Saturday, September 13, 2008

oh, the connections

If you look back in the archives of this blog, for a long time I was planning a unit with the guiding question: If we are what we eat, what are we? I love teaching a language because the opportunities to communicate with it are endless and this topic is dear to my hear (growing up on an organic farm and all). I switched my essential question mid-stream--"What drives us to follow our dreams?" but the food question was still a' burnin'. My take on food consumption is that we consume too much of the wrong stuff, we are disconnected from where real, healthy food comes from, and we have ridiculous portion sizes. My state, Maine, has a real child-obesity problem, as well.

So...what action did I take? I ordered two cases of fruit through the food service and started offering healthy snacks in my room for a quarter. This pricing was to cover the cost of the fruit. Every day, kids plunk their quarters into the mug and grab an apple or an orange from the bowl. I allow them to eat in my room and fill their hungry bellies with health, nutritious fruit. The apples are LOCAL APPLES (yay!) from the town I live in. The oranges come from Florida.

Now, kids are starting to ask me if they can eat OTHER snacks in my room. I did not anticipate this. When it first happened, I asked (in Spanish) "Is it a healthy snack?" So far the snacks have just been peanut butter crackers. I said yes to that. I am waiting for the bag of chips to brought in so we can discuss that!

Thursday night, I went to Walmart and picked out several different kinds of fruits. Bananas, melons, grapes, limes, pineapple. Friday I had my Spanish 4's chop it all up and record the process and take still shots with the Spanish names. We'll do post-production editing, sound track, voice overs and subtitles next week, but the point is instead of apples and oranges on Friday, kids were exposed to all different kinds of fruits with different countries of origin. The price was still a quarter and by the end of the day almost all the fruit was gone and I recouped my initial investment of 21 dollars. Kids *loved* the pineapple and limes and grapes. The melons were not such a big hit. One girl told me I was smart to sell them fruit!

Some class, soon, I'll set it up as a Spanish market and make the kids dicker for their snacks. It's such a good concept to teach them, especially if they ever travel to Latin America!!

My 4's were soooooo happy with their kitchen and video production time. I was so proud of them for cutting and photographing and presenting so much fruit in just 80 minutes.

My Spanish 1's munched happily on healthy snacks while we watched a Spanish telenovela designed especially for teens learning the language.

I love incorporating food into my curriculum and having content and full students for a class period.

For those kids who did not have any change, I let them give me an IOU for the day.

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