Food for Thought: sustainable learning experiences (LS-PT-532)

Challenges, healthy diets and resilience

These are very difficult times.

Our lives have changed and, consequently, we are facing many challenges: maintaining healthy diets, being resilient, and raising awareness for sustainable food, food waste, and food loss. Food for thought, by means of sustainable learning experiences, can happen by celebrating the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables, thus promoting meaningful connections. By learning within a From Farm to Fork strategy approach, students learn that we can eat nutritious food and get the energy we need. What is more, they understand that healthy diets will determine the health of our planet.

The reason why food for thought is necessary

A healthy way to to empower the 21st Century student

2021 is the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables. It is not only a perfect celebration to learn about the importance of fruits and vegetables, but also to promote meaningful connections in schools.

Memories, stories and traditions

Food  has long been part of our memories

Many painters and writers have been including food in their masterpieces. As a matter of fact, all around the world, people honor life and death with food.  Besides being part of our family traditions and stories, food connects people. Creating and learning together is the idea. So, this Learning Scenario comes in all shapes: stories, poems, pictures, illustrations, fruits and vegetables, and even a stone.

Some connections enhanced by the Learning Scenario

Teachers and students connect through books

As a year 8 teacher, I read the short story my students read in the Portuguese lesson, Natal1 by Miguel Torga. So, apart from bringing my own copy of the book to the class, I asked them to recall the main character, a homeless old man who eats his slice of bread inside a chapel on Christmas Eve. Then, we recalled a folk tale, the Stone Soup story, and read Stone Soup by Ann McGovern (author) and Winslow Pinney Pels (illustrator).

1 Christmas

Green and sweet connections

Sustainable learning experiences have been taking place. In the first place, I gave my students some plants. Additionally, I provided some recycled pots for those who didn’t have them at home. Now, the plan is to give them strawberry plants and help them realize that they have a specific time to grow, and, should need no pesticides. Therefore, when remote learning stops, they are going to take some strawberry plants home. Then, I hope they understand that fruits and vegetables should be part of a healthy diet. Afterward, they might become small-scale farmers.

This is my second year as their teacher of English and Citizenship. To tell the truth, we have a sweet tooth. For this reason, we had tea and scones with jam in the classroom. Afterwards, I baked a Spinach cake with chocolate topping for them. Could it get any sweeter than this?

More stories and food connections

Projects

At the moment, we are developing two eTwinning projects, “Little Chefs Around Europe” and “We CARE (We Collaborate Actively and Resiliently on Earth)”. Consequently, we will carry on addressing food sustainability, nutrition, healthy lifestyles.

Poetry connections

The sky is the limit. After having read William Carlos Williams’s poem, “This is just to say”, and with the Stone Soup story in their minds, my year 8 poets started making connections and creating their own poems. Therefore, there is more food for thought stories and connections yet to come. Stay safe and healthy.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Rippl-Rónai Megyei Hatókörű Városi Múzeum – Kaposvár.

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