Evans, D.D.S., director of the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry in New York City. “Germs can hide in the toothbrush and lead to reinfection.” The smartest Motherboard Moms we know stock up on toothbrushes so there’s always a spare handy.

child putting on boots

Robyn Lehr

Don’t Forget Your Feet

Winter’s heavy shoes, boots, and socks can take their toll on tootsies, large and small. The best defense: Moisturize your feet daily to keep fungi from entering cracked winter skin, says Robert Klein, M.D., a podiatric physician and foot surgeon in Texarkana, Texas: “And wear socks with synthetic fibers to wick away moisture faster.”

sad girl

Fancy Photography/Veer

Go Toward the Light

Six out of every 100 Americans may suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a malady of mood swings that occurs when light diminishes in winter, according to the Academy of Family Physicians. To counter SAD, Jeffrey Sumber, M.A., CPC, a psychotherapist practicing in Chicago, recommends vitamin D, exercise, and light therapy. Some lamps and box lights are designed to treat the disorder. Ask your doctor to recommend one if she thinks you have SAD. To keep your kids upbeat, help them get off the couch and outside whenever there is a sunny day. About 10 to 15 minutes of play in the sun is a good mood-lifter (and source of D).

Girl drinking water

Blend Images/Veer

Wet Your Whistle

You may not feel as thirsty in cold weather, according to a University of New Hampshire study. But that can up your risk for dehydration. “Allowing your body to become dehydrated can leave you more vulnerable to getting sick,” says Wendy Wells, N.M.D., a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, Arizona. Water helps the body carry nutrients to cells and get rid of toxins. Without enough water, you start dragging. Dr. Wells recommends drinking half your weight in ounces every day. (So if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces.)

mother holding baby

Alexandra Grablewski

Pamper Your Skin

Skin takes a beating in winter. To keep it healthy, dermatologist Brooke Jackson, M.D., founder of Skin Wellness Center of Chicago, and mother of three young children, suggests increasing the humidity in your home by adjusting the gauge on your furnace or placing a humidifier in each bedroom. Aim for a humidity level between 40 and 50 percent.

Lavishly moisturize after a brief shower (long ones dry you out more) using jarred, not pump, moisturizers. (Pump lotions contain more water.) And don’t skip the sunscreen—winter sun can glare, especially off snow.

pregnant woman getting vaccine


Get Your Flu Shots

It’s smart for families to get annual flu shots, but they are especially important for expectant mothers and new moms, says Amy Herold, M.D., an ob/gyn and medical director of HealthTap, a healthcare community in Palo Alto, California. “They protect mom from getting the flu, and they pass [protective] antibodies to the baby. Antibodies are also passed through breast milk.” Dr. Herold also recommends that moms and family get vaccinated for whooping cough.


Woman with baby and apple

Fill Up on Fiber

A 2010 study at the University of Illinois found that the fiber in foods like oats, apples, and nuts helps reduce inflammation and strengthens the immune system by increasing anti-inflammatory proteins. The suggested daily fiber intake for an adult woman and children ages 4 to 8 is 25 grams a day. An apple has 3.5 grams of fiber.

Woman eating yogurt with laptop

Slip Zinc into Your Yogurt

That’s what Shantel Maratea, CHHC, a nutritional counselor in Valley Stream, New York, says she does to keep her 12-year-old cold-prone daughter healthy in winter: “Starting each November, I give her two daily servings of yogurt with probiotics—live healthy bacteria that help replenish good bacteria in the gut—with zinc added. She hasn’t had a cold for three years.” According to pediatrician Williams Sears, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California-Irvine, the safest way to get zinc is through foods like oysters, zinc-fortified cereals (best for kids), crab, beef, turkey, and beans.


Fancy Photography/Veer

Consider Echinacea

Whether or not you think echinacea helps fight or reduce colds depends upon whom you believe. Some experts who tout its effects point to a 2007 review of 14 studies at the University of Connecticut that found that the herbal supplement echinacea reduces the risk of a cold by 58 percent and cuts 1.4 days off its duration. Other studies have reported it has minimal effects. If you’re into alternative medicine and want to give it a try, follow the dosage recommendations on the bottle. And talk to your pediatrician before giving the herb to your children or taking it if you are pregnant.

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Mushroom Sombrero

Greg Scheidemann

Eat More Mushrooms

“Include lots of mushrooms, especially shiitakes, in your cooking,” says dietitian Jill Nussinow, M.S., R.D., author of The Veggie Queen. A 2009 study at Tufts University found that after a 10-week diet of powdered white button mushrooms—the most common kind—certain immune cells in mice became more active, boosting protection against colds and viruses.

Complete Breath

Peter LaMastro


“Stress can cause illness for two main reasons,” says Elizabeth R. Lombardo, Ph.D., M.S., P.T., author of A Happy You and mother of two: “Our immune system does not function well when we are stressed. And we are more likely to engage in unhealthy habits such as ‘Ben and Jerry’s’ therapy.” Chill out by heading to the movies, building a snowman, or just breathing deeply for a few minutes.

child with cold


Rinse Your Nose

Although nasal irrigation sounds gross, studies have shown that those who rinsed their nasal passages every day for six months had fewer symptoms from allergies and sinus infections—and cut back on antibiotics and nasal sprays. Try rinsing with a Neti pot or a nose dropper, using a saline solution of 1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon soda. Pour or squirt some of the mixture in one nostril, while holding the other nostril shut. Repeat on the other side and blow your now healthier nose. Older children can be taught to use a Neti pot, too, but ask your pediatrician before starting the therapy.

woman shoveling snow


Keep Moving

Got cabin fever? Get your workout by shoveling snow, suggests wellness expert Dasha Libin, M.S., creator of Draco Fitness, a health, sports, and wellness program in New York City: “It burns calories and activates your lower- and upper-body muscles.” An hour of shoveling burns a whopping 400 calories. Or, with the kids, give FitDeck exercise playing cards a try. Warm up, draw a card, do the exercise the card describes for one minute, and move on to the next card. You—and your kids—won’t be bored, Libin says.


Strawberry Banke’s Candlelight Stroll

From Seacoast Kids Calendar

Get festive this holiday at Strawbery Banke’s “Candlelight Stroll”, weekends in December!

Stroll through life in a simpler time as 350 years of American history, winter traditions, and holiday celebrations unfolds around you in New Hampshire’s oldest waterfront neighborhood.

  • Historic houses from four centuries with decorations hand-crafted from natural materials
  • Hundreds of wood and glass candle boxes lighting the lanes and landscape
  • Live music and holiday entertainment for all ages
  • Winter projects for kids
  • Craft demonstrations
  • Roaring bonfire
  • 18th century holiday hearth cooking
  • Ice skating at Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond
Mrs. Shapiro prepares a Hanukah celebration her 1919 Russian Jewish kitchen. Mrs. Goodwin, her family and servants prepare a Victorian Christmas. Father Christmas, the night watchman, “Mayor Frank Jones” and other role-players make their rounds along the dirt lanes; and the Abbotts await news of their soldier fighting in Europe in the Second World War. Carolers, chestnuts and holiday crafts bring all the sounds, scents and moments for family ‘stopfulness’ to this event that is a cherished New Hampshire tradition
Complimentary refreshments and hot apple cider are offered at the Cider Shed. Traditional hearth-cooking demonstrations, crafts demonstrations, and winter projects for kids provide interactive fun for multiple generations.


Additional Features

Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, provides seasonal outdoor ice skating at the heart of the 10-acre living history museum. The rink operates seven days a week, 9 am to 9 pm throughout December and on New Year’s Day, and the months of January and February.

Figtree Kitchen at Strawbery Banke café offers seasonal food and beverages during Candlelight Stroll in the TYCO Visitors Center.

Pickwick’s at the Banke, complements the museum with a shopping experience reflecting Portsmouth’s colonial maritime heritage. Pickwick’s also presents a ticketed, costumed holiday dining experience in Pitt Tavern — visited by George Washington, John Hancock, and the Marquis de Lafayette.


Avoid lines by purchasing tickets in advance! Tickets can be purchased in advance in person at the Strawbery Banke Visitors Center at 14 Hancock Street up to the date of the event.

Tickets are $25/adults, $12.50/children (ages 5-17), and $60/family. Group and corporate rates are available.

Strawbery Banke’s “Candlelight Stroll”
14 Hancock Street, Portsmouth NH (603) 433-1100
December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17, 2017
Saturdays, 5-9 pm; Sundays, 4-8 pm

Five Things Parents Should Know About Learning To Read

Five Things Parents Should Know About Learning To Read 

Letters represent sounds

Most parents want their children to be well educated, to reach their potential and one of the foundation stones for learning is reading. As a parent it’s important to understand the processes involved in learning to read. Many parents were not taught to read using a synthetic phonics approach so developing an understanding about what that entails and the evidence that shows this is the best method to use to teach children to read, is really useful.

Reading is not Innate

Unless there is a specific problem all children will learn to speak. Usually they do this without explicit instruction. Babies start by vocalising with ‘noises’ and providing that they hear speech they will start to repeat what they hear, gradually learning to use speech to influence their environment, for example by saying ‘drink’ when they want a drink.

The same is not true of reading. There are still societies that don’t read and write, it is an extra skill that developed over a long period of time, differently across the globe, giving rise to numerous different languages. Children do not need to be taught explicitly how to speak but they do need explicit teaching when it comes to reading. The Rose reportgives an in depth account of approaches and draws the conclusion that synthetic phonics is the most effective method. Sounds-Write is one such method used in many schools, though there are others such as Letters and Sounds and Read Write Inc.

The English language is rich and complex and as we have an alphabet with only 26 letters but have 44 commonly used sounds there is a level of complexity that doesn’t exist in every language so it is important that it is taught using an evidence based, effective method.

Reading Starts with Sounds

Reading, and writing, is a way we represent the sounds we use in speech. When it comes to teaching a child to read they first need to speak the language and be able develop auditory discrimination skills to identify the sounds they hear in that speech. So if a child can know the sounds they hear in the word dog are d-o-g then they will be off to a flying start.

Reading Requires Three Specific Skills

As adults who can read, it is hard to identify the specific skills we use when reading, as fluent readers we use them almost automatically. But we do still use them more consciously when we come across unfamiliar words in either reading or spelling. These skills are

  • Blending – pushing individual sounds together to say a word.The sounds d-o-g blend into the word dog.
  • Segmenting – pulling the individual sounds in a word apart so the sounds in cat are ‘c’ ‘a’ ‘t’, we use this a lot in writing and spelling words.
  • Phoneme Manipulation – this skill is being able to pull a sound out of a word or put it in so the word slip without the ‘l’ is sip – we often use this skill to check our spelling.

A reader Needs to Understand Four Concepts

These may be taught explicitly while a child is learning to read – they are all essential.

  • Letters are symbols of sounds so we represent the sounds we say when we say dog with the letters d o g
  • Sounds may be spelled with 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters the word dog has 3 sounds each represented by a single letter. But the word boat has 3 sounds and 4 letters, ‘oa’ represent the middle sound. In the word night 3 letters ‘igh’ represent the middle sound and in eight 4 letters ‘eigh’ represent the ‘ay’ sound.
  • One sound may be spelled in several different ways think about the sound ‘o’ as in so, it can also be spelled in a variety of other ways. All the words below have an ‘o’ sound but all are spelled differently show, coat, dough, toe, and there are more!
  • One spelling may represent different sounds – again think about the word ‘so’ which has letter ‘o’ but the word hot also has a letter ‘o’ though it represents a different sound in that word. Or the words speak, steak, bread – they all have the spelling ‘ea’ but it represents a different sound in each word.

Children Learning Need Access to Different Texts

Nowadays most schools use what are known as coded texts, which are vital when children are learning as they give children the chance to practice reading using the sounds and spellings they are learning. They will have the pleasure of reading a whole book but they still need to share stories with parents until they become fluent readers as their comprehension skills will usually develop at a faster rate than their reading skills. Non fiction books are another great way to encourage reading skills.

As a parent, understanding the methods the school use to teach reading will mean that you can help your child more effectively.

Benefits of Gymnastics

My good friend Rick McCharles tweeted this out the other day.

Benefits Of Gymnastics For Kids

gymnast competing on beam

Benefits Of Gymnastics For Kids

Gymnastics classes are one of the most exciting, social and physical activities a child can take part in from a very young age.

Some children love the idea and can’t wait to jump into a leotard and do cartwheels all day long.

Other children are apprehensive when involved in group activities but through the guidance of a friendly, fun and engaging gymnastics teacher your child can learn to enjoy gymnastics and benefit from it socially, mentally and physically.

We are compiling a list of benefits of gymnastics, with interesting and unique insightsfrom the gymnastics world.

girls doing handstands on the beach


1 Developing A Sense Of Curiosity

Mark Gibson, the highly experienced and inspirational former Junior Olympic gymnastics coach, was kind enough to share his views on the benefits children can experience by taking part in gymnastics.

Having taught gymnastics for over 35 years and written an awesome book that focuses on motivating gymnasts and athletes to overcome their fears, believe in themselves and develop a winning mindset, he really understands deeply how people think and what makes people able to be courageous, gain strength from letting go of fears and pursue their dreams

This insight is used to motivate and inspire people through his easy to read and understand book Going For It, his motivational talks and his direct gymnastics coaching at Boing Gymnastics Center

With all this gymnastics experience behind him and having also taken part in some of the most unique adventures around the world, including skateboarding an incredible600 miles!! I was curious to find out how he would respond to me asking him what he thinks is the most important benefit for children taking part in gymnastics.

‘Gymnastics teaches kids to be curious. In our sport you don’t just spend a lifetime getting better at the same skills (running, jumping, throwing catching, hitting).

In gymnastics you are constantly challenged to learn new skills and never become too comfortable with what you can already do’ 

I really like this answer, Life is always full of new challenges and different situations, so being able to adapt and push yourself to learn new skills as a child, can really develop a solid foundation for later life when you will have the courage to learn and implement new skills in order to adapt to the challenges life throws at us.

gymnast in air above beam

Mark expanded on his answer, with his clear passion for gymnastics and love of sharing this passion with others, obvious for all to see.

‘they have to have an “I can’t…YET!” attitude. They need to always be fired up about all the cool, awesome, fun opportunities that are still out there in the world.

If we as coaches can send them off into the rest of their lives with that kind of curiosity then we will have taught them a skill way more important than flips and cartwheels.

(Although flips and cartwheels are also pretty cool. Especially when you are 57 and still doing them at weddings to embarrass your own teenage kids.)’ 

I think that this sense of curiosity is often developed under the guidance of a teacher like Mark or role model, who is selfless and genuinely wants to give to others, by sharing, helping and living what they teach everyday.


Gymnastics starts at home

My first experience of gymnastics was performing a forward roll ( roly poly ) as a child.

I would place the cushions off the sofa onto the floor and role again and again until I got dizzy and couldn’t stop laughing.

Even though I was adventurous I wasn’t brave enough to attempt a backwards role and my cartwheels looked like I was performing a wrestling slam rather than a majestic gymnastics tumble.

Most children first experience the fun of gymnastics without even realising it.

Sometimes this is on a bouncy castle, performing flips and throwing their body around attempting to both dance, enter the Olympics and imitate wonder women with a new-found ability to fly

… or should I say bounce a couple of feet higher


Younger children are much more flexible than adults because their bones are still developing.

This means that babies have the pleasure of being able to nibble on their own toes quite comfortably.

Starting gymnastics at a young age is much easier because this flexibility makes performing stretches, somersaults, tumbling and acrobatics much easier and less demanding on a young healthy body.

Starting from home doesn’t have to involve cushions or pillows anymore. It is also possible to enjoy gymnastics at home with a Cheese mat, gymnastics bars and other fun professional equipment.

When should a child start gymnastics ?

 Children between the ages of 1 and 5 can start gymnastics. Toddlers gymnastics classes usually begin with both a child and their parent or under close supervision. Working together they can practice lots of different movements through a wide range of motions that activate muscles and joints.

It is possible for toddlers to improve their muscle memory, brain development and physical strength from a very young age through gymnastics exercises. Toddlers learn to explore their own bodies capabilities and usually take part in lots of fun activities. Learning to jump, run, roll and balance are a lot of fun and also help improve coordination and confidence.

When parents watch or take part in toddlers gymnastic classes they can enjoy watching their child learn new skills, make new friends all while laughing and having fun.

Physical benefits of children gymnastics

 The Physics committee for responsible medicine wrote an article which outlined the need for a healthy diet and lifestyle in order to help bone growth. Most importantly they mentioned exercise is a key factor in how strong a child’s bones will become as they grow older. Gymnastics is one of the best exercises for the whole body.

Gymnastics can improve children’s flexibility as well as providing them with full body physical strength and conditioning and set them up with excellent core strength, balance and coordination skills useful for all sports or fitness activities they pursue in later life.

Children who have taken part in gymnastics and practiced consistently for a number of years will have a massive physical fitness advantage over kids who are less active or who haven’t focused in the same way on exercises that rely on the weight of your own body like gymnastics does.

Improved Focus

 Children can be hyperactive and focusing on a task doesn’t always come easily for them. Gymnastics and most of the disciplines, especially when performing on the bars or beams, require a lot of focus in order to succeed and not fall.

A competition beam is 4 inches wide and children learn to perform handstands, leaps and amazing back handsprings whilst keeping balanced on the beam. This requires exceptional focus and balance. It isn’t even easy to walk along the beam if you aren’t used to having to balance.

Learning to focus on yourself and you body is useful in all walks of modern life where there are so many distractions. Having this awareness and ability to maintain focus on a task is one of the greatest skills a child can learn.

Overcoming fear and staying motivated

In this interview with Olympic Gymnastic Simone Biles, she mentions that at one point in her life she wasn’t good enough to compete at the elite level and could easily have given up. Instead of not pursuing her dreams, she practised harder and for longer hours and it paid off.

It doesn’t matter whether your child is aiming to be an elite gymnasts or be able to perform a Kip smoothly, being able to overcome obstacles and fears can really open up a new sense of freedom and self-belief in your child’s social life, studies and eventually in their career.


Attend a Gymnastics summer camp

If your children take part in gymnastics they will often have the chance to attend a gymnastics summer camp. These fun camps give young gymnasts a chance to spend more time in the gymnasium practising their gymnastics skills and learning from more experienced children and teachers.

With the extra time off school, kids have the chance to do more exercise and condition their bodies even more than usual so they are well prepared for school or club gymnastics next semester.

Sometimes activities at camps involve singing around a camp fire, swimming or other fun sports and team games.

These camps are beneficial because they allow kids to meet need friends, often from different towns in your state and sometimes from across the country. A focus on having fun and enjoying yourself is important, they aren’t work camps, they are a more relaxed environment that will help children enjoy gymnastics even more and learn some new skills all whilst having the time of their lives camping overnight with friends.

Letting Students Be the Protagonists in Their Own Learning

I know we have many teachers who bring their children to the gym. I consider every one of our coaches TEACHERS FIRST. While doing some research to help them all become better teachers I came across this. Enjoy


Like many literacy educators, last year I found myself reading Visible Learning for Literacyby Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Hattie. The book breaks down the process of teaching and learning into three phases: teaching for surface learning, deeper learning and ultimately for transfer. And for each phase, it recommends specific teaching practices based on their effect size, i.e., “the impact a given a approach has” on accelerating student learning.

Being someone who tends to want to get to the deep stuff right away, I was curious about what the authors had to say about surface learning, along with what practices pack the greatest punch. They believe that surface learning is the foundation on which deeper learning is built, and among the recommended practices for that phase, I saw direct instruction, which comes with an effect size of 0.59.

That led me to watch one of the videos that can be found on Corwin’s resource page for the book. If you go to the link, you’ll see a teacher providing direct instruction on how to punctuate dialogue to her 9th grade class. Clearly, she adheres to the features of direct instruction as stated in the book, but I couldn’t help thinking that something was wrong here. These were 9th graders who, I’d be willing to bet, had been taught to punctuate dialogue ever since third or second grade.

This seemed to be another case of students having been taught something they didn’t fully learn, which can happen for a number of reasons. They might not have had enough time to practice for the learning to take hold. They might not have found “correctness” important. Or, as I suggested last week, there might have been something in the top-down teaching practice that didn’t fully engage them because it didn’t positioning them to be protagonists in their own learning.

But what would that look like when it comes to something like punctuating dialogue?

It just so happens that I wrestled with that very question last year, as I worked with several schools whose upper grade teachers wanted to teach writing and punctuating dialogue in their narrative units. In each case, the teachers had noticed that their students didn’t know how to punctuate dialogue, despite it having been taught the year before.

So here’s what we did: I asked the teachers to gather up the mentor texts they’d used to help their students develop a vision of narrative writing. And among them was Maribeth Boelt’s popular book Those Shoesabout a boy who longs for the expensive sneakers that all the popular kids were wearing. Immediately we noticed that Boelt constructed her dialogue, using a variety of sentence structures— as in, it wasn’t always “___________,” I or a character said. That variety, which we recognized as a craft move, helped give the book its voice, and we also recognized that it presented the potential for an inquiry into how writers write dialogue.

To implement that, we decided to invite everyone to the rug to look at the following four samples from the book, which we projected on the SMART Board. I read each of the sentences out loud, then invited the kids to turn and talk, using the basic thinking routine I shared in another post, What do you notice and what do you make of what you noticed?

In a sense, you could call this a rich task, as it offered multiple points of entry for students to engage in their thinking. Of course, some students at first only noticed what seemed the most obvious to them: that what was being said made the sentences different. In those cases, I acknowledged that was true, but then asked them to take another look at just the first two sentences to consider if there was anything else different between them. That led students to notice that the writer didn’t say who was talking in the first one (though they knew it was the narrator), while in the second the writer clearly told us. Noticing that, I then invited them to compare those two with the last two.

The first thing most of the students noticed was that, like the second sentence, the writer said who was speaking, but many also noticed that where the writer named the speaker was different in each sentence. That made them think that in addition to writers not always telling you exactly who was talking, they could also decide to name the speaker before, in the middle or at the end of the dialogue. And noticing that, they also noticed that the writer shared additional information in the last two sentences. In the first, she gave us more information about who the speaker was (as in their job), while the last shared where the person was when they spoke.

With that all charted, we sent the students back to their desks and asked them to pull out the drafts of their narratives. Then in groups of two and three, we gave them a packet of sentence strips with other sentences from Those Shoes that including dialogue, such as these:

And we invited them to sort and categorize the sentences to see if there were even more ways that writers set up dialogue.

That led them to even further discoveries. They noticed that sometimes writers used boldface for dialogue if the speaker was saying something urgent or forceful. They sometimes used words like asks and announces, instead of always using say. And they sometimes told where the speaker was AND what they were doing, in addition to the dialogue

With these new understandings added to the chart, we then invited the students to make some decisions about how they might revise the dialogue in their own drafts to reflect what they’d learn—and everyone was eager to do that. Many, for instance, wanted to add boldface to underscore a line of dialogue’s importance, while many others wanted to try placing the dialogue tag in the middle of the sentence because they thought that was cool.

Feeling empowered by being the protagonists in their own learning, no one blinked an eye when we added a final direction: Once they made those revisions, they needed to go back and find a sentence that was similar to one in Those Shoes, and then punctuate theirs the same way Maribeth Boelt had done. And as the students got to work, the teachers decided to start the next day by revisiting all those sentences to co-construct another chart about how dialogue was punctuated.

To be sure, this lesson took much longer than the one from Visible Learning for Literacy. But here’s the thing: If you go to the book’s appendix, you’ll find a list of practices arranged according to their effect size, from the most impactful to the least. And there you’ll see that Number 2 is Piaget’s approach. Hattie describes those as focusing “on the thinking processes rather than the outcomes and do not impose the adult thinking process on to children,” which is precisely what happened here. And Piagetian practices come with an effect size of 1.28, which means they have more than twice the impact on student learning as direct instruction does. And if you believe the words of Piaget I shared last week, you have to also think that these students will understand and retain far more by discovering how dialogue works on their own.

I’ll surely have more to say about this approach in future posts. But if you want more bang for your instructional buck, consider letting your students be the protagonists of their own learning by letting them discover and explore.

To Make a Prairie

Like many literacy educators, last year I found myself reading Visible Learning for Literacyby Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Hattie. The book breaks down the process of teaching and learning into three phases: teaching for surface learning, deeper learning and ultimately for transfer. And for each phase, it recommends specific teaching practices based on their effect size, i.e., “the impact a given a approach has” on accelerating student learning.

Being someone who tends to want to get to the deep stuff right away, I was curious about what the authors had to say about surface learning, along with what practices pack the greatest punch. They believe that surface learning is the foundation on which deeper learning is built, and among the recommended practices for that phase, I saw direct instruction, which comes with an effect size of 0.59.

That led me to watch one of the…

View original post 1,149 more words

Atlantic Dover Meet Results. Maine’s Gobble Wobble

November 18th-19th, Biddeford Maine.


Atlantic Dover’s JO gymnasts competed in Biddeford, Maine at Dudziak’s Gymnastics with gymnasts competing  in the Level 3 and Level 4 divisions.

Avery Smith was Atlantic’s lone Level 3 h competitor.  Rocking it in the Junior age division, she placed 2nd on vault with a 9.05, 1st on bars with a 9.175, 2nd on floor with an 8.725, and 2nd on floor with a 9.125. Avery came in 1st place in the all around with a 36.075! Congratulations Avery!

Atlantic’s Level 4 team had three members.  Norah Knowles competed in the junior age division scoring an 8.725 on vault  (3rd place) , a 9.0 on beam (3rd place) and an 8.8 on the floor (5th place) and a 35.075 for 3rd place All Around. Kaia Buensuceso and Virginia Hudson both competed in the  senior age division. Virginia placed 2nd on vault with a 9.0, 1st on beam with a 9.075, and in the all around came in 5th with a total score of 33.65. Kaia came in 1st on vault with a 9.2, 6th on bars with an 8.425, 3rd on beam with a 9.0, and 2nd on floor with an 8.95. Her all around of 35.575 put her in the top spot.

IMG_2174.JPGAtlantic Dover’s JO competitors next meet will be at  Granite State Gymnastics December 8th-10th.

Atlantic Dover Xcel gymnasts started their season off early competing in the Gobble Wobble Meet in Biddeford, Maine hosted by Duziak’s Gymnastics over the weekend of November 18-19th. Atlantic typically begins competing in December, but the team was more than ready for the November start. This is the first season Atlantic Dover will compete in all five divisions of Xcel.
Starting off in Bronze, Atlantic represented in two age divisions: Junior and Senior. Hannah Dunbar, a first time competitor, part of the Junior division, placed 2nd on vault with a 9.325, 1st on bars scoring a 9.425, 3rd on beam with a 9.425, 1st on floor with a 9.25, and earned 1st place in the all-around with a 37.425. Also part of the Junior division, and another first year competitor, Maddie Bickford earned 2nd on bars with a 9.35, 3rd on floor  with a 9.175, and 3rd in the all-around with a 36.45. Caitlin Klein earned 3rd on bars with a 9.2. Lily Nutter placed 1st on floor scoring a 9.35. In the Senior age group Sofie Gibson, also a first year competitor, earned a 9.45 on bars taking first place, 3rd place on beam with a 9.35, 2nd place on floor with a 9.4 and 1st place in the all-around scoring a 37.255. Kaylee Corman earned 3rd place on bars with a 9.3, and took 1st place on floor with a beautifully presented routine scoring a 9.45. Anna Wolusky placed first on vault with a 9.5, 3rd on floor with a 9.375, and 2nd in the all-around with a 37.025. Annette Morris placed 1st on beam with a 9.4 and 3rd in the all-around scoring a 36.875. Atlantic’s Bronze team stayed focused and composed during the meet and earned 1st place in the team division!
Atlantic’s Silver team had many new members moving up from the previous level. Their coaches were all very proud of their accomplishments during this meet. In the Youth age group Gracie Schmidt placed 2nd on vault with a 9.425, 1st on beam with a 9.275, 2nd on floor with a 9.3, and earned 1st in the all-around scoring a 37.0. Audrey Choate, part of the Senior age group, placed 1st on vault with a 9.475. Bea VanCampen placed 3rd on bars scoring a 9.075, 1st on beam with a 9.4, 2nd on floor earning a 9.35, and took 3rd place in the all-around with a total of 36.75. Cate Palmer earned 2nd on vault with a 9.35, 2nd on bars with a 9.175, 1st on floor with a 9.6, and 2nd in the all-around scoring a 36.925. The Silver team placed 1st in the team division!
The Gold team took the stage Sunday evening. Six of the competitors moved up from the Silver level from last season. Atlantic’s competitors were spread across three age groups. In the Youth division, Brooke Kelly earned 3rd on vault with a 9.025, 2nd on bars with a 9.2, 2nd on beam with an 8.75, 1st on floor with a 9.4, and 2nd in the all-around with a 36.375. Savanah Hughes earned 1st on vault with a 9.3, 1st on bars scoring a 9.275, 1st on beam with an 8.85, 2nd on floor with a 9.3 and took home 1st place in the all-around with a total of 36.725. In the Junior age group Brooke Helliwell earned 1st on vault with a 9.35, 3rd on bars with a 9.35, and 2nd on floor scoring a 9.325. Renee Remick earned 1st on bars with a 9.475, 3rd on beam with a 9.025, 1st on floor with a 9.375, and 1st in the all-around scoring a 37.05. Sophie Lusenhop earned 2nd place on vault scoring a 9.225, 2nd place on bars with a 9.4, 2nd place on beam with a 9.175, 3rd on floor earning a 9.25, and 2nd in the all-around with a 37.05. While Renee and Sophie earned the same all-around score, Renee took 1st because she had the highest single event score. In the Senior age group, Delaney Sauers placed 3rd on vault with an 8.9, 2nd on bars scoring a 9.3, 2nd on beam with a 9.075, 2nd on floor with a 9.35, and 2nd in the all-around with a total of 36.625. Morgan Koskela placed 2nd on vault with a 9.125, 3rd on bars with a 9.125, and 3rd in the all-around with a 35.6. Annie Beikman had the meet of her life! She took first on each event as well as the all-around. Annie’s scored a 9.2 on vault, 9.625 on bars, 9.35 on beam, 9.4 on floor and a 37.575 in the all-around. Atlantic’s Gold team took home 1st place!
There were three girls from Atlantic competing in the Platinum division. Anya Marengo and Gianna Coppola represented the Junior age group and Bethany Howard was part of the Senior age group. Anya earned 2nd place on bars with an 8.85, 3rd on beam with an 8.675, and 2nd in the all-around with a 35.375. Gianna earned 2nd on vault with a 9.05, 1st on bars with a 9.15, 2nd on beam with a 9.0, 3rd on floor with a 9.1, and 1st in the all-around with a 36.3. Bethany earned 1st on floor with a 9.45, 2nd on bars with an 8.5, 2nd on floor with a 9.275, and 2nd in the all-around with a 35.725. With only three girls in the Platinum age group all the girls’ scores contributed to the team score. (It takes three girls to make a team.) The Platinum team thoroughly impressed their coaches by taking 1st place as a team!
This is the first season Atlantic has gymnasts competing in the Diamond level! Sarah Bieniek took 2nd on floor with a 9.275. Audrey Stuart earned a 9.55 on bars placing 1st, a 9.5 on beam placing 2nd, and 1st in the all-around with a 36.75.
Atlantic will compete next in the Blizzard Bash at Granite State Gymnastics over the weekend of December 8th-10th.

Gobble Wobble Bronze.jpg

Gobble Wobble Silver.jpg

Gobble Wobble Gold.jpg

Gobble Wobble Platinum.jpg

Gobble Wobble Diamond.jpg

Plaid Friday


WOW- Thanksgiving  is only a couple days away! That happened fast. I want to wish everyone safe travels! The week before Thanksgiving is traditionally the one of the busiest travel weeks of the year so please be safe.

Why is the day after Thanksgiving in the USA becoming such a CRAZY shopping day? Are the deals that good? I couldn’t tell you- I have no intention of getting up at some ungodly hour to try to save $5 on something from Walmart. As a gym club owner, I truly believe that we need to support LOCAL business. Don’t make this Friday just another “Black Friday”. Make it a “Plaid Friday”

The name Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent and local businesses. Plaid Friday is the fun and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday” and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.

Plaid Friday was conceptualized in Oakland, CA, a city known for strong shop local campaigns. Plaid Friday brings back the neighborly nostalgic times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable leisurely activity. The seacoast of New Hampshire and Maine have a long tradition of local businesses. Let’s celebrate the local businesses and our local flair.