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Teacher: Nancy Davidson who teaches at West Plains Elementary School in West Plains, MO. Nancy Davidson can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Healthy Heart School Wide Interdisciplinary Unit

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To study the benefits of living a heart-healthy life style. The secondary purpose was to involve the entire school in studying this subject.

Suggested Grade Level: K-5

Materials Needed: Each discipline provided it's own materials (i.e., Art teacher-art supplies; Classrooms-books, craft supplies; PE-jump ropes, charts, prizes; Music-"heart" music; etc.)

Healthy Heart School Wide Interdisciplinary Unit

We participated in this interdisciplinary unit during February-National Heart Month. We (physical education teachers) wanted to add to our Jump Rope for Heart program and decided to go all out with a school-wide unit that focused on the entire school learning about the heart and how to keep it healthy.

From the beginning to the end of the month each classroom took a turn each morning giving a "heart fact" over the school intercom. They would begin with "Did you Know that..." Some classes even made up songs and raps! To keep the theme for the month alive, each fact would end with "...and remember-Get into the Action with a Healthy Heart!"

Each week we had a special event. Some of them are described next:

To kick off the unit we had a door decorating contest (hearts in action). Instead of "cutsie" valentine hearts, classroom doors displayed hearts jumping rope, running, lifting weights, etc. We gave a jump rope to the winning classroom at each grade level.

We had an all-staff (teachers, aides, janitors, principlas, secretaries, cooks) team jump rope contest (two teams: red and white blood cells). The staff came into the gym all week, during their spare time, counted their jumps and recorded them on a chart on the wall. Those who could not jump, because of health reasons, were allowed to turn the rope for others and count their turns. We kept a running total on the front hall bulletin board each day and awarded plastic medals to the winning team.

One week we had a contest to guess the number of candy hearts in a large jar. The winning class won the jar of candy.

Our culminating activity was an assembly. The third grade performed the song "Heart Power" (from the Heart Association Heart Power kit). We gave out JRFH awards, prizes for the contests, and had students give a jump rope demonstration. We announced how much money our students raised for the Heart Association.

All through the month the Art classes made heart projects and displayed them in the front hall. Music classes sang heart songs. Physical education classes did jump rope activities and ellaborated on the heart fact for the day. Many of the classroom teachers were able to have their classes study the heart and healthy life styles from the discipline perspectives of math, science, health, reading, and spelling.

This unit was a real effort on everyone's part, but well worth it. The students had a great time and really learned important information about the heart and living a healthy life-style.

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Posted on PEC: 10/6/2001 and has received 77 votes.

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