Allergy Alert!: A Read4Health Lesson Plan

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Content Area(s):  
Grade Level(s):  
Grade Level Expectations:  
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education › Second Grade › Recognize basic childhood chronic diseases
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Second Grade › Discussions contribute and expand on the ideas of self and others
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Second Grade › New information can be learned and better dialogue created by listening actively
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Second Grade › Decoding words with accuracy depends on knowledge of complex spelling patterns and morphology
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Second Grade › Fluent reading depends on specific skills and approaches to understanding strategies when reading literary text
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Second Grade › Appropriate spelling, capitalization, grammar, and punctuation are used and applied when writing
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Second Grade › Exploring the writing process helps to plan and draft a variety of simple informational texts
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Second Grade › Questions are essential to analyze and evaluate the quality of thinking
Lesson Plan Details
2-3 class periods
Essential Question: 

How can you tell if someone is having an allergic reaction?

What actions might you take if you saw a person who was having trouble breathing?

Learning Objectives/Student Outcomes: 

Students will know:

  • safe decisions in an emergency situation.
  • common childhood diseases (allergies).
  • signs, symptoms, and allergic reactions of childhood diseases (allergies)/conditions.
  • grade level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
  • reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency supports comprehension.
  • varying sentence beginnings helps make writing interesting.

Students will understand:

  • verbal and non-verbal communications provide ways to seek help in an emergency.
  • many childhood diseases have common symptoms whose recognition can often prevent further risk of injury.
  • reading fluency depends on mastery of early reading skills.
  • appropriate usage of spelling patterns, conventions, and grammar, and punctuation represent the hallmarks of effective writing.

Students will be able to do:

  • Intervene appropriately if someone has a health concern or an emergency.
  • recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words.
  • read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • use content specific vocabulary to generate questions and provide information.
Key Topics: 


Allergic reaction

Decision making





Prior to instruction, the teacher needs to...

Gather books related to this lesson plan:

Allie, the Allergic Elephant by Nicole Smith (small group guided reading set)

The Princess and the Peanut Allergy by Wendy McClure


Sign up for a free trial account at  EDU Glogster (see link in this lesson plan), demo to students how to create a glog (5 min).

Sign up for a computer lab visit or use classroom computers.

Prior to the lesson the teacher should gather magazine pictures of some common allergens, or use the attached allergen image document. These pictures should be printed out in color and cut out (can be laminated for future use).

Have students' health journals available for them to write in.

Learning Experiences and Activities: 

In this lesson, the teacher will...

Begin by laying all of the allergen images out and asking students to look carefully at the images. Ask why they might all be grouped together? Have students come up with questions (about the pictures). For example, "Why are shellfish grouped together with grass?" or "Why do cats and dogs go with dust?" Don't answer these questions, but just allow students to talk and wonder. Write down some of the most intriguing questions to come back to later.

Once students have looked at the pictures and asked questions, read aloud The Princess and the Peanut Allergy by Wendy McClure to the whole class. While reading, ask students why Paula was getting panicked while talking with Regina about the princess party. On the following page Paula is imagining herself at the hospital, like she was when she ate a small peanut. Ask students why they think that image caused a panic for Paula. Then continue to read and discuss why Paula and Regina ended up in a fight. When the book is finished, ask students to discuss how this problem was solved.

Finally, read the "note to parents and friends of children with allergies" from the back of the book aloud to the class. Explain to students that this part of the book has been written by a medical doctor and has valuable information for friends to know so they can help keep each other safe, like Regina did for Paula in the book.

Have students make notes in their health journals listing the symptoms of a food allergen in an allergic person (itchy mouth, hives, itchy/swollen skin, nausea, vomiting, throat tightening, wheezing, trouble breathing, poor blood circulation, unconsciousness.) Have students discuss what they might do if they saw a friend experiencing these symptoms.

Later, in small homogenous guided reading groups, have students read Allie the Allergic Elephant by Nicole Smith. Differentiate reading instruction as needed. Point out how Allie knows that some foods have "peanuts hidden someplace in the food." Note the list of foods the author gives with hidden peanuts. 

Later, have kids bring their health journals to the computer lab. Go to


Students should explore the following games: Which Word, Word-O-Rama, Match It, Pet Allergies and explore the Nick Jr. site to find out about pet allergies and dust allergies. Children should take notes on any new words and new ideas they learned while playing. After about 25 minutes of playing/note-taking bring the group together to discuss other types of allergies other than the peanut allergies that they've read about in class. Students should share the other allergens they have learned about as well as make the connection between the allergens and the pictures that they were originally shown on the first day.

Divide students up into small groups (one group for outdoor allergies, indoor (environmental) allergies (i.e. dust, fragrances, soaps, etc.), food allergies, and one for animal allergies. Have students create a glogster (electronic poster) informing people about their assigned type of allergy. Each group should include pictures, symptoms, and treatments used for their assigned allergy. Groups are also responsible for teaching their classmates how to help a friend who is showing symptoms of these allergies.

Have small groups present their glogs to the class and answer any questions they may have.

Students may take notes in their health journals while watching other groups present.

To sum it all up return to the allergen pictures and ask students now to describe why all of these pictures are grouped together.




Make anecdotal notes on children's responses both during the read aloud and the small group reading session.


Use groups' glogs to determine if students have understood allergies and how to react if they see someone who is struggling with one.

Make notes on students descriptions of the allergen pictures at the end of the lesson.




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Colorado 21st Century Skills
Critical Thinking and Reasoning: 
A. Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation
B. Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project
C. Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions
Information Literacy: 
B. Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media
D. Process data and report results
E. Understand and use technology systems
F. Select and use applications effectively and productively
H. Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies
A. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media
B. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
C. Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures
D. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems
A. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
B. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
C. Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
D. Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship
A. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
B. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression
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