Health Education

Health Literacy, Wordle, and Pop Tarts

Pop tarts. Have you ever stood back and looked at these things and thought: “What are these things actually made of and why were these ever served as an option for breakfast?

When I was young, Pop Tarts were not only a quick and simple option for breakfast, they were cool. However, as cool as they are; pop tarts are not necessarily the healthiest “breakfast food.”

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For example, while I was at the grocery store this past week, I noticed a box of “Cookies and Cream” Pop Tarts. The box not only had the word “Cookies” printed on it, there was also images of cookies as well. What I found weird about this was the fact that this box was in the breakfast section rather than the treats section of the store.

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My problem with this is that it allows kids to think that cookies are a good choice for breakfast, that they are part of a healthy, balanced meal. Health literacy is defined by the Canadian Council of Learning as a set of skills and understanding of information which benefits health.This literacy its something we need to be including daily in our PHE teaching.

How do we do this?

Wordle is a great, free online teaching tool that can take brainstormed ideas from your classroom and organize those words into colorful, interesting interfaces which students can individualize and complete.

For example, you could ask your students to type up any words that they think of surrounding a healthy, balanced breakfast (see wordle below). Then, have students do the same for words they associate to Pop Tarts. Create a Wordle for each set of results and compare the two images to each other. This will help you to build a constructive discussion around Pop Tarts and their place within a healthy, balanced breakfast.

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Example of a Wordle inspired by “Healthy, Balanced Breakfast”

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Example of a wordle inspired by “Pop Tarts”

Wordle is one of many different tools that can help you teach your students so that they develop into health literate individuals.

Are you using Wordle in your PHE program? Let Ryan know on Twitter by clicking the button below!

How are you helping your students make healthy decisions when it comes to nutrition/health? Any other great tools you are using? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!

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Joey Feith is the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

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