This is our fourth year of monthly fruit and vegetable tastings at Norwich Elementary, which was coined “Take A Taste Thursday” by one of our more marketing-saavy parent volunteers…
We are incredibly fortunate to have our school district food service provider, Aramark, provide us with free samples of a fruit and vegetable each month for sampling during lunch. Each month we recruit parent volunteers to help hand out the foods from among those who signed up on the intial PTO volunteer form that they would be interested in helping with health and wellness projects. We do have data from parent surveys that this project has helped influence the willingness to try new foods at home, and has actually changed the buying habits of our parents.
It has been a joint effort between the Aramark Food Service and the wellness committee, in that we make sure each tasting includes letting the parents know it’s happening, giving the teachers fact sheets to go along with each fruit and vegetable the day of the tasting so they can talk about it in their classrooms, and now we are thrilled to have
the assistance of the Norwich News Team, which are 4-5th graders, led by teachers Stephanie Miles, Patty Gast, and our technology teacher Bill Wheeler. Each week they produce a weekly news show that keeps the students up on all the latest goings on at the school, and is aired each Friday. This month, they have created a “commercial” about the upcoming tasting, which will be kiwi and spinach leaves, tossed with a light raspberry vingarette.
This is, of course, fun and light entertainment for everyone. The students producing the commercial are learning technical, dramatic and media skills. The younger students see their older peers doing positive activities in a fun way, but on top of all the fun there is also some seriously good things happening here. Did you know that data from a recent study from Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity reported that the average preschooler sees 642 television ads per year just for unhealthy cereal? If you want to read more, click here: 20091026execsummary. Our kids are constantly bombarded in all environments by persuasive messages that encourage poor choices. Have you seen the Reese’s Rap? Talk about cool, catchy and persuasive! You can You Tube it, we don’t even want to use up precious blog byte space to embed it here!
There is no way we can come close to the influence that large companies with million dollar marketing budgets have to influence youth and their choices, but every little step we can do in our own individual environments to help our children see the other side of the equation is a step in the right direction. Kudos to the Norwich News Team and the teacher-advisors!
Click on this link to view the video file: http://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B058k-kFI10cZjY1ZmYyNTMtOWYwZS00ZGJjLTlkMTMtNWNmZTE1ZDlkZmU1&hl=en
submitted by Mary Chace, parent and wellness committee chair at Norwich Elementary firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: apple, fruit, locally grown, vote, wellness policy
A local farmer who grows several varieties of apples donated 3 types for a fruit tasting at Raymond Elementary in Marysville, Ohio. To align with current events (this took place in October of 2008, right before the presidential election) The nurse organized voting by grade to see which they liked best. Results were posted and celebrated. The winning apple was incorporated into the lunch menu for the rest of the month. Great work nurse Teri!
Tags: classroom, fruits, tasting, vegetables, wellness policy
At Norwich Elementary in Hilliard, Ohio teachers were given the option to have their classroom participate in a 3-day fruit and vegetable tracking challenge (to see the form we used, click here: clrmftvgchallengeformnorwich) Each teacher that responded received a large laminated fruit and vegetable tracking poster, ordered in advance – free from the USDA mypyramid.gov. Each class discussed the recommended servings per day (5 a day) and set a goal for how many they thought they could eat as a classroom for 3 days. Some classes used this as a math exercise. Classroom activities and posters that relate to fruits and vegetables were placed in the staff lounge for teachers to use if they have classroom time.
principal announced the name of the fruit at the end of the day, and the poster of guesses along with the name of the fruit was written and spelled out for all to see: KUMQUATS! This “mystery” fruit idea led to alot of discussion and excitement.
Classrooms that met their goal (all 18 classrooms that participated met their goal) were awarded a $20 gift card from Walmart to spend as they wish, thanks to a grant from Ohio Action for Healthy Kids. Some bought strawberries for their snacks, some purchased supplies for smoothies. Some classrooms bought extra art supplies like fruit smelling markers, and some saved it to add to their end of the year class party snacks. Many parents were so thrilled with this challenge that they donated a fruit or vegetable snack for the whole classroom to help them meet their classroom goal.
Teachers reported some great questions being asked by parents and students, such as “what is a serving?”, “do vegetables have to be cooked to count?”, “do fruit snacks count?”, etc. Teachers were also surveyed and asked for ideas on how to improve this activity. All teachers who responded said they would be interested in doing a similar classroom activity to track dairy servings, and that tracking servings for 3 days was the optimal length of time. Teacher’s ideas for incentives (if gift cards are not possible) that were mentioned were extra recess time, classroom dance party, or story time with a local “celebrity” or “athlete”.