Posted in body, general education, health, homeschool, special education

Drinking Water is Good for You!

It’s So Hot… But the Water’s Not…

Here, in Connecticut, it seems like we went from winter to 90’s and haven’t looked back since June.

Since our house is a rambling old Tudor, the upstairs gets… well… rather “toasty” in the summer. Those big windows that let all the delicious light in during the winter create a mini-greenhouse in the summer. We broke down and put in the air conditioners this past weekend.

At school, I find myself reminding my teens about proper hydration, especially since there are a few of them that need motor breaks and outdoor time to refocus partway through the day.

Because we have a looser schedule in the summer (reading, writing and math, a social-emotional learning lesson and an extra period for reinforcing behavioral skills), I was looking for some lessons on self-care, and thought about teaching my students about how to keep hydrated when the weather is so hot.
health and hydration
drinking water
Use the summer months to teach students about the importance of proper hydration.

The Importance of Drinking Enough Water

Here are some important facts about water and the human body:

  1. Your body is 50-65% water. Men are more “watery” than women, on average.
  2. The water in your bloodstream is like an HVAC system. It distributes heat evenly, keeping your temperature constant.
  3. Water is part of every chemical reaction in your body. All the enzymes that make you “go” need water in order to work.
  4. You need water for proper sanitation. Without water, well… you just can’t pee and poop properly. And sweat contains salt wastes, as well as helping to cool you when you’re hot.
  5. Water is the most important “nutrient” in you diet. A person can live without food for a long time, but only for 3 days without water.

The rule of thumb is you should drink half of your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water. For example, a 160-lb teen should drink 160/2, or 80 oz of water. That’s a little more than a half gallon of water a day! Fear not, however: eating fresh fruits and vegetables can give you a lot of that water.

If it’s hot outside, if you have a fever, if you don’t feel well, if you’re exercising … then you will need more water. In general, if you aren’t feeling your best, if you’re tired or cranky, start out with a glass of water — it might do the trick!
health and hydration
drinking water
A Drop of Water, by Walter Wick – click for details.

Lessons on Health and Hydration, by Grade Level

I did a quick search of lesson plans on water and nutrition. Here are a few lesson plans that I though looked especially good. Let me know in the comments if you try them or if you find other ones to add to the list:

Early Childhood / Preschool and Kindergarten

Water is Your Best Friend” ~ Dublin San Ramon Services District (Dublin, California)

Let’s Drink Water!” ~ Cavity-Free Kids

Primary Grades / First and Second Grade

Teaching Kids the Importance of Drinking Water” ~ SF Gate

Hydration” ~ Fizzy’s Lunch Lab

Elementary Grades / Third and Fourth Grade

Water and You” ~ Health Teacher

Aqua Bodies: Healthy Hydration” ~ Project WET Foundation

Upper Elementary Grades / Fifth and Sixth Grade

You Are What You Drink!” ~ Teach Engineering

Drinking Water Worksheet Questions” {for research] ~ The Center for Global Studies (Penn State University)

Junior High / Seventh and Eighth Grade

Quench Your Thirst: The Importance of Water” ~ Health Powered Kids

Are You Dehydrated?” ~ The Water Project

High School / Ninth through Twelfth Grade

Drinking Water and Your Health” ~ Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Choosing Healthy Beverages” ~ Eat. Right. Now. (Drexel University)
drinking water
health and hydration
Living things are 50-65% water. {Image credit: (c) 2019, Kim M. Bennett}

Choosing a Hydration Lesson Plan

Pick the lesson plan you use based on the comprehension level of your students, then choose the reading materials based on their reading level. For example, my summer school students are teens, so I would deliver the content using one of the junior high or high school plans. However, since they don’t read at that level right now, I would give them student materials at the elementary or upper elementary levels. (NOTE: you can use ReadWorks to find reading materials if the ones in the lessons are not the right level for your kids).

Do you have favorite lessons or activities that you use to teach your students the importance of drinking enough water? Link them up, below!

Free Summer Meals in Your Area

For many of my students (and, perhaps, yours, too), the only reliable meals they might get are the free breakfast and lunch served while they are at school. This has been so for as long as I’ve been a teacher.

Currently, the Annie E. Casey Foundation estimated that, in 2018, approximately 14 million children (that’s 19% of the children under age 18 in our country), lived in a food insecure setting. In Louisiana and New Mexico, the numbers were the highest: as many as 28% of the children there lived without reliable meals at least some part of the year.

As a summer school teacher, I always worked in high-need areas, where my summer school site was also a summer feeding site. We served a lot of kids. As a classroom teacher, I always had food in a desk drawer, ready for someone who hadn’t eaten that day. And my schools always sent home extra food with a few students whose living situations merited an extra hand.

Children cannot learn if they do not have enough to eat. {Image credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2019}

Did you know there are free summer meal programs all over the United States?

Below are links to tools for states that have local summer meal programs. Please click on your state to find where kids in your area can get food for the summer. Most sites offer food to any child under the age of 18 who visits the site. Some states have eligibility requirements.

Alabama : Break for a Plate
Alaska: Summer Food Service Program
Arizona: Summer Food Service Program
Arkansas: Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance 
California: Summer Meal Service Sites 
Colorado: Summer Food Service Program 
Connecticut: End Hunger Connecticut! 
Delaware: Summer Food Service Program
Florida: Summer Breakspot 
Georgia: Bright from the Start 
Hawaii: Summer Food Service Program
Idaho: Summer Food Service Program 
Illinois: Rise and Shine Illinois

Indiana: Summer Food Service Program 
Iowa: Summer Food Service Program
Kansas: Summer Food Service Program 
Kentucky: Summer Food Service Program 
Louisiana: No Kid Hungry 
Maine: Summer Food Service Program 
Maryland; Maryland Summer Meals Sites 
Massachusetts: Summer Food Service Program 
Michigan: Summer Food Service Program 
Minnesota: Summer Food Service 
Mississippi: Summer Food Service Program
Missouri: Summer Food Service Program 
Montana: Find Summer Meals in Your Community

Nebraska: Summer Food Service Program 
Nevada: Three Square 
New Hampshire : Find Summer Meals in Your Community
New Jersey: Summer Food Service Program 
New Mexico: Meal Site Locator 
New York: Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
North Carolina: No Kid Hungry NC 
North Dakota: Summer Meal Sites Information 
Ohio: Summer Food Service Program Clickable Map 
Oklahoma: Meals for Kids OK! 
Oregon: Summer Meals Map 
Pennsylvania: Find Summer Meals in Your Community

Rhode Island:   Find Summer Meals in Your Community
South Carolina: Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
South Dakota: Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
Tennessee: Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
Texas: Summer Feeding Interactive Map 
Utah:   Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
Vermont:   Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
Virginia: Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
Washington: Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
West Virginia: Find Summer Meals in Your Community  
Wisconsin:   Find Summer Meals in Your Community
Wyoming: Find Summer Meals in Your Community

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