Celebrate the National Day of Writing With At Home Writing

Writing takes center stage today, the National Day on Writing, thanks in large measure to the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Writing Project. This highly regarded observance spotlights “the foundational place of writing in Americans’ personal, professional, and civic lives, and to point to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university.”

Part of the celebration includes the unveiling today of the National Gallery of Writing, an online collection of writings sent in by teachers, students, and community members. There you’ll view everything from professional pieces to fiction, poetry, photos, and more. Be sure to visit-and take your kids with you.

Meanwhile, schools across the country are in on the action, too, with writing marathons and workshops, family writing nights, author visits, and more, promising to keep the focus on writing in every subject throughout the year-even math.

Writing, as noted, is, indeed, foundational–the centerpiece of our lives that keeps us connected one to the other via conversations, emails, text messages, letters, thank you notes–even recipe sharing. Moreover, said former University of California president Richard Atkinson: “Writing is a critical skill for success in college and beyond.”

It’s so important that colleges and businesses ultimately convinced the College Board to add a writing portion to its SATs, which it did in 2005. Now, along with reading and math, students must craft a 25-minute essay, together with multiple choice questions about sentence errors, selecting the best version of a piece of writing, and improving a paragraph.

To do these things well takes practice–lots of it, not only at school, but at home, too, so support your child’s writing efforts by…

o Purchasing a writer’s notebook, a place to jot down interesting observations, bits of meaningful conversations, cool facts, great quotes, insights, and so much more. Such entries can then serve as a source for longer pieces in the future.

o Providing a thesaurus, dictionary and How to Spell It for easy reference and accuracy.

o Starting a word wall for newly encountered words of interest on index cards and posting them, together with their definitions, parts of speech, and a sentence.

o Encouraging “copy-change” writing, whereby she uses her own words but imitates the form and structure of another writer.

o Having him warm up first by “free writing” for five minutes about a favored person, place, thing, or event, then writing for five minutes about something distasteful, be it liver, bats, or the dentist.

o Insisting on some pre-writing first, such as brainstorming a topic by creating a list of associated words and phrases before launching into a piece of writing.

Meanwhile, make writing an integral part of family life, as well. For instance:

o Have your child write a note, memory piece, or poem and share it with a relative or family member.

o Make letter writing a habit in your home, sending them to friends, relatives, Santa, whomever. As USA Today’s Craig Wilson reminds us, “There is something about a letter, something about holding it in your hand, something about realizing that someone actually sat for a half an hour and thought about what to say to you.”

o Message each other frequently, leaving notes on pillows, desks, kitchen counters, lunch bags, refrigerator doors, wherever.

o Write your life story as a gift to your child, strengthening the bond between you.

o Start a new family tradition by having your child write an annual “Year in Review,” thus creating an ongoing record of his childhood to be savored over the years.

o On birthdays, ask family members to give written gifts: short stories and recalled moments to share with the honoree.

o Get postcards into the act-not just on vacations but anytime, sending greetings to those both near and far.

o Make sure everyone writes thank you notes instead of a quick phone call or email.

o Maintain a family journal, a record of your lives over time, complete with captioned photographs.

o Encourage writing letters to the editor of your newspaper in response to articles and/or opinion pieces.

o Promote journal writing-and respect privacy.

o Help your child find a pen pal to correspond with over the years through such organizations as the Student Letter Exchange.

By visiting the Gallery of Writing and advancing your child’s writing skills, you’ll be supporting his academic, social, and professional success. As the Pennsylvania Literacy Framework advises: “Writing is an essential skill in most places, where it serves as a means of posing and solving problems, of making reports, and or persuading others to take a particular action.” There is no better way to honor this National Day on Writing.

8 Tips for The Home Treatment of Psoriasis

If you suffer from psoriasis you know that it is no walk in the park. The sudden flare-ups of dry, flaky skin, the embarrassing rashes and red patches; it interferes with your social life and increases your levels of stress. Over the years there have been many medical treatments developed for psoriasis involving pills or injections, smearing on creams, or even getting some rays.

Medical treatments for psoriasis typically fall into three main categories; 1) topical treatments involving corticosteroids, tar products, or ointments derived from vitamin A or D; 2) systemic medications that slow down or block the immune system responses; or 3) phototherapy involving UVA or UVB ultraviolet light.

These are all effect to some degree, but they can be expensive, tedious, or even painful.

But there are home treatments you can do for yourself, adjustments in your lifestyle, your diet, and your home environment that have equal effect at eliminating or reducing flare-ups More often than not, they are all-natural cures and won’t harm you with harsh side-effects.

Not all results work for all people and it may take trying a few different remedies to find one that works for you. Listed below are 8 tips, or home remedies, that can ease living with psoriasis.

Tip 1: Keep Skin Moist One of the most effective methods to reduce, or control, flare-ups is also the simplest, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Using moisturizer is an important part of self-care for psoriasis. Dry skin makes irritation and itchiness caused by psoriasis worse than it needs to be. A vicious cycle can result: dry skin can cause itching and scratching, leading to new psoriasis patches developing on the irritated skin.

The best way to keep skin moist? Apply ointments formulated from olive or oregano oils, and wheat germ or castor oils containing herbs which sooth the itch. Katy Wilson, an Alternative Medical Practitioner, in her guide titled “Psoriasis Free For Life”, provides recipes for several, very effective, natural homemade ointments. Use these ointments immediately after showering to restore moisture to your skin.

You can also try super-moisturizing areas of skin affected by psoriasis. At bedtime, cover a patch of skin with ointment, and wrap it with a bandage or plastic wrap overnight. In the morning, wash the area gently. Over time, this will reduce scaling.

Tip 2: Bathe, but Beware Bathing can be another important part of psoriasis self-care, yet frequent bathing can also dry skin out, causing problems. A few tips for bathing with psoriasis: Avoid hot water, which can irritate skin. Use lukewarm water instead. Don’t towel off — pat yourself dry, then apply oil based moisturizers. Pure water dries skin. Add bathing salts, oil, or oilated oatmeal to bathwater to make it more skin-friendly.

Tip 3: Be Consistent in Your Routine Sure, slathering on thick oily goo day after day is messy and inconvenient, but consistency is key. Make it part of your daily routine and you will see results. Also, though they are messy, topical therapies avoid the potential side effects of pills or injection treatments for psoriasis.

Tip 4: Sun Can be Your Friend, But Take Care Although controlled ultraviolet exposure through UVA or UVB lamps is optimal, the ultraviolet light found in sunlight is a proven treatment for psoriasis too. But sunburns can make psoriasis worse so cover unaffected skin with SPF 30 sunscreen and start with some limited sun exposure. Twenty minutes a day for 2- 3 days a week is a good start. Talk to your doctor first, because certain psoriasis medicines aren’t safe with high sun exposure.

Tip 5: Stop Smoking! If you suffer from psoriasis, you have one more reason to stop smoking. People who smoke at least a pack a day are twice as likely to suffer severe psoriasis as those who smoke less. And ladies, the negative effect of smoking on psoriasis is even stronger for you. Research shows that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to care for your psoriasis.

Tip 6: Sorry, Alcohol is No Friend to Psoriasis Though it is not known why, psoriasis is more common in people who drink alcohol heavily, and men are typically more affected than women. More than one drink per day in women, two drinks per day in men, is too much.

Tip 7: Diet Changes May Be Key Many people with psoriasis have experienced improvement after cutting down on certain foods, including caffeine, eggs, sugar, white flour, gluten, and as already noted, alcohol. There is an association between obesity and psoriasis, and many dermatologists feel a healthy weight can improve psoriasis. But the link between these foods and allergies also is a factor in psoriasis.

It’s reasonable to experiment by eliminating certain foods, especially less nutritious ones, to see if your own psoriasis improves. And it’s always sensible to maintain a healthy weight by eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and exercising frequently.

In her guide, Psoriasis Free For Life, Katy Wilson provides guidance for creating a diet rich in foods reported to reduce, or eliminate, flare-ups in psoriasis sufferers.

Tip 8: Stress – Tend to Your Mental Health Stress is a key factor in both frequency, and severity, of flare-ups. Take care of your mental health.

People with psoriasis often feel socially isolated and lonely. They are frustrated by their condition, may develop low self-esteem or anxiety about daily routines or give up things they enjoy, due to embarrassment or physical discomfort caused by psoriasis. People with psoriasis may be more likely to experience periods of depression.

If psoriasis is affecting your mental health, seek the assistance of a qualified, licensed therapist or psychologist to help you cope with psoriasis’ impact on your life.

You may also, consider joining a psoriasis support group. Talking with other people who understand the challenges of living with psoriasis can really help.