As #healthed teachers it is of the utmost importance that we tailor our teaching to encourage critical thinking and give students the opportunity to shape their health-enhancing choices and attitudes. This in turn allows our students to make healthy decisions and engage in health-enhancing behaviors outside of the four walls of the classroom. Our role in this is so much more effective when we receive the support of other stake holders within the school community, adding to our voice and re-enforcing our healthy message.
With final exams coming up for my students, here are ways in which we allow students to apply our message to their day-to-day lives and provide them with the opportunity to practice their health-enhancing skills.
One of our clubs at school, Peer Helping, wanted to encourage their peers to prepare effectively for the finals and so I helped them create this series of four posters that you can download here. The QR codes direct you to additional resources, including scholarly raps from Andy Horne.
Obviously playing off of the Game of Thrones slogan “Winter is Coming” (It feels like -12, perfect White Walker weather as I type) the posters remind students that eating breakfast, staying hydrated, reducing stress levels and getting sufficient sleep have all been proven to improve academic and sporting performance – what student doesn’t want that? These posters have been enlarged and are on display outside of our locker rooms, a part of the building that ALL students visit daily (thank you Illinois and your 4 years of mandatory physical education!).
Another poster on display, and actively promoted by our physical education department and shared by our advisers is this one below.
We offer open gym sessions throughout the duration of the exams and students are free to come into a number of gym spaces and workout, shoot hoops etc under the supervision of teachers who sign up to be present. A small stipend is offered to those teachers as an added incentive. Note that the posters give further information regarding the link between being active and brain functioning. This is also something that is now included in the Illinois Physical Education standards.
For further resources regarding the link between exercise and the brain, including shareable images, literature and advocacy documents check out this Pinterest Board.
Support From Parents
On the first day of the final exams a group of parent volunteers, in conjunction with the Parents Association, arrange for, and distribute healthy breakfast snacks to the students. Again reinforcing the message coming from health teachers, teachers and coaches that appropriate nutrition can improve memory, improve attention, improve behavior and increase test scores.
Obviously there are many ways in which the health message from our classrooms is supported within the building but I am comforted by the fact that during the final exams I am able to show that other teachers, parents, and my State AHPERD stand alongside me as I encourage my students to make health-enhancing choices.
*At my school, we don’t have a final exam for health. Does yours?*
Q1. How is your #healthed message visible outside of your classroom? #slowchathealth
Q2. At school who are the biggest supporters of your healthed message? #slowchathealth
Q3. Download the “Finals Are Coming” posters here: http://www.tinyurl.com/finalsposters #slowchathealth.com