This is the time of year when you hear a lot of talk about being healthy. 21-day cleanses, juicing, whole foods, OH MY! You’ll see resolutions about less fast food or soda, more whole foods or protein. There’s a lot of focus on what we eat… but there is much more to health than that.

True Confessions:

I remember looking at nutritional info in the target language during our district’s health unit one year, and it dawned on me… I’m currently sleep deprived, sipping my 3rd cup of coffee, haven’t worked out all week. I did pack a salad… NOOOO, I forgot to grab it. Wendy’s for lunch again today! Am I a good example of health? Definitely not today!

Another day we looked at the “My Plate” resources, but I didn’t feel right telling anyone what they should be eating! What is healthy for one kid may not be enough for the super athlete, and the kid that can’t eat gluten needs an entirely different diet. Some kids needed to gain weight or muscle, others needed to lose it. Plus, half of my students were self-self-conscious about their bodies/weight. Not a great way to get them talking!

Please tell me I’m not the only teacher who has felt this way!

Inspiration for your Health Unit

It’s never wrong to talk about nutrition, fruits and veggies, or My Plate. That is a key part of our health! But don’t stop there. If your curriculum has a health unit, consider touching on some of these issues to consider overall health – not just diet.


What are the benefits of good sleep? How much sleep do your students get? How many hours is healthy? What keeps them up at night? What time should school start? What time does school start around the world?

Sleep (or lack of) is very talk-about-able. Good news! That means it is easy to find authres to support your lesson!


Think adults are the only ones with something to stress about? Even the carefree ones get stressed sometimes! What stresses them out? What helps them feel better? Without digging into kids private lives, we can use a lesson to let students discuss what causes the stress and see what they have in common with other classmates (AND it can be done in the target language). Start with an article like this one. The “listicle” format (thanks, Kathleen – you taught us that word!) makes it easy to break down main ideas without them having to understand paragraphs at a time.

Then you can teach them a few phrases (in your target language) to give their opinions about these main causes of stress.

It makes me feel STRESSED TO THE MAX!

It sometimes makes me stressed.

It doesn’t bother me!

Then you can start the conversation… and let them join in! The article says that obsessing over being perfect causes stress. How do you feel about trying to be perfect? (in your target language). 

Possible next steps: Research how to reduce stress or how to avoid it!


How many hours do students spend on screens? (Ask them after a snow day!) How does long-term misuse affect eyesight, sleep patterns, etc.? Does social media make them more happy or sad? How do you feel when you are disconnected? Has distracted driving (or walking) caused problems for anyone?

Hope you can take an idea or two back as you lesson plan. Oh, and don’t forget to get good sleep and shut that email down here and there, too. Your health is key to their learning!

Any other ideas or resources you would add?

If you need more  ideas and inspiration, you can check out our unit resources for Vida Sana, Vie Saine, and Gesunde Leben on