The Wellness Word

February 2017

Heart Health

Valentine's isn't the only event approaching in February. February is also American Heart Month. If you didn't make a New Year's Resolution, or have fallen off track, February is the perfect time to commit to a healthier lifestyle. Achieving a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to include drastic measures. Instead, consider making small lifestyle changes, such as using salt free seasonings in your meals.

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths."

There are many known risk factors for heart disease. There are some risk factors that you can't control such as your age, gender, and family history. There are other risk factors that you can control to prevent your chances of getting heart disease.

  1. High blood cholesterol
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Diabetes and prediabetes
  4. Overweight and obesity
  5. Smoking
  6. Lack of physical activity
  7. Unhealthy diet
  8. Stress

So what can you do today to work your way to a healthier lifestyle?

  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Talk to your doctor about your heart health and evaluate your risk factors.
  • Add a little bit more exercise to your day. Not everybody is ready to commit to running 3 miles a day right out of the gate. Start by parking your car at the back of the parking lot and try to increase your step count by 1000 steps a day. Take physical activity breaks in the work day by adding in some calf raises, squats, or jumping jacks. Physical activity breaks are healthier than coffee, and a lot of fun!
  • Watch what you eat. If you don't already, start cooking at home at least 4 days a week. When you cook your own food, you control how much salt and sugar goes into it. Try combinations of herbs and spices to reduce your salt intake. Drink more water. You should try to drink half your body weight, in ounces. (Ex. A 200 pound person should drink 100 ounces of water, which is the equivalent of just under 6 bottles of Aquafina water.)
  • Take steps to quit smoking. If you currently smoke, quitting can cut your risk for heart disease and stroke. Visit for more information about cessation classes.

Sources for more information:


February's Classroom Spotlight is Mrs. Simmons at SES !

This past fall, Miss Simmons was eager to add stability balls in her 3rd grade classroom. Miss Simmons and Mr. Hopkins recently finished their Fitball training, and are ready to roll! Her students can use the balls for some physical activity or stretching brain breaks, or simply bounce on their ball while they are learning.

To learn more about why stability balls improve student focus, balance, and decrease childhood obesity, check out this link. (See page 32-33 for a summary and findings)

Great work, Miss Simmons!

Brain Breaks, Ice breakers, and Team Building

Captain's Coming

This game requires a bit of space, depending on what actions you decide to use. The teacher will be the "Captain." The role of the Captain is call out certain actions. Once the captain calls an action, each player has 3-4 seconds to start performing the action.

When students first learn this game, it's best to start with only a few actions until they get the hang of it. Kids and adults LOVE this game! It's fun to watch, and the kids think it's hilarious. It's a great way to break up the day!

Here is an explanation of each of the actions...

  • "Captain's Coming!": Everyone stands at "attention" (in a salute), and they can’t move from this position until the caller says, "At Ease!" If they laugh or break from the attention, they are dismissed.
  • "To the ship!": Players take 3 steps to the right.
  • "To the shore!": Players take 3 steps to the left.

(for an added bonus be sure to point the right direction the first few times and then begin to point the opposite occasionally. You will be surprised how many go the way you point instead of the right direction)

  • Man Overboard!: One person drops to one knee the other stands behind them, puts a hand on their shoulder. Both scan the ocean for the overboard man
  • Crows Nest!: Three players stand backs to each other and lock arms at the elbows to form the crows nest.
  • Mess Table!: Four players squat in a circle like sitting at table and pretend to eat like they haven't eaten in days. Tell them to make really loud eating sounds like "YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM!"
  • Walk the Plank!: Five people stand in a single file row hands on the shoulders of person in front of them
  • Mermaid!: each player individually thrust out right hip, places right hand on that hip, takes left hand and makes a big exaggerated wave and yells out "howdy sailor!" (this one is basically for your own entertainment as it looks hilarious and it gets the participants laughing)
  • "3 sailors rowing!": 3 players. Get in a line and pretend to row a boat while singing "row row row your boat".
  • "4 sailors pointing north!": 4 players. All get into a circle and point up.
  • "Sea Sick!": 1 player. Pretend to throw up.
  • "Beached Whale!": 1 player. Lays on the ground while acting like a beached whale and making weird sounds.
  • "Hit the deck!"- fall to the floor on your stomach

Detentions, suspension and expulsion do not curb violent behavior

"Each day as we tune into news sites and social media, we hear disturbing reports of violence in our nation’s schools.

These stories’ regularity leads us to believe schools are no longer safe places for our children, or our teachers.

So, can we curb school violence and the behavior problems behind it? Can we create safe and supportive school environments and reach struggling children and adolescents? The answer is “yes” … but it takes some work.

The first step is understanding the nature of student behavior in schools. Several decades of research reveal a depiction of problem behavior among a school’s student body. In nearly every school studied, the majority of students (about 80 percent) rarely, if ever, exhibit behavior problems (such as code of conduct violations resulting in a disciplinary referral) at school. The majority of students receive no, or only one, disciplinary referral during a school year.

About 15 percent of students can be classified as “at risk,” engaging in periodic behavior problems (receiving two to five disciplinary referrals per year).

The remaining roughly 5 percent have chronic and serious emotional and behavioral problems and engage in ongoing behavior problems, such as bullying, classroom disruption and aggression.

Schools have traditionally applied punitive procedures, including detention, suspension or expulsion in response to behavioral infractions, in hopes that these aversive responses will deter students from future problem behaviors. However, numerous large-scale and well-conducted research studies reveal the opposite outcome: These approaches don’t work. When schools apply highly punitive and restrictive procedures, problem behaviors such as rebellion toward teachers, vandalism against school property, absenteeism and truancy actually increase.

If punishment is not effective, then how do we address behavior problems?

The solution is to develop and apply a positive approach that prevents problems from emerging and provides supports for students with more serious mental health and behavior problems that may include depression, anxiety and acting out.

In this “tiered” support approach, intervention is provided in a preventive and proactive way, with intensive intervention reserved for students with the greatest need. In addition, students with mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, who would not otherwise be noticed until a violent incident happened, are identified through schoolwide screening, and appropriate intervention is provided.

With a tiered system, all students receive “Tier 1” instruction in the school’s behavior expectations, with acknowledgment and rewards for positive interactions and consequences for problem behaviors.

At-risk students requiring “Tier 2” intervention often need additional social skills development, monitoring or mentoring to learn how to interact or self-regulate their behavior. They typically receive support in small groups that provide social skills training or cognitive behavioral interventions that are highly effective at reducing depression and anxiety symptoms.

The most commonly used Tier 2 intervention is a student behavior monitoring system in which students “check in” with a designated school staff member each morning to discuss daily expectations, receive behavior ratings from their teachers at the end of each class period, “check out” with the staff member at the end of the day to discuss accomplishments and goals, bring the behavior ratings home for a parent signature, then return the sheet the following morning.

For the 5 percent of students with more serious and intransigent problems (“Tier 3”), intervention is individualized, multicomponent and derived through a comprehensive assessment process.

The assessment process identifies environmental variables, such as academic skill deficits or the lack of adult support, that may be modified to help support the student. Interventions at this tier might include shortened testing periods, remediation of skill deficits (intensive reading instruction, anger control), and structured school and community supports for mental health concerns.

The adaptive, tiered approach to student behavior creates a school culture where students feel welcomed and supported and teachers have a consistent and effective way to interact with students and address problems.

Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in schools throughout the United States and abroad, including those in high-risk neighborhoods. For example, LeGrand Union High School in Merced County, California, has cut suspensions in half and almost eliminated expulsions. Another advantage is that because the approach is preventive, and intensive support is reserved only for those most in need, it becomes efficient in terms of time and resources.

Is it easy to ensure our schools are safe places – physically and emotionally – for students and personnel? No, especially when school staff are frustrated or burned out.

It requires effective school leadership, a collective commitment to make improvements and systems to sustain change efforts over time. But in the long run, it is well worth the effort for students, their families, school personnel and society."


Sunday, Feb. 12th, 2-5pm

1965 South Walnut Street

Bloomington, IN

Admission: $7

Family passes: $25

Good for up to five members of the same family.

For more information about WinterFest contact Bill Ream at 812-349-3748 or by e-mail at

Bundle up and spend the afternoon celebrating winter! Feel the wind in your hair as you slide down Snowzilla, a giant sledding hill that is the only one of its kind in the country! Bring your pooch to compete in the inaugural Canine Cup, a slightly silly dogsled race that has the dogs' and humans' roles reversed. No experience is necessary and the sleds are provided. There are lots of other snow- and winter-themed games and activities to play, plus food, hot drinks, and much more at WinterFest! Snow not required.

The Frank Southern Ice Arena is open for public skating from 3-5 p.m. Regular ice arena
admission fees apply and are not included in the price of the WinterFest admission.

Tobacco Cessation Programs

Tuesday, Feb. 7th, 5:30pm

Monroe County, IN, United States

IN provides information on local tobacco cessation classes in Monroe County.

The City of Bloomington's Community Health Programs and Outreach division of the Community and Family Resources Department is a partner in the Monroe Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition. Formed in 2001, this group has been working to prevent and reduce the use of all tobacco products in Monroe County. The Coalition advocates for Smoke Free Air Policoes designed to protect the public health and welfare of the community from health hazards induced by breathing secondhand smoke. With proven links to lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory infections, secondhand smoke exposure is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. killing thousands of nonsmokers every year.

Beat Tobacco program offerings: No registration required. Free of charge.

  • Tuesday, 5:30-6:30 pm, YMCA, 1111 W. State Highway 46, Spencer
  • Tuesday, 6:00-7:00 pm, 333 E. Miller Dr, Bloomington
  • Wednesday, 5:30-6:30 pm, Arby's, 3601 W. State Road 46, Ellettsville
  • Friday, 12:00-1:00 pm, Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, 811 W. 2nd St, Bloomington
  • Daily, 8:00 am-Midnight, Telephone-based helpline, Indiana Tobacco Quitline. 800.QUIT.NOW
  • Individual counseling by appointment. 812.353.5811

For more information, please contact Community Health Programs Manager Nancy Woolery at or 812-349-3851.

Moving Forward: A comprehensive approach to weight management

Tuesday, Jan. 10th, 5:30pm to Tuesday, March 7th, 7pm

601 West 2nd Street

Bloomington, IN

This is held at IU Health Bloomington Hospital Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center on the ground floor of the hospital.

It is on Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 10 - March 7 from 5:30-7pm.

Cost: $99 for full class, $50 for customers wanting to choose either exercise or nutrition

There is a 10% discount for IU Health employees.

Registration is required by January 6th.