Promoting Energy Balance in the Classroom with Live Oak PTA


Reposted from The Together Counts Blog.

This year, Live Oak PTA (San Ramon, California) was a recipient of one of Together Counts’ Healthy Lifestyles: Energy Balance 101 Grants. Since winning the grant, they have been busy promoting energy balance at their school.

In addition to continuing to offer their community ideas for energy balance and improved nutrition and fitness via e-newsletters, Live Oak has ensured everyone stays active in a fun, educational setting.

For the third consecutive year, the Live Oak PTA, in conjunction with the Live Oak PE teachers, host the Run Club.  Every Tuesday morning (weather permitting), the Run Club welcomes parents and students to run or walk a mile together before school.  It has been a tremendous success and a great way to encourage physical fitness for the entire family.

In October, Live Oak hosted the school’s annual Harvest Festival, open to the entire community. Among the festival events, families had a great time meeting science teachers who set up various activity booths that wove in the Together Counts energy balance curriculum. Meanwhile, festival goers also enjoyed Kaiser Permanente Community Troupe’s interactive course which encouraged physical fitness.

In November, the National PTA’s Healthy Lifestyles Month, Live Oak continued the theme of energy balance in their school activities. Hosting a school-wide “What’s on your plate, Live Oak?” art contest, kids were encouraged to use art to show what a healthy plate looks like, a great method used to teach children about proper portion size. The winning art pieces are currently displayed on Facebook and in their multi-purpose room. To coincide with the art contest, families received a newsletter with more information on the USDA’s food plate and tips on maintaining a balanced diet.

To close out the month, Live Oak also recently unveiled their “wordles” to the school community.  In keeping with the healthy lifestyles/energy balance theme, Live Oak teachers asked students to describe what physical fitness and nutrition meant to them. From those responses, two wordles were created—one for physical fitness and one for nutrition. The more often a specific word/response was given by the students, the larger that word appears on the wordle. These two wordles were made into large banners which are displayed at their school – encouraging parents and students alike to keep the conversation about energy balance going.

For the past three years, the Live Oak staff and PTA have also promoted sun safety education.  On March 15, 2013, Live Oak hosted its first ever Jog-a-Thon.  On that day, the K-5 students at Live Oak collectively ran over 2100 miles (that’s equivalent to the distance from San Ramon to Chicago) in an effort to be healthy and to raise money for shade structures on campus.  Thanks to the community’s overwhelming support of the Jog-A-Thon, three shade structures were installed on campus this fall.  Plans are currently underway for the Second Annual Jog-a-Thon (January  2014) to raise funds for a fourth shade structure and to promote the benefits of exercise, hydration, and sun safety.

For tips and ideas on how your school can incorporate energy balance into the classroom, take a look at these posts:

The Live Oak PTA serves the school community – parents, teachers, staff, and more than 1100 children (transitional kindergarten through fifth grade) of Live Oak Elementary School in San Ramon, CA (San Francisco Bay Area). Nadine Rosenzweig (Principal of Live Oak Elementary School), Lili Shiau (Wellness Coordinator), and Heidi Ellicott-Pesic (2012-13 LO PTA President) contributed to the article.

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