Resources

These free resources—from tip sheets to model policies and reports—can support your efforts to make healthy changes at your school.

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Young Yogis

Yoga is a great tool to use in the elementary classroom. Yoga can energize, refocus, redirect or relax students. It can be done with both limited time and space in the classroom. In this lesson, the teacher will introduce basic yoga to students through a read-aloud, and then have students practice movements described in the book as a group. Additional poses can be added depending on students’ interests and creativity.

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Nutritious Words

With a little creativity, a typical spelling lesson can also be an exercise in hand-eye coordination and nutrition! In this lesson, students will use new props to add “flavor” to their spelling words while moving at the same time.

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Food Group Frenzy

Some of the most important things students can be introduced to at this age are the five food groups. Knowing the five food groups will help students make balanced and healthy choices in what they eat every day. In this lesson, students will participate in a relay race to put several foods into the five food groups.

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Eating a Rainbow

Making colorful food choices every day helps encourage students to eat a variety of foods that are both delicious and high in vitamins and minerals. In this lesson, students will create a beautiful wall or bulletin board that will inspire them to “Eat a Rainbow!”

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Classifying the Edible Parts of Plants

After completing the lesson “Fruit or Not?” students will have been introduced to one of the six edible parts of plants. This lesson will build on that understanding as students explore the other five parts and their specific functions.

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Building a Food Vocabulary

Taste is a complex sense that influences what we like to eat and our food choices. After completing the lesson “Nutritious Words," this activity will help students develop a wider vocabulary and increased writing ability around food tastes. Students will also become mindful eaters, aware of the complexity of different fruits and vegetables and why they might like some more than others.

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World Class Healthy Cooking Relay

Making healthy food choices is a skill no matter where you live. In this lesson, students learn about foods from other countries, healthy and unhealthy ways to cook foods, and the consequences of unhealthy cooking methods. New knowledge is assessed by way of a station-based relay race in which students match foods to the country of origin, and then sort the foods into healthy and unhealthy cooking methods. The activity also teaches students the geographic locations of the countries.

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Tracing the Food System: An Investigation of a Chicago Public Schools Meal

This lesson will allow students to make the connection between the food they eat at home and at school and the people, plants, and animals that provide it. Students will study the recipes of the winning school meal from the Cooking up Change competition and write creative narratives of a chosen ingredient along its journey of farm to tray.

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The Power Inside Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for maintaining good health and development in children. The first activity in this lesson introduces the essential nutrients in fruits and vegetables and is followed by a teacher-led science demonstration. This demonstration allows students to explore the levels of one of these important nutrients in different fruit and vegetable juices. With this knowledge, students will be better prepared to understand nutrient levels in foods and become more informed consumers.

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The MyPlate Shuffle

MyPlate reminds us to eat a variety of foods each day and to make healthy choices about those foods. This lesson introduces students to the different food groups and the types of foods in each. Students will learn about these different food groups and the types of foods that go into them by way of a stretch-break dance that they can do anytime.

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Sack It! Building a Healthy Lunch

This lesson introduces students to the different food groups and the types of foods in each. Students will also learn why it is important to eat a variety of foods. With this knowledge, students construct a healthy lunch sack filled with foods from the different food groups.

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Lunch in Havana

In this lesson, students will learn about healthy eating as well as the culture and history of Cuba.

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Calories In, Calories Out Word Problem

There are many misconceptions surrounding the concept of calories. This lesson will introduce students to the role of calories in healthy living and the management of calorie intake/output in regards to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

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Here + Healthy Factsheet

Nationwide, a staggering number of children are chronically absent, often at a very young age and often without attracting attention or intervention. While the causes are multi-fold, one stands out as especially significant: student health. Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign are calling on partners across the country to sign on to Here + Healthy and raise their voices about the connection between chronic absenteeism and health.

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Here + Healthy Campaign Call to Action

Nationwide, a staggering number of children are chronically absent. While the causes are multi-fold, one stands out as especially significant: student health. Taking action to address health-related chronic absenteeism can have a powerful impact on students’ academic success and well-being for a lifetime! Healthy Schools Campaign and Attendance Works are calling on partners across the country to sign on to the Here + Healthy campaign to raise awareness about the connection between chronic absenteeism and health.

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Education Data for Health Systems: Challenges and Opportunities

This brief highlights existing efforts to integrate education data, such as chronic absenteeism, into health and public health accountability systems, describes common barriers and best practices, and suggests key opportunities for further exploration to advance this work.

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Healthy and Ready to Learn: Recommendations for Illinois’ Governor

HSC is pleased to present Healthy and Ready to Learn: Recommendations for Illinois’ Governor. The following recommendations are ways in which state leadership can support schools and their communities in creating conditions for improved school wellness and student health over the next four years.

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Walking the Walk: Learning with Pedometers

Pedometers are great tools for measuring physical activity levels and motivating students. Some PE departments may have funds for these or companies may be willing to make a donation for a healthy school initiative.

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Fruit or Not?

It may come as a surprise, but several vegetables we eat every day are actually fruits! In this lesson, challenge what your students already know to see if they can win the game of “Fruit or Not?”

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Using Needs Assessments to Connect Learning + Health: Opportunities in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

This guide is intended to highlight the ways that school needs assessments required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can be a valuable tool in identifying, understanding and addressing health conditions that contribute to poor academic performance. It provides child advocates, community leaders, school personnel and other key stakeholder groups with the information that they need to convince their state and local education leaders to make health and wellness a significant component of the needs assessment and school improvement process.

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Chicago Public Schools’ Pathways to Excellence in School Nutrition

This plan documents and make publicly accessible the district's high school meal nutrition standards and health promoting initiatives and outline an action plan to provide healthy school food to all CPS students. This strategic plan was created in collaboration with the CPS School Food Advisory group co-convened by Healthy Schools Campaign. Download

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Moving Minutes Activity Guide

A collection of ideas on how to keep students moving the classroom or during indoor recess.

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How to Integrate Health and Wellness Goals into a Continuous Improvement Work Plan

This toolkit lays out a simple framework to assist Chicago Public Schools schools in incorporating health and wellness into their school improvement plans—and ensure all students have the opportunity to be the best learners they can be.

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Economic Impacts of Farm to School: Case Studies and Assessment Tools

This report presents findings from surveys conducted with 26 producers in nine states, highlighting economic impact assessment findings from two case studies: Minneapolis Public Schools and the state of Georgia.

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Chicago Public Schools Local School Wellness Policy for Students 2017

The purpose of this policy is to ensure the Board’s expectations for a healthy school environment are articulated and satisfied by establishing requirements for nutrition education, physical activity and the provision of healthy food choices at schools.

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Chicago Public Schools Healthy Snack and Beverage Policy 2017

The purpose of this policy is to establish nutrition standards, requirements and recommendations for foods and beverages sold, provided or served to students at school that compete with food provided under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), National School Breakfast Program (NSBP), Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This policy seeks to create a school environment that supports student nutrition and healthy food choices by providing nutrition standards for food and beverages sold 1) as competitive foods in vending machines or in school stores, 2) by food vendors on school grounds, 3) as a la carte items sold in the school dining centers, 4) as part of school fundraisers, celebrations or rewards. The nutrition standards set forth in this policy are consistent with the USDA’s Smart Snacks Guidelines and the gold standard for competitive foods.

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Chicago Public Schools Breakfast After the Bell Policy 2017

This policy establishes the requirements for providing breakfast after the bell in all Chicago Public elementary, middle, and high schools. This policy establishes alternative breakfast models by which breakfast after the bell will be implemented. Models include but are not limited to: Breakfast in the Classroom (“BIC”), Grab n’ Go, Second Chance Breakfast, Breakfast Vending or a hybrid of those models to be determined by the Office of Nutrition Support Services. This policy seeks to create a school environment that supports breakfast participation by all students, encourages students to embrace a morning routine that includes breakfast and creates a healthy start to each school day.

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Fit to Learn Tip Sheet: Healthy Celebrations and Rewards

Celebrations and rewards are a big part of school culture. Help students make nutritious food choices all day long! Beyond regular meals, snacks are sometimes offered during in-class celebrations or as rewards from a teacher. When schools reinforce healthy habits in the classroom, students learn consistent lessons that can last a lifetime.

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Fit to Learn Tip Sheet: Garden-Based Learning

School gardens allow students to participate in hands-on activities. School gardens can strengthen academic and social skills as well as allow students to develop life skills in areas such as nutrition, leadership and decision-making. Through a school garden, students can learn about and practice healthy behaviors in an exciting, hands-on way. Chicago Public Schools supports more than 400 schools with a school garden through various initiatives.

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Fit to Learn Tip Sheet: Physical Activity

Physical activity during the school day helps students focus better in the classroom, increases social skills and encourages an active lifestyle. Activity in the classroom is also a great way to get students’ minds moving. During class time, teachers can integrate physical activity into lessons.

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Fit to Learn Tip Sheet: Nutrition Education

Good nutrition can go far beyond the cafeteria—into the classroom! Nutrition education can be a separate curriculum or it can be woven into existing standards-based curricula.

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Fit to Learn Tip Sheet: Healthy Fundraising

Schools have many options for successfully raising money while keeping school wellness a priority—without relying on sales of unhealthy foods. Learn more about easy ways to hold healthy fundraisers in your school that send consistent, positive messages that wellness really matters.

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Fit to Learn Tip Sheet: Building Your Team

Although individuals within schools can make big strides toward school wellness, real progress takes a great team. Use these tips to create a strong support system for a healthy school environment.

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Addressing Mental Health and Wellness through ESSA Implementation

Untreated and undertreated mental health conditions remain a substantial factor in stifling academic achievement. Under ESSA, education leaders have the opportunity to remedy some of these underlying issues to ensure that schools integrate more evidence-based mental health promotion and treatment in the everyday workings of the education system, and help their students thrive and succeed.

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Addressing Chronic Absenteeism through ESSA Implementation

ESSA presents an important opportunity to create public accountability around chronic absenteeism and ensure state ESSA plans support a comprehensive approach to address chronic absenteeism. This document highlights various approaches that stakeholders might use to leverage ESSA to support efforts to address chronic absenteeism.

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Addressing Nutrition and Physical Activity through ESSA Implementation

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recognizes the need for schools to support the whole child and specifically acknowledges the importance of health and wellness. ESSA also provides an opportunity to ensure equitable access to quality education and the conditions that support student learning. Health is a key part of this. ESSA transitions authority from the federal government to state education agencies. Thus, as states begin to implement ESSA, it is critical they do so in a way that supports health and wellness.

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About the Healthy Students, Promising Futures Learning Collaborative

The Healthy Students, Promising Futures Learning Collaborative, in partnership with Healthy Schools Campaign and Trust for America’s Health, was launched in July 2016 to support states in expanding Medicaid services in schools, including physical and behavioral health services.

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“Free Care” Medicaid School Based Services

From the National Association for Medicaid in Education.

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Dismantling Barriers to School Health

From the American Federation of Teachers.

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Advocates’ Guide to the Change in the Medicaid Free Care Rule

This document provides guidance for health care advocates to engage a diverse set of partners to advance implementation of the medicaid free care rule change.

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Medicaid’s “Free Care Policy:” Results from Review of State Medicaid Plans

From the National Health Law Program.

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Policy Considerations for California Following the Reversal of the Medicaid “Free Care Rule”

From the California School-based Health Alliance.

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Let’s Take Medicaid Back to School

This blog offers concrete examples of how advocates and stakeholders can support school-based Medicaid programs, streamlining federal and state reimbursements to school districts and contributing to children's equitable, easy access to high-quality healthcare services.

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Medicaid Helps Schools Help Children

A clear overview of the role Medicaid plays in ensuring student health.

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State Resources on Medicaid and CHIP

From Georgetown Center for Children and Families.

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Happy, Healthy and Ready to Learn: Insure All Children

This toolkit focuses on school-based child health outreach and enrollment.

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Guide to School-Based Outreach for Health Coverage Enrollment

From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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A Guide for Incorporating Health and Wellness into School Improvement Plans

This guide explores the opportunities provided by School Improvement Plans to address the needs of the whole child, incorporating physical, social, emotional and/or behavioral health priorities into schools.

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State Health Department Leadership in Addressing Chronic Health Conditions in Schools: Case Studies from Massachusetts and Missouri

These case studies demonstrate the important role that state health departments can play in strengthening the management of chronic health conditions in schools, even in an era of limited funding.

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Ten Principles for Collaboration between the Health and Education Systems

From Healthy Schools Campaign and Trust for America's Health.

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