The Annual Food Groups Collage

M modelling eggsStarting in Senior Kindergarten, it seems to be traditional to send kids home with a badly-photocopied Canada Food Guide and some badly-photocopied grocery store sale flyers and assign a Food Groups Collage as homework.

For SK, fine, this is more-or-less appropriate: you’re five years old. You can practice reading and cutting and sticking and since it’s your first go-around with the Food Guide you might learn something. Grade 1… OK, maybe it’s a good review. Grade 2… WTF? This again? And now again in Grade 3, by which time the whole thing is just a waste of paper and gluesticks and everyone’s patience, even with the novel additions of “Good Tooth Care,” “Physical Activity” and “Safety Rules” to the assignment. This time the photocopied food pictures were so bad you could barely tell what they were, so we cast about for alternatives.

I thought it would be more interesting to do something a bit more active and connected to reality, as well as finding some way to inject some actual new learning in there somewhere.

29/365 Feb 1: The annual Food Groups CollageFirst, we needed some pictures of food. Being lazy, I figured taking our own pictures would be faster and easier than doing a whole pile of image searches. We have a camera, we have food. Ta da! So I settled on having M explore the kitchen, pull out foods from each food group and stage a bunch of pictures. So far so good.

Comic Life sample screenshotI have strong opinions about teaching kids to use technology appropriately — so how to work in some learning on that? I remembered I had a demo of Comic Life, which makes photo montages super-easy. M could learn how to use it in about three minutes (thus actually learning something), and then we could all escape the whole cut-and-stick part of the assignment which, by Grade 3, is neither fun nor appropriate. Excellent.

A stuffed Blufadoodle modelling some fruits and veggies It took us about an hour to do the photos, since not only did M need to dig about in the fridge and cupboards but the various foods had (apparently) to be artistically arranged with some stuffed animal models (and we had the Physical Activity, Dental Care, etc. photos to do). I think searching for all the images we needed would have taken much longer.

It took M about another hour to put together her seven collage pages and get them all properly labelled in Comic Life.

A stuffed dog showing interest in pastaMy only involvement was to take the pictures I was told to take (I could’ve let M do it but my camera is new and I’m still a bit overprotective of it, and her own camera is not great) and to get M started on Comic Life — no helicoptering necessary. I’d share the final result but the 7-page PDF is 358Mb (oof).

Anyway. I thought I’d share the idea since this assignment seems to be issued annually to pretty much everyone and I think this version of it a) is super easy, b) is more active and less tedious than the usual cut-and-stick, c) helps the kids connect their own foods and activities to Food Guide concepts, and d) involves an appropriate bit of technology use.

Also: no effing gluesticks. Hallelujah!

28/365 Jan 31: Dental care

Edited to add: here’s a screenshot of one page

2 thoughts on “The Annual Food Groups Collage

  1. Any chance of a screenshot of the project? I’d love to see it, it sounds cool 🙂

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