Healthy Classroom Community
Children define community and recognize that a class or after-school group is a community because the members share interests and goals and work together. They create a classroom community contract through which they pledge to help the community. Children explore the meaning of good health and the importance of eating well and exercising. Focus Questions: What is a community and what is my role? What is health and why is it important?
- define community, cooperate, and pledge.
- work together and explain the benefits of working together.
- make a pledge to act responsibly in their community and share their pledges with others.
- state why eating good food and exercising regularly are part of good health.
- explain the importance of rules and name other traits of a healthy community.
- a ball
- one copy for each child of My Classroom Community Pledge (Handout 1)
- chart paper
- index cards
- large sheets of construction paper, folded in half
- community: a group of people who share interests and goals and work together
- health: the state of being in sound body, mind, and spirit
- cooperate: working together toward a common goal
- pledge: (n) a promise
- respect: (n) high or special regard
- exercise: planned physical activity for the purpose of conditioning the body, improving health, and maintaining fitness.
- habits: a repeated pattern of behavior, often unconsciously
- routine: a regular course, or set of procedures
For homework, have children ask all their family members to name their favorite healthy foods. The children write each family member's name and write or draw his or her favorite food. When children bring this to school,post the words and pictures on a bulletin board with the headline, "Eat a Variety of Healthy Foods."
Sharing — Remind the children that their classroom community “is a group that shares interests and goals and works together.” Tell them that as they share their illustrated pledges, they should think about how these actions help their community work together. Encourage volunteers to share their pictures and read their sentences to the group. Reinforce positive behaviors as children listen to their classmates. Several times during the sharing, ask the children to reflect on how these actions help their community work together. Display Pledges in the classroom.
Sharing Circle—Children sit in a circle and share their drawings, naming the healthy foods they are eating and the exercise they are doing. Tell children that it is important for them to eat healthy foods and to get exercise every single day. Tell them that being healthy helps them think, play, and be the best they can be. Share children’s work with others by displaying drawings on a bulletin board outside the classroom or in the school lunchroom/cafeteria.
Anticipatory Set (Estimated Time: 10 minutes to introduce the unit and play the game):
Introduce Healthy Youth, Healthy Community as a program that engages young people in taking responsibility for their health and the health of their community. Tell children that they will work together to learn about health and how they can help themselves, their friends, their family, and their community to be healthier.
Define a community as “a group of people who share interests and goals and work together.” Ask the children to name some communities, such as the name of your town. Tell them that their [school or after school] group forms a community too because they work together and share interests and goals.
Ask: What is an important word (or words) that means “working together”? If they don’t name the word cooperate, begin saying it, syllable by syllable, until a child calls out the whole word (co-op-er-ate).
Ball Toss Sit Down – Introduce a game that involves working together and practicing the positive skill of using names. Tell the group that this is a cooperative game in which they must all work together until everyone is sitting. Directions: Players stand in a circle. The facilitator begins the game by naming a child and tossing the ball to him or her. The child catches the ball and says, “Thank you, [facilitator’s name].” Then the facilitator sits down. The child who caught the ball names another player and tosses the ball to him or her. The child who caught the ball says, “Thank you, [names the child who tossed the ball]” and sits down. Play until everyone is seated.
Ask the following reflection questions:
- What was the goal of this game? (To have everyone sit down.)
- What are the rules for this game? (Name someone in the circle and toss the ball. The player catches it, says “thank you” and names the person who threw the ball. Then the player who tossed the ball sits down.)
- How did the whole group cooperate to play the game? (Everyone followed the rules.)
Focus Activity (Estimated Time: 15 minutes): Children explore the importance of individual and group responsibilities in the classroom community.
Review classroom procedures for quieting down. Examples may include raising a hand, ringing a bell, clapping a pattern for children to repeat, or call and response (“One…two…three…eyes on me, One…two…eyes on you.” or “Are you ready? Yes I’m ready!”).
Review other classroom rules, such as raising hands to speak and listening to others when they speak. List classroom rules on the board or chart paper (or review posted rules). For each rule, ask children to tell how the rule helps the classroom community run smoothly.
Tell them that each member of the community has a responsibility to follow the rules for the good of the group. Ask them why they think it is important for everyone to do their part. Discuss.
Read the list aloud, with children echoing each rule.
Introduce the concept of pledge. Tell children that a pledge is a promise to do something. Review or remind children that the Pledge of Allegiance is their promise to be good citizens.
Distribute My Classroom Community Pledge. Read the pledge with children. Have each child give an example of how they can help the community. They may name ways they follow the rules, help others, or act respectfully in the classroom.
Each child writes his or her name on the line and draws a picture of himself or herself acting as a responsible member of the classroom community. Circulate around the room to help them write sentence captions for their pictures.
Display the pledges so others may learn about responsible community actions.
Anticipatory Set: (Estimated Time: 10 minutes)
Introduce today’s theme: Good health involves eating well and exercising regularly. Explore what children know about good health and healthy living. Write “Healthy means _______.” on the chalkboard or at the top of a chart paper. Tell the children you want to find out what they already know about good health. Have each child complete the sentence stem orally: Healthy means ____________. List children’s ideas on the board or chart. (Responses may include eating the right foods, eating breakfast, drinking milk, not drinking soda, eating vegetables, not eating junk food, exercising, playing, going to bed on time, brushing your teeth.) Read the brainstormed list. Encourage children to read aloud with you.
Ask the following reflection questions:
- Which ideas on the chart are about food?
- Which ideas are about exercise?
- Which ideas are about habits and routines?
- Why do you think eating healthy food is important? (Food helps you grow; foods give you energy to play and learn; food tastes good.)
- Why do you think playing and exercising is important? (Exercise makes you strong; it’s fun; it builds muscles; exercise makes you run faster, jump higher.)
Focus Activity (Estimated Time: 15 minutes) Children discuss what it means to be healthy and why good health is important for everyone.
Review two important components of good health: eating right and exercising.
With the group, brainstorm a list of actions involving healthy foods and exercise/sports. Write the actionable items on index cards (peeling a banana, picking an apple off a tree, digging up a potato from a garden/peeling a carrot, squeezing an orange to make juice, jumping rope, running, swimming, swinging a bat).
Place the cards in a bag or hat. Have one child pick a card, show it to the facilitator, and then pantomime the action for the group to guess. Repeat with other volunteers.
Give each child a large sheet of construction paper folded in half. The children open the folded paper and draw on the two halves. On one half, they illustrate themselves eating a favorite healthy food. On the other half, they illustrate themselves doing a favorite exercise. Help children label each section: “I Eat Healthy Foods” and “I Exercise.”
The children brainstorm ways to teach others about healthy choices for building personal health. They may find creative places and ways to advocate for and educate about healthy choices.
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
Benchmark E.3 Identify ways that trust is important in all communities.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
Benchmark E.1 Define the word <em>trust</em> and its role in all communities.
Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
Benchmark E.2 Identify why rules are important and how not all behaviors are addressed by rules.