Friday, 29 April 2011

Look At Your Milk Photo Contest

Attention all Milk Revolution friends!  We are hosting a photo challenge.  Here's how you can participate:
  • take a picture that shows a landmark near where you live or are visiting
  • include our address somewhere in the picture (no digital manipulation allowed please)
  • no copyrighted or watermarked pictures or innappropriate images will be accepted
  • all pictures give permission to be placed on our blog for viewing by others
  • please include your name and location, compress your photo and email to
  • Contest closes at midnight May 27, 2011.  Winners will be announced May 31, 2011.
Prizes have been created and selected by the grade four students.  Our criteria for judging a prize was that it has to cost $0, be sent by mail in an envelope or online, be of interest to others.  Pictures will be judged on colour, detail, interest and creativity.  Winning photos will be posted on our blog at the beginning of June.

We look forward to all the exciting photos.  Have fun and spread the word!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Spreading the Word

We are spreading the word about the added sugar in flavoured milk and today we took our campaign to the street, literally.  It has been a very busy week at school.  Students in our class keep writing their ideas and emailing them to Mrs. Swelander.  We have been going through all the suggestions from classmates, schoolmates, teachers and our blog followers and evaluating which ideas would work best for our school.  There is a special writing committee working day and night on a "Top Secret" mission and hopefully that will be on our blog by the end of next week.

So, today we stepped out onto the street in front of our school and held up our signs.  We got lots of waves and car honks, but we also learned some very valuable lessons.  We thought you might learn from them if you decide to run a similar campaign at your school.
1.  Don't do this on a windy or rainy day.  We're speaking from experience.
2. Attach letters on the top and bottom of the paper so the pages don't curl up.
3. Spell the word correctly.  Double check that all letters are right side up.
4. If you are part of the word "glass" (see the picture below) make sure the last three people stay close to the rest of the word, or else it just looks bad as you're walking up the stairs into the school.
5. When recording the students, turn the camera off before yelling at them from across the street.

Be sure to check in Friday, April 29 for our next "Spreading the Word" idea.   It will be fun for everyone.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Our Current School Situation

We think our followers need some information about our school, so they can understand the changes we are trying to make.  Our school has kindergarten through grade six and has about 220 students.  Kindergarten students only come to school for half a day so we have a morning and afternoon class that does not eat lunch at school at all.  Our school is an Earth 3 school which means we've completed 3000 environmental projects in the past few years.  Students have the choice to stay at school for lunch or go home to eat.  All of the students who eat lunch at school bring their own lunch from home.  We have microwaves to heat food, but most students don't use them.  Students eat in their classrooms (homerooms) or designated lunchrooms where they are supervised by our lunchroom supervisor team.  Students can choose white or chocolate milk and order their milk at the beginning of the year either by paying for the whole year or buying milk tickets.  In our class most of us never saw the form and were not asked by our parents which type of milk we would choose.  Some parents were suprised to hear they had a choice or how much sugar is in the chocolate milk.

We surveyed our students to find out how many of the milk drinkers drink chocolate milk.  This is our graph showing how many students in each grade currently have chocolate milk as their order choice.

We spoke to our principal about how to change the milk orders.  It takes about two to three weeks to switch the orders, but she agreed that if we can convince students to change their milk choices, we can switch our milk order by mid-May.  That means we have to convince students AND the parents!

We have plans to share our information.  The next parent council meeting is May 10 and we plan to send some students to that meeting.  We are also planning a schoolwide blitz of education about our milk.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Attention is a Little Overwhelming

Jamie Oliver's official website: our blog
address is circled in red.
 When we started our little blog we thought we might get a few hundred hits from family members.  We never would have imagined how many people from around the world would notice.  Although we've been trying to keep track of all the places people are from, we might need a bigger map.

When Mrs. Swelander returned home from school today she realized just how big our revolution is getting.

Mrs Swelander says "Thank you everyone for all the support, but it really is my students who have been leading the way.  We are so lucky to live in an city where the change is as simple as teaching others about what we know. I also want to point out that what we're doing is being done by teachers all over the world.  The only difference is that instead of writing in our journals, we've made our thoughts public.  The world is certainly smaller when the response is immediate."
This is from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Community Page.

How could we know that a little health lesson would turn into a social networking experiment?  Mrs. Swelander has had to learn how to use Blogger very fast.  We have been reading all the comments.

With all the attention today, it was tricky to stay on task and learn other things,  but we did a lot of math and map reading.  It is very interesting to find all the countries on the world map.

We are off school until Tuesday, April 26, but be sure to check back with us.  There will be LOTS of exciting news to follow on The Milk Revolution!

Thank you for all your support!

We are SO Brilliant!

Jamie Oliver's Twitter Feed at about 11:30 April 21, 2011
Today is Earth Day at our school, so we were busy calculating how many lights were out in the school when Mrs. Peters came in to tell us that Mrs. Swelander's sister called the school from Kelowna, BC to say Jamie Oliver was tweeting our Milk Revolution Page on Twitter.  After finishing our work, we went back to class and were shocked to see how many people from all over the world have visited our site.  Now we are keeping track on a map for social studies.

Here are some of our thoughts about the response to our blog:

~"Usually this wouldn't happen to any ordinary grade four classroom."
~Now that we have Jamie Oliver saying we are brilliant maybe people will believe us and we can make a difference."
~"I wonder if Jamie Oliver wants to visit Edmonton in June."
~"We're trying to make a difference and it's so nice that other people agree with us."
~"Jamie Oliver has really helped us out with this project."

On Tuesday we're rolling out step one of the Milk Revolution.  Stay tuned for further change.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

What We Know So Far...

People are talking in the school about what we have been doing with our Milk Revolution.  We need a plan of action.

Here is our plan:
1. We are going to share what we have learned about the sugar in the milk.  We might be able to talk about it at the next assembly, but that isn't for a month.  What could we do in the meantime?  Maybe we should break up and go class to class with our bag of sugar and share the link about the Jamie Oliver's school bus.  We will survey how many students drink chocolate milk verses how many drink white milk in the lunchrooms next week and then compare our results after the assembly.  We know our school receives approximately 2 crates of white milk and 12 crates of chocolate milk every two weeks.  We think if we educate our classmates they will want to change the milk.

We already know our principal supports what we are trying to do.  We are very lucky because we are allowed to choose white milk and our parents can make the decision for us not to have the chocolate milk.  All we need to do is educate people that chocolate milk is meant to be a treat once in a while.

Even though the battle at our school isn't going to be too difficult, we have to make changes in the city.  Maybe we can share what we're doing with other schools and have them make the changes too.  Maybe one day all the schools in Alberta or Canada will only serve white milk for lunch.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Jamie Oliver Noticed Us!

On April 19, 2011, Mrs. Swelander joined LOTS of people to tweet about the Food Revolution.  Twitter is a website where people can "twitter" about their thoughts.  Well, Jamie Oliver retweeted one of Mrs. Swelander's tweets and for a little while it was the top tweet on his feed.  That's pretty cool!
This a camera capure from Jamie Oliver's Twitter feed about 6:00pm April 19, 2011.
Well, that doesn't prove anything?
We later received a comment from someone who found our blog through Jamie Oliver's twitter feed.

So, can twenty grade four students make a difference? If Jamie Oliver can, so can we.
If you'd like to try (with your parent's permission) you can follow Jamie Oliver and take part in #foodrevolution

What Does 26g of Sugar Look Like?

26g of sugar
It's easy to say chocolate milk has 26g of sugar, but does that actually mean anything to people?  We measured 26g of sugar with a scale and then placed the sugar in a bag so we can show other people how much 26g of sugar is.

We also compared the amount of sugar in milk to a can of Coke.  It had 59g of sugar.  Most people agree that even 26g of sugar is too much sugar to have every day.

This is 26g of sugar in our convenient travel pack.

Our pros and cons list.

We made a list of the pros and cons of sugar.  We all agree that sugar tastes great, but we have to be careful to make good choices.

We went home that night and shared our new knowledge with our parents.  The parent reaction has been interesting.  Some parents were surprised to learn there was a choice for milk on the form sent home in September.  Next year we will help remind parents about choosing non-flavoured milk.

Here are some of our parents' quotes:

~"Oh my gosh!"

~"I can't believe I'm getting my daughter this!"

~"You can eat a bag of carrots this big to get the same amount of sugar in that milk."

~"We're changing this milk immediately."

We'll keep you posted on The Milk Revolution!

How Much Sugar is in the Milk?

Our milk label from a classmate's milk container.
April 14, 2011 we "borrowed" a milk container left over from lunch.  We found out that according to the nutritional facts on the milk, that it contains 26g of sugar in 250mL of chocolate milk.  We were amazed.  Some of us thought that because our milk is Canadian, that it wouldn't have as much sugar as American milk, but we were wrong.  We also know, that milk has lactose which is sugar that belongs naturally in the milk.

We thought this wasn't a big deal at first until we started to compare how much sugar is in other things we eat and drink.

We went to a popular Canadian donut restaurant that is named after a hockey player via a virtual field trip and looked up the nutritional information of the healthiest donut we could find.  We found a pumpkin spice donut had 22g of sugar while the chocolate glazed donut had 20g.  That means we could eat a chocolate donut and get less sugar than our so-called healthy milk.

So, who do we have to talk to in order to change the milk choices?  We made a list of possible people we need to educate about the milk.  We will keep you posted.

Mrs. Swelander Was Shocked!

On April 12, 2011, I watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and was SHOCKED!  Jamie Oliver shared what he knew about flavoured milk by filling a school bus full of the amount of sugar consumed in the milk at a Los Angeles school district.

So on April 13, 2011, I shared a clip and picture from that episode and asked my grade four students what they thought about the milk.  This is the link to the clip

My class has a regular blog and so I asked them to blog about their feelings.  These are some of the things they had to say about what they saw:

~"I feel like I need to stop drinking chocolate milk at lunch. There are lots of healthy drink choices out there and we need to find the right one."

~"Well it is really bad!  It’s ok to drink chocolate milk sometimes.  So, if you had it yesterday, don’t have it today.  Make healthy choices."

~"Maybe we can change to only drinking chocolate milk 2 times a week."

~"I do not take milk.  I really did not think that there was that much sugar.  It is amazing!"

So, while it may take a while to start the change, at least the students are talking.