How I Use It
I previewed Go Nini before using it with my kindergartners and realized that I would need to provide background information to my students about separating food into the categories of Go, Slow, and Whoa. I used a traffic light as a metaphor and held up pictures of food for the students to sort. The Slow category was the hardest for them to recognize and understand. The app introduction shows popsicles in the Slow group. We all agreed that popsicles should be a Whoa food. Fried chicken is listed as a Whoa food, but it seems like it should be with pizza and hamburgers in the Slow group. This was very confusing to the children. They enjoyed playing the game and saw how Nini became lethargic when they chose Whoa foods. They found the Nini character and his raspy voice amusing.
This app is only valuable as a part of a larger instructional unit on nutrition and healthful eating. I used it with five different kindergarten classes and provided a rich introduction so that the app would have more resonance with my students. I do not think it would be as effective as a stand-alone app to teach these concepts. After a brief introduction to the app itself, the students were able to navigate through it fairly easily. About 30% of the users had the app freeze. These students had to start over and they were frustrated by this. I had to include a side lesson about double-clicking the home button and clearing open apps so the students could learn to troubleshoot the problem on their own. The app doesn't have a lot of depth to it, but my students did make some connections to the Go foods (fruit and vegetables) and the healthful snack our school provides every day. Go Nini does help reinforce the concept of categorizing food in a way that is easy for kindergartners to understand. We disagreed with the placement of some foods, but the app did prompt larger discussions about things like why an apple is a Go food, but apple juice is a Slow food. I don't think that my students would seek out this app frequently, but for occasional use they would find it entertaining. Only a few students gave this app a thumbs down rating, but that was mostly because of the app freezing.