Coach Bethany Goble knows a thing or two about keeping kids healthy! She’s the Girl’s Physical Education Teacher, Chickasha Middle School Head Softball Coach, and Chickasha High School Head Girls Soccer Coach in Chickasha, OK. We recently caught up with her to learn more about how she’s teaching kids healthy habits.
OWG: We heard that Southwest Elementary School is doing some great things to promote healthy kids and even incorporating OWG into your Health/PE classes. Can you share some more about what’s happening there?
Coach Goble: 206 bones, 600+ muscles, 22 foot of intestine, 4 chambers of the heart, 600 million alveoli, 100 billion neurons are just a few of the numbers that our students learn in health class. When it comes to teaching about healthy living, they understand first-hand due to their knowledge of the human body. Each body system is broken down by its organs, from the femur to the cilia. Our students are able to identify these organs and explain their role in the body. These are my favorite lessons to teach because everything taught in health refers back to how our body operates. This allows students to understand why healthy lifestyles help lead us toward a quality life.
We introduced students to the OWG during health class. PE coach Zachary Hale reinforces these lessons by teaching games that include the characters. The nutrition unit was a perfect set-up for the OWG. The students performed the songs and dances as they were taught how to read food labels, what cholesterol is, and why we need fiber. These easy and fun songs were even heard around grocery stores! The videos and music are used during health/PE class to help reiterate a concept taught and they serve as a healthly aid when lunch is served. Every morning, the students start the day reciting the daily chants as the teacher leads with enthusiasm. This is also where the DVD Shorts! are enjoyed as students arrive at school. Classroom teachers check out the kits, books and puppets to use as a center in their classroom. There are times when teachers are on a waiting list to use the materials, that’s how popular they have become! Also, when walking down the hallway of the school, students are greeted by OWG posters. Parents have made comments such as “ah, that’s who those guys are!” They hear about OWG from their children and are amazed at the knowledge they are able to share with the family.
All of our 1st and 2nd graders are exposed to OWG during health/PE, morning programs, lunch and their regular classrooms. While teaching nutrition, I worked with Susan Routh, the Grady County extension educator to organize a healthy snack day. The students exercised by planting an imaginary garden (using one of the WISERCISE lessons) with us and then we surprised them with individual bags of healthy fruits and vegetables. They were able to try blueberries, pineapple, cauliflower, broccoli, honeydew, raisins, carrots and cranberry juice. While enjoying the healthy snacks, the OWG Fiber Fandango video was playing.
OWG What kinds of feedback have you received from the kids and/or parents about the program?
Coach Goble: Parents have mentioned how their children point out food information while grocery shopping. The parents are being reminded to choose high-fiber, low-fat foods and are even buying new fruits and vegetables that their children tasted and loved at our snack day.
The staff here are a wonderful support system for our healthy lifestyle program. After the teacher orientation to the OWG program, many of the teachers commented on the importance of healthy bodies. Ms. Meeks, the principal, is a proud supporter of OWG! She can be seen at lunchtime serving food alongside our cafeteria workers in her apron full of OWG buttons! Ms. Meeks has had many parents comment on OWG. One story involved a first grader telling her grandma to call grandpa and tell him to choose food low in cholesterol because she didn’t want his arteries to clog! The grandma was amazed at the information a first grader knew! Another parent commented that their eating habits have changed because their child points out high-fat foods and suggests they not eat them! And since we use the chant, “Low-fat, High-fiber, Lots of Water, Exercise,” many students are making better choices and bringing water to drink with their lunches.
Wow! We are so thrilled to work with great educators like Coach Goble, Susan Routh with OSU Extension and an entusiastic principal like Ms. Meeks. You are all making an incredible impact on the lives of these children! We want to thank Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma for funding this great project!