I hope my readers send a link to Beckie’s story, to teachers they know, to give them ideas. Teachers WANT to motivate and educate their students towards good nutrition choices, and they want good Christmas gift ideas too! Thank you for sharing, and for being a great teacher, Beckie!
This is the story about how Green Smoothie Girl has impacted Kazoo School, with its progressive philosophy of education. This means that students get to have a say in what they want to study. I decided November would be a great time to introduce them to healthy eating, with the holiday season coming.
One morning I read them The Adventures of Junk Food Dude and did a simple green smoothie demonstration. They loved it! They even requested I read the book to them again the very next day. This mini lesson sparked their interest and we had many discussions about healthy food choices.
For Christmas, I gave all my students their very own Ball jar to make smoothies at home!
When everyone returned from the Winter break, I heard many stories of green smoothies made and I even had parents coming to me asking for tips. It was exciting to learn that the information was reaching home, and that is when I realized how big of an impact I could have on their food education. So my co-teacher Whitney suggested we make our Science Month a “Healthy Bodies” theme. She knows how passionate I am, and she basically said, “Whatever you have in mind, go for it!”
Music to my ears! I started by taking information I had learned from the 12 Steps to Whole Foods Manual and Greensmoothiegirl.com and adapted it into activities appropriate for 1st and 2nd graders.
During the month they:
1) Had to find two food labels. The first one had to contain, only, ingredients that they recognized and could pronounce. The second was a label with ingredients they could not pronounce or know what they were. We then proceeded to pick one ingredient they could not pronounce and research what it was. We made a bulletin board display of our findings.
2) They kept a food log for two weeks. Each student rated how they felt, what they ate and how much exercise they got each day. At the end of the two weeks they charted the healthy food choices they made vs. the “not-so-heathy” choices.
We also did two experiments. We recreated the McDonald’s experiment you wrote about HERE. We also did one that showed how our bodies use and absorb sugar.
The culmination was our Science Fair night where we presented all of our findings to the whole school, friends and family. I did a green smoothie demo at the fair, and it was a huge hit! I could tell that the parents were really starting to take notice of all the information their children had accumulated over the year.
It was great to see the response from the whole school (I have become the Green Smoothie Girl of Kazoo school), but there were two moments where I really knew my students had retained what they learned.
In our after-school program, we offer a snack to each child. The bin is full of the usual choices: granola bars, crackers, fruit snacks etc. But one day I noticed one of my students taking their time choosing and I inquired as to why. His response blew me away.
He said, “I am checking the food labels to find the healthiest choice.” I almost fell over! The second moment happened after a parent brought in cupcakes at 9:30 a.m. for a birthday treat. Around 11:30 everyone was grumpy and tired.
I took that moment to point out that this is what we call a “sugar crash”. The very next day there was another birthday and this child’s parents chose donuts. One student raised his hand and asked, “I don’t want to crash, can I not have the birthday treat?” Even if only a handful remember what they learned this year about healthy eating and continue to make better, more informed choices, I feel accomplished!
I have attached some pictures from the year. Thank you so much for providing the tools for me to educate my students!
Let’s develop a GreenSmoothieGirl curriculum for teachers!