English / Language Arts

Rationale:

The primary goal of the English / Language Arts portion of our unit is to help students develop new perspectives on both nutrition and mental health. Students will be reading and discussing most chapters of “The Omnivore's Dilemma: Young Reader's Edition” by Michael Pollan to learn more about healthy eating. Students will read chapters that explore how corn “took over” America, the evolution of farms, processed foods, fast-food, organic food, and sustainable food and farms, the forest, grass, eating animals, hunting, and real healthy eating. Students will reflect on mental health through a series of writing assignments and journal exercises, and will also participate in daily and/or weekly meditation and relaxation response exercises.

During this unit, there will be reading quizzes, daily reading assignments, vocabulary quizzes, “Health Journal” entries, and both group and class discussions. The final project, or culminating assessment, will require students to work together with a partner and choose one topic discussed in class (related to nutrition or mental health) and produce a short PSA using Audacity and/or iMovie. Each PSA will be posted on the class wiki or blog and referenced in the school newsletter. In addition to creating the PSA, students will be required to write a one page reflection in which they explain how they condensed their knowledge of their topic into a one-minute or less PSA, and why they think their topic is important for the public to be made aware of.



Standards:

Standard 1: Discussion
Students will use agreed-upon rules for informal and formal discussions in small and large groups.
Standard 2: Questioning, Listening, and Contributing
Students will pose questions, listen to the ideas of others, and contribute their own information or ideas in group discussions or interviews in order to acquire new knowledge.
Standard 4: Vocabulary and Concept Development
Students will understand and acquire new vocabulary and use it correctly in reading and writing.
Standard 8: Understanding a Text
Students will identify the basic facts and main ideas in a text and use them as the basis for interpretation.
Standard 9: Making Connections
Students will deepen their understanding of a literary or non-literary work by relating it to its contemporary context or historical background.
Standard 11: Theme
Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of theme in a literary work and provide evidence form the text to support their understanding.



Timeframe:

Week/Day
Activities
W1/D1
Introduction to English portion of unit: show video clip from Food Inc.
- Discussion of essential questions for the unit, goal is to identify naïve understandings and misconceptions and help students begin to reframe their thinking about nutrition and mental health, as they relate to overall healthy living (Students will access prior knowledge and make connections throughout the unit)
- Have students make predictions about the content and give rationales for those predictions
- Generate list of questions, post these on the wall in the classroom
- Introduce vocabulary notecards and subsequent quizzes
- Pre-unit assessment: four corners activity
HW: Read p. 9-29 (How Corn Took Over America, The Farm), require students to write down three discussion points and 1 vocabulary word onto notecard
W1/D2
- Check HW: 3 discussion points
- 20 minute discussion on reading from last night
- Video clip from King Corn documentary (directly related to last night's reading)
- Discuss reactions to documentary
- Introduce Health Journal, explain that these journals will be shared, hand out notebooks to use for this ongoing activity, give first assignment to begin during class and finish for HW
HW: Read p. 29-40 (From Farm to Factory), require students to write down three discussion points and 1 vocabulary word onto notecard, finish journal activity
W1/D3
- Imagery relaxation exercise at the beginning of class (5 minutes)
- Discussion of exercise and explanation of their regular implementation into English class (5 minutes)
- Check HW
- 20 minute discussion on reading (factory farms) from last night
- Have students read their first Health Journal entry to a partner and discuss (10 minutes max)
HW: Read p. 40-64 (The Grain Elevator, The Feedlot), write 3 discussion points and 1 vocabulary word onto notecard
W1/D4
- Body awareness relaxation exercise (5 minutes)
- 2-minute written reflection on relaxation exercise in Health Journal
- Think-pair-share discussion of feedlots and animal treatment on farms
- Vocabulary review game
HW: Read p. 64-85 (Processed Food, Fat from Corn), reading response journal entry and 1 vocab word on notecard
W1/D5
- Yoga relaxation exercise, 10 minutes
- Check HW
- 20 minute discussion on last night's reading
- 15 minutes of in-class reading
- Hand out student-created list of vocabulary words (condensed to the most common 8-10 words by teacher), explain that Vocab Quiz 1 will be on W2/D3
HW: Read p. 85-97 (The Omnivore's Dilemma), 1 discussion point and 1 vocab word on notecard, study for vocabulary quiz
W2/D1
- 2-minute “mini” relaxation exercise
- Announce first reading quiz (W2/D2)
- Short discussion on reading last night (10-15 minutes)
- Read an essay from Wendell Berry's book, “Bringing It To The Table: On Farming and Food”, have a discussion about what he means and compare his advice to what Michael Pollan is saying in “The Omnivore's Dilemma”
- Watch a video clip on YouTube that demonstrates how Berry's advice can be realized in today's farming world
HW: Read p. 111-127 (Big Organic), reading response journal entry, study for vocabulary quiz
W2/D2
- 3-minute “mini” relaxation exercise
- Reading quiz
- Think-pair-share discussion on “Big Organic”
- Group vocabulary practice
HW: Read p. 127-143 (More Big Organic), write three discussion points, Health Journal entry
W2/D3
- Breath awareness relaxation exercise (7 minutes max)
- Vocabulary quiz (15 minutes)
- Discussion on reading from last night
- Video clip from “Food Inc.”
- Health Journal entry: reflection on Food Inc. video clip
HW: Read p. 143-151 (Polyface Farm),Health Journal entry, write 1 vocabulary notecard
W2/D4
- Relaxation response exercise using imagery
- Discussion on reading from last night
- Four corners activity – slaughterhouses, vegetarianism, veganism
- Mental health think-pair-share activity – how does stress affect us?
HW: Read p. 151-161 (Grass), 3 discussion points, write 1 vocabulary notecard
W2/D5
- Seated stretches activity (10 minutes)
- Health Journal entry that reflects on relaxation response activities and mental health benefits
- Poetry activity – pick a theme from The Omnivore's Dilemma and write a free-verse poem about it, volunteers share with class (25 minutes)
HW: Read p. 161-182 (The Animals, The Slaughterhouse), 1 discussion point and 1 vocabulary notecard
W3/D1
- Visualization for success meditation activity (7 minutes)
- Reading quiz
- Video clip from “What's On Your Plate”, documentary about the place of humans in the “food chain”
- Introduce students to The Vertical Farm Project, navigate website and share stories
- 15 minute book discussion
HW: Read p. 182-193 (The Market),
W3/D2
- Progressive muscle relaxation exercise (10 minutes)
- Health Journal entry that reflects on today's mental health exercise
- Introduce eatwellguide.com which is an online source of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs
- 20 minute book discussion
HW: Read p. 193-215 (My Grass Fed Meal, The Forest), find/take a photo that represents healthy living, write a short explanation in Health Journal
W3/D3
- Photograph as focus for relaxation response exercise
- Introduce foodroutes.org, which is a national non-profit that shows Americans where their food comes from
- Think-pair-share book discussion
- Students will complete a graphic organizer that shows what they believe are the main points in “The Omnivore's Dilemma”
HW: Read p. 215-231 (Eating Animals), 3 discussion points study for vocabulary quiz
W3/D4
- Listen to a relaxing song with no talking
- 3 minute Health Journal response
- Student-driven discussion on reading from last night

- Vocabulary quiz
HW: Read p. 231-247 (Hunting), one paragraph reading response in Health Journal
W3/D5
- Class poem exercise (each student offers a sentence about how relaxation makes them feel, or about their safe place, or just a few words to describe a particular relaxation experience – teacher also adds lines)
- Student-led discussion of themes in “The Omnivore's Dilemma”
- Hand out PSA project guidelines and syllabus
HW: Read p. 247-263 (Gathering), one discussion point, read PSA project guidelines and syllabus
W4/D1
- “Mini” relaxation exercise (3 minutes)
- Review PSA project guidelines and syllabus (5 minutes)
- Begin working on PSA project (52 minutes)
HW: Read p. 263-277 (The Perfect Meal), complete reading quiz review sheet
W4/D2
- Reading quiz (15 minutes)
- Work on PSA project (45 minutes)
HW: Study for vocabulary quiz
W4/D3
- “Mini” relaxation exercise
- Work on PSA project
- Have brief conversation about continuing to write in Health Journals throughout the academic year
HW: Study for vocabulary quiz
W4/D4
- Vocabulary quiz
- Finish PSA project
- Wrap-up discussion on “The Omnivore's Dilemma”
HW: Get excited for Health Fair!
W4/D5
“Health Fair” at CCMS – students stand with their partner at a given station, playing their PSAs for students and community members
Unit is finished, no HW




Materials Needed:


  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: Young Reader's Edition” by Michael Pollan
  • Notebooks for students to use for ongoing Health Journal
  • Computer and SmartBoard display to show video clips
  • What's On Your Plate” video documentary
  • Notecards for ongoing vocabulary project
  • Mac laptops to use for PSA project
  • Software: iMovie, iPhoto, Audacity
  • Prepared vocabulary quizzes
  • Prepared reading quizzes
  • Poster sheet for questions about health that are asked and left unanswered on the first day of class





Culminating Assessment:

Students will work in pairs to create a PSA (public service announcement) with Audacity and/or iMovie.

Rubric for Public Service Announcement


CATEGORY
4
3
2
1
Voice - Consistency
Voice quality is clear and consistently audible throughout the PSA.
Voice quality is clear and consistently audible throughout the majority of the PSA.
Voice quality is clear and consistently audible through some of the PSA.
Voice quality needs more attention.
Music
Music and/or osunds stir a rich emotional response that matches the words in the PSA well.
Music and/or sounds stir a rich emotional response that somewhat matches the words in the PSA.
Music and/or sounds are ok, and not distracting, but it does not add much to the words in the PSA.
Music is distracting, inappropriate, OR was not used.
Images/video
Images and/or video create a distinct atmosphere or tone that matches different parts of the PSA.
Images and/or video create an atmosphere or tone that matches some parts of the PSA.
An attempt was made to use images and/or video to create an atmosphere/tone but it needed more work. Image choice is logical.
Little or no attempt to use images and/or video to create an appropriate atmosphere/tone.
Overall impact of PSA
The PSA enables the reader to see, hear, feel, or think about the subject in a new way or in a more potent way than ever before.
The PSA enables the reader to see, hear, feel, or think about the subject.
The PSA enables the reader to see, hear, feel, or think about the subject, but this is accomplished through clichés, wornout images, or other predictable choices.
The PSA does not enable the reader to see, hear, feel, or think about the subject.






Essential Questions:


  • What does it actually mean to be “healthy”?
  • Why is mental health important?
  • Why is nutrition important?
  • How can we make personal connections to literature?
  • How does stress affect the human body?
  • How can we live healthy lives?
  • How can we teach others what we have learned about health?




References:

  • Baloche, Lynda. (1998). The Cooperative Classroom. NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Berry, Wendell. (2009). Bringing it to the Table. CA: Counterpoint.
  • Pollan, Michael. (2009). The Omnivore's Dilemma for Kids. NY: The Penguin Group.
  • Rutherford, P. (2002). Why Didn't I Learn This in College? VA: Just Ask Publications.