Students are inundated with choices from the time they enter the school building until the time they exit onto their buses to go home. Decisions like what to eat, who to sit by, when to raise a hand, and how much they are going to participate in class discussions, cloud their brains five days a week. With students spending most of their waking hours in school it is important to give them healthy options to choose from while in our schools. Designing healthy classrooms can help to make the choices students are forced to make more healthful ones.
Creating a healthy classroom environment is a feat that seems daunting, but it can be fun and easy! Here are a few ways to get started:
-Eat right! Educate students on the concept of MyPlate. Students will learn the benefits of eating a colorful plate of vegetables, fruits, proteins, whole grains, and dairy at every meal. They will feel empowered to make healthy choices in and out of school.
-Get moving! Adding a healthy twist to your day can be as simple as incorporating Brain Boosters into transitional and refocusing times. Students will enjoy getting up and energized before returning more focused to educational tasks.
– Move and Learn! Mixing academics and exercise is easily achieved by incorporating movement into daily lessons. Active Lesson strategies such as: exercise the answer, freeze dance, musical chairs, scoot, retrievals, and relays make teaching in an active way straightforward. Students move and learn in ways that allow teachers to see their thinking, build upon concepts taught, and review subjects that need a little more work. Students and teachers find that getting up and moving during lessons helps them to stay engaged longer.
–Sip Smarter! Keep water available at all times. Students and teachers, alike, need to stay hydrated throughout the day. A simple request for students to bring a reusable water bottle with a top to class can cutdown on trips to the water fountain. This will help students to reach the 5-10 cups of water they need a day.
–Grow something together! Teaching students about plants through planting, growing, harvesting, and eating is great for their health and minds. Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies can all be taught while incorporating gardening into your classroom.
–Go outside and play! Making sure that students get as much time to run and play at school is a priority that shouldn’t be skipped. This is the time where students get to move, play, socialize, take a break, and even relax. Without recess, students lack the release of energy that they need daily. When indoor recess is a must, don’t forget to get your kids up and moving with a fun activity like GoNoodle!
-Celebrate! Classroom celebrations are the best! Students love the time to interact with their peers in an unstructured manner. Cupcakes and candy are regulars that can be substituted for healthy options like fruit and vegetables. Having a dance party, playing Minute to Win It games, bringing in board games, and doing a special art project are some examples of ways to celebrate without food.
We hope that these tips help to make incorporating healthy choices in your classroom easy and benificial to you and your students. Visit us at Healthy Classroom RVA to get updated ideas and lessons on ways to stay healthy in the classroom. Also, follow us on Instagram at healthyclassroomsrva and gr_fit4kids.