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NYC Helpline: How To: Manage Your Classroom
View Instructional Videos for Teachers about Classroom Management

Classroom Management (Secondary)

A high school science teacher demonstrates how her structured and routine-based classroom environment is the key to success.

Classroom Management (Elementary)

An elementary school teacher guides us through her daily classroom routines and shows how consistency and structure are essential.

Classroom Management through Cooperative Groups

View two elementary school teachers demonstrate how they engage their students through group work to help them learn.


How to Home
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: How To Get Started

Getting Educated About Better Nutrition
Charlene Davis

Have you seen the juicer commercial highlighting how juicing benefited students in an early childhood learning program? The teacher brought her juicer in, and did a “healthy eating habits” lesson for her youngsters. The lesson was a hit: her students became instant enthusiasts about eating fresh fruits and doing something good for their bodies! So much of what our students are eating is unhealthy for them. You don’t need me to tell you how much the snack food industry spends on advertising to our students. You also don’t need me to tell you how successful they are at recruiting loyal consumers of their products! We see kids’ fiercely guarded “goodie bags” early in the mornings. I’ve seen green lips, red teeth, and orange finger tips before the day has even begun!

Here are some of the ingredients in our students’ snack foods that many nutritionists believe are the culprits for much of the distracted, lethargic, or hyper behaviors we’re increasingly witnessing:

dye
hormones
salt
additives
fats
sugar
MSG
preservatives

I opine that the teacher in the famed commercial was onto something! Hands-on, nutritional education (she allowed the children to participate in juicing the fruit) is a great way to get youngsters involved in understanding issues surrounding their own good health.

Knowledge is power; thus, I think that some of the ideas below would help kids take control of their health, early on in their lives. I also think that any experience that empowers individuals brings about changes in attitude—for the better!

Do the research! Get kids researching the above terms, and about how these ingredients affect their bodies. Shared researching can work in classrooms with younger kids.

Bring in the Artifacts! Get students to start bringing in food packaging so that the labels and wrappers can be examined and scrutinized.

Ask the Experts! Find out what the nutritionists and researchers are saying about these snacks, and how they affect kids’ bodies. The Internet is great for this, as is the school nurse--you may even have a parent(s) expert to tap.

Check Out Recommended Alternatives! “Super” foods are being talked about in books, on talk shows, and are even featured in supermarkets. Have kids start to keep lists of these foods and their benefits for class discussion.

Plan a Healthy Foods Day! Have the class compile recipes (ex. smoothies, salads, or fresh juices) using the items on the super foods list. Ask parents to contribute the items necessary to make the recipes. Make enough for all to sample and critique. Students can taste, talk, and record their ratings on simple opinion forms.

Taste Testing
I loved it!
I like it.
I didn't love it!
(Name of fruit )
(why)
(why)
(why)

Get Feedback! Send evaluation forms home, allowing parents and students to reflect on the experience. Find out whether this was fun, educational, and life-changing for them. Inquire about whether any permanent lifestyle changes took place, and why.

Sample Family Feedback Form

Activity
Rating (great/not fun)
Comments:
Shopping    
Researching    
Sharing knowledge w/ others    
Making changes in diet    

Celebrate Change! Write up a class newsletter/e-letter to share with the entire community! Consider submitting it to the local newspaper, as well! I bet this would be an experience with lasting impact upon your children’s lives—and yours!

Be sure to let me know all about it by sending me an e-mail.

 

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