Yes, it’s that time of year. I have been liberally doused with a sluice of sneezes, and my tissue supply is precipitously dwindling. My own family has been sick off and on for the past few weeks, including myself, an annual affliction that makes me yearn for spring’s fresh air and sunshine. I know, not yet.
While I am waiting for Spring, I often choose the month of February to remind students of important healthy habits. I’ve included a few favorite resources to share. If you like what you see, feel free to download — just click on the images and leave a comment under the post below to let me know. Thanks!
Given the popularity of the recent posting of my Valentine Bingo Boards, I thought I would share my ACHOO! Bingo boards as well, loaded with concept and theme-based vocabulary. I often spend time discussing the vocabulary words, and the steps necessary to maintain a healthy body. Extension activities include listing/sorting items in given categories (e.g., healthy foods vs. unhealthy foods, types of exercise, signs of being healthy vs. signs of being sick) asking and answering wh questions about vocabulary, “turn and talk” time with peers to discuss how being sick feels, etc. The Bingo boards are merely an entryway for language-rich activities and discussion. Enjoy!
I also take time to discuss proper hand washing to prevent germs from spreading. A website with lots of ideas for teaching K-3 kids about germs can be found here. I also like to use a handwashing picture sequence to illustrate our discussions. The images can be used as picture cues for students needing step-by-step prompting, and older students can place individual pictures onto a story board using the correct sequence. Sentence formulation skills can be addressed as students retell the picture sequence using ordinal and sequential vocabulary.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so I often use this month as an opportunity to review dental hygiene themes and vocabulary. Kids love to make paint designs using toothbrushes, and I sometimes will co-teach with the occupational therapist in my school to create toothbrush crafts that target fine motor skills (snipping edges of paper to make toothbrush “bristles,” etc.) The American Dental Association has a database of resources to educate children about good dental habits, including downloadable worksheets and posters in English and Spanish.
Here is a picture vocabulary page I made to supplement lessons and discussions on dental health:
One of my favorite ideas is to use the book How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen to create literacy-based activities using the “Staying Healthy” theme. The rhythm and rhyme of this endearing story target phonemic awareness and decoding skills. The themes of the book allow for discussion of content vocabulary and social skills like making good choices. Here is a picture vocabulary page I made using real images from Google Image search and Picture This photo software in Boardmaker:
To promote student engagement and active listening during the story presentation, I use pinch cards to target the “happy choices” vs. “sad choices” that the dinosaurs make (quick side note –I prefer the terms “happy” choice vs. “sad” choice because I just don’t like using the word “bad” with my students. Even if I am clear about saying it is the choice that is “bad,” I personally prefer not to highlight the negativity that many students hear all too often…and using happy/sad terminology focuses on how they might feel versus other people’s perceptions of who they are or what they do.) Using the happy/sad choice pinch cards, student can respond to “I wonder” statements and WH questions as the story events are revealed (e.g., “I wonder if the doctor thinks the dinosaur made a happy choice or a sad choice?” or “Oh no! The dinosaur is making a big mess! What kind of choice do you think he is making?”) Students “pinch” the correct picture and hold it up in the air…every student has a way of responding and answering the question at the same time using the basic concept vocabulary.
Thanks for checking out LiveSpeakLove! I am enjoying this format to share some things that have inspired me, and I appreciate the feedback from those who feel inspired as well. Stay Healthy!