I bet you’re sitting there right now saying, “Seriously, Gianna? Who cares. I know how to not get sick from my food. It’s not that hard and it’s not that serious.”
As much as I would love to agree that it is not that serious, it really is.
At my school in the morning, my principal and I —-> have this joke that I am Queen of Food Safety. Around the holidays I would forward important emails to my colleagues that I would get from The Partnership for Food Safety about how to deal with leftovers, etc. Would they read it? Who knows. As long as I did my part and spread the word about Food Safety, I did my Public Service Announcement duty for the day and I could sleep better at night knowing that I was educating others in my building.
When it comes to my students, I drill it into their heads…TDZ, CSCC. Temperature Danger Zone. Clean. Separate. Cook. Chill. Both the Temperature Danger Zone and Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill are so important to preventing Foodborne Illnesses from growing and spreading.
Let me park it right here for a second. I said “…drill it into their heads”. I am not the teacher who has the kids sit there and literally just gives them facts that they have to understand and memorize. NO WAY! Talk about Boresville, USA! One of my teaching philosophies is this: if I’m bored teaching it, you’re going to be bored learning it!
How do I teach these things then? Watch the video below to see one way I teach these important issues regarding Foodborne Illnesses…
Now let me guess- you’re saying, “Okay, that’s great and all but I can’t do that in my classroom. How do I get kids to enjoy their learning, their research, and keep them engaged?”
Barrett and Woods (2012) assert, “To maintain student interest in science and help them retain information they learn in the classroom, it is important to engage students in critical-thinking activities, particularly early in their major curriculum” (p. 316). Although Barrett and Woods (2012) refer to science, I strongly believe that it is important for all students in all content areas to be engaged in critical-thinking activities where they are completely involved. There are some educators who believe that the greatest critical-thinking activity they can assign their students is a research project, which in a way can be true if planned properly. One of the main issues with a research project, however, is how to plan the research project so students are using the correct information. How do the students know what they should consider as factual information? I mean, come on, isn’t everything that’s on Google true?! No, seriously. Sarcasm aside, it is a serious issue that faces many educators when planning activities, especially research projects. From Unit 3 of EDU 625, one of the main issues that I see about the use of information or data that comes from sources such as those explored this week, is that sometimes the information can be biased or altered. In a way, the entire idea of gathering and analyzing data and information from the global community of the Internet, makes me think of a what I teach my students when discussing consumerism, “Let the Buyer Beware”. In relation to the Internet, I say, “Let the Researcher/Surveyor Beware”.
It is important that as educators we make the right choices when selecting resources for our students to use. One of the things that I have found to be successful when having my students research or look up things on the internet, creating a WebQuest is EXTREMELY beneficial. The WebQuest gives the students freedom to research the topic, however, they are only able to use specific teacher picked resources which helps them narrow down options that come up and keeps them and the computer safe from add-ons and viruses that might try to intrude the system.
Overall, it is our job as educators to support the learning needs of our students by engaging them in activities that promote 21st Century Skills and will get them ready for their future education. Below you will find 2 things- first, a video for kids that gives a brief overview about how to research a topic on the Internet. Second, you will find my lesson plan that I have created to teach a lesson on Foodborne Illnesses. The lesson is run like a CSI case with students using the website http://cel.ly to text pictures and clues into the classroom SMARTboard. If you have any questions regarding the lesson plan or would like more information, feel free to contact me using the comment form!
Barrett, B.S. & Woods, J.E. (2012). Using the amazing atmosphere to foster student learning and interest in meteorology. American Meteorological Society, 315-323. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00020.1