Friday, October 13, 2017

SBISD Educator Fills Learning Plate with #GotMilk Campaign and Student Smiles

Ask Amber Reynolds, Thornwood Elementary School’s K-5 physical education teacher, why she’s donning an apron and snapping milk-mustached selfies of her students and you’re bound to come away with a smile yourself. Her students do – every day.

Reynolds selected a dairy-specific challenge for her students, aiming to accomplish several very specific instructional goals. First, she delivers instruction on the importance of having a healthy diet as part of her “My Plate” curriculum. Milk and the #GotMilk campaign were a perfect fit when introducing the basics of a balanced diet that includes dairy, fruits, veggies, protein and grains.

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The bonus of diving into dairy comes from her interest in entering and winning the Houston Texans VIP experience through Fuel Up to Play 60 Contest. The contest is part of a collaboration between the Houston Texans, the National Dairy Council and the National Football League’s Fuel Up to Play 60 Program, and offers students and educators a chance to win a first-hand tour of NRG Stadium.

 Competition participants who’ve completed all six steps of the Fuel Up to Play 60 Program by Nov. 17 are eligible for the winner’s drawing. Winners receive a private tour, lunch in the Texans team café, an autographed certificate from Texans Coach Bill O’Brien and team swag for all attendees.

“The contest is about doing a healthy eating play,” said Reynolds. “Dairy is one of them. I thought the kids would like making milk mustaches during “Got Milk?” Week. Snapping and sharing photos in a specially created photo booth was a cute way to deliver an important message.”

So, every morning during breakfast at her campus, Reynolds puts on her apron and starts the day asking “got your milk mustache?” as students line up to take center stage in a Polaroid-inspired photo booth. Photos are posted on the campus Twitter account as part of the awareness activity.

Another critical part of awareness is the photo booth follow-up.

“After they have their photo taken, I give the students handouts on dairy facts to take home and share with their parents and siblings,” said Reynolds. “My goal is to raise awareness and start a conversation about healthy eating.

“Social media is another way to continue that conversation,” she said. “My parents see all the great things we are doing in Health Fitness. Other educators see what we’re doing. It’s a win for all learners.”

Reynolds also challenges her students to work at home on incorporating more dairy and healthy eating into their day.

“It’s amazing how after just one day of these activities almost every student reported having milk with their breakfast,” said Reynolds. “I love to make learning fun. The bonus is now the kids grab a milk with their breakfast!”

Reynolds hopes her out-of-the box thinking about something as familiar as a carton of milk will deliver the results she’s aiming for.

“If kids are eating better, and learning is fun, I’ve accomplished a lot,” she said. “My dream is to have another win from this work, and that’s to win the Fuel Up to Play 60 challenge. I would love for my students to have that experience.”

As Reynolds waits to see if her efforts will get her students to NRG’s game field, she’s not sitting around. In the works is a plan for what she’s calling Walking Week.

“Next on my list is a week where students can come into the gym or go to the playground and walk and talk before school with their peers,” she said. “I think the combination of physical activity and personal interaction will help students wake up their minds.

“When it’s time for class I want all our kids to have energy in their systems to learn.”

Be on the lookout for more milk mustaches between now and the competition deadline as Reynolds prepares for her next learning adventure. If her students’ smiles have anything to say, it’s that she’s already a winner.

If your campus is interested in learning more about the Fuel Up to Play 60 Contest, click here.


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