9.13.2011

Snack Time!

Happy Tuesday readers!

Wow--I had such a good first day back yesterday.  Reconnecting with all the kids and a regular routine was just what I've needed.  I also had a particularly magical moment that I want to share with you and is the inspiration for this post.  It's a lengthy post, but one that I think is worth the read.

If I haven't mentioned it before, the school I am student teaching in is a Title I school, which means that 50% or more of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. It has been an incredible experience and so inspiring to see a school system that rises to all its challenges and overcomes them valiantly.

Being in a school like this, though, can be heartbreaking at times.  There are kids with backgrounds that will break your heart.  One of the little boys I have especially bonded with is one of those kids.  This little boy, which I'll refer to as N, has the brightest smile, is incredibly smart, and also well behaved and very kindhearted.  He is also very poor.

During snack time, he has been the only student in our class to not have a snack.  On a few occasions he has complained that he is hungry and has also told me that he didn't have breakfast that day.  My teacher doesn't typically provide students with snacks, though, because in the past when she has done that, inevitably, students who can afford snack stop bringing it to receive it for free from the teacher.  I have been picking my brain trying to think of a way I can help N.  Today, I had an "aha!" moment.

As I was watching him sit, snack-less, as the students around him enjoyed their snacks, I finally came up with a plan!  The students place their backpacks in assigned cubbies.  I realized that in the mornings before students arrive, I could simply put a snack in N's cubby, that he could get at snack time.  I checked with my teacher to make sure she was okay with this and she said that it would be fine as long as I'm discreet.

At the end of the day, as the students were packing up, I called N over to speak with him.  I asked him to show me his cubby and explained that from now on, I'm going to put a snack in the cubby in the mornings before anyone gets to school.  I told him that it would be our "special secret" and that he could just act like he was getting it from his backpack, brought from home, like the rest of the class.

Seeing N's smiles and the gleam in his eyes as I told him this was a monumental moment that I know I will remember years from now.  He gave me a tight hug and it was all I could do not to cry.

I know that as a future teacher, I won't ever save the world, but having the ability to change the lives of just a small amount of kids, makes it all worthwhile.

That being said, I now want to make sure I can give N really great snacks that he not only will like, but will also be somewhat nutritious.

Here is what I'm thinking...

GOLDFISH!
I still pack parmesan goldfish in my lunch almost every day!

PEANUT BUTTER CRACKERS
These are not only delicious, but also provide some protein!

STRING CHEESE
Cheese usually fills me up and would hopefully keep him full throughout the day.

GRAPES
I know fresh fruit can get expensive, so he might not be getting much of it at home.

What are your favorite healthy snacks?  What type of healthy, kid-friendly snacks do you mamas out there recommend?

Have a great day!

22 comments:

  1. This is one of the sweetest post I have read...you made me tear up! What a great thing for you to do.

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  2. This is so sweet of you! I'm so glad you figured out a way to help N out! That is so sad that he doesn't even have breakfast some days.... Keep us posted on how the snacks go! I would recommend some trailmix (that has lots of protein with the nuts but also raisins and some chocolate!) or maybe some pretzels with PB to dip? Or nutella if you looking for something a little different and oh so yummy!

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  3. that is so incredibly sweet of you! i think the snacks you posted will be perfect!

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  4. I student taught at a Title I school as well. You're right with the heartbreaking, albeit eye opeing, backgrounds. I always gave a prayer of thanks for how blessed I was growing up...and continue to be. I think that is wonderful that you're so empathetic toward "N"--not only is this something you'd remember, but also he will. I would stay away from trailmix because of all the nut allergies...you never know with that. I like your ideas of high protein/fresh fruit...Also Annie's Natural bunny grahams, etc. come in great snack size packets... Happy Tuesday. oxo

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  5. So sweet of you!! I am sure it means so much to N, and something he will always remember.

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  6. Allie, you are such a sweetheart! That little boy will remember you forever! I think the snacks you've picked out are great! Raisins, yogurt covered raisins, or "Craisins" would be good choices too.
    I'm so glad you commented yesterday because I had just been thinking about you too!!! We were all sick last week so I fell behind in my blog reading. Isn't it funny how we start to miss our blog friends? I'm so glad to hear you are doing well and are loving being back in the classroom.

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  7. Fruit would be the best think. It would be good for his bones, especially if he isn't getting it from his home.
    Such a sweet thing to do.

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  8. That is so sad, I think these are all great ideas, maybe some trail mix one day?

    xx Emily @ laughliveandshop.blogspot.com

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  9. This is such a sweet post! My very first job was teaching at a Title 1 school and it was so heartbreaking to see the students who weren't getting enough to eat and who weren't getting attention from parents at home. Sometimes you just have to make those exceptions for kids who really need them. Being "fair" doesn't always mean treating every student the same. Sometimes you have to sneak snacks in a child's bookbag on a Friday because you know they'll be hungry all weekend or excuse a child who never has their homework because you know their parents work three jobs and can't make it a priority to help them. I think you're doing a great thing. I always worry about bringing peanut butter into the classroom but I think you're right - its so important to provide some protein for kids who might not be getting enough otherwise - cheese is great for this and a good source of calcium too.

    You are too sweet!

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  10. This brightened my day :) I remember when I was little and we had to pay for field trips in elementary school, my mom would always send an extra check to the teacher in case there was a child who couldn't afford to go otherwise. Or she would send an extra backpack full of supplies on the first day. I didn't realize the depth of it at the time I'm sure, but I do now. Props to you for taking the initiative :) I'm sure it means more to him than you know!

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  11. That is so sweet of you. I worked in a school like that in Indianapolis and some of the kids and their living conditions broke my heart. I think this is so sweet of you, and very thoughtful! I am a huge fan of trail mix, you could always mix in some kid friendly like goldfish crackers along with raisons and nuts to keep it healthy and maybe some small chocolate chips for something sweet! I always loved peanut butter crackers as a kid, or even graham crackers with peanut butter! Hope you are having a wonderful day!

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  12. oh my goodness, you have the biggest heart! So sweet of you! What about apples and PB, carrots and dip, celery and PB with a couple chocolate chips, oatmeal bars, fruit is always great! Oh, I will be thinking for you. Thank you for being so sweet to children!

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  13. I love this post! I am a teacher, as well, and worked for two years in a school for children with behavior problems. Their behaviors issues came from unstable homes, which means that they, too, did not get a snack or the proper nutrients. I would go to the grocery store at night and ask for bananas and other fruit that they were going to toss then bring them to school the next day. My kids LOVED bananas and apples and also hard boiled eggs...not sure why, but they did!! Great job :) You are totally in the right field!! xoxo

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  14. Oh my gosh, Allie this is so sweet! And its great because he won't be embarrassed either. I love granola bars, and the other snacks you've been thinking of are great, too.

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  15. Allie! You are a sweetheart!! I think those are great snack ideas. Being in the hospital can be difficult at times when dealing with patients that can't afford the care or medications that they need. You may not be saving the world, but you sure are going to make a difference in little N's life!

    Do you have a pinterest? If you don't drop me an e-mail and I can send you an invite!! It is the bomb. SOOOOO many great teaching ideas as well.

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  16. I just came across your blog for the first time, this is sucha touching story! you are clearly an awesome teacher. What a great and simple solution that will make sucha difference to this child :)

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  17. You are such a sweetheart for doing this, Allie! I'm glad to be friends with such a wonderful teacher! :) He's going to be so appreciative!

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  18. Allie, this is so sweet. You made me cry with you story. My son attends a magnet school, and it's base would be Title I. Right now, the base is low though, but I know there are children that need our help. Such a wonderful story. I've been working on snacks, too.

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  19. Great story! Thank you for sharing with us. I love those sweet moments that somehow make all the hard times worth it.

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  20. That is so wonderful of you. and those ideas are great. My grocery store has the prepackaged sliced apples with caramel dip.

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  21. You are the absolute sweetest! Thanks for sharing this story with us!

    xo lamb

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  22. Parmesan goldfish are deadly! I will seriously eat the whole bag! YUM!

    Great ideas-these are all snacks I love too

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Your comments brighten my day!