There are many benefits to studying exercise. One major benefit is learning ways in which to live a healthy life. I focus on eating a balanced diet, exercise, and getting good sleep. The class has had several the opportunities to discover new ways to exercise. The homeliving center has been transformed into a gym. The gym is a place where students may lift free weights, stretch on the yoga mat, workout on the weight bench, jump on the trampoline, or jump/hop in and out of hoops. Another way the children have been able to burn some energy and get exercise is through a website, GoNoodle, that teaches breathing techniques, gives brain breaks, and helps develop coordination, gross motor muscles, and listening skills. GoNoodle partners with St. Michaels to reach our community. It is perfect for rainy and cold days. Not only does GoNoodle give the children an opportunity to exercise, it reinforces concepts being taught in the classroom (it can be programed for grade level and content) and the songs are silly and encourage rhyming and creativity. The children love GoNoodling, even more so now that they are comfortable with the format.
In addition to physical movement, we are studying the importance of a healthy diet. The class viewed the food pyramid and discussed what each section meant. I am impressed with how knowledgeable the students are with fruits and vegetables. Many have tried a variety of fruits and have a love of vegetables and healthy eating. I gave the class an option: try a selection of fruit or make guacamole. It was almost an unanimous vote to try the fruit. The class tried kiwi, plum, raspberries, and mango and we opened a coconut. Opening a coconut was something new to most of the class. Each student held, shook, and smelled the coconut before I hammered it open. The class tried to predict the best ways to open it, and it became very clear that pounding it with a hammer was going to get the job done. Once opened, the children came to inspect the coconut; visually the coconut was lacking, but the smell stayed true and the kids had a fun time with the experience. After enjoying the assortment of fruit, we took a vote and used tallys to see which fruit was the favorite; raspberries took the win! With this array of fruit, we had see find out the countries of origin. I grabbed the globe and showed the students all of the countries (China, Eastern Europe, England, South America) the fruits had come from. I reminded the children that fruits can be grown all over the world, but these places are where the fruit came from first. How fun to have a lesson that incorporates healthy eating, science (predicting, exploring, testing theories), math (tallying), and geography!!
The children practiced addition, recognizing math symbols (+ and =), counting, and taking turns while playing a math game. I paired the students, with one group of three, and each student was given a die. They took turns rolling and counting their die. After rolling the dice, the children found the corresponding number of cubes and put the cubes in the circles next to the addition sign. Then, working together, the children moved all of the cubes to the equals circle to solve the math problem. It is so great to see the children having a ball while learning!