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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Chicago Educator Webinar Series: Implementing PE Policies

CPS requires that schools offer daily physical education or 150 minutes per week of PE. This can be especially challenging for some schools. However, since more than 85 percent of students in Chicago are at increased risk for chronic health conditions and obesity, PE is especially critical. We must find creative ways to implement the policy.

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Chicago Educator Webinar: Addressing Chronic Absenteeism

Students who aren’t in school—no matter the reason—can’t learn. In Chicago and across the country, a staggering number of children are chronically absent, often at a very young age and often without attracting attention. While the causes are multi-fold, one stands out as especially significant: student health. Understanding and addressing the health-related factors surrounding chronic absenteeism is a proven strategy for supporting attendance and learning.

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Chicago Educator Webinar: Healthy Celebrations + Fundraisers

Celebrations and fundraisers are a big part of school culture. Help students make nutritious food choices throughout the school year! Schools have many options for celebrations and for successfully raising money while keeping school wellness a priority—without relying on unhealthy foods. When schools reinforce healthy habits, students learn consistent lessons that can last a lifetime.

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Chicago Educator Webinar: Healthy Students Are Better Learners

Schools play an important role in supporting student health and wellness. Studies document what teachers, parents and education leaders know: healthy students are more likely to attend school and are better able to focus in class, which ultimately leads to higher test scores and overall higher classroom achievement.

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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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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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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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Fit to Learn Online Resources

A collection of online resources for teachers related to movement in the classroom, nutrition education, creating a culture of health and more.

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Strategies for Recess in Schools

This document from the CDC and SHAPE America describes strategies for planning and providing recess in schools to help increase participation in physical activity and improve academic achievement (e.g., performance, behavior, attention).

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Brief: School Fundraisers: Positive Changes in Foods Sold, but Room for Improvement Remains

In-school fundraisers can be problematic nutritionally because, historically, unhealthy foods such as baked goods, candies, and sugary drinks have often been sold as part of these fundraising events. Food-related fundraising is common and has been in existence for many years, though the past decade has brought a variety of changes to the school food landscape. For example, the Smart Snacks school nutrition standards, which went into effect July 2014, define the portions and types of foods and beverages that can be sold outside of school meals on school campuses during the school day. However, these standards also allow states to exempt some fundraisers at which unhealthy foods and beverages may be sold, which has resulted in a patchwork of fundraiser policies and practices nationwide.

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Staff Wellness: Why It Matters and What Can Be Done

This booster will help you create a healthy work environment for you and your colleagues by providing free and cost-effective resources including health screenings, gym memberships and motivational strategies. Guest speaker from the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness will share tips on reading nutrition labels, healthy role modeling and more. A healthy school starts with a healthy staff!

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Chicago Public Schools Composting Presentation

A presentation from Chicago Public Schools at our Fit to Learn Worm Composting booster.

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Do the Rot Thing: A Teacher’s Guide to Compost Activities

By using the activities in this guide, you will be joining thousands of teachers across the country in bringing compost into the classroom as a valuable teaching tool. The activities you’ll find in Do the Rot Thing are hands-on and encourage student exploration and learning. Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District, Montpelier, Vermont, January 2007

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Teacher Fact Sheet: Worm Composting

A tip sheet from our Fit to Learn Worm Composting booster.

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Espanol Healthy Celebration Letter

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Espanol Healthy Fundraising Letter

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Fit to Learn Milestone Checklist

Teachers should meet at least eight milestones by March 2016. Ideally, teachers will meet four milestones by December 2015 and an additional four milestones by March 2016. Each teacher should attend one full-day Fit to Learn session, participate in at least three booster sessions, practice and share health and wellness ideas with other teachers and participate in HSC’s program evaluation.

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The Movement Movement

A Strategic Plan to Strengthen Physical Education in Chicago Public Schools

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PlayWELL Toolkit

Providing opportunities for recess during the day increases the likelihood that children will be successful in school and fosters the physical and social development of children. Recess should be a valued and seamless part of the school day that engages all students and requires commitment from all staff.

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MoveWELL Toolkit

CPS aims to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence for academic success and lifelong health. Physical education is recognized by CPS as a core curricular class that is a foundation for health and academic achievement.

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LearnWELL Healthy End of Year Celebrations

The end of the school year often includes celebrating summer and congratulating students on completing the school year. Avoid celebrations concentrated around food and emphasize the fun! Keep in mind that schools cannot serve or sell unhealthy foods or beverages during the school day (including fundraisers, celebrations, and rewards) and no foods may be served during school meal times.

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Healthy Fundraising Sample Letter

A sample letter of communicating a healthy fundraiser to parents, guardians and staff. In an editable Microsoft Word template.

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Healthy Celebration Sample Letter

A sample letter of communicating a healthy celebration to parents, guardians and staff. In an editable Microsoft Word template.

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EatWELL Toolkit

By including lessons about nutrition in core curriculum, schools can impact students’ decisions about healthy eating throughout their lifetime and reinforce other school wellness activities.

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CPS Local School Wellness Policy October 2012

Adopted October 24, 2012

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FundraiseWELL Toolkit

Healthy food or non-food fundraisers enable schools to send consistent, positive health messages, reinforce classroom education and contribute to student health by supporting a healthy school environment as well as promoting healthy choices. Fundraisers that involve either healthy food choices or non-food items, such as hosting a walk-a-thon versus a candy sale, can yield significant fundraising revenue and build a sense of community. By engaging in Healthy Fundraising, schools can further their mission of creating environments with students who are prepared to learn.

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