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by Kelli Lewis
Do you incorporate service learning in your classroom? It’s simple to do and the best part is that it keeps your students engaged and learning hands-on! Think of the standards and curriculum you must cover, then consider the things around our own community that you could use to relate to the standards and/or curriculum in order to make a difference there.
A Simple Service Learning Idea
Here is one idea, concerning healthy eating habits in children today. We saw a need in our own community due to obesity among elementary children and unhealthy food habits. Students are not always aware of exercise possibilities, healthy snacks, and the benefits of being healthy. Our plan was to get information out there and teach the students what it means to be healthy, what a difference it could make in their lives, and to allow them to become a positive role model for someone else they know.
Here are some activities you could use in your classroom, if you chose to participate it something like this:
Comparing fast food menus:
Students make a list of their top three favorite fast food places. Teachers (and/or students, depending on the grade levels) look up the nutritional information for these places, and compare them to each others’ favorite places. Each student should then be able to list their favorite places in order of which restaurant is the most healthy, as well as explore the different menu items they could order to make healthier decisions (ie. choosing apple slices instead of fries.)
Students learn and/or choreograph a workout routine to a self-selected song. Students can suggest songs as a class, then vote for the one they would like to use for their routine. The most popular vote wins. After learning the steps to the selected song, students could have the option of creating a workout video of them teaching and performing the routine!
Students write letters to the school about getting a healthy food grant. They could also even write letters to Jamie Oliver (from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution TV show) about the possibility of him coming to their school.
Students create a cookbook of recipes they have learned about and/or come up with themselves, that are healthy snacks or small meals they could easily create themselves. They can use these to refer back to when they are at home and need an idea of something healthy they can eat other than potato chips or candy. They can also use these to give to friends or family in order to spread the word.
Paper grocery bags:
Students write things they have learned about healthy eating on grocery bags that you have gathered from your community grocery store. Then, take the bags back to the store and ask if they will use these bags for customers. This way, students are getting the word out to the public in their community about the importance of healthy habits, and it gives them a chance to make a difference outside of the school building.
Kelli Lewis is an Early Childhood Education graduate student at the University of Georgia who often shares her wonderful ideas on A Learning Experience. (Lucky us!)