Generously sponsored by: is an educational resource for parents seeking information about childhood sleep disorders, tonsil and adenoid disease, and tonsillectomy surgical options.

The site is maintained by Vital Signs LLC, a medical communications agency specializing in patient education, and Jay N. Dolitsky, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at New York Medical College. is made possible by educational grants from the health care industry.

About This Unit



Open Wide and Meet Your Tonsils!


Open Wide and Meet Your Tonsils! is one of the most important programs you can teach for your students' health! Enlarged tonsils have been found to cause sleep-disordered breathing, which is linked to serious childhood health problems, behavioral difficulties, and hindered learning and physical growth.* The good news is that both enlarged tonsils and the health problems they cause are easy to spot when adults and children recognize the connection. Through skill-building lessons and activities that align to national standards in language arts, health, and science, you can teach about tonsils and get students in the habit of opening wide for regular checks of tonsil size.

Developed by Scholastic and generously sponsored by, these materials provide important factual information for students and families. Under "Teacher Resources" below, you'll find a classroom poster (PDF) that gives students a close look at tonsils and the different parts of the mouth. The Family Letter (PDF) contains vital tonsil facts, as well as information and guidance parents can use in speaking with their family physician about enlarged tonsils. And finally, we encourage you to distribute the Nurse Letter (PDF), which includes signs and symptoms of sleep disordered breathing, to your school nurse.

* National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health), "National Sleep Disorders Research Plan, Section 5: Sleep Disorders"


Students will learn:

  • Lessons in English language arts, which build skills in science and health
  • What tonsils are, what they do, and where they're located
  • About other parts of the mouth, what they do, and where they're located
  • Some of the reasons why having healthy tonsils and getting good sleep is important
  • How to communicate with family about tonsils

Teacher Resources:

Lesson 1: Meet Your Tonsils!
Lesson 2: Read a Tonsil Poem
Lesson 3: We All Need Sleep
Lesson 4: We Know About Tonsils!

Lesson Activity 1: What's Inside Your Mouth?
Lesson Activity 2: Everybody Is Born with Tonsils
Lesson Activity 3: Why Do We Need Good Sleep?
Lesson Activity 4 (Take-Home Activity): Who Has Tonsils in Our Family?
Home Connection Activity 1: How Do I Feel Today?
Home Connection Activity 2: My Busy, Healthy Mouth
Home Connection Activity 3: I Can Help My Tonsils Do Their Job

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