Carmel Health

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Using Apps To Make Me A Better Teacher

It was reported in the press recently that 71% of recent phone sales were smartphones and with smartphones now becoming the norm, if you don’t currently own one, you soon will. I use my phone so frequently that I would be lost without it, and increasingly I find myself using it for educational and professional development purposes.
My phone wakes me in the morning, and the calendar function keeps me organized. I check my emails before breakfast and listen to podcasts on my journey to work. The stopwatch is used in class to time activities and the movie recording capability is handy for recording my students to allow for performance analysis. But the best thing about this smart device is the ability to download applications, or apps. These apps are software that allow you to perform a specific function and I want to share with you some of the apps that have allowed me to improve my classroom teaching and professional development.
SCANLIFE The Scanlife app allows you to scan QR codes and access the information to which they link. I paste QR codes to the bottom of packets and homework assignments to encourage students to access relevant research articles.
TEEN BMI The Teen BMI app allows students to enter their sex, age, height and weight to calculate their BMI in a very user friendly manner. The app provides enough data to promote class discussion about body mass index and the validity of using this measurement in society.
EVERYDAY HEALTH Linked to their extensive website this app provides daily bite sized health information with a section specifically targeting teenagers. In addition to a ‘Pharmacist Q&A’ and a ‘Mom says’ area you can learn how many calories are burned when performing certain tasks. Want to burn 51 calories? Take a 15 minute walk.
STITCHER Podcasts are radio broadcasts that can be downloaded onto your device to be listened to at your own pleasure. When travelling in my car I listen to podcasts on a range of topics from sport (ESPN:PTI), to education (EdReach), to food (NPR Topics:Food Podcast). The BBC produce some awesome shows and another favorite of mine is Freakonomics Radio. These podcasts help with my professional development and make me a more informed teacher. Had enough of consuming podcasts then why not make your own? You can check out my class podcasts at this link:
RSS READER There is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming trying to find it. By using an RSS reader you can set up the parameters and the software will go out and find the things in which you are interested. I use SCOOP.IT, ZITE and FLIPBOARD and read the sources articles at my leisure. TWITTER I’ve written at length on the value of Twitter to all teachers for professional development. Twitter allows you to communicate with your own personal learning network of experts from around the globe. You can follow me on Twitter where I tweet as @carmelhealth. I found each of the following excellent links on Twitter.
1000 recommended app sorted by subject area
Android apps to try this summer. All subjects.
Apps to get more done
Top 10 Special Ed Apps 
Edreach podcast regarding apps.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Carmel Health App

Check out the Carmel Health App. Follow this link on your smartphone and then add it to the homepage of your phone. This will then operate like an app allowing you to check out the @carmelhealth tweets, the blog, the podcasts on i-tunes and the site that highlights Carmel successes in the news.

Monday, December 12, 2011

And The Winner Is...

I find that of all of the topic areas that I cover in Health class, it's the nutrition unit that students react most positively to. It's also the topic area that hopefully they think about on a daily basis. Every day they get to choose what to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I enjoy those moments in the cafeteria when I see students of mine standing in line for the less healthy (cough!) food items and with the raise of one eyebrow (a la Roger Moore) I can guilt them into making a healthier choice.
In class we used the Government diet analysis tool found at This assignment revealed that the website, although free and easily accessible, has its faults. Users plug in their diet and the site will analyze the contents of the foods letting you know how healthy, or otherwise, your diet may be. However,if you eat ethnic or cultural foods you probably won't find these on the site. Also if you make your own foods then you also will find the site lacking.
As is common every year the results are always cause for much discussion with students realizing that their diet isn't as healthy as they thought. I asked students this semester to condense all of the information and reflect upon their less than 140 characters. The student submissions were of a very good standard and can be found at this link.
With an i-Tunes gift card being awarded to the best submission I can reveal the top three answers, as chosen by teachers, peers and some of the people that follow @carmelhealth on Twitter.
1. "Through My Healthy Plate inputs I learned that my fat, sodium, sugar & calorie intake is better when I eat meals with my family" I felt that this reflection was particularly good as not only did it show evidence of dietary analysis but that it also showed how improvements could be made. Eating together with the family, particularly when eating at home, is so beneficial to our physical, mental and social health. What's that old adage? The family that eats together stays together?
2. "Many ppl, including myself have been tricked w/the so-called healthy foods. In order 4 me 2 improve my diet I need 2 b more careful" This reflection again showed greater reflection and was particularly health literate. I agree that food manufacturers can do so much more to educate us as consumers but perhaps this isn't in THEIR best interest. If we had better information to make healthier choices would we buy less of the profit-making, addictive junk food? I think so.
3. "I should watch my fat & salt intake while aiming to eat more fruits & vegetables, because my diet is mostly just proteins & grains" This response identifies both the strengths and weaknesses of this individuals diet. Proteins and grains are essential components of the healthy plate but it is important that a balanced diet also includes fat and salt. Although those latter two foods are needed to a much lesser extent, they do both allow our body to work more efficiently.

What is your diet like? Are there foods that you eat that maybe you could make a healthier choice? What impact has your family diet had on the health of your family? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great Food Podcast - And Others

Every morning on my drive to school I plug my smart phone into my car (well, I use one of those plastic tape cassette adapters) and use the Stitcher app to play podcasts. Mostly I'll listen to sports related podcasts but I do listen to some more obscure shows (when my wife isn't in the car). One of my favorite's is the BBC4 Food Programme They discuss food related issue and the recent episode talked about food politics comparing the differences on both sides of the Atlantic.
The good thing about the podcasts are that they are free and can be accessed readily and if you subscribe to them online you can play through your ipod/phone etc.
If you are interested, other shows that I listen to include 5 live Football Daily, Farming Today, ESPN:PTI, ESPN:Around The Horn, Freakonomics Radio and The Naked Scientists.

Do YOU listen to podcasts? Which ones? Do you use any health related Apps? Please share them in the comments box.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mental Health Brochures

Mental Health Brochures
Once again my health classes have produced some fantastic tri-fold brochures on a mental health disorder of their choice. They researched the disorder, found appropriate images, discussed symptoms and strategies, and then provided further sources of information. All this, and they produced QR codes for the first time.
Here I share just 5 of the many examples of student work that will go on display in the classroom.
Click on the image above and you will be taken to a youblisher document where you can scroll (with sound) and zoom in on the text.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blood Donation

LIFESOURCE, Chicagoland's blood center will be visiting Carmel High School on October 28th for our next blood drive.
Did you know that 60% of the population is eligible to give blood and yet only 5% of the national population actually donates?
If all blood donors gave 2 to 4 times a year, it would help prevent blood shortages.
4.5 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions.

Check this link for frequently asked questions or see Miss Capelle for more details.
Are you eligible to donate? Check this link.

If you have donated blood before, I am very impressed. If you haven't donated before please consider doing so. What a wonderful feeling knowing that you have contributed to saving the life of another person. At the last blood drive we collected 125 UNITS. Can we beat that this time around?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jordan Burnham - Unbreakable

Teaching the mental health unit can sometimes be tough, but when I am able to share stories like the one here, it makes the lesson so much better. I show some Jordan Burnham footage to my students to demonstrate the effects of depression and to open up the discussion of the topic of suicide.
This ESPN documentary is a great production. Take the time (15 minutes) to watch this and please share your thoughts in the comments section.