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Should High Schoolers Be Allowed to Brew Beer?

Should High Schoolers Be Allowed to Brew Beer?

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A Colorado high school biology class is studying the beer brewing process

A high school class is brewing beer to learn about biology.

A high school teacher has caused quite a stir in Colorado after assigning biology students a project on the beer brewing process. reports that the assignment asks students to learn the ingredients and equipment needed to brew beer, as well as the necessary steps to produce the beer. Students can earn extra credit if they tour Coors Brewery to learn more about the brewing process.

"In no way does this assignment promote the use of alcohol, but rather a deeper understanding of anaerobic respiration," the synopsis also reads.

Parents, however, are worried that this will seemingly promote the use of alcohol to students. "Their (teenagers’) judgment isn’t always what it should be at this age, which is the reason we step in and say, ‘You cannot buy alcohol until you’re 21,'" one parent said. "I don’t see any reason to teach a 15-year-old the steps in brewing alcohol."

The process of fermentation has been taught for years without complaint, although this might be the first time students were asked to delve specifically into the process of brewing beer. A statement from Jefferson County School District says they will be reviewing the assignment in question.

"The teaching of fermentation or anaerobic respiration is a Colorado standard taught in biology classes. Teachers make choices in designing the lesson plans which help students meet those standards. While we value the efforts our teachers make to inspire learning in our students, we will be reviewing the assignment in question," the statement read. "Meanwhile, any parent who feels this is not an appropriate activity can request an alternative assignment covering the same content."

Should High Schoolers Be Allowed to Brew Beer? - Recipes

One of the biggest debates that has been pushed into today’s youth sports culture is whether athletes are best to specialize in one sport or try their hands at participating in multiple sports. Because of the prevalence, access, and influence of club based sports, we’re seeing more of our high school athletes specialize at an earlier age. In our post-season player surveys, I often read responses from underclassmen who are planning on dropping one sport in order to focus on their “main” sport the next year. As participation rates in most of our sports continue to decline, we try to actively combat this trend by pushing out information to our students.

Advocates of single sport specialization point to the “necessity” of year-round skill development in order to give athletes a chance at becoming good enough to play a sport beyond high school. While this method certainly works well for those who are naturally talented (see Tiger Woods or almost any Olympic gymnast), specialization still isn’t a guarantee for anything. In order to meet the goals of our educational-based programs, we focus on several other aspects of participation in our programs.

The main goal within our department is making sure the students are enjoying their time in our programs we want them to have fun. If athletes want to play multiple sports, we’re hoping that the adults in their lives are encouraging them to play multiple sports. Too often, the pressure to specialize comes from an adult, either a coach or a parent. If less than seven percent of high school athletes move on to college sports (and only three percent earn an athletic scholarship), we need to focus our programming on the other 93 percent of our participants. If we have 500 participants in our high school, encouraging early specialization is only going to benefit roughly 35 of those athletes, and many of those 35 athletes would have moved on to college sports anyway. Since most athletes prefer multi-sport participation, we want to create a culture that encourages multi-sport participation.

For those athletes who choose to specialize for the potential to advance to or beyond high school, it’s important for coaches and parents to be honest with them. The increased time, cost, and effort commitment is not a guarantee that anything awaits the athlete down the road. Any athlete who fully commits to a sport needs to be comfortable knowing that the end will come at some time, and probably sooner than the athlete was hoping.

There are several detriments for kids who specialize. The first is facing a greater risk of burnout. Kids get bored when they have to do the same thing over and over again. Couple that repetition of the same activity with outside pressure placed on the athlete by adults, and it’s a perfect recipe for burnout. Burnout can be caused by many factors, but it ultimately occurs when athletes feel helpless about their ability to meet external (or internal) expectations.

Another problem that we’re starting to see more and more of is overuse injuries. If tender, growing joints are subjected to the same movements and stress without rest and recovery, those joints are going to get hurt. Pick your favorite sport, and you’ll see that at least one set of joints is more susceptible to injury as a result of those sport specific movements. World renowned-surgeon Dr. James Andrews has spoken multiple times in the past few years about this more recent phenomenon. He focuses his discussion around the increase in Tommy John surgeries (to repair a ligament in the elbow) in younger athletes, specifically baseball players. Certainly the possibility of injury can be reduced through a well designed and implemented training program that incorporates rest time, but many of our club sports are being run by individuals who are have sport-specific knowledge and who are not familiar with periodization or safe training regiments.

One of the biggest issues we face with all kids in youth sports today is the overscheduling and overorganization of sports. Kids who are allowed time to free play – outside of the structure of organized sports – tend to be more creative, have better basic motor skills, learn more social/emotional skills, and find ways to just have fun while playing. Kids who are taking year-round lessons or moving from team to team and miss out on the opportunity to grab some friends, roll out the ball and just play.

The other risk our youth face when involved in year-round organized sports is that of stunted social and emotional growth. When adults are always in charge, kids don’t learn how to communicate with each other, how to problem solve, how to solve disagreements, or how to have fun for the sake of having fun. All of these are important skills that we use in the adult world as well. Aside from that, increased time in one activity naturally leads to decreased time in all other activities. This narrows an adolescent’s social circle and number of experiences outside of the specialized sport.

The last major detriment is the external pressure put on athletes to succeed. Athletes who are encouraged to specialize in a sport for any reason are often placed on a pedestal by the adults around them. Specialization often occurs as a result of coaches or parents who want athletes to “be the best they can be” without acknowledging that there are many paths to that goal. The younger the kids are, the fewer coping skills they have acquired to deal with this kind of pressure.

The many benefits of multi-sport participation are clear for the 93 percent of high school athletes who will not advance to the college level. Similarly, there are tangible benefits for those seven percent of athletes moving on, too. In addition to the athlete’s sport-specific skill level, college coaches want to know how an athlete moves, how an athlete thinks, how good of a teammate the athlete is, how the athlete deals with adversity, and how the athlete competes. All of these can be easier to witness when an athlete is playing a sport that comes less naturally to them.

In addition, there are plenty of cross-sport skills that can be learned in one activity then applied to others. Athletes can learn or enhance their hand-eye coordination, balance, endurance, explosion, communication or athletic agility by participating in a variety of sports. The athletes who are genetically gifted can still benefit greatly from participating in many different sports.

Because the majority of our youth athletes can benefit greatly from multi-sport participation, it is important to create a department philosophy and culture that encourages our students to stay involved in activities.

Mark Rerick

Mark Rerick, CMAA, has been an athletic director since 2006. After spending time splitting duties at other schools as a teacher, coach and principal, he has been the full time athletic director for Grand Forks (ND) Public Schools since 2012.

Why Choose a Funny Debate Topic?

Humor is a great way to connect with others. Needless to say, it’s also a lot of fun. Relying on funny topics almost guarantees you’ll engage both your audience and participants.

But you might be worried that a fun debate may be too silly to bring any value to the discussion, or develop any of your rhetorical skills. And while you’ll want to choose a fun debate topic with care, they have a lot to offer any debating venue. Posing a funny question doesn’t exclude the possibility of a heated debate because humor is just an extra attribute of debatable topics. A good topic can raise spirits and stir up other emotions at the same time. It can even be controversial (if that’s what you’re looking for, check out our page dedicated to funny controversial topics or persuasive controversial topics).

High School Students and Drinking

When it comes to teen drinking, parents would be wise not to look the other way. The consequences -- from drunk driving accidents to date rape and violent crime -- make it clear that teen drinking is much more than just harmless youthful experimentation.

Ideally, no parent wants his or her teen to drink. First, it's illegal -- and according to the U.S. Department of Justice, 131,800 kids were arrested for violating liquor laws in 2008 alone. Second, it can be dangerous -- especially if your child has car keys. According to the Marin Institute, a social policy institute devoted to the study of children and alcohol, about 5,000 youth under age 21 die each year as a result of alcohol-related injuries and 38 percent of those deaths involve car accidents. Drinking is also linked with suicide, use of other drugs, and irresponsible sexual behaviors. And according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the younger kids are when they begin to drink, the more likely they are to become problem drinkers later in life.

What may surprise parents more, though, is what heavy drinking can do to the adolescent brain. Sandra Brown and Susan Tapert of the University of California at San Diego studied the effects of heavy alcohol use on teenagers' brains and found some disturbing results. One study compared magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of 10 healthy women to 10 women who were binge drinkers as adolescents and found that the former drinkers were hampered by "sluggish" thinking when trying to recall information.

Another unsettling study compared the cognitive skills of alcohol-dependent and non-dependent teens. It found that teens who were heavy drinkers had impaired memory and poor verbal skills. In fact, say researchers, alcohol abuse may be more damaging to adolescents than it is to adults because it can kill cells in parts of the brain that are still developing.

Setting your kids on the right path

So what's a concerned parent to do? Most importantly, work to maintain a strong relationship with your teen -- one in which he or she feels free to talk openly. Kids who have good relationships with their parents are more likely to feel self confident and less likely to give in to peer pressure to drink. Set clear, realistic expectations, make sure your teen knows the consequences of breaking the rules, and be consistent in enforcing those consequences. The NIAAA suggests your family rules could include:

  • Kids will not drink until they are 21.
  • Older siblings will not give younger members of the family alcohol or encourage them to drink.
  • Kids will not stay at parties where alcohol is served.
  • Kids will not be passengers in a car with a driver who has been drinking.

Some parents use consequences like grounding the child, taking away his or her cell phone, or removing TV or activity privileges -- whatever fits the seriousness of the offense.

Let your teenager know how proud you are when she resists the peer pressure to drink.

Encourage your teen to participate in plenty of fun, supervised activities. According to the NIAAA, kids who are involved in enjoyable activities are less likely to be bored and turn to alcohol for fun. At the same time, keep track of your child's activities so you won't be caught off guard when it turns out he or she wasn't down at the track after school doing extra sports practice. It's always a good idea to give your teen a curfew, so you both know when he should be home.

Next, make sure your teen's environment doesn't convey the message that drinking is acceptable, or that it's a good way to cope with stress, social anxiety, and other problems. Start by looking at yourself -- do you set a good example by staying away from alcohol, or drinking only in moderation? If you come home from a hard day at work and say, "I need a drink," you may be telling your child that alcohol is a good way to deal with stress. Give your teen some tips on healthy ways to deal with stress or problems, like exercising, listening to music, or talking things out. Make sure your kids know that even though alcohol is legal (for adults), it can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs when misused.

Watch out for movies, TV shows, magazine ads, and other ways your teen could get the message that drinking is just part of a normal high school existence. Discuss media images and the difference between them and real life.

Help your teen figure out ways to deal with peer pressure ahead of time. What should her response be if someone offers her a drink at a party, or someone who has been drinking offers her a ride home? The NIAAA says the best course is to be firm in saying no and to not make excuses. You should also let your child know how you will support her -- maybe by offering to pick her up anytime, anywhere, with no lecturing if she finds herself in a difficult situation.

Be aware that teens who drink are more likely to be sexually active and to have unprotected sex than teens who do not drink. They're also more likely to have behavioral problems in school and try illicit drugs. So if your teen drinks, be on the lookout for other risky or troublesome behaviors, as well as for mental health issues like depression.

One trend that's received a lot of attention is the decision by some parents to host teen parties in their homes and allow guests to bring beer or other drinks. On the surface, it makes sense if the party is under your roof, you can make sure no one drinks and drives. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. When large numbers of kids gather in one house, it's almost impossible to monitor what everyone is doing, or take the car keys away from every driver who has been drinking. Equally important, underage drinking is illegal, and in some states you could face jail time for allowing teen partygoers to drink in your home.

What's more, drinking parties often involve binge drinking, which has been associated with violence, sexual assault, rape, and alcohol poisoning. Even if you're at home when your teen is having a party, it's unlikely that you will be able to monitor everything that's going on behind closed doors. It's possible such an incident could occur under your roof.

To address this growing problem, communities across the country are passing laws that hold adults accountable when an underage drinking party is held in their home. Some communities have passed what are called "social host liability laws," which means adults who serve or provide alcohol to those under 21 can be held criminally liable if a minor is killed or injured, or kills or injures another person at the party or on the way home.

Other laws, known as teen party ordinances, make it illegal to host a party where underage youth are drinking. Under these laws, simply allowing a drinking party to be held with your knowledge is a crime. In other words, you are liable simply if alcohol is present at the party -- even if you did not provide it -- and you can be held accountable whether or not any injury or damage occurs.

Even if there aren't teen party ordinances in your community, in almost every state it is illegal to give alcohol to minors who are not in your family.

So be forewarned -- trying to be the "cool" parent may come with a high price tag. Though sometimes it may not seem like it, your kids look to you for guidance. Studies show that parents can have a huge influence on their kids' behavior. In fact, the main reason children choose not to drink is because they don't want to incur their parents' disapproval. In spite of the eye rolls and the foot-dragging, kids do listen. And what you say and do can make a difference.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The Marin Institute: Alcohol Industry Watchdog

Make a Difference: Talk to Your Child About Alcohol. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rethinking Drinking. Alcohol and Your Health. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The Marin Institute. Policies to Combat Underage Drinking Parties.

The Marin Institute. Fact Sheet: Youth and Alcohol. February 20, 2009.

We Dont Serve Teens. Real Stories. Federal Trade Commission.

Teen drinking more dangerous than previously thought. Monitor on Psychology. Volume 32, No. 5, June 2001.

It will help them be ready for whats to come. The Iluminati WILL COME AGAIN AND TAKE OVER THE WORLD. It will get them ready so the Iluminati will not posses there soles (how ever the heck u spell that word) . Just kidding. But be ware. May god save us all ,

Kids in high school need to work. Not very many of them can say that they do and a lot need to. It teaches them responsibility and time management. They all are becoming self centered and not caring. They all need a reality check fast and bad. They all need a job

When Should Schools Start in the morning?

This is not really a new post. But it is not exactly a re-publishing of an old post either. It is a lightly edited mashup or compilation of excerpts from several old posts - I hope it all makes sense this way, all in one place. The sources of material are these old posts:

I am glad to see that there is more and more interest in and awareness of sleep research. Just watch Sanjay Gupta on CNN or listen to the recent segment on Weekend America on NPR.

At the same time, I am often alarmed at the levels of ignorance still rampant in the general population, and even more the negative social connotations of sleep as an indicator of laziness.

Nothing pains me more than when I see educators (in comments) revealing such biases in regards to their student in the adolescent years. Why do teachers think that their charges are lazy, irresponsible bums, and persist in such belief even when confronted with clear scientific data demonstrating that sleep phase in adolescents is markedly delayed in comparison to younger and older people?

In short, presumably under the influence of the sudden surge of sex steroid hormones (and my own research gently touched on this), the circadian clock phase-advances in teen years. It persists in this state until one is almost 30 years old. After that, it settles into its adult pattern. Of course, we are talking about human populations, not individuals - you can surely give me an anecdote about someone who does not follow this pattern. That's fine. Of course there are exceptions, as there is vast genetic (and thus phenotypic) variation in human populations. This does not in any way diminish the findings of population studies.

Everyone, from little children, through teens and young adults to elderly, belongs to one of the 'chronotypes'. You can be a more or less extreme lark (phase-advanced, tend to wake up and fall asleep early), a more or less extreme owl (phase-delayed, tend to wake up and fall asleep late). You can be something in between - some kind of "median" (I don't want to call this normal, because the whole spectrum is normal) chronotype.

Along a different continuum, one can be very rigid (usually the extreme larks find it really difficult to adjust to work schedules that do not fit their clocks), or quite flexible (people who find it easy to work night-shifts or rotating shifts and tend to remain in such jobs long after their colleagues with less flexible clocks have quit).

No matter where you are on these continua, once you hit puberty your clock will phase-delay. If you were an owl to begin with, you will become a more extreme owl for about a dozen years. If you are an extreme lark, you'll be a less extreme lark. In the late 20s, your clock will gradually go back to your baseline chronotype and retain it for the rest of your life.

The important thing to remember is that chronotypes are not social constructs (although work-hours and school-hours are). No amount of bribing or threatening can make an adolescent fall asleep early. Don't blame video games or TV. Even if you take all of these away (and you should that late at night, and replace them with books) and switch off the lights, the poor teen will toss and turn and not fall asleep until midnight or later, thus getting only about 4-6 hours of sleep until it is time to get up and go to school again.

More and more school districts around the country, especially in more enlightened and progressive areas, are heeding the science and making a rational decision to follow the science and adjust the school-start times accordingly. Instead of forcing teenagers to wake up at their biological midnight (circa 6am) to go to school, where invariably they sleep through the first two morning classes, more and more schools are adopting the reverse busing schedule: elementary schools first (around 7:50am), middle schools next (around 8:20am) and high schools last (around 8:50am). I hope all schools around the country eventually adopt this schedule and quit torturing the teens and then blaming the teens for sleeping in class and making bad grades.

No matter how much you may wish to think that everything in human behavior originates in culture, biology will trump you every now and then, and then you should better pay attention, especially if the life, health, happiness and educational quality of other people depends on your decisions.

Recently, Lance Mannion wrote an interesting post on the topic, which reminded me also of an older post by Ezra Klein in which the commenters voiced all the usual arguments heard in this debate.

There are a couple of more details that I have not touched upon in the previous posts.

First, lack of sleep can lead to obesity and even diabetes, as the circadian clock is tightly connected to the ghrelin/leptin system of hormonal control of hunger, feeding and fat-deposition.

Second, lack of sleep discourages exercise. Put these two pieces of data together, and you get a national epidemic of obesity, not just a bunch of sleep-deprived children.

Third, lack of sleep has a well-documented effect on mood. No, teenagers are not naturally that moody - at least not all of them. They are just barely "functional" (instead of "optimal") and walk through life like zombies because they are operating on 4-8 hours of sleep instead of 9 hours (optimal for teens, it goes down to about 8 for adults). Of course they are moody.

Fourth, chronic sleep deprivation can have long-term consequences, ranging from psychiatric diseases to cancer. Remember that teens in high-school (and college students are faring worse!) are constantly jet-lagged!

There is even a hypothesis floating around that sleep-delay in adolescence may affect the onset of picking up smoking.

Fifth - and I did not think of this although it is obvious - teenagers above a certain age, still in high school, are allowed to drive. If they are driving themselves to school at 6 or 7am, when their circadian clocks think is it 3 or 4am, it is as if they are driving drunk. There is actually a scale devised by one of the sleep researchers that tells which time of the night corresponds to what number of bottles of beer. Driving at 4am (or driving a ship, like Exxon Valdez, or operating a power-plant, like one in Chernobyl) is the equivalent of driving drunk - way over the legal limits. Teenagers driving at 7am are equally "drunk".

One of the reasons for the resistance to healthy initiatives to change school-start schedules stems from the fact that the world is organized by adults and adults want to have the world run according to schedules that fit their moods and are unwilling to change it - they may not know that teens feel differently, or they defend their preferences nonetheless.

A large proportion of adults in this country still subscribe to barbaric notions that sleep is a shameful activity, a sign of laziness, and that teens need to be tortured in order to "steel" them to grow into "real men". This has roots all the way back to the Puritan so-called "work-ethic" which is really a "no fun for anyone" punitive ethic long ago shown to be physically and emotionally debilitating.

When I was a kid, back in old now-non-existent Yugoslavia, most schools in big urban areas worked in two shifts. All the kids started school at 8am and ended at 1:15pm for one week, then started at 2pm and ended at 7:15pm the next week, and so on.

If a school had, let's say, twelve classes of the seventh grade, six of those would be in the A-shift and the other six in the B-shift. Each shift had its own complete set of teachers, assistants, nurses. everything except the one shared Principal and the school psychologist.

The time between 1:15pm and 2pm was for supplementary classes (either for those who needed extra help, or for those preparing for Math Olympics and such) and clubs. That was also time for kids from two shifts to meet and get to know each other (it is amazing how many kids from opposite shifts started dating each other after the year-end Big Trip to the Coast). There was no such thing as the American hype for high-school competitive sports, which I still find strange and curious after 15 [now 20] years in this country.

Thus, you get to sleep in for a week (but miss out on afternoon activities), then have to get up relatively early for a week but have the afternoon free to gallivant around town. Nobody there understands what's the American fuss over kids being home alone - of course they are home alone, cleaning the house, fixing meals, doing homework and BETTER be getting to school on time!

Teachers were pretty understanding about sleeping types. I do not recall ever having a big test, quiz or exam being given at the extremes of the day (around 8am or around 7pm). As an owl myself, I was much more likely to raise my hand, participate in discussions, or volunteer for oral examinations during the week when I was in school in the afternoon, and that was fine with most of my teachers.

Transportation was not an issue. Most kids lived close enough to their neighborhood school to walk. For those who lived a little farther away - hey, no problem, that's Europe, so Belgrade has a huge and pretty efficient public transportation system. I do not remember ever seeing any of my friends ever being dropped off to school by a parent driving a car! Or being brought to or picked up from school by a parent beyond fourth grade at all - period. And the minimum driving age being 18, nobody drove themselves to school either.

In rural areas, there was no need for two shifts - something like 9am-2:15pm was good enough to accommodate all of the kids.

I do not think that this kind of system can be implemented in the USA. It relies on an efficient public transportation which, with exception of a few oldest East Coast cities, is practically non-existent. American cities have been built for cars.

But some things can be done.

First, swap the starting times so elementary kids go to school first, middle school next and high school last (e.g., around 8am, 8:30am and 9am respectively). Studies show that teens do not go to sleep later if their school starts later. Some cynics claim that is what teens will do. But they do not. Actually, they fall asleep at the same time, thus gaining an additional hour of sleep.

Teens are almost adults. The current generation of teens, perhaps because of a closer and tighter contact with their parents than any generation before, is the most serious, mature and responsible generation I have seen. Give them a benefit of the doubt. Just because you were into mischief and hated your parents when you were their age does not mean that today's kids are the same.

Second, start the school day - for all kids every day - with PE (or some kind of exercise), preferably outdoors, as both exposure to daylight and the exercise have been shown to aid in phase-shifting the circadian clock.

Third, let them eat breakfast afterwards (sticking to a meal schedule also helps entrain the clock). Follow up with the electives which kids may be most interested in.

By the time they hit math, science and English classes around 11 or so, their bodies are finally fully awake and they can understand what the teacher is saying, and do the tests with a clear mind instead of in a sleepy haze.

Do not permit any caffeine to be sold in schools. Advise parents not to allow TV or any other electronics to be in kids' bedrooms. Let them enjoy those activities in the living room. Bedroom is for sleeping, and sleeping alone. A book before bed is fine, but screens just keep them awake even longer.

Finally, rethink all those extra activities you are forcing the teens to do: sports, art, music, etc. In teen's minds, the day does not start with the beginning of school in the morning. We may think that we are at work most of our day. Teens do not - they consider their day to begin at the time school-day is over. Their day begins in the afternoon. School is something they have to deal with before they can have their day. Realize this and give them time and space to do with their day what they want. Do not push them to do things that you think they'll need to get into Harvard. Let them be - leave them alone. Then they'll go to sleep at a normal time.

Concern for our kids' physical and mental health HAS to trump all other concerns, including economic costs, cultural traditions and adult preferences. We have a problem and we need to do something, informed by science, to fix the problem. Blaming the messenger, proposing to do nothing, and, the worst, blaming the kids, is unacceptable.

All of this targets high-schoolers. However, there is barely any mention of college students who are, chronobiologically, in the same age-group as high-school students, i.e., their sleep cycles are phase-delayed compared to both little kids and to adults.

In a way, this may be because there is not much adults can do about college students. They are supposedly adults themselves and capable of taking care of themselves. Nobody forces (at least in theory) them to take 8am classes. Nobody forces them to spend nights partying either.

They are on their own, away from their parents' direct supervision, so nobody can tell them to remove TVs and electronic games out of their bedrooms. The college administrators cannot deal with this because it is an invasion of students' privacy.

Forward-looking school systems in reality-based communities around the country have, over the last several years, implemented a policy that is based on science - sending elementary school kids to school first in the morning, middle-schoolers next, and high-schoolers last. This is based on the effects of puberty on the performance of the human circadian clock.

For teenagers, 6am is practically midnight - their bodies have barely begun to sleep. Although there have been some irrational (or on-the-surface-economics-based) voices of opposition - based on outdated notions of laziness - they were not reasonable enough, especially not in comparison to the scientific and medical information at hand, for school boards to reject these changes.

I am very happy that my kids are going to school in such an enlightened environment, and I am also happy to note that every year more school systems adopt the reasonable starting schedules based on current scientific knowledge.

Yet, college students are, from what I heard, in much worse shape than high-schoolers. Both groups should sleep around 9 hours per day (adults over thirty are good with about 8 hours). High-schoolers get on average 6.9 hours. College students are down to about five! The continuous insomnia of college students even has its own name in chronobiology: Student Lag (like jet-lag without travelling to cool places). Is there anything we, as a society, can do to alleviate student lag? Should we?

This kind of ignorant bleating makes me froth at the mouth every time - I guess it is because this is my own blogging "turf".

One of the recurring themes of my blog is the disdain I have for people who equate sleep with laziness out of their Puritan core of understanding of the world, their "work ethic" which is a smokescreen for power-play, their vicious disrespect for everyone who is not like them, and the nasty feeling of superiority they have towards the teenagers just because they are older, bigger, stronger and more powerful than the kids. Not to forget the idiotic notions that kids need to be "hardened", or that, just because they managed to survive some hardships when they were teens, all the future generations have to be sentenced to the same types of hardships, just to make it even. This is bullying behavior, and disregarding and/or twisting science in the search for personal triumphalism irks me to no end.

He said that he grew up in height and weight when he was in high school. Who knows how much more he would have grown if he was not so sleep deprived (if his self-congatulatory stories are to be believed and he did not slack off every chance he had). Perhaps he would not grow up to be so grouchy and mean-spirited if he had a more normal adolescence.

I don't know where he got the idea that growth hormone is a cause of the phase-delay of circadian rhythms in adolescence. It could be, but it is unlikely - we just don't know yet. But, if a hormone is a cause, than it is much more likely to be sex steroids. Perhaps his sleep-deprived and testosterone-deprived youth turned him into a sissy with male anxiety he channels into lashing at those weaker than him?

He assumes that in times before electricity, teenagers used to wake up and fall asleep at the same time adults did. Well, they did not. Studies of sleep patterns in primitive tribes show that adolescents are the last ones to wake up (and nobody bashes them for it - it is the New Primitives with access to the media that do that) and the last ones to fall asleep - they serve as first-shift sentries during the night watch.

Actually, the military being the most worried by this problem is funding a lot of research on circadian rhythms and sleep and has been for decades. Because they know, first hand, how big a problem it is and that yelling sargeants do not alert soldiers make.

. and sit in the dark for the next four hours, heh?

What especially drives me crazy is that so many teachers, people who work with adolescents every day, succumb to this indulgence in personal power over the children. It is easier to get into a self-righteous 'high' than to study the science and do something about the problem. It is easier to blame the kids than to admit personal impotence and try to do something about it by studying the issue.

My regular readers are probably aware that the topic of adolescent sleep and the issue of starting times of schools are some of my favourite subjects for a variety of reasons: I am a chronobiologist, I am an extreme "owl" (hence the name of this blog), I am a parent of developing extreme "owls", I have a particular distaste for Puritanical equation of sleep with laziness which always raises its ugly head in discussions of adolescent sleep, and much of my own past research was somewhat related to this topic.

So, I was particularly pleased when Jessica of the excellent Bee Policy blog informed me of the recent publication of a book devoted entirely to this topic. Snooze. or Lose! by Helen Emsellem was published by National Academies and Jessica managed to get me an advanced reading copy to review.

You can also read the book online (or buy the PDF). Much more information on the topic can be found on the book webpage, on the National Slep Foundation website, on Dr.Emsellem's homepage and the Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal (S.L.E.E.P.) website. I strongly encourage you to look around those webpages.

Her daughter Elyssa wrote one of the chapters in the book and is promoting the book and the information relevant to teenagers at the place where teenagers are most likely to see it - on MySpace (you see - it's not just music bands who caught onto this trick - serious information can be promoted at MySpace as well).

The main audience for this book are teenagers themselves and their parents - I think in this order although officially the order is reversed. Secondarily, the audience are teachers, administrators and officials in charge of school policy. Who this book is not targeted to are scientists and book reviewers because there are no end notes!

Anyway, considering that the main audience are teens, their parents and teachers (i.e., laypeople), the book is admirably clear and readable. The book starts out with presenting the problem - the chronic sleep deprivation of adolescents in modern society - and provides ample evidence that this is indeed a wide-spread problem. It continues with a simple primer on physiology of sleep and circadian rhythms, followed by a review of the current knowledge of the negative consequences of chronic sleep deprivation: from susceptibility to diseases, through psychological and behavioral problems, to problems of physical and mental performance.

A whole chapter - the one I found most interesting - is devoted to the role of sleep in various kinds of memory and the negative effects of sleep deprivation on learning - both declarative and episodic memory, as well as kinesthetic memory needed for athletic performance and safe driving. This is where I missed the end notes the most.

Throughout the book, Dr.Emsellem makes statements of fact about sleep that are obviously derived from research. I'd like to see the references to that research so I can evaluate for myself how strong each such statement is. Although my specialty is chronobiology (physiology, development, reproduction, behavior, ecology and evolution) of birds, and secondarily that of mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and microorganisms (I could never quite get excited about clocks in fish, fungi and plants, or molecular aspects of circadian rhythms, or medical aspects of human rhythms), I am quite familiar with the literature on sleep, including in humans.

Thus, I know that the statements in the book reflect scientific consensus but that the meaning of "consensus" is quite elastic. In some cases, it means "there is a mountain of evidence for this statement and no evidence against it, so it is highly unlikely that this will change any time soon". In other cases it means "there are a few studies suggesting this, but they are not perfect and there are some studies with differing results, and this can stand for now but is likely to me modified or completely overturned by future research".

Having end notes would help the expert reader see how weak or strong each one of these findings is, and would also be suggestive to lay readers that the statements in the book are supported by actual research and are not just the author's invention as seen in so many self-help books. End notes and references add to the believability of the text even if one does not bother to check the papers out.

The book then turns to variety of factors, both biological and social, that conspire to deprive our teens of sleep, both from the perspective of a sleep researcher and from the perspective of teenagers. Little snippets of teenagers' thoughts on the topic are included throughout the book and add an important perspective as well as make the book more fun to read. Otherwise, the "case studies", the bane of so many psychology books, are kept to the minimum, discussed very briefly, and used wisely..

In the next section, Dr.Emsellem turns to solutions. First, she present several tests of sleep deprivation that readers can administer themselves in order to self-diagnose the problem. She then describes ten different strategies that parents and teens can work on together in order to solve the problem of sleep deprivation and all the concomittant negative effects (and Alyssa adds her own chapter on the teen perspective on how those can work). If that does not work, she describes additional methods that a sleep doctor may prescribe to help solve the problem. There is also a short chapter describing a couple of other sleep disorders, e.g., sleep apnea, that also contribute to sleep deprivation in affected individuals.

The last portion of the book addresses the social aspects of sleep deprivation and changes that parents and teens can make in their homes, as well as broader community, towards solving the problem. For adults, being a role model for the child is important and this requires paying attention to one's own sleep hygiene.

The very last portion is really the raison d'etre of the book - how to make one's community change the school starting times. The author presents a couple of examples of school districts in which such change was enacted, the strategies parents used to force such changes and the incredible positive results of such changes. The whole book is really designed to provide information to parents and teens who are working on changing their local attitudes toward school starting times.

The schools used to start about 9am for most of the century (and before). Then, due to the pressure from business and economic (read "busing") woes of school districts, the school starting times started creeping earlier and earlier starting back in 1970s until they reach the horribly early times seen today in many places, requiring kids to get up as early as 5am in order to catch the school bus on time. As a result, high schoolers (and to some extent middle schoolers and college students) sleep through the first two periods in school, feel weak and groggy all day long, more easily succumb to diseases, have trouble learning and performing well in school and the athletic field, and are in too bad mood to be pleasant at home - this is not the natural state of things as much as the stereotype of the "grouchy teen" is prevalent in the society, it is mainly due to sleep deprivation and the biggest factor causing sleep deprivation are early school starting times.

In places in which enlightened and progressive school boards succumbed to the wishes of parents and students, i.e., in places in which parents and students used smart diplomatic tactics to engender such change, the positive results are astounding. The grades went up. The test scores went up. The students are happy. The parents are happy. The teachers are happy. The coaches are happy because their teams are winning all the state championships. There is a decrease in tardiness and absences. There is a decrease in sick days and even in numbers of diagnoses of ADD and depression in teens. There is a drop in teen crime. There is a drop in car accidents involving teens (by 15% in one place!). The whole county feels upbeat about it!

While the book makes me - a scientist - thirsty for end notes and references, it does remarkably well what it was designed to do - arm the parent and kids with knowledge needed to make a positive change in their communities - a change that is necessary in order to raise new generations to be healthy and successful, something we owe to our children.

We should do this no matter how much it costs, but the experiences from places in which the changes were made, contrary to doomsayers, is that there was no additional cost to this at all. The changes were implemented slowly and with everyone involved pitching in their opinion and their expertise until the best possible system was arrived at, adapted to the local community situation. No new buses were needed to be rented. No unexpected new costs appeared. And having a safe, happy community saved money elsewhere (e.g., accidents and crime rate decline). And it worked wonderfully everywhere.

So, get the book and let your child read it, you read it, give a copy to other people in your community: the teachers, the school principal, the pediatrician, the child psychologist, the school board members, the superintendent of education and the governor. This is something that is easy to do, there are no good reasons against it and the health and the future of our kids is at stake. It is something worth fighting for and this book is your first weapon.

Enough already: High school stars should be able to go directly to NBA

It was not long ago that the nation was gripped in public debate about a 14-year-old Taylor Swift moving to Nashville to pursue a music career. Remember the concern for the future of the child actors starring in the Harry Potter movies?

Of course not. This did not happen.

Just like there was no hand-wringing in 2007 when at 18 Patrick Kane became a professional hockey player for the Blackhawks. Just like there was no national discourse in 2011 when the Cubs made Javier Baez a professional baseball player out of a Florida high school.

Indeed, our culture applauds prodigies and rightly encourages their youthful pursuit of their passions.

But not when it comes to basketball.

Gifted players such as Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker and Anthony Davis must wait.

"Come on," said Nick Irvin, AAU coach of Mac Irvin Fire, which annually fields elite pro-level talent. "Look at tennis players, golfers. They turn pro early too. It's like, why basketball? Why are you putting the stipulation on them? It's not right."

While other leagues have draft rules regarding age, there is far more — frankly too much — control and hypocrisy dictating when basketball players can jump to the NBA.

The current one-and-done rule is laughable and ineffective. Worse, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is touting a rule that essentially requires players to complete two seasons in college to produce more finished products for the league.

The NFL has the most restrictive policy, with players needing to be out of high school three years to be eligible for the draft. The NFL understandably has this rule to prevent players who are not fully developed from entering the league and getting injured.

But among all sports, basketball players are arguably the most skill-ready to play professionally out of high school. If he's not ready, don't draft him.

The National Basketball Players Association will vehemently fight a two-year rule. More players may opt to immediately play professionally overseas out of high school.

The NBA should abolish age requirements and strengthen its developmental league by creating 30 team associations instead of using colleges as its farm system.

Top Ten Reasons to Say NO to Tobacco, Alcohol, Drugs

10. Look your best. Using tobacco, alcohol or drugs takes a toll on your appearance. From nicotine stained teeth to bloodshot eyes – from a dull, vacant expression to poor posture and impaired motor skills – each of these substances can damage the way you look, feel and behave.

9. Save money. Let’s talk dollars and sense. A pack of cigarettes in Anchorage costs up to $10 a pack! A half case of beer runs $15-20. And as for drugs, marijuana is one of the cheaper choices at nearly $300 an ounce! Considering the harm these substances represent to you and your future, WHY would you invest this kind of money in self-destruction?

8. Feel healthier, more fit. Smoking slows down the flow of blood through arteries in the body. It destroys lung tissue and inhibits breathing. Alcohol is a depressant. It not only impairs judgement, it diminishes motor skills and mobility. And drugs present a wide variety of health risks and dangers depending on which drug you are using. If you care about your health and fitness, just say NO to Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs.

7. Sleep sound, improve memory. Tobacco, alcohol and drugs inhibit and interrupt normal sleep patterns, and often interfere with new learning and the normal memory processes.

6. Be free and independent. If you know anyone who is hooked on cigarettes or dependent on alchol or drugs to feel relaxed, you can easily see that their dependency robs them of their freedom of choice and independence. Be aware of advertising for tobacco and alcohol products that target teens. These large corporation know that you are the most vulnerable to their products. There is a fine line between a bad habit and true addiction. Be smart. Be strong. Be free.

5. Be happier and more content. While tobacco, alcohol and drugs may offer some users short-term enjoyment, they also lead to depression, guilt, fear, fatigue, paranoia and despair. True and lasting happiness come from within, not from a bottle, a pipe or a pack of smokes.

4. Earn better grades, ensure a brighter future. Think about students you know who are caught up in TAD. Are many of them on the Honor Roll or on a fast-track to earning a college scholarship? The choices you make now will affect the rest of your life.

3. One bad choice leads to another. Once you start using tobacco, or drinking alcohol or taking drugs, it becomes a LOT easier to start experimenting with other harmful substances. Used in combination, these substances can lead to very serious health risks, including death.

2. Be yourself, be confident. The best version of you is YOU. And it’s impossible to be yourself when you are impaired by tobacco, alcohol or drugs. True friends like and love you for who you ARE for real. A sure way to alienate and lose friends is to become someone other than who you really are. By choosing to be tobacco, alcohol and drug-free, you are naturally more self-assured and confident. You are also more reliable, responsible and consistent.

1. Play for Keeps. Win for Life. As you prepare for high school, one of the most exciting and enjoyable pursuits are the many sports and activities you’ll find through the Alaska School Activities Association. Your eligibility to participate in these sports and activities is contingent on being Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug free.

Why Cooking in Schools?

The decline in people’s ability to cook over the past generation has been broadcast far and wide!

The British now eat more "ready meals" than the rest of Europe combined and it is no exaggeration to say that cooking is becoming a forgotten skill for most people under the age of 30. Thanks to the tireless campaigning work of the Focus on Food campaign The Focus on Food campaign a short history of the Focus on Food Campaign , Children's Food Campaign and many others, changes to the national curriculum took place in September 2014.

For the first time ever, practical cookery is compulsory in maintained schools for children up to year 9. The Department of Education’s report recommended specifically that students in Key Stages 1 to 3 should "learn about food and, where possible, plan and prepare healthy, wholesome dishes". It adds that pupils should have practical knowledge in horticulture "to cultivate plants . for food".

Campaigners have lobbied hard for this and our cause was taken up by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, the DfE's school food review team. SFM was able to show the review team excellent cooking and growing projects in London schools to demonstrate the value of food education. This was a great start to the School Food Plan and we are delighted that we have been able to play our part.

At SFM we are honoured to work with a small but dedicated group of chefs who give their time and ingredients for free to deliver a Cooking or Kitchen Garden Ideas session to our member schools. Please visit our membership section if your school would like to learn more.

We believe that every child should be given the opportunity to learn cooking skills at school.

Being able to cook means you have more control over what you are putting into your body. Britain is only second to America when it comes to an overweight population, but research shows Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention? Wolfson J and Bleich N. 2014 that people who cook at home are consuming a healthier diet than those who don't.

Children who cook Expanding Children’s Food Experiences: The Impact of a School-Based Kitchen Garden Program: University of Melbourne October 2013 are more likely to report that they like cooking “a lot” as well as showing increased willingness to try new foods. Learning how to cook at school also shows a transfer of benefits in the home, with children being more ready to help in the kitchen.

Children who attend Food For Life schools Evaluation of Food for Life: Pupil survey in local commission areas: Food for Life’s impact on primary school children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables. Jones M et al. 2015 with well-developed food education programmes (cooking and growing) are twice as likely to eat five a day and a third less likely to eat no fruit or vegetables than pupils in comparison schools. They also eat around a third more of fruit and vegetables than pupils in comparison schools, and significantly more fruit and vegetables at home.

Let's Get Cooking Evaluation of the Let's Get Cooking programme: Final Report 2012 (a network of over 5,000 school-based family cooking clubs) reports that nearly 60% of people taking part say they eat a healthier diet after being taught how to cook balanced meals. Over 9 out of 10 (92%) LGC club participants also report regularly using their new cooking skills at home.

Eating together Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents? Hammons A. et al. 2011 is one of the best ways for families to connect. Research has shown that children and adolescents who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together

Should You Let Your Kids Drink Alcohol?

It&aposs been 30 years since the U.S. raised its legal drinking age to 21, a rule that&aposs led many a college student astray of the law. And it&aposs often broken in homes across the country, as kids get their first sips of beer or wine from a parent&aposs cup.

But even though I had my first taste of wine on a Christmas Eve long before I was legally old enough to drink, I haven&apost yet let my own kids try it. And if you look at most of the studies about underage drinking, it looks like I might be right to hold off. Several studies have shown that allowing your children to drink when they&aposre underage may make them more likely to binge drink later on𠅎specially if they&aposre girls. But as with anything, there are studies that contradict that idea—including a 2004 study that showed that਌hildren who drank with their parents were nearly half as likely to say they had drank in the past month and about one third as likely to admit to binge drinking in the past two weeks.

So what&aposs a parent to do? Right now, I&aposm sticking to my no-sips-allowed policy, and modeling responsible alcohol consumption for them (ensuring that you have a designated driver, and enjoying without overindulging). And since my 10-year-old was scandalized that the Catholic Church let her friend sip wine at her First Communion, I hopefully have a few more years before she&aposs really tempted to try it.

But there&aposs also a big difference between providing beer for your teen&aposs party and offering a glass of champagne to celebrate a special event. The studies that show the decreased rates of drinking in teens were in families where the teens were allowed to drink alcohol in family or religious settings. And if I decide to change my no-sips policy, I&aposd only be doing it in the context of a family gathering or special celebration𠅊 sip of champagne at her high school graduation, for example. (So friends of my daughters𠅍on&apost be expecting a kegger in your honor!)

But I&aposm realistic. The odds of my daughters waiting until they turn 21 to drink are pretty low. And so I&aposm laying the groundwork now so that they&aposll at least stay safe when they do it. I&aposve already stressed the importance of not driving with someone whose drinking (and already told them I will always give them or a friend a safe ride home, no questions asked), and explained what drinking too much does to you𠅊nd why you may want to avoid that. (Hangovers and nausea = no fun!) And hopefully, they&aposll heed my advice, and avoid a few of the mistakes I made along the way.

Watch the video: ΟΙ ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΙΖΟΥΜΕΝΟΙ του Βασίλη Ρώτα- ΠΛΟΥΤΑΡΧΕΙΟ 4ο Γυμνάσιο Λιβαδειάς (July 2022).


  1. Aziz

    I apologise, but, in my opinion, you are mistaken. Let's discuss.

  2. Niru

    your opinion, this your opinion

  3. Mazugal

    True to the sentence

  4. Macartan

    Sorry for all of them.

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