Day 116: pasta (and a "superhero")

Today’s menu: pasta with meat sauce (or meat sauce with pasta), spinach, pear, “soft” breadstick
Yeah for spinach! Another new thing. It tasted good to me even though it didn’t seem to be seasoned at all.
Thankfully you can’t overheat it to bitterness like collard greens. Unfortunately if the kids don’t know that it’s not the bitter greens they have tried before then they won’t eat them. I didn’t hear anyone in the cafeteria saying, “Hey guys, today it’s a new veggie called spinach. Try a mouthful!”
I thought I’d take a picture of the containers when I get them: the plastic is sucked in due the increased heat and lack of air. There’s no question the food is hot.

I ate the pear, but I couldn’t eat the “soft” breadstick. I’m not sure it’s giving me anything nutritionally.

Sorry for the delay — Blogger’s picture uploader failed and I had to email myself the entire post…Grr…
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I participated in The Lunch Tray’s “Lunch Superheroes” series and here’s my post. One of her readers asked a great question and she opened it up to people involved in school lunch reform. That was my take on what the parent should do at her school. Just so you know, I do not think of myself as a “hero” — those are her words. I’m just an average person moving forward in the world. I had a wacky idea and wanted to see what would happen if I ate school lunch every day. I am doing it for my students. What do you think of my response?
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Someone asked if I get my students up and moving. Yes, all the time. Movement breaks are a necessity for little kids! If you are a teacher, I hope you have heard about energizers. Some of those lessons are fantastic!

I enjoy getting the kids up at the board (usually two at once) and sitting in a chair a few feet away and asking them some questions “quiz-style.” Even the act of just standing on your feet for a little while might be all it takes to get a student refocused to learn. Plus they love to write on the board and “pretend” to teach me. My style is “child-centered” versus “teacher-centered.” I present something and I’m hoping to elicit creativity and lots of language out of them. I am not from the “old school” where teachers do all the talking and direct everything. The “I’m talking and you need to be quiet and sit in your seat!” There is time and place for that certainly. I just know that I have to change things up so that kids don’t start fading and tuning me out. They must be motivated to learn or else it’s just rote drudgery.

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Any questions I haven’t answered in awhile?
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12 Responses to Day 116: pasta (and a "superhero")

  1. *jean* October 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    you sound like a great teacher…

  2. The Table of Promise October 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    I love that this fall your posts have included some tidbits on teaching and the educational system. I do think that this goes hand in hand with reforming school lunches, because the lunchroom is a part of the school culture. Though I read your blog because I am interested in food and healthful food, I love the stuff about teaching. It is giving me a new perspective!

  3. Anonymous October 1, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    http://www.gctelegram.com/news/Sublette-Healthy-09-30-10

    I don't know if this got posted last night from me. This is from my hometown paper. Garden City telegram.

  4. Laura October 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    I loved your speech! Mrs. Q, you are a hero for bringing up this school lunch issue. You have an inside advantage that some parents do not. The more people educated on this important topic the better it will be for our students and children in the future. Something needs to change and your one of the many contributors who are helping.
    Thanks for all you do!

  5. Jay October 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I'm still wondering how much of the "healthy" food such as fresh fruit ends up getting thrown in the garbage.

  6. CW October 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    You might find this article interesting . . . children limited to 1 chicken tender due to mandated guidelines: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/s_699979.html

  7. Viki October 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Jay, a lot. In my experience, if it isn't easy and quick, the kids don't have the time to eat it. Oranges are great, but can be hard to peel and take time too. A lot of the time the apples they serve are huge for little mouths.
    And so it goes.

    I read your post over at Lunch Tray Mrs. Q. and you are one of my Super Hero's for sure! Keep it up!
    Wish my kids had been lucky enough to have had a teacher like you!

  8. dirtyduck October 1, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    i agree with Jean, you do sound like a wonderful teach. now to the spinach… i personally love it. its in my salads almost everyday. that being said…cooked spinach is not something that i would blame a kid for not wanting. it looks pretty bad and if its not eaten hot and fresh it gets bad tasting quick. but its good that they are introduced to different things, im just sad at the waste.
    m

  9. Elle October 1, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    I'm de-lurking to say how much I love your blog. I have a 17 month old daughter and she's growing so fast. She'll be in school before I know it. I'm trying my best to teach her healthy eating habits and avoid hiding veggies or fruits in her food.

    I want her to know what she's eating so when she's older she will realize there are yummy foods that are healthy. I hope that makes sense outside of my brain. 🙂 Btw, spinach was my favorite veggie since I was a kid and I have my mom to thank for that. She would add a splash of apple cider vinegar to it. I'm not sure I would have liked it as much otherwise.

  10. Marie October 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

    Just curious if you, or any other readers, have heard of Blessing in a Backpack? I just heard of it on another blog..seems like such a good idea.

    http://blessingsinabackpack.org/Home.aspx

  11. Anonymous October 2, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    I can bet not a single kid ate this spinach.

    My kid likes most veggies but even he wouldn't eat spinach served like this. I chop it up and add it raw to his cooked food, say pasta or rice with meat sauce and other veggies, while the food is hot and then mix everything together. The spinach softens but doesn't turn to mush. And then he happily eats the spinach along with everything else. I'm not actually hiding it; he knows it's there and likes the taste and colour.

    If these kids could have been persuaded to try mixing their spinach with their sauce and pasta maybe some of them would have liked it.

    Your meat sauce is probably full of crappy fillers but it doesn't look bad. Apart from the soft(?!) bread stick, this meal looks better than some others you've had (e.g. the recent chips with fries).

  12. Mrs. Q October 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Thanks so much for your sweet comments!! I love my readers. You help me get through it. Thank you!

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