memory and weaker ability to link cause and effect. Kids with
ear infections may have trouble with sound discrimination,
making it tough to follow directions, do highly demanding
auditory processing, and understand the teacher. This can
hurt reading ability and other skills. Poor diets also affect
behavior. Students can often appear listless (with low energy)
or hyperactive (on a sugar “high”).
What You Can Do
Remember, the two primary foods for the brain are oxygen
and glucose; oxygen reacts with glucose to produce energy for
cell function. Schools can provide these at zero cost. Having
students engage in slow stretching while taking slow deep
breaths can increase their oxygenation. Yoga training has been
shown to increase metabolic controls so children can better
Recess and physical education contribute to greater oxygen
intake and better learning (Winter et al., 2007). Never
withhold recess from students for a disciplinary issue; there
are countless other ways to let them know they behaved inap-
propriately. Children need physical education programs at
every level to perform well academically. In addition, the use
of games, movement, and drama will trigger the release of
glucose, stored in the body as glycogen. Proper glucose levels
are associated with stronger memory and cognitive function.
In short, physical activity will reduce some of the issues asso-
ciated with poor nutrition and will build student health.
Difference 2: Vocabulary
Children who grow up in low socioeconomic conditions typically have a smaller vocabulary than middle-class children
do, which raises the risk for academic failure (Walker,
Greenwood, Hart, & Carta, 1994). Children from low-income families hear, on average, 13;million words by age; 4.