Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

A Sense of Wonder

Bethania Hernandez

Contents of Curriculum Unit 91.05.03:

To Guide Entry

Adolescence is defined as the transitional period from childhood to adulthood. The major concern of adolescents during this period is to find a sense of self-identity. They wonder who they are and who they will be. It is a time of awakening of feelings and emotions, a time of fearing, doubting, wondering, and questioning. It is the most difficult time in life for adolescents, and for their parents as well. Adolescents have problems communicating with adults “since the major developmental task of adolescents is to become an adult apart from parents.”1 Adolescents are jealous of their privacy; keeping secrets is very important to them. It is a time when peers and friends are very important, too.2 I think that this poem, taken from the introduction to About Me describes nicely this time in their lives:

A sense of wonder Boys and girls everywhere wonder about the things they see around them. And they wonder about themselves, too.

They wonder how their bodies work.
They wonder about their secret selvestheir thoughts and wishes and the way they feel about things.
They wonder if they are like everyone else.
They wonder how they are different.
They look for answers. And sometimes they find answers in books like this one.
And so, this book was made for mebecause I am someone special, and because I wonder about things.3 The problem that I ask myself as a teacher is: How do I provide substance for adolescents, wonders? How do I provide all of the information they are looking for?

I agree with Gwendolyn Richardson, a Fellow from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. She states in her unit, “In Search of Self,” “Literature is an excellent source to help students in this stage of development. It offers innumerable opportunities for the student. To meet himself, encounter situations similar to his own experience and discover his own emotions.” She continues, “By reading, the adolescent can find solace in the fact that he is not alone in his thoughts and feelings and that someone understands his problems.”4

But what happens to adolescents who cannot read at age level, and who cannot enjoy even simple pieces of literature in order to find answers to their wonders? What happens to students who cannot cope with high frustration level or with remaining seated during long class periods, and who end up walking in the halls and are finally suspended? The student who cannot concentrate on a task for more than fifteen minutes and prefers to release his/her anxiety by talking constantly of family problems may also have difficulty. The following examples come from my class: “My father went to hide in New York because four men want to kill him.” “My brother was caught yesterday stealing a car. He is going to be on probation because he is under age.” (It happens that the brother who stole the car is also one of my students.) “We were taken to a shelter because our furnace exploded and my younger brother is burned and is now in the hospital.” “My sister disappeared and my parents cannot find her. The policemen are looking in other cities around New Haven.” “I don’t want to do nothing. I’m so tired. I went to bed at 2 o’clock last night, watching TV in the basement with my older brother.” And so on.

I am concerned about all of these things and others that arise in my classroom, a population of 12-15 year old Spanish speakers in grades 5-8 who hold very poor attitudes towards school in general, and who have very high rates of absenteeism. Most of them come from very large families who live in houses with poor sanitary conditions and who have very little knowledge about disease prevention, first aid or good nutritional habits.

Facing this reality prompted me to write a curriculum that focuses on adolescents’ social problem solving and health issues. There are several goals that I would like to achieve ln creating this unit:

1.To help students to improve school attendance and academic standing by having a better relationship with parents, friends, teachers and with the school environment in general.
2.To teach students how to stay ln good health by helping them to learn about good habits of hygiene and nutrition.
3.To teach students the basic principles of how to avoid contagious diseases.
4.I will also include in this unit the importance of keeping first aid kits in the students’ homes and help them learn how to use them. It is of major interest to me that the students teach their parents many of the things they learn from this unit, including how to take a person’s temperature, how to read the thermometer, and how to select and prepare healthy meals.
I have entitled my unit “A Sense of Wonder” because of my interest of awakening in my students an inner motivation to wonder about life, about themselves, and about many other things related to the human condition and stages of life: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. In this unit I will present material in a simple and clear manner, allowing the students opportunities to read, discuss, observe and manipulate things oriented to achieve the goals of this curriculum.

With the idea that students can address their own needs and help their families in cases of emergency, they will prepare their own kits by filling them with useful information that should be kept at home such as: what to do about acne, tips to avoid insomnia, what to do if they have dandruff, etc. I will also include things that concern the entire family including: a nutrient table to enable the parents and students to prepare better and more balanced meals, and sample recipes.

I would also try to include a list of simple goals that would help students to improve their behavior and their study habits.

This unit is designed to be taught in four weeks. During the first week I intend to arouse in my students an interest for themselves, their families, their teachers and their friends. I hope that they will begin to see themselves and others as human beings and as physical bodies with physical needs. We will discuss how all humans experience the same feelings, including, among others, happiness, love, anxiety, fear, and frustration. We will also look at different strategies that help us to cope with these emotions.

The curriculum for the second week would center around learning how to keep in good health. In discussing good nutrition we will talk about the nutrients that are in the food we eat. We will learn how to select a well balanced diet, avoiding excessive fat, junk foods, and other poor eating habits.

The third week of my curriculum would focus on hygiene, sleeping habits, and how to avoid contagious diseases. During this week we will also learn about the importance of keeping a first aid kit in the house in case of emergencies. Students will be trained in how to use a thermometer, how to read a temperature, and how to keep a record. I will expand my unit into the area of mathematics at this point by having the students prepare grids for record keeping, and teaching them to plot and read graphs.

to top


During the course of this unit, students will:
1.Read books, magazines, menus and related materials.
2.Use dictionaries.
3.Participate in class discussions.
4.Create posters.
5.Have the opportunity to watch films and see appropriate transparencies.
6.Read city maps.
7.Do library research.
8.Receive guest speakers in the classroom.
 9.Use manipulatives.
10. Complete written exercises.

to top

First Week

1.To help the students see themselves as precious and important human beings, able to think and express themselves freely concerning their feelings and emotions.
2.To recognize that they are members of a family, of the school and a community, with rights and responsibilities.
3.To help them learn to set simple goals and to think of possible consequences for irresponsible actions and how to avoid these actions.

Words To Study
me interpersonal
human being stress
equal strategy
different consequences
expression goal
feelings plan
yourself identity
In the development of these lessons I will use the YaleNew Haven Social Problem Solving program for young adolescents.

Procedure  I will start by writing this poem, “Everyone is a me”5, on the board:
Everyone is a “me” ____Each person In my family is a “me.”

Every one of my friends is a “me.”
____Of course, all those “me’s” are people.
So they are all alike in many ways.
____All people have human bodies.
____All people come into the world in the same way.
____All people have someone, or a few very special people, they love.
____All people laugh and cry, feel happy and sad and angry and afraid, do good things and bad things and brave things and kind things.
____And all people explore their world and learn about it. Students will:

read the poem
comment on the poem
copy it from the board
use a dictionary

to top


Here are 13 situations that middle-school students decided were the most stressful and difficult problems to handle:
1.Someone challenges you to a fight and you feel upset.
2.Your mother tells you that you can’t do something you want to do and you feel mad.
3.Your friends try to convince you to smoke cigarettes, drink, or try drugs and you feel pressured.
4.An adult blames you for something you didn’t do and you feel frustrated.
5.A friend lies to you and you feel betrayed.
6.Someone is spreading rumors about you and you feel furious.
7.You meet new students and you feel worried about whether or not they will like you.
8.Your friends are trying to get you to do something that might get you into trouble and you feel scared.
9.You must undress for showers after gym class and you feel embarrassed.
10.Your brothers or sisters are picking on you instead of being friendly and you feel angry.
11.Your homework is difficult and you feel dumb.
12.Your best friend argues with you and you feel nervous that you might stop being friends.
13.Somebody likes your boyfriend or girlfriend and you feel jealous.
(figure available in print form)
(figure available in print form)
After reading every line of the poem, the teacher will ask questions.

Ex. Teacher: What does “me” mean? Student: Myself, I. Teacher: That’s correct. In how many ways are people alike? Possible answers: They talk; they walk; they think; they go to school. Teacher: That is correct. So if we can talk, think, go to school does that tell you something? Answer: Yes, we are human beings. Teacher: Very good answer, but besides all these attributes, human beings also have feelings. (Note: the teacher will write the word feelings on the blackboard and say to the class: Let’s look up the meaning in the dictionary. The teacher will write the meaning on the board. Ex. feeling . . . emotion, passion, a pleasant or painful mental state produced in a person in reaction to a stimulus such as : love, fear, sorrow, joy, anger, etc.”6 The teacher goes back to the poem written on the board and reads: All people laugh and cry, feel happy and sad and angry and afraid. Here the teacher asks questions and promotes class discussion. Have you ever felt sad? Afraid? When? Angry? When? What do you do when you are angry? etc. The teacher then continues analyzing the poem. ________“do good things and bad things and brave things and kind things.” Here again the teacher asks questions: What does “good things” mean to you? Possible answers: Help your parents, come to school. Teacher: Yes, good things produce pleasant feelings: happiness, joy, love, etc. What about bad things? What do bad things produce? Possible answers: People feel sad, mad, angry. Teacher: Yes, bad things produce unpleasant feelings. Here the teacher talks about pleasant and unpleasant feelings and explains both. Teacher: Which actions produce unpleasant feelings? Possible answers: Fighting with your brother or friend, not going to school, being bad in school, not respecting the teacher. Teacher: That’s correct. These are bad actions. You have to think that your parents, your brothers and sisters, your friends and teachers are also human beings. They also have feelings like you, and add: you know that unpleasant feelings produce stress. The teacher writes the word “stress” on the board and says, “Let’s look for its meaning in the dictionary.” Ex. “feeling: pressure, force”7 Teacher: Stress produces discomfort, anxiety, headache and even sickness. People with stress cannot concentrate on tasks, don’t eat well, don’t sleep well, feel very unhappy, etc. This is why people have to try to avoid stress. Here the teacher will introduce the problem solving program.

to top

Second Week Nutrition: What is in the food we eat?

“As adolescents grow and sexual maturation proceeds, three general factorsnutrition, exercise and sleepplay important roles. Adequate nutrition is especially important to adolescents who need energy for the growth, activity and operation of a rapidly enlarging body.”8 While thinking of Dr. Schowalter’s and Dr. Anyan’s statement about the importance of good nutrition, I look at my adolescent students: their skinny bodies; the fact that they are always complaining about being tired; their lack of motivation and inability to focus on tasks; their talk of trivial things; the way they give incorrect responses most of the time; the way they tend to look at irrelevant ideas without using problem solving skills; their very erratic behaviors; the aggressiveness of some, and the depression and withdrawal of others. All of these students demonstrate a low tolerance for frustration. Most of them also have health problems: asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and other respiratory infections, and epilepsy. In addition, many of them have speech problems. Looking at all of this, I think about their parents, some of whom are also sick, and I think of the homes these students come from. These homes are in depressed areas and usually consist of a large family with illiterate, non-working parents who are living in precarious conditions.

There is an important book by Dr. Herbert G. Birch and Dr. Joan Dye called Disadvantaged Children, Health, Nutrition and School Failure in which they cite important findings which I have included here in my unit in the hope that every teacher who works with these children will understand the reality of their lives, and at the same time feel motivated to help bring about changes in these students and begin to break the link between poverty and ignorance which the authors cite. In their book, Dr. Birch and Dr. Dye note a high correlation between poverty, malnutrition, slow physical growth and low academic achievement. The authors describe some of their studies which show a link between low social classes and the elevated rate of exposure to conditions of risk for later maldevelopments such as early pregnancy, birth complications associated with fetal and neonatal death due to brain injury. They state: “A large fraction do not die but, depending on the trauma, develop a series of disorders extending from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and mental deficiency through all types of behavioral and learning disabilities resulting from lesser degrees of damage sufficient to disorganize behavioral development and lower thresholds to stress.”9 They also state, “It is clearly beyond dispute that in these countries children handicapped not only by poverty but additionally by membership in a depressed minority are at much greater risk of leaving school without an adequate education than are their less disadvantaged contemporaries. Given their poor education, such children are doomed in young adulthood to either no employment or only marginal employment. As a consequence, their poverty is almost certain to persist into their adult life and be handed down to their children who will more likely than not repeat their parents’ patterns of school failure.10 The authors continue, “Over the past 10 to 15 years as the effect of nutritional deprivation on physical growth has become more widely recognized, concern has increased that malnutrition might not only be limited to skeletal growth but might also be exerting deleterious effects on the central nervous system and thus be functioning to depress the adaptative and intellectual capacities of the children who have been at nutritional risk in infancy. It has been clear that one characteristic of the clinical syndrome of nutritional stress was psychological disturbance.” There is an agreement in the reports from workers in many different countries, they say, that the single most common behavioral finding in malnourished children is apathy accompanied by irritability. The authors state: “ Children severely ill from any cause seem to lose all the child’s normal curiosity and desire for exploration, but so marked is this condition of unresponsiveness in malnutrition that renewal of interest in the environment has become in many clinical centers one of the most reliable signs of a child’s improving nutritional status.”11

In the beginning of this interesting book about the poor, the authors state: “In the newly emerging countries it has been recognized that educational failure is part of a cycle of poverty, social ineffectiveness and ignorance that is repetitive unless the links which build its component parts are broken.” How can we as educators help to break this link of poverty and ignorance? According to the authors, malnutrition is probably one if not the major cause for this syndrome. Then can we as educators help students and parents to improve their nutritional patterns? Can we create some awareness in students and parents of the important factors that contribute to maintaining healthy physical, intellectual and emotional development? I believe that as educators we definitely have an important role to play in breaking the link of poverty and ignorance.

The questions that come to my mind are: How can I help my students to recognize the importance of good nutrition in order to have good mental and physical growth? How can I motivate them to try different foods? How can I involve parents at the same time, since they are the family providers?

Keeping in mind that these students are not interested in reading and have low comprehension skills, the curriculum has to be simple to read and rich in visual and manipulative materials. The goals will be:

1.To help students to recognize the importance of good nutrition for healthy physical growth.
2.To help students learn what good nutrition means.
3.To enable students to identify the basic groups of food, their nutrients, and how these nutrients help their bodies.
4.To involve the parents of these students in nutritional education.

Words To Study

nutrition nutrient
protein carbohydrate

Procedure  The teacher will start by presenting to the students transparencies of children with different types of diseases caused by malnutrition. The teacher will initiate discussion encouraging students to express their feelings and thoughts about what they see and about the consequences of poor nutrition. The teacher will explain to students that they will learn how to avoid these diseases by learning how to improve their eating habits and hygiene. The teacher will continue by explaining that even when money is limited, people can still eat healthy meals. Some of the points to be covered in this discussion can include: buying fruits and vegetables of the season; buying foods that contain the nutrients we need in order to grow; avoiding eating too much food high in fat, sugar and salt because of the health problems these can create; and getting the most value for their money by checking for sale prices and cutting out and redeeming coupons. The teacher will present to the students a table of contents listing foods, nutrients, and what these nutrients do to the body. Accompanying this table will be colored pictures of different kinds of food. (Note: These colored pictures can be obtained in supermarkets, in magazines and newspapers or from teachers’ suppliers. After analyzing the content table for two or three days, the teacher will present posters with the four groups of food: the milk group, the meat group, the vegetable and fruit group, and the bread and cereal group. Students will look at, describe, compare and analyze these groups.

to top

Activities to do during the development of this unit:

1.Students will read names of foods, nutrients and what these nutrients do to the body.
2.Students will classify foods according to the four different groups: milk, meat, fruits and vegetables, bread and cereal.
3.Students will prepare their own posters by cutting pictures of food from magazines and newspapers according to the content table.
4.Students can group pictures of food according to nutrients.
5.Students and teacher could visit a supermarket to see the different types of food according to the four different food groups.
6.The teacher can show the students how they can figure out the nutrients in foods by reading labels.
7.Students will learn the importance of checking expiration dates.
8.Students will learn the importance of selecting fresh and healthy food, especially milk, eggs, cheese, bread and others.
9.Students can prepare a list of fruits and vegetables produced in each season.
10.Teacher and students could prepare some easy and healthy meals in the classroom.
11.Finally, students will copy down some easy recipes to prepare at home.
I will invite parents to many of these activities, especially when looking at transparencies of sick children, preparing the content table of food and nutrients, going to the supermarket, and preparing easy meals.

In all of these activities the importance of good hygiene will be stressed, especially when cooking, when using cooking utensils, and before and after eating.

What does the nutrientWhat foods have Nutrientdo for you?this nutrient?
Proteinhelps build muscles, bones,meat, fish, chicken, eggs, and teethturkey, milk, cheese, peanut butter, beans
____helps the body make new cells
cereal, rice, potatoes, sugar, Carbohydrateshelp the body cells get energyspaghetti, corn, peas, fruits, bread
Fatskeep the body warmbutter, margarine, mayonnaise, give the body energypeanut butter, oils, fatty meat, whole milk, cheese
  Ironhelps red blood cells carrymeat, eggs, beans, green oxygenvegetables
  Calciumhelps build strong bones andmilk, cheese, peas, beans, teethgreen vegetables
Vitamin Ahelps you see in the darkcarrots, green vegetables, helps build healthy skin andbutter, cream, whole milk, teethcheese
Vitamin B1helps keep the brain and nervebrown rice, cereal, milk, meat, cells healthyfish, eggs, potatoes, bread
Vitamin B2helps keep the skin healthymilk, cereal, cheese, meat, eggs, fish, chicken
Vitamin Chelps keep skin, gums, andtomatoes, oranges, lemons, bones healthygrapefruits, potatoes
Vitamin Dhelps build strong bones andeggs, milk, butter, fish, oils teeth
Waterhelps the body digest food andwater, milk, juice get rid of wastes

to top

Easy to make and healthy recipes


1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1 Tb. dolomite powder 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut Beat honey and eggs until smooth; add next 6 ingredients and mix well. Spoon batter into greased square 9-by-9-inch pan and bake for 20 minutes in preheated 350° oven. Remove from oven and stir immediately. Cool 5 to 10 minutes. With buttered hands, roll cooked mixture into balls, then roll in coconut. Cool completely, then store in a tightly covered container in a cool place.

Prep. time: 1 hourProtein ***B vitamins ***
Yield: 3 dozenCalcium ***Other: potassium
Magnesium ***and iron

Tuna Salad

2 61/2-oz. cans tuna

1 151/2-oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup broken nuts

2 apples, unpeeled and diced

2 pears, unpeeled and diced

Dash salt

Celery-seed dressing (page 266) Rinse tuna in strainer with cold water; drain. Combine next 6 ingredients with tuna and cover with celery-seed dressing to taste. Mix well and refrigerate, covered, to blend flavors.

Prep. time: 20 minutesProtein ***B vitamins ***
Serves 6 to 8Calcium ***Vitamin C ***
Magnesium ***

Almond Coconut Apricots

3/4 cup grated almonds

1/4 cup honey

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 to 1 lb. dried apricot halves Chop almonds in blender a few at a time until you have 3/4 cup. Mix almonds, honey, and coconut. Form into 1-inch balls and place on apricot halves, flattening them slightly.

Prep. time: 30 minutesProtein ***
Yield: 2 dozenMagnesium ***
Vitamin A ****
Other: potassium and iron

Pineapple Dip

1 lb. dry-curd cottage cheese

1 8-oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple In a blender or by hand, mash the cheese until smooth. Add pineapple with its juice. Mix well.

Prep. time: 15 minutesProtein **
Yield: 3 cupsCalcium **
Vitamin C **

Honey-Anise Dressing

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 Tb. honey, warmed

1/2 tsp. vitamin C crystals dissolved in honey

1 Tb. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. anise seed Combine all ingredients and whisk or beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate to blend flavors. Serve with fruit salad.

Prep. time: 5 minutesProtein ***
Yield: 11/4 cupsCalcium ***
________Vitamin C **** There are no vitamins or minerals in this recipe worth recording, but it is a better, more healthful dressing than any of the commercial ones available at the store.

Banana Sherbet

3 ripe bananas 1 lb. can crushed pineapple 1 6-oz. can frozen orange-juice concentrate 1/2 cup powdered milk Whip all ingredients in blender until smooth. Pour into freezer trays and freeze until mushy. Whip again and freeze until firm.

Prep. time: 10 minutesProtein **
plus freezing timeCalcium ***
Serves 6Vitamin C ***
Other: potassium

Banana Crunchies

3/4 cup orange juice 3 bananas 1/2 cup chopped salt-free nuts or wheat germ Peel and cut bananas into 1-inch slices. Using a fork, dip in juice, then roll in nuts or wheat germ. May be frozen.

Prep. time: 15 minutesProtein **B vitamins **
Yield: 20 piecesVitamin C **Other: potassium

Carrot Pudding

1 cup whole wheat flour1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice1/4 tsp. cloves
1 cup grated peeled raw potato1 cup grated raw carrots
1/2 cup melted shortening3/4 cup honey
1 cup raisins1/2 cup chopped nuts
Sift dry ingredients together. Combine with carrots and potatoes. Add shortening, honey, raisins, and nuts. Mix well and put in greased pan. Steam 31/2 hours. Serve with lemon juice.

Prep. time: 30 minutesProtein **
Serves 6Vitamin A **
B vitamins **
Other: potassium and iron

Pumpkin-Seed Variation

1 cup seeds (after soaking)2 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tb. melted butter or margarine2 Tb. grated Parmesan cheese
Toss all ingredients together and roast in 250° oven for 2 hours.

Prep. time: 10 minutesProtein ***
Yield: 1 cupCalcium **
Other: phosphorus

Finger Jello

1 12-oz. can frozen juice concentrate (orange, apple, pear, grape) 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin 11/2 cups (1 juice can) water Soften gelatin in juice. Boil water and add juice mixture gradually, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Chill. Cut into squares when firm. Refrigerate.

Prep. time: 30 minutesProtein ***
Yield: 100 little squaresVitamin C ***

to top

?????Recipe Title????? (tag) . . .

1 15-oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple 1 cup granola Pour pineapple into a freezer tray early in the day. At bedtime remove from freezer, break into chunks, and blend until slushy. Divide blended pineapple into four servings and top each one with 1/4 cup granola. This is especially good for the child who's used to having ice cream before bed.

Prep. time: 5 minutesProtein ***
Yield: 4 servingsCalcium ***
Magnesium ***

Sprouter Space Salad

4 cups wheat sprouts 2 large navel oranges 1 pink grapefruit 1 15-oz. can chunk pineapple in its own juice 1 cup raisins Place sprouts in large bowl. Peel and section oranges and grapefruit and add to sprouts. Drain pineapple and slice each chunk in half. Add pineapple and raisins to salad. Moisten with honey-anise dressing (page 267).

Prep. time: 15 minutesProtein ***Other: potassium
Serves 6B vitamins ***and iron
Vitamin C ****

Stuffed Celery

For each serving

1 rib celery 2 Tb. pimiento cheese 1 Tb. sunflower seeds
Wash and dry celery, stuff with pimiento cheese, and top with sunflower seeds.
Prep. time: 3-5 minutesProtein ****
Yield: 1 servingCalcium ****
Magnesium ***

Mini Sprout Sandwich

For each serving

1 slice Pepperidge Farm   Party Rye Bread 1 Tb. each grated   cheddar cheese   and Monterrey   Jack cheeses 1/2 tsp. mayonnaise 1 tsp. unhulled sesame   seeds Alfalfa sprouts (optional) Top bread with mayonnaise, then add cheeses and sesame seeds. Broil until bubbly, cover with sprouts, and service.

Prep. time: 5 minutesProtein ****Magnesium ***
Yield: 1 servingCalcium ****B vitamins ***

Celery-Seed Dressing

1 egg
1/2 tsp. vitamin C crystals dissolved in the vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1 Tb. prepared mustard
1 tsp. paprika
1/3 cup cider vinegar, lukewarm
2 Tb. celery seed
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sunflower oil
Process first 8 ingredients in blender at high speed until blended. At low speed drizzle in oil until emulsified.

Prep. time: 5 minutesCalcium ***
Yield: 11/2 cupsVitamin C ****

Creamy Peanut Butter Shake

3/4 cup milk 6 cubes of frozen milk (raw goat’s milk is best, but any will work) 1 frozen banana 1/4 cup natural-style peanut butter 1 Tb. protein powder (optional) 1 tsp. honey Combine all ingredients in blender jar and process until blended thoroughly. Mixture will be very thick and creamy.

Prep. time: 5 minutesProtein ****
Yield: 2 servingsCalcium ****
B vitamins ***
____Magnesium *** Hint: Keep peeled frozen bananas and ice-cube trays of milk in freezer, covered, ready to use.

Tomato Dip

1 lb. dry-curd cottage cheese 1 cup salt-free tomato juice 1 tsp. onion powder 1/2 tsp. black pepper 4 drops Tabasco sauce In a blender or by hand, mash the cheese until smooth. Add other ingredients. Mix well.

Prep. time: 15 minutesProtein **
Yield: 3 cupsCalcium **
Vitamin A ***

????Recipe Title????? (Tag this) . . .

4 medium carrots 2 large apples, unpeeled 2 bananas, sliced 1 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained 1 cup plain yogurt 1 Tb. lemon juice 1 Tb. honey 1/2 tsp. vitamin C crystals dissolved in 1 Tb. warm water 1 cup alfalfa sprouts Shred carrots and apples. Add bananas and stir in pineapple. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, honey, and dissolved vitamin C and blend with a fork or whisk until smooth. Gently fold dressing into salad; place in bowl and top with sprouts.

Prep. time: 5 minutesProtein ***B vitamins ***
Serves 6Calcium **Vitamin C ****
Vitamin A ***Other: potassium


1 box golden raisins
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 6-oz. bag dried apricots
1/2 cup unhulled sesame seeds
Chop raisins, peanuts, apricots, and sesame seeds, alternating in that order, using fine blade of food chopper. Mix well with hands, roll into balls, and store, covered, in refrigerator.

Prep. time: 20 minutesProtein ***B vitamins ***
Yield: 3 dozenCalcium ***Other: potassium
Magnesium ***
Vitamin A ****

Yogurt Popsicles

2 cups plain yogurt
1 6-oz. can frozen orange-juice concentrate
2 tsp. vanilla
Stir together. Freeze in small cups with sticks in middle.
Prep. time: 10 minutes plusProtein **
  freezingCalcium ***
Yield: 15 popsiclesVitamin C ***

Coconut Candy

1 cup natural-style peanut butter 1 cup seedless raisins 1/2 cup honey (or less) 1 tsp. vanilla 11/2 cups unsweetened coconut, shredded Combine first 4 ingredients. Spread the coconut on a flat pan or waxed paper. Drop spoonfuls of the peanut mixture onto the coconut and roll to coat them. Chill.

Prep. time: 30 minutesProtein ****
Yield: 2 dozenCalcium **
B vitamins ***
Other: potassium and iron

to top

Third and Fourth Weeks: Good Hygiene Habits; Avoiding Contaolous Diseases

During the third and fourth weeks of this unit I will focus on hygiene and how to avoid contagious diseases as important factors in staying in good health. I will stress the importance of having a first aid kit at home and how to use it in case of emergencies. Health is defined as a state in which growth and function are optimal. I cite again some of Dr. Herbert G. Birch’s and Dr. Joan Dye Gusson’s findings about health, nutrition and school failure. “In disadvantaged children, inadequate medical care , inadequate maternal supervision, inadequate housing and associated socioeconomic deprivations are exerting unfavorable influences of the later survival of those nonwhite babies who initially appear the more favored.”13 They continue, “Thus not only malnutrition and disease are almost inevitably found in populations where children begin post-natal risk but are almost always found among children who are likely to be simultaneously exposed to multiple biological, social, economic, cultural and familiar hazards for optimal mental development.”14

Referring to the importance of adequate medical care for children the authors state: “ The data of immunization indicate that poor children receive significantly less medical care than their more affluent contemporaries. Children from poor families go to either a doctor or hospitals much less frequently than children whose families are better off. But increasingly, It is not only through the chronically overcrowded clinics that the urban poor make contact with hospitals. Rather, they come in growing numbers to seek care from the hospitals’ emergency service.”15 They say that 1966 studies demonstrated that at Yale New Haven Medical Center 56% of them were classified by attending physicians as “nonurgent.” Patients using the emergency room were found as a group to be younger, poorer, more heavily non-white and more heavily in the lowest social class than the total population served by the hospital.” According to the authors, data from the National Health Survey show persons of all ages from low-income families consistently having fewer physicians visits under any auspices than those from better off families. Such findings, they say, “do not indicate a lower level of illness among the poor children.”16

These authors also talk about a high correlation between education and follow-through doctor appointments. They found that the level of the mother’s education was the most significant single source of variation in the rate of broken appointments. They say, “Children of such mothers are smaller at birth, die more rapidly and are generally in poorer condition in infancy than children born to the more affluent. . . .

During the school years, they eat irregularly, their health care continues to be almost totally inadequate, their housing is sub-standard, their family income is low, subsistence on public assistance is high and family disorganization commonplace.”17

Again, how can we as educators contribute to breaking this link of poverty and ignorance in order to prevent illness and school failure?

Objective  With this purpose, during the development of this curriculum I intend to create a great deal of awareness not only in my students but in their parents as well. I want them to learn of the importance of good personal hygiene, the need for providing housing with good sanitary conditions, the need for immunization and regular doctors visits in order to prevent illness and to keep the family healthy, and to understand how these can lead to higher academic standards and more employment opportunities. I would also stress to the students the importance of each member of the family having a doctor who knows that person very well and who can help them if he / she is sick.

Words To Study

germs comfortable
virus cells
disease containers
contagious pests
bacteria dangerous

Procedure  The teacher will start by presenting to the students transparencies that show the different ways of developing diseases from such causes as: poor sanitary conditions, having contact with sick people, being infected by insects and other animals, and from contaminated food or water. The teacher will initiate class discussion by asking the students what they think of these pictures. The teacher will emphasize that it is a fact that if we get too close to other people who have contagious diseases, we will become sick; that we can also get sick from animals and pests that we have at home, or by using clothes or utensils that have been used by other people; and that we can get sick by eating food that has not been properly cooked or refrigerated.
The teacher will talk about germs, viruses, and the different types of diseases that they can produce. This lesson will be illustrated with transparencies, films and posters. In that way students can see what these germs look like. Teacher will explain to the students that bacteria can grow very fast when they are in a warm, dark and wet place. The inside of your body is warm, dark and wet. The inside of your body is a good place for bacteria to grow. In the body bacteria divide and make new bacteria cells. (Give examples to students of worms In the garden In a shady and humid place, how fast the worms reproduce by themselves.) The teacher will explain that as bacteria grow and divide, they make poison In the body. These poisons can make you sick. Germs can give you a sore throat when they grow in your throat; they can give you a stomach ache when they grow in your stomach. They can grow in your teeth and make cavities, and produce a bad toothache. Here the teacher will give more illustrations of different types of germs and diseases and will ask the students questions such as: How do bacteria and viruses get into the body? Explain: People who are sick often cough and sneeze, causing their germs to go into the air. If you are near them, you might breathe in these germs. The germs can grow in your body and make you sick, too. Also, food that has not been properly refrigerated or has been exposed to Insects can get spoiled. Germs grow in spoiled food. If you eat that food you will get sick. Flies and other animal pests can bring germs into your house when the house is not properly cleaned or when doors or windows are left open without screens.

The teacher might ask the class: Do you know that your body can fight and kill many germs? There are white blood cells in your blood. These cells can eat and kill bacteria, but white blood cells cannot kill viruses. The body makes germ fighters, called antibodies, to kill viruses. Antibodies are in the blood. It is easier for your body to make antibodies when you are healthy and strong. Sometimes antibodies and white cells are not enough to kill viruses and bacteria in the body, and many children and mothers die from diseases. Years ago many people were afraid to go to certain places or do things because they were afraid of a disease called polio. Many people died from polio; others could never walk normally again after getting this disease. Today we are no longer afraid of polio because in 1955 doctors made a special polio medicine. This medicine is called a vaccine. “The immune system of the body responds to the shot (or other immunization) by building up resistance to specific diseases, even if the person is exposed to the organism that causes it.”18 Here the teacher will show transparencies of how the immunization works in the body. The teacher will explain to the students that today doctors have many vaccines to prevent different diseases. Children are given vaccinations for measles, mumps, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, German measles and polio. Doctors start giving vaccines to children when they are just two months old. People can still get sick from these viruses. People who do not want to get sick must be sure that they receive the right vaccinations. Parents must make sure their children get all the vaccines they need at the right time.

Here the teacher will emphasize the importance of visiting the doctor regularly; of being sure to keep doctor and dentist appointments in order to stay in good health; and will explain the importance of staying in good health in order to do well academically. To be healthy you must eat good meals (remind the students what we learned about good nutrition). You must get enough sleep, and you body must also get enough fresh air and exercise. You must also wear the appropriate clothes for the season and weather you are in. (Talk here about the different weather in the four different seasons and the appropriate clothing to wear.)

A Healthy Home

Here the teacher will explain that eating the right foods and doing exercise are not enough. You must also live in a healthy home. A healthy home must feel comfortable; it needs windows that can opened and closed to receive fresh air from the outside. A healthy home should be warm enough for the people to feel comfortable. A healthy home should be 65° (explain degrees to the students) or warmer if babies or older people live in it. A healthy house should not have pests: these animals try to get into food. They try to spoil food and when people eat that food they can get sick. (Remind the students about the different germs that pests transmit.) We can also get sick if bitten by rats and insects. How can we keep flies, mice and cockroaches out of our homes? All windows in your house should have screens so that these pests cannot come inside the house when the windows are open. We also have to keep pests away from our food; we can do this by keeping food in closed jars and containers. All food should be refrigerated after each meal. Do not leave food on the table or near the sink. Pests also try to get into garbage cans, so always keep your garbage cans clean and covered. It is hard for animals to get into a covered garbage can. It is very important to keep the kitchen and the bathroom clean. Furniture and floors must also be clean.

In a healthy house, chemicals and cleansers are kept in a place where children cannot get them. The same is true for knives, matches, plastic bags, paint, medicines and anything else that could be dangerous to a child. (The teacher will explain to the students the danger of each of these items when used incorrectly.) Here the teacher will ask questions and promote discussions encouraging the students to look for cause and effect, draw conclusions, and in other ways actively apply thinking and reasoning skills.

First Aid Kit

The teacher will introduce the subject of first aid and the importance of keeping a first aid kit in the home to avoid unnecessary visits to the emergency room. The teacher will ask: What happens if we feel some discomfort, such as a headache, sweating, fever, etc. What should we do?

Possible answers: Go to the hospital. Go to the emergency room. Go to see a doctor.

Teacher: Emergency rooms are for more severe cases such as car accidents, falling down from a tree or other high place, severe burns, animal bites, puncture wounds, poisoning, severe bleeding, stomach pains, very high fever, etc. How do we know if we have a high fever? Every family should have a first aid kit at home. It is very important to have a thermometer to take the body’s temperature. In that way, we will not have to go to the emergency room if it is not really necessary. The teacher will explain that you don’t have to buy a first-aid kit at the drugstore; you can make your own. Here are the things you need:

¥A three cornered bandage (A strong one, not an old sheet.)
¥A pair of scissors
¥A thermometer
¥Some adhesive tape
¥Safety pins
¥A roll of bandage
¥Some sterile compress pads
¥A bottle with alcohol
¥A card with telephone numbers for the family doctor or a clinic or emergency room number
You will keep all of this in a little box. When something happens in the family you have everything you need. The teacher will stress the importance of knowing what to do. For example: Let’s learn how to use the thermometer. There is a place in the brain that keeps body temperature even whether the weather is hot or cold. The body temperature should always be fairly close to 98.6°. If you or someone else in your family is not feeling well you may want to start by taking the person’s temperature. The teacher will demonstrate in front of the class as she goes over these steps:

1.Shake the thermometer down. Hold it in your fingers with the bulb down and check it.
2.Read the thermometer. The line on some thermometers is red or blue; in others it is silver. The red and blue are easy to read.
3.Move the thermometer back and forth until the light hits it. If it is not below 95° shake it some more.
4.Put it beneath the tongue in the sick person’s mouth and leave it there for at least three minutes.
5.Take the thermometer out and read it. You don’t have to hurry; the line will stay at the same place until you shake it. After you read it write the temperature down in case you have to call the doctor or for your own record.
6.You must kill the germs on the thermometer. Do not use it on another person until you have cleaned it.
What do the numbers mean? From 98.6° to 99° is O.K. 100 is a little high: Take the person’s temperature again in an hour. From 100° to 102° is a high temperature: Call your doctor or call or go to an emergency room.

What to do in case of an emergency with minor injuries. The teacher will explain in detail each of these:

¥when a person is bleeding
¥when a person steps on a rusty nail (puncture wound)
¥when mild burns occur
¥when a person eats or drinks poison
¥when a person is choking
Related activities and materials. Students will:

¥use dictionaries
¥describe pictures
¥look at pictures, films and transparencies
¥prepare bulletins illustrating the curriculum
¥practice some emergency first aid procedures
¥learn how to read a thermometer

to top

Lesson Plan 1Introduction to Social Problem Solving

1.To enable students to talk freely about the different problems they confront regularly.
2. To define stress and discuss situations that precipitate it.
3. To begin to develop a stress and problem solving vocabulary.
4. To introduce the problem solving approach as a method that effectively handles stress.

Words to Study
feelings consequences
stress strategy


List of different tough situations that middle school students face regularly.
Traffic light poster with the problem solving steps
Chalk and blackboard

Procedure  After talking with students about their own feelings, what things cause them the most stress, and the symptoms of stress, the teacher will present different situations to the students for discussion. The teacher will ask questions and allow the students to speak freely about how they would respond to any of these problems. The teacher will write on the board solutions given by the students, such as “I will fight.”, “I will break his nose!”, “I won’t talk to her any more.” The teacher will then introduce the word “consequence,” writing it on the board. Students will look it up in the dictionary to find out its meaning. Here the teacher will talk about cause and effect, and the possible consequences of reacting in certain ways to the problem. The teacher will then point to the poster displayed on the problem solving bulletin board and start analyzing the graphic with the students.
“Stop”What does it mean? “Calm down”What does it mean? “Think before you act”The teacher will give examples to the students. Finally, the teacher will help the students to set positive goals, think ahead of time about the consequences, and then go ahead and try the best plan.

Related Activity

Each student will have a copy of the traffic light poster. They will color it following the instructions and will share it with other members of their family.

to top

Lesson Plan 2Nutrition: Classification of Foods According to the Four Groups

1.To create student awareness of the great importance of good nutrition in order to be healthy and productive in school and at work.
2.To introduce the concept of grouping foods according to their classification.
3.To enable students to categorize food according to the four groups and to familiarize them with the number of servings they need daily from each group.


Posters with colorful pictures of food
A basket with real food from the four groups
Film: “Our Foods and Where They Come From” (If available)
Paper and pencil

Procedure  After a review of the previous lessons on nutrition the teacher will formulate different questions such as: What type of food do you prefer for lunch? Which types for breakfast? Which food is your favorite? Name three vegetables. Name three foods that are made from milk products. Later the teacher will give the students forms with four columns each one headed by the name of a food group:
The milk group ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ The vegetable and fruit group ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ The meat group ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ The bread and cereal group ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
1.Students will be asked to write in each column the names of the foods in the pictures and the foods from the basket.
2.Students will be asked to classify food for breakfast for lunch and for dinner from the basket.
Do you know which group each food belongs to? Draw a line from the food to the group it belongs to Milk group Meat group Vegetable and fruit group Bread and cereal group

(figure available in print form)
Name __________________________ Write the group name in each group of food.
bread corn flak cake 3. Plan menus for two days using the food groups from the food charts. Each menu should include breakfast lunch and dinner.

to top

Lesson Plan 3Introduction to the First Aid KitHow to Use a Thermometer

1.To create student awareness of things that could happen at home.
2.To enable students to give first aid to someone at home in case of emergency.
3.To teach students how to use the thermometer and to keep records of the temperature taken.

Filmstrip and cassette “The Thermometer” (i-m) if available A thermometer A bottle with alcohol and cotton Paper and pencil

Procedure  The teacher will begin by explaining to the students the importance of having a first aid kit in the home and the special importance of having a thermometer available. (The teacher will explain that high temperature is one of the first symptoms when we have an infection.) The teacher will stress that it is very important to take the sick person’s temperature before calling a doctor or going to the emergency room.
The teacher will also explain to the students when they should call or go to an emergency room for treatment.

Before presenting the film the teacher will talk to the students about thermometers. She will explain their use the different types of thermometers: those used to check the temperature of the human body, those used for weather, those used in cooking, etc.

Activities  The teacher will show the film about the thermometer. After the presentation of the film the teacher will ask questions and promote discussions.
The teacher will show a thermometer to the students and encourage them to touch it, read the numbers, etc.

The students will practice taking each other’s temperature being certain to clean the thermometer well after each use.

The students will practice keeping records of the temperatures in writing.

to top


I began this unit with poetic lines referring to the sense of wonder in adolescents’ lives. In finishing my lessons I hope, as Dr. Anyan said in the beginning of our seminar, “If we all contribute in some way at least a little bit, we could make changes in our students.” I hope I have contributed in enabling adolescents to obtain a higher level of self-control, practice better nutritional habits, increase their knowledge concerning sanitary home conditions, and develop an understanding of first-aid necessity. From expanding their knowledge of the above, the adolescents will be capable of assimilating and internalizing the following traditional Old English prayer19: Take time to work
____It is the price of success.
Take time to think
____It is the source of power.
Take time to play
____It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read
____It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to be friendly
____It is the road to happiness.
Take time to dream
____It is hitching your wagon to a star.
Take time to love and be loved
____It is the privilege of the gods.
Take time to look around
____It is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to laugh
____It is the music of the soul.

to top


1.J. E. Showalter,and W. R. Anyan, The Family Handbook of Adolescence: A Comprehensive Medically Oriented Guide To The Years from Puberty to Adulthood. p. 7-8.
2.Ibid. p. 39.
3.Childcraft. “A Sense of Wonder,” in About Me, p. 14.
4.G. Richardson. “In Search of Self,” in Adolescent Themes in the Twentieth-Century Short Story. p. 29.
5.Childcraft. “ Everyone is Me,” in About Me, p. 11.
6.Thorndike Barnhart High School Dictionary p. 364.
7.Ibid. p. 935.
8. J. E. Schowalter, and W. R. Anyan, The Family Handbook of Adolescence: A Comprehensive Medically Oriented Guide To The Years From Puberty to Adulthood. p. 23.
9. H. G. Birch, and Joan Dye Gusson. “Low Birth Weight and Handicaps,” in Disadvantaged Children: Health. Nutrition. and School Failure, pp. 48-49.
10.Ibid., p. 5.
11.Ibid, p. 186.
12.Ibid., p. 4.
13.Ibid., p. 32.
14.Ibid., p. 194.
15.Ibid., p. 252.
16.Ibid., p. 250.
17.Ibid., p. 267.
18.Ibid., p. 132.
19.L. M. McGowan, and M. K. Hill, “Old English Prayer,” in Anthology of Poems, p. 5.

to top

Bibliography for Students

Bernstein, V. Health and You, Book One and Book Two. Austin, Texas: Steck-Vaughn Company, 1984. High-interest two book health series designed to introduce students to major health concepts.

Canario, J. and Mathias, M. Help! First Steps to First Aid. Hayward, CalIfornia: Janus Book Publisher, 1980. A Janus Survival Guide.

Chapman, A. H. The Games Children Play. New York: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 1976.

Childcraft. About Me. Chicago, Illinois: The How and Why Library, Volume 4, World Book, Inc. 1987.

Greco, D. Who Are We? Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1976. A social studies program which includes survival, health, sharing and many other themes of interest to young students.

Kelly, P. Help! First Aid and Biology, Castro Valley, CA: Quercus Corporation, 1981.

Richey, K. Medical Language. Hayward, California: Janus Publishers, 1980. A Survival Vocabulary.

Scholastic Book Services. Maturity. New York: SCOPE/ Literature Contact, prepared by the Editors of Scholastic Scope, 1971. Growing Up Strong.

to top

Bibliography for Teachers

American Red Cross, American Red Cross Standard First Aid. By the American National Red Cross: 1988. This participant’s workbook is an integral part of the American Red Cross Standard First Aid Course. It gives some health precautions and guidelines.

Birch, H.G., and Gusson, J.D. Disadvantaged Children, Health, Nutrition and School Failure. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Ward, Inc. A scientific assessment of the effects of poverty on the intellectual potential of children.

Farnham, M.F. The Adolescent. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers 1951. A sensible, eye-opening guide for every parent of an adolescent.

Ginott,H.G. Between Parent and Teenager, New York, N.Y. : the Macmillan Company, 1969. A discussion of issues around the fact that as parents, we need to be needed; as teenagers, their need is not to need us. The conflict is real.

McGowan, L. N. and Hill, M. K. Anthology of Poems in English. New Haven: New Haven Public Schools, Spring, 1991. A supplement to the English as a Second Language curriculum of the bilingual and ESL programs of the New Haven Public Schools.

Ortleb Y Cadice. Higiene y Enfermedades (Hygiene and Disease). St. Louis, Missouri :Milliken Publishing Co. 1971. 12 transparencias en colores 4 clises Hectograficos.

Schowalter, J.E. and Anyan, W.R. The Family Handbook of Adolescence, New York: Alfred Knopf, 1981. A comprehensive medically oriented guide to the years from puberty to adulthood.

Scope/Literature Contact, Maturity: Growing Up Strong, New York: Scholastic Book Services. June, 1971.

Smith, L. Food for Healthy Kids, Berkley Books, New York: Berkley Books.

Spock, B. Raising Children in a Difficult Time. New York: W.W. Norton Company, Inc., 1974. A philosophy of parental leadership and high ideals.

Weissberg, R. E., Caplan, M.,and Bennetto, L. Introducing the Social Problem Solving Program for Young Adolescents. New Haven: Roger P. Weisberg, Department of Psychology, Yale University. 1987-1988. A Rationale for Social Problem Solving (SPS) Training During Young Adolescence.

to top

Contents of 1991 Volume V | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

© 2016 by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Terms of Use Contact YNHTI