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Don’t forget about the oil spill

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Don’t forget about the oil spill

More than a year after the Deepwater Horizon well was capped, hundreds of miles of coastline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida remain affected by oil. Communities in these states and wildlife throughout the Gulf will be affected by the oil spill for years to come.

Restoring the Gulf is critical not just to the regional economy, but also to our strength as a nation. The Gulf currently supports a $34 billion per year tourism industry, and its fisheries support an estimated $22.6 billion dollars of annual economic activity.

Nine U.S. senators from the Gulf have just joined a bipartisan group cosponsoring a bill that will dedicate BP’s fines from the oil spill toward restoring the Gulf.

Using the oil spill penalties to restore the Gulf is the fair and right thing to. I encourage our state’s representatives to support similar legislation in the U.S. House.

—Todd Weise

Winter Park

Breakfast … in a brown bag?

Back to school means a new year of fresh faces, old friends and exciting opportunities. If you are a mom, it also means a mad dash to get lunches packed, find a matching pair of socks for the kids … and oh yeah, feed everyone before heading out the door. While the temptation is always there to give into the plea of, “But I’m not hungry, Mom,” the reality is that breakfast is, as they say, one of the most important meals of the day. According to the American Dietetic Association breakfast eaters are more apt to attend school and do better while there.

Of course for those mornings when the schedule is not so hectic, a breakfast at the table is certainly the best option. Studies show families who eat with their children tend to have better diets overall. Sitting down to eat a meal with your child offers a wonderful opportunity to talk about the day ahead and role model good eating behaviors, such as drinking milk with meals.

But for those days when a “multi-tasking” approach is required, let your drive time be dine time with these on the go breakfast options:

• Baking for the Taking — Spend some downtime on the weekend cooking and freezing your own convenient breakfast options, such as Breakfast Pizza Cups. You’ll likely find them to be lower in calories than the typical freezer variety, more economical and all the more tasty.

• Lose the Litter — What mom really wants a backseat full of bowls and spoons to clean out after morning drop-off? Ice cream cones are a fun, portable and edible way to enjoy fruit on the go. Or better yet, layer with yogurt and whole-grain cereal for a Yogurt Parfait Cone (without the extra backseat trash!)

• Sip Your Way Satisfied — For kids who ask to just grab something to drink and go, make sure it’s a filling, nutrient-rich option. Peanut butter-banana breakfast shake provides the extra boost of hunger satisfying protein to hold hungry tummies over until lunch.

• Make Your Muffin “Tops” on Nutrition — A bakery muffin might seem like an easy grab-n-go option, but is it really the most nutritious choice? Apple-cheddar muffins are made with whole-grain flour and reduced-fat cheese. The extra fiber and protein provide just the right extra nutrition to keep kids fueled all morning long.

To read about what dairy council is doing to fuel schools and kids with great nutrition and physical activity once the car pool line is empty, visit fueluptoplay60.com. For even more tips on feeding families at home and on-the-go, be sure to follow the Florida Dairy Farmers website.

—Alyssa Greenstein, RD, LD/N

Dairy Health and Wellness Senior Manager

Dairy Council of Florida

Students take trip around the world

Get your passports ready because the first graders at Jewish Academy of Orlando are going to take you on a whirlwind tour. First stop, Israel, of course, but the journey doesn’t end there. The students and their integrated multicultural unit will also take you jet-setting to Mexico and Japan.

In just a two-month period, theses students learned two new languages in addition to the Hebrew they learn on a daily basis, spotted new geographical locations, experienced different cultures, and reflected on life outside of their own familiar surroundings.

One unique way they did this was through video conferencing with a Jewish Day School in Mexico, where the Jewish Academy students asked the first-graders in Mexico about their school day, family life and other relevant topics to the children. The Mexican students responded to their questions by sending their responses via video.

Then, the students headed across the Pacific Ocean to Japan where they were able to correspond with a fourth-grade Japanese student who once lived in Lake Mary but now resides in Japan. They asked him similar questions regarding his daily life and experiences living Japan as a young boy around their age.

These interviews proved invaluable as we used them to compare and contrast the lives of Jewish Academy students to children around the world. Interestingly enough, there were more similarities than differences, and our students concluded that kids are kids no matter where they live, what language they speak or what clothes they wear. It was an amazing exercise to teach diversity and acceptance.

The culmination for this study is a multicultural presentation in which the students showcase their learning through writing, music, poetry, art, food, etc. Leading up to the event, the first-graders gleaned help and wisdom from the school’s upperclassmen. The seventh-graders, through their Spanish class, helped the first-graders make piñatas and Spanish-to-English dictionaries. The sixth-graders, who also study Japan, assisted the first-graders in writing haikus using the middle schoolers’ laptops and created a slide show to present them.

In addition, the students participated in many cultural activities such as a Japanese tea ceremony, making salsa from scratch and having a guest speaker from Israel visit and make falafel with them.

At Jewish Academy, learning transcends the limits of a classroom’s walls. It is our aim to provide our students with knowledge and experiences that will make a lasting impression on them. Mrs. Gould’s multicultural unit is a perfect example of that goal.

—Dori Gerber

Jewish Academy of Orlando