FLC Hosts its First Health Literacy Summit

Health Literacy Summit Opening SessionLast Friday, FLC hosted its first ever Health Literacy Summit at the University of Central Florida’s Morgridge International Reading Center. About 175 professionals from the health care and education fields joined together to discuss strategies on how not only to better educate their patients and consumers, but how to better their systems as well.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Andrew Pleasant, drew on this point when he compared the 2-page form banks had to complete to apply for a bailout to the 10+ page form which Florida residents must complete to apply for food assistance. He alluded to lengthy health forms containing gratuitous verbiage, much of which are incomprehensible to people with literacy skills below the 10th grade level. In fact, the most recent national survey’s results showed that less than 15% of Americans are among the highest level of health literacy required to navigate the health system successfully. Clearly, the system needs to be changed.

The discussion continued throughout the day as concurrent sessions broke out, giving individuals the freedom to choose which session they’d like to attend. Presenters from rather diverse backgrounds shared their knowledge, led discussions and provided health literacy resources to participants.

After lunch, attendees filed into the auditorium to join in the discussion with a panel before breaking out into one final round of concurrent sessions. Finally, Executive Director Greg Smith gave some last remarks and attendees were able to hear a an adult learner, Fatima Freire of GROWS Literacy in Apopka, share her story and experience with the Staying Healthy curriculum. Her words were inspiring and reminded everyone how important it is to address the issue of health literacy.

A special thanks to our presenters, keynote speaker Dr. Andrew Pleasant, attendees, our partner organizations, and of course our sponsors: Winter Park Health Foundation and Allegany Franciscan Ministries.

Calculator Practice for the GED test

If math wasn’t a choice subject of your adult learners before, using a virtual calculator could make the math test of the new GED test slightly more challenging. GED testing service has said that the on-screen calculator is the Texas Instruments TI-30XS and is identical to its physical counterpart; however students are prohibited from using handheld calculators. Programs interested in purchasing the virtual and/or handheld calculator can provide these to students so that they can familiarize themselves with the calculator used on the GED test.

The virtual calculator won’t always be present during the math section. It will only appear during the calculator-permitted part of the math test, similarly to the 2003 test. Both the calculator-prohibited and calculator-permitted sections are part of a single Mathematical Reasoning module with total testing time of 90 minutes. Exactly 5 items of each form of the module are calculator-prohibited, so the majority of it requires knowledge of the virtual-calculator used to solve the math problems to demonstrate fluency in mathematical calculations. It’s important to note that the calculator will be provided on certain sections of the Science and Social Studies tests when it would be useful.

With that in mind, adult learners must master both the Mathematical Reasoning module and the application of the calculator. Whether the calculator is virtual or handheld, the key is sufficient practice. Below are several online resources for practice with the TI-30XS calculator to share with your programs and adult learners. There is also a practice test to use with your students after they’ve had some practice with the calculator.

Eat This, Not That for Health Literacy

Several Florida Blue Grantees have been working with their students on healthy alternatives to household favorites. Students create recipe books and have started gardens with these new alternatives. Many students indicated in surveys at the end of the course that they were interested in more substitution suggestions. Substitutions and tasty alternatives to foods you already enjoy are a good way to transition into a healthy lifestyle. Switching to a limiting diet might help lose weight in the short run, but ultimately fails because its not a lifestyle switch. I also know several people who would get depressed eating bland food and binge on junk food once given the chance, neither of which are healthy or sustainable.

Eat This, Not That is a book created by Men’s Health that helps you choose between two similar items by evaluating nutrition facts. The key word is similar. It’s not asking you to choose between a fresh made black bean burger and a Big Mac, but between the Big Mac and Angus Deluxe at McDonalds. This might be a good book or website to go through with your students as you introduce the importance of nutrition labels. They also have a game if you want to make it fun 🙂

After you review a few of the food options, create your own Eat This, Not That. Ask your students where they like to eat or what types of foods they like to buy from the grocery store. Then go to the website for these brands and print out a few nutrition labels. Review the labels with your students by looking at calories, grams of fat, grams of saturated fat, carbs, protein, and sodium. Decide as a class which is the better option and why. You can then have them take the game home and report back which foods they substituted for others and their opinions on taste or even healthier options.

4th of July Resources for Literacy Practitioners

When typing “4th of July” into the Google search bar on my computer, the top three suggested words are crafts, recipes, and fireworks. While such suggestions aren’t surprising, these traditions don’t speak to the reasons as to why July 4th is a federal holiday. It’s possible, maybe even probable, the adult learners whom we serve don’t know its importance either- especially when Americans adopt holidays such as Cinco de Mayo (or create others like Cinco de Cuatro) without much knowledge of the holidays’ origins themselves. I hope someone understands that reference.

Independence Day can be used for productive instruction with which to discuss both the fun, cultural traditions as well as the boring, American history aspects of the holiday. There’s just so many topics to choose from! Whether it’s how fireworks are made, writing narratives about how their 4th of July was spent, calculating how much money is spent on the typical barbecue foods, or teaching the history of Independence Day, you can pick from a vast amount of topics to suit your adult learner’s needs and interests.

It’s always a challenge to maintain student engagement, but with some creativity, even the history lessons could keep an adult learner’s attention. I challenge you to be as creative.

Below are some helpful ideas and links for your perusal. Incorporate these Infographics, YouTube videos and lessons, into your sessions, or use them as a jumping-off point to spark other ideas.

INDEPENDENCE DAY – English Vocabulary from JenniferESL on YouTube

Larry Ferlazzo’s additions to July Fourth Resources

Edutopia’s 4th of July Resources

Washington Post’s Top 5 Myths about July 4th

EL Civics Independence Day Lessons