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Fit To Be Taught, Vol. 54

Reading and Math Carnival Equals Low-Stress Test Prep

Although it started off as a small gathering of teachers and parents that easily fit inside the cafeteria, Reading and Math Mania at Merrimack Elementary School in Hampton, Virginia, quickly became a larger affair that spread to all parts of the school. The cafeteria is now devoted exclusively to serving food to the many participants.

Reading and Math Mania has evolved -- or essentially, steamrolled -- into a school-wide event that is almost like a festival of learning and establishing relationships," observed parent Stephanie Taylor. "It has become a mainstay of each school year."

Designed to prepare students for upcoming standardized tests, Reading and Math Mania brings together students and parents for an evening of fun that provides abundant take-home activities to help the students practice and reinforce skills required to perform well. In addition to simple review, the event also lessens the anxiety associated with the testing.

"Game formats like paper football and mazes are less intimidating than traditional worksheets. The students eagerly play the educational games, without realizing how much learning and positive reinforcement are taking place," said Taylor, a parent involvement facilitator. "Our thinking is that the more practice students have at using their acquired skills, the more comfortable and prepared they will be in applying the skills during test situations."

Read the full article on Education World

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Theater Program Promotes Nutrition, Exercise

FOODPLAY is a national, award-winning, research-based nutrition theater show that tours elementary schools, conferences, and special events to educate and motivate children to improve their eating and exercise habits. Geared for children in grades K-5, FOODPLAY is age-appropriate and fits with the variety of demographic groups found in the U.S. The program is updated annually and selected materials are available in Spanish.

FOODPLAY promotes the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines and Food Pyramid and teaches children how to: choose a wide variety of healthful foods from the Food Pyramid; enjoy being physically active every day; Strive for Five, that is, eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day; cut down on sugars and fats; choose low-fat milk, water, and 100 percent fruit juice in place of sugary drinks; fuel up with breakfast and participate in school breakfast programs; read food labels, understand food marketing techniques, and get the most nutritional value for their money; treat their bodies right, whatever their size and shape; and that every body is different and different is a great thing!

This turn-key program features a skills-based, highly engaging theatrical performance with juggling, music, and audience participation. A comprehensive resource kit provides year-long follow-up with materials for students, parents, teachers, school food service members, health staff, and the media. FOODPLAY helps schools integrate nutrition into core subject areas and triggers school and community-wide interest in fighting childhood obesity and improving nutrition and health environments.

Read more about this program at: FOODPLAY.

Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

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