Third Grade Teacher Explains Importance of Teaching Nutrition in 2019


Third Grade Teacher Explains Importance of Teaching Nutrition in 2019

07, January 2019 6:00 AM

Third Grade Teacher Explains Importance of Teaching Nutrition in 2019

In preparation for the launch of its revised third-grade Shaping Up My Choices nutrition education program on January 7, 2019, Dairy Council of California Project Manager Valerie Fung-A-Ling sat down with Karen Bailey, elementary school teacher and consultant on the revised program to discuss why she thinks it is so important to teach nutrition with so many other competing educational priorities in 2019. Bailey has years of experience teaching Dairy Council of CA’s programs in the classroom, and shares why she is passionate about nutrition education and the new program.

Valerie Fung-A-Ling: Why is nutrition education important to you?

Karen Bailey: Feeding ourselves well and with healthy intention is a life skill that can be taught. Shaping Up My Choices is a tried and true nutrition curriculum that enables me to provide information for my students and their families so that they can take charge of their own health.

VF: How does Shaping Up My Choices help solve the challenges you face as an educator?

Bailey: Shaping Up My Choices puts a comprehensive curriculum in my hands for free. Interactive lessons that align with Common Core State Standards, visually engaging workbooks and an easy-to-use web portal make teaching nutrition a breeze.

VF: How do students respond to nutrition education and specifically the new Shaping Up My Choices?

Bailey: In using this nutrition curriculum, teachers say their students are excited to learn how food choices affect their energy during the day. Through collaborative activities, students work together to define food groups, research food labels and understand where their food comes from. Students are enthused to brainstorm with their peers to find better ways to eat and many of them bring the information home to share with their family.

VF: Where do you see areas of overlap in Shaping Up My Choices between skills and habits needed for making healthy food choices and those emphasized in the Common Core State Standards?

Bailey: The new Shaping Up My Choices program’s five lessons are engaging and collaborative, requiring students to delve deeper into what makes their food choices balanced and healthy. By utilizing essential questions and group activities, nutrition education fits perfectly into the Common Core State Standards. Shaping Up My Choices requires students to write, speak and read about healthy food choices. Through real-life experiences, students explore their eating habits and learn how to make reasonable food choices through both research and investigation. Students are able to share their food investigations at home using the dynamic family connection materials. If they can teach others about nutrition, we know the students have acquired this very vital nutrition information.

VF: What is the most exciting aspect of Shaping Up My Choices and why?

Bailey: Shaping Up My Choices empowers students to take nutrition on as their own responsibility. Kids are interested in learning about food. When they are able to connect it personally to themselves, teaching nutrition becomes a powerful tool. The Shaping Up My Choices curriculum checks all the boxes of a solid program: individual workbooks, engaging lessons, collaborative activities and an extensive yet practical web portal. The commitment that Dairy Council of California has put towards this endeavor is commendable. The fact that it is offered for free is the icing on top of the “carrot cake”!

VF: How does Shaping Up My Choices utilize technology + why is that important to educators?

Bailey: Through the newly revised web portal, teachers are easily able to connect to home with engaging activities and extension lessons that the child can do with their family. Nutritional videos further explain and solidify the concepts taught in class. Recipe suggestions to make at home add extra fun.

VF: You’ve placed an emphasis on nutrition education being a year-round topic. How does Shaping Up My Choices’ new revision make it easy to teach all year?

Bailey: The format of Shaping Up My Choices as a solid five lesson curriculum is inviting to any busy educator. These latest revisions help create a framework from which extension activities will naturally spill over into a variety of subject areas. Collaborative activities include creating breakfast menus in groups, polling other students in the school cafeteria and cooking at home with their parents. All of these examples enable this nutrition program to be utilized and enjoyed throughout the year. When lessons are taught well, teachers can get out of the way and let the children take the reins. If students can become aware of the need for healthy and balanced eating habits before they graduate, then everyone wins.

Through the innovative changes in Shaping Up My Choices, Dairy Council of California is trailblazing in the realm of nutrition education and invites California educators to join in the cause of elevating nutrition education by teaching its programs. To learn more today and order free, revised Shaping Up My Choices lesson plans which include English and Spanish student workbooks and teacher guides, please visit:

Tags: common core state standards Dietary Guidelines for Americans elementary healthy classroom Healthy eating healthy eating for kids healthy students nutrition nutrition education nutrition lesson plans Shaping Up My Choices Valerie Fung-A-Ling

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