Organics. Good for you. Good for me.

I try to stay away from personal stuff on this blog but a new Farm Bill is up for vote soon and I want to get the word out about organics. I don't know how much you know about organic food but I've made a move towards buying organic food as much as possible even though it can get expensive. I'm willing to pay more for food that doesn't harbor nasty chemicals, that doesn't warp the body's natural development, that doesn't screw with my hormones. I know that when I have kids, they will only be eating organic food. I don't want my kids hitting puberty early, developing at age 11 or 12 like so many of the kids I teach. There really is a tremendous difference in the way kids look now and the way kids looked even as little as 20 years ago. Have you ever seen a teenager and remarked to yourself, "wow...I didn't have hips like that when I was 13," or "wow...I didn't have muscles like that when I was 12?" It's because all the chemicals in meat, dairy and produce cause kids to develop earlier and quicker. It's scary!

In any case, the new Farm Bill has a provision that will make it easier for small organic farms to survive and get their products on the market. On the left is a link to a petition to "Grow Organic," meaning just organic food itself but to help the organic food industry get a larger share of the market.

Comprehension in the Content Areas, Part 2

I finished reading Tovani's book tonight and I have many pages tabbed for future reference. First, let me say that I was surprised by the last chapter. She closes the book by describing a typical day in her classroom. I was just under the impression that she taught at a "good school." Don't ask me why. But in the last chapter, she describes a "urination incident," a student who has been kicked out of her third foster home and so on. Why is this important, you may ask? It matters to me that she uses her strategies and techniques in a school that is more like mine than some rich, suburban school. She deals with the same distractions, the same constraints on time, the same disciplinary issues. In many ways, it makes her work more valid and relevant, for me, anyway. (It still bugs me though, that she has time to travel all over the place, visiting does she do that? She is obviously not a regular classroom teacher but she still teaches special reading workshop classes and stuff...)

I think new and veteran teachers alike will find the appendix useful, which contains the various forms that Tovani uses to help practice and use strategies. All in all, it was a great book to read as I think about planning for 9th grade, and 9th grade Ramp-Up. I highly recommend adding it to your professional library.