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Eat Well and Keep Moving

Teacher Information

Welcome to the Teacher Information page. Here we will keep you updated on Planet Health, and you can access sample lesson plans, the Planet Health Teacher Training PowerPoint Presentation, and information on how Planet Health matches up to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.

Sample Lessons

Planet Health Teacher Training

Planet Health includes a teacher workshop presentation that models the methods of the program, engages the learners’ current knowledge, promotes reflection and discussion, and encourages learners to compare their current knowledge and behaviors with those suggested by the book and to create plans and goals for the future. Please note that this is just a sample of the training materials. Complete training materials and instructions are provided on the Planet Health CD-ROM.

Teacher Testimonials

“Basically, the Planet Health curriculum fit very well into my curriculum. The lessons were easy to adapt and they did engage my students.”
—Dennis Rochon, Baird Middle School, Ludlow, MA

“I found the book very user-friendly, and I appreciated having a pre-alignment with my English curriculum. I needed to make minor adaptations to the lessons, but the changes were easy to make because the lessons were naturally easy to adapt. The lessons were also easy to teach and did not require excessive planning or preparation.”
—Michelle D’Amore, Baird Middle School, Ludlow, MA

“The science lessons truly enhance the Massachusetts frameworks. The Mighty Minerals lesson has been a favorite for the last two years. The students love it!”
—Elaine Gavlas, Oxford Middle School, Oxford, MA

Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks

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Planet Health meets Massachusetts Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks (educational standards) and National learning standards for the following subject areas:

  • Math
  • Science
  • English language arts
  • Social studies
  • Comprehensive health
  • Physical education
To see a complete, lesson-by-lesson description of learning standards, click here.

Key Features of Planet Health Classroom Lessons

Planet Health is designed for interdisciplinary implementation.

Planet Health is an interdisciplinary middle school health curriculum that provides children with the knowledge and skills to develop healthy eating and activity habits for life. We use the term interdisciplinary to mean key curriculum messages are presented using concepts from multiple subject areas. This approach amplifies opportunities for students to practice the behavioral skills and to reinforce the health messages through diverse learning approaches. Students will develop self-efficacy in making healthy food choices, being physically active, and trading screen time for activity time. Self-assessment and goal setting encourage students to consider their current behaviors and make plans for change. Teaching these concepts across disciplines highlights their importance and establishes peer and teacher support for lifestyle changes in behavior.

Each classroom lesson incorporates subject-specific learning standards so that skills and competencies that are required ¬learning for middle school students are used as vehicles for conveying Planet Health’s messages. This strategy ensures that teachers will not lose valuable class time in implementing Planet Health.

Planet Health is designed to easily fit into your existing math, science, social studies, language arts, health, and physical education curricula. Materials are aligned with the Massachusetts Department of Education learning standards in these subject areas (http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/) and fulfill standards in many other states.

Through both classroom and physical education (PE) activities, Planet Health improves students’ fitness and nutritional status by improving dietary patterns, increasing physical activity, and decreasing inactivity, such as watching TV shows and playing computer games. Published research documents the program’s effectiveness at changing these health behaviors and reducing obesity (Gortmaker et al. 1999).

Planet Health builds literacy across all subject areas.

Planet Health emphasizes literacy in each lesson. With the nationwide focus on literacy, teachers seem to regularly ask themselves, “How do I cover subject-area content while at the same time focusing sufficiently on literacy?” A partial answer is that literacy learning should be a component of every lesson, whether the subject area is health, math, science and technology, or history and social science.

The Planet Health curriculum provides many opportunities to foster literacy learning. To make the most out of literacy-related activities, you can choose to focus on reading comprehension, pose questions, emphasize key vocabulary before reading, refine word-identification strategies, or encourage students to work through steps in the writing process.

Planet Health learning activities for students focus on discussion and cooperative learning.

Every Planet Health lesson specifies discussion ideas for small and large groups to cooperatively learn and solve health-related issues. Higher-level thinking and cognition are encouraged by active discussion, and social development is enhanced by working with peers in groups.

Planet Health lessons foster constructivist teaching and learning.

Planet Health also draws on the constructivist approach to teaching and learning. Constructivist thinking emphasizes the idea that students learn best when they actively construct meaning for themselves. Students come to the classroom lessons with varied areas of knowledge and experiences. Constructivism encourages teachers to create learning environments that activate and build on this diversity in a manner that is active, inquiry based, and student centered.

Thus, Planet Health lessons begin by the activating and assessing of prior knowledge. Lessons proceed to inquiry-based activities in which the students read, write, speak, listen, experiment, and reflect in order to answer health-related questions. Planet Health provides multiple teacher and student resources to support this inquiry. Planet Health also points teachers to comprehensive nutrition and physical activity resources so that each teacher can knowledgeably facilitate students’ learning experiences.

Tips for Coordinating and Sequencing Planet Health Lessons

Ideally each sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade classroom teacher should teach two or three lessons per year. Eight or nine lessons are provided for each subject area, many of which are well suited for health and physical education. The lessons in each subject area can be taught in any sequence. However, we strongly recommend that clusters or departments coordinate to ensure that students first complete the introductory class: Do You Make Space for Fitness and Nutrition and Language Arts Lesson 2, Power Down, followed by Language Arts Lesson 3, Food Power. This lesson is also well suited for a health or consumer science class. If it is not possible to teach these three lessons first, then be sure to spend a few minutes reviewing Planet Health’s five health messages and the five food groups as outlined in lesson 3 before teaching one of the other lessons.

Tools for Schoolwide Planning

A middle school planner is provided in the book and on CD-ROM to assist teachers with developing an implementation plan that is coordinated between grade levels and subject areas. Consult the Planet Health At-a-Glance charts located at the beginning of each subject area. The At-a-Glance charts include a list of lesson titles, themes, levels of difficulty, subject-specific skills, and materials needed. Lessons that are particularly well suited for health and physical education are identified with a heart icon.

Web Resources for Healthy Eating and Active Living

Click on each topic to find Web resources that provide additional information on nutrition and physical activity. Please note that neither the authors nor the publisher takes any responsibility for the information contained in the Web sites.

Breakfast Nutrition School Environment Staff Wellness
Cooking Nutrition Policy School Gardens Television
Food Service Parent Information School Wellness  
Telephone Numbers Physical Activity    
Fitness For Life Book Icon

Planet Health, Second Edition, by Human Kinetics, ©2007, Champaign, IL.
Organizations and agencies may not photocopy any material
for professional or organizational use or distribution.