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Review of:

Smart Foods Rock Curriculum 2nd and 3rd Grade

Producer:Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County
Date Produced:2007
  • CD-ROM
  • Curriculum
  • Elementary School (6-8 yrs)
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Professionals
  • General Nutrition
  • Eating Patterns
  • Healthy Eating Tips
  • Food Safety
  • Grains/Whole Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Dairy
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
Description:The “Smart Foods Rock” Curriculum consists of eleven behaviorally focused lessons teaching children the basics of nutrition including learning about a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks. The sequence of lessons help children learn proper hand washing prior to handling food samples distributed in class as part of most lessons.

During the twelve weeks, children learn the importance of eating a healthy diet through interactive, behaviorally focused activities and discussion. The eleven lessons along with pre and post tests are grounded in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and the MyPyramid guidance system for kids.

The “Smart Foods Rock” lessons start with “Clean Hands” and then features a general lesson on MyPyramid followed by lessons on each food group including “Milk”, Grains”, “Vegetables”, “Fruit” and “Meat & Beans”. Then two lessons on “Breakfast” and “Healthy Snacks” along with two additional lessons on “Apples” and “Citrus” give children information on how fruits are grown and harvested, along with their nutritional value in a healthy diet. Emphasis is placed on liking and choosing healthy foods over those that are high in sugar, fats and calories. Kids receive reinforcement of food groups and food sources through worksheets that include puzzles, word searches, crossword puzzles, matching and identification of nutrients on food labels.

Lessons fit NJ Core Curriculum for 2nd up to 4th graders for 2.1 standards for Wellness including A. Personal Health B. Nutrition and D. Diseases and Health Conditions. Worksheets are categorized for 2nd, 3rd or can be used by both grade levels. Lessons discuss how healthy eating provides energy, helps to maintain a healthy weight, lowers risk for disease and keeps the body systems working. Lessons provide a minimum of 45 minutes of learning including tastings, demonstrations, creative work sheets and discussion that emphasize reading, writing, math, science, geography and literacy. The lessons include knowledge objectives, behavioral objectives, and life style skills to be learned. Each lesson explains how it is behaviorally focused. The lesson lists the supplies needed, tips for teaching, background information for the paraprofessional educator, pre-preparation needed for the educator, a list of activities within each lesson along with an explanation of each activity and how it is to be taught. Finally, a list of terms that need to be defined for the paraprofessional educator and the adolescents help the educator to prepare thoroughly before teaching.

The curriculum was developed to meet N J Core Curriculum requirements, the requirements of the “High Scope” educational method adopted by school districts in Union County, New Jersey and the NJ 4-H curriculum development requirements. All materials are on a CD for a cost of $ 20.00.

Cost:$ 20.00 for CD of curriculum with all lessons, activities, pre/post tests
Ordering Info:Karen Ensle EdD, RD, FADA, CFCS Family & Community Health Sciences Educator, Associate Professor Project Investigator, NJ Food Stamp Program, Union County Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, 300 North Avenue East, Westfield, NJ 07090 Phone: 908-654-9854 x 2234 Fax: 908-654-9818 e-mail: ensle@aesop.rutgers.edu
Comments:This curriculum has been used to teach over 1,200 youth yearly in the FSNE program in Union County the past six years. The curriculum was developed by the Family & Community Health Sciences Educator in partnership with the county FSNE staff including: Janet Brun, RD; FSNE Supervisor; Regina Eitel, Community Coordinator, Jane Daniel, RD, RPh; Ronnie Caravello, Administrative Assistant, Diane Scott, Secretary and Community Assistants: Ebony Braswell, Laura Igarteburu, Maureen Pyne and part-time educators Carmen Romero and Kathleen Malkiewicz. Thanks to Dr. Debra Palmer and Judy Giunta RD, for their input into the curriculum.


A. Use of MyPlate/MyPlate or the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Material based substantially on MyPlate or 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
B. Scope
Scope of information appropriate for target audience and essential topics discussed in appropriate detail.
C. Purpose
Purpose of material clearly stated in title or introduction.
D. Organization
Material well-organized and major points presented clearly.
E. Accuracy
Information contains minor inaccuracies.

Minor problems: Info on MyPyramid is fine, but some of the information about harvesting practices, especially for citrus, is outdated, and some of the photos used seem very old. Also I question including coconuts as fruit (I think they are seeds) and omitting olives as an oily fruit.
F. Learner Background
Material assumes that reader has some background information.

The materials assume that the teacher has information, but not necessarily the children. Each lesson does refer to the initial lesson on MyPyramid so that if the lessons are used out of order the teacher is aware of that basis.
G. Learning Objectives
Learning objectives identifiable and met somewhat.

The way the objectives are written is one consistant weakness. Some are measurable, others are not, some are specific, some are vague. But there are 3 sets (knowledge, life skills and behavioral)of objectives for most of the lessons, with different goals. The lessons are tied to New Jersey's learning standards for 1st thru 4th grades.
H. Learning Activities, Projects, or Interactive Learning Tools
Material includes a variety of stimulating and interesting learning experiences, questions, projects, or suggestions for further action that will involve the reader.

Each folder on the disc contains the lesson plan, accompanying materials and a list of what else will be needed (apples, knife, etc). The handouts and pictures need to be printed and copied. Some really need a color printer and copier, which could be a problem for some users.
I. Objectivity/Sponsor Bias
Subject matter presented objectively and fairly. No brand name promotion or obvious sponsor bias.
J. Inclusion of learning objectives, learner activities, instructional aids, lesson plans, evaluation component, identification of required instructional materials, web site with additional materials.
Material includes five or more of the above.

Pre and post tests are included. Including things for different grade levels (1st grade is picture and rebus, others are words + picture or words alone) is very nice.
K. Recipes (if included)
No recipes are included.
L. Recipes (if included)
No recipes are included.
M. Instructional Resources
Instructor resources included with suggestions for enhancing the teaching process. Suggestions for follow-up learning activities/discussion questions included.

Lessons include activities for this lesson and items, handouts, etc. for the classroom teacher to use on days when the facilitator for this program does not come to the class.
N. Credits, References and Resources (Including dates, publisher, etc.)
Current and complete credits, references, and resources listed.
O. Summary
All major ideas summarized or reviewed to reinforce key concepts; summaries easily identified.

Most lessons include activity or question/answer series to summarize the main point of the lesson.

A. Role Models
Not applicable.
B. Multi-cultural Representation
Not applicable.

The lessons themselves have no ethnic representation, but the photo, very old photo, of an orange picker is not representative of the current situation. And I don't know how many children, Hispanic or otherwise, are actively involved in picking apples, but I question the value of showing child labor. Those pictures look like employed pickers, not just a family out to pick some apples for a day.
C. Different lifestyles and food patterns
Material reflects, but does not emphasize, a variety of values, practices, and/or food patterns representative of different lifestyles, cultures, and socioeconomic levels.

Material does mention different eating patterns, especially in the breakfast and protein lessons, but the majority of the materials are pretty standard American foods.

Print Materials
A. Writing Style
Main ideas are clear and flow smoothly.
B. Writing Approach
Writing approach is positive and personal. Active voice is used most of the time.

Most of the lessons include a series of questions to be asked of the children, with expected or desired answers. They are active voice and appropriate for children.
C. Vocabulary
Most words used are appropriate for intended audience. Some unidentified technical terms are used.

Most lessons include a New Words list which is very good. But do 2nd graders need endocarp, mesocarp, exocarp, and if they are going to define them, why not explain a 'carp' and what endo, exo and meso mean as well. Just memorizing 3 big words seems unnecessary. Use of riddles and rebus to challenge children is good.
D. Supportive Illustrations
All of the illustrations contribute to the material and are on the same page as their textual references. Tables and graphs are as simple and easy to read as possible. All information needed in graphs and tables is provided in a form requiring no further explanation.

Other than the lesson itself the materials are on separate pages. Each needs to be printed separately. All materials in each lesson folder are related. I wonder how well a couple of the pictures will copy though, unless the sheets are all copied in color.
E. Layout and Design
Color, design, and layout of material are attractive, and stimulate interest, without being too busy. There is good balance between print and blank space.
F. Visual Quality

NA - it's all on disc to be printed as the user wants.
G. Headings/Cueing Devices

H. Approximate Reading Level

The materials are for 1st - 3rd graders and seem mostly appropriate. Some are pretty big words, other pages use pictures for the 1st graders.

Overall Comments on Resource Reviewed

A. Positive Points of the Reviewed Resource:
The lessons are complete, age appropriate, have enough hands-on and activities to keep children interested, are timed for a single class. Very good emphasis on hand washing in each lesson. Good lists of needed supplies, instructions for teachers, etc.
B. Points that Could Be Improved:
1. Some spelling and punctuation mistakes that should be avoidable. 2. I would prefer to see a fruit and a vegetable for the last 2 lessons. Instead of apples and oranges why not apple and tomato (nutritionally a vegetable)? 3. I would also prefer to see more realistic prices for the buying fruit exercises, so that a child does not go home and ask a parent to buy an orange for 2 cents when the parent can't afford the true cost. 4. More current information on fruit harvesting should be used. 5. There are songs for hand washing that count the 20 seconds and instruct the children about "Why wash" that would be more appropriate than 'one Mississippi, two M...'
C. General Comments
Very well thought-out, good accompanying materials for the teachers to print and copy, good flow, good instructions to teacher about how to respond to children's possible answers. Some of the classes depend on having an assistant in the classroom for some activities.
D. Overall Summary
Very good resource material for a series of classes for 1st-3rd graders. Teacher must be able to print the handout sheets and copy them.

Reviewer Rating
Any opinions expressed about any resource in this web site (either expressly or implied) are solely and completely the responsibility of the reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Highly Recommended

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