Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jack LaLanne Videos

A few days ago, I was saddened to hear about the passing of a true American legend, Jack LaLanne. Jack LaLanne was a man far head of his time, teaching Americans about the importance of exercise and good nutrition long before it was medically accepted that both were vital for good health. I am a proud owner of his PowerJuicer, although unfortunately I haven't used it recently.

Last year, I found some videos on YouTube of Jack's television show from the 1950s-1960s. I threw some on a CD and kept it in my classroom, in case I had a class that was ahead of another or found some extra time at the end of a lesson. I showed some clips to a few classes and explained what Jack was all about. Today I showed a clip from Jack's TV show to some seventh graders, and three of them started doing the chair exercises Jack was doing, in the middle of health class!! I told one of them that he could be the next Jack LaLanne if he wanted to be.

I've embedded a few Jack LaLanne videos from YouTube below. I may make a webquest for my students as well. Please pass on Jack's wisdom, knowledge, and dedication to your students. The next Jack LaLanne is out there, and that student may be in your classroom!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Video Viewing Activity: "Record, Elaborate, Extend"

I'm sure that I've mentioned somewhere in an earlier post that I'm not the biggest fan of using videos extensively in my classroom. I feel that there are too many other ways to effectively teach students health education that encourage them to be active, as opposed to passive, in their education. Unfortunately, in some districts health education is thrust upon teachers who are not trained or who have no interest in teaching health; this has led to health education being stereotyped as a class where videos are shown and nothing else really goes on. This is not to say that videos should be banned from the classroom! I do use short video clips whenever I can, to bring a different element to the classroom. In the May/June 2010 issue of the American Journal of Health Education, there's an article about using video clips in a health literacy program and their implication for providing context for classroom topics. I rarely show full length videos, but find that video clips can help stimulate discussion about topics, among other things.

In the situations where I do show actual videos, I don't want the students to sit there idly and fall asleep; nor do I want them to simply write down "facts" as they watch. After all, there is a point to the video! I want them to take specific information away from their viewing, and to expand upon this information later in class or during our unit. Recently during our seventh grade ATOD unit, I showed an eighteen minute video called, "Spit Tobacco Exposed." It's a little dated, from the era when green screens and flashy graphics were popular, but the content is accurate and is presented in a way that gets the attention of students. It also reviews some other information we will have already covered regarding tobacco and nicotine, so I'm able to get some review in while also presenting new content. The rest of the lesson builds off of this video.

Prior to the video, each student received a handout with a chart on it. The chart was entitled, "Record, Elaborate, and Extend." (Please see below for an embedded version of the chart) I came upon this idea from a colleague in the social studies department, who read about it in Educational Leadership. The article, entitled "Putting Gel Pen to Paper" is written by a seventh grade history teacher. The article's premise is that students can improve their writing skills while enhancing their understanding of course content.

Because the video I showed was brief (and only part of the lesson for the day) I didn't really need to focus too much on what I wanted the students to look for. But, if you look at the handout embedded below, you'll see I did highlight specific information I wanted the students to pick up on. Some students recognized the format and knew immediately what to do because they had seen this format elsewhere with other teachers. I model what to do using the Boston Red Sox as an example.

Below is a brief summary of the chart, with some information quoted from page 65 of the article "Putting Gel Pen to Paper." After the summary of each section, I've written what I specifically was looking for for this lesson.

Record (during video). "While they view the video, students jot down key points and significant ideas in the Record section of their viewing guide. Students should keep their points brief, recording only short phrases, because the process of transcribing should interfere as little as possible with the process of watching and listening." Record brief notes and short phrases on smokeless tobacco: what it is, its effects on the body, why people do it, negative health effects, etc.

Elaborate (during break or breaks). "The teacher pauses the video to allow students to process the information they have seen and heard. Students examine their recorded notes and write a specified number of full sentences in the Elaborate section of their viewing guide that describe what they have learned. Teachers may use sentence stems to help students start writing." Re-read your recorded notes. Write full sentences, making sense of the recorded notes and linking information together. Please note that because of the short length of this video, we did not pause at all. However, the video does provide an opportunity to pause for discussion towards the end; I just choose to wait until the video is over.

Extend (after the video). "The entire class discusses the elaborated points. Students can then respond to an open-ended question in the Extend section of their viewing guides, synthesizing what they have learned from the video." Use your notes to answer the following prompts: (1) Identify three ways smokeless tobacco could alter your life. (2) Justify the need for smokeless tobacco education in schools. For the next round of classes, I am going to change these questions.

Overall, I like using this format; it also allows students to practice note taking skills. They're not sitting back passively, focusing so much on the next question that they drown other information out, and they're not just writing down random facts and tidbits information that might not have relevance to the curriculum. It also ensures one hundred percent student participation. I have not yet had to modify this for any students in my classes, but the format can be made as specific as possible and is easy to modify.

It's also important to highlight that during the video, the students should only record brief phrases, so that they don't spend a lot of time away from paying attention to the video. It's fun to see the light bulbs go off when students link information together and make connections, too!

I've embedded an example of the chart I use below. Finally, here are two student examples from one of my seventh grade classes. These examples are not perfect (I had to clarify some items when I handed them back), but they are real-life student examples from a seventh grade class. If anything, they simply provide a visual of the "Record, Elaborate, Extend" format in action.

Student Sample #1:
Student Example #1

Student Sample #2:

Student Example #2

Here is the example chart:

As always, please feel free to e-mail me with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Article Citation: Yell, M.M. (2002). Putting gel pen to paper.Educational Leadership60(3), 63-66.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with HRM Video, the creators of "Spit Tobacco Exposed" nor am I affiliated with ASCD, the publishers of Educational Leadership. However, their publication is a GREAT resource that teachers can always take something from!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

LGBTQ Resources: Classroom Use

Recently the website Sex, Etc. updated their LGBTQ resources section of their website. I started drafting a post about Sex, Etc. this week but want to focus on how their updated LGBTQ section could be used in any health education classroom. Sex, Etc. is run by an orgnization out of Rutgers University called AnswerAnswer believes that, "Sexuality should be understood, respected, and celebrated." Answer is a fantastic resource for teenagers, health educators, and others working with teenagers. The website is perfectly geared towards teenagers, with information that is accurate, up to date, and definitely important for their lives. Sexuality education is so much more than sex, sex, sex. Sex, Etc. highlights this important fact, and covers everything a comprehensive sexuality curriculum should cover.

The updated LGBTQ resources are intended for teenagers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning and to help them understand who they are. The resources are also great for family members, friends, and other allies of LGBTQ teenagers. Let's face it, if you're a teacher there are going to be LGBTQ students in your classes. Middle school by itself is a tough experience, and the burden of trying to figure out who they are puts an additional burden on teenagers. The information contained below could very easily be used to help lessen that burden and also help teenagers become more comfortable with who they are.

Books. A list of over one hundred and fifty books are listed on the Sex, Etc. website. Ranging from fiction to nonfiction, and geared towards LGBTQ youth as well as allies, educators, and parents, this list has a little of something for everyone. As a high school track coach, one book about a gay track athlete has peaked my interest. In my classroom, I have a sign saying, "What Is Mr. Bartlett Reading?" with the cover of whatever book I'm reading scanned in color underneath. I collaborate with the middle school librarian, who provides me with young adult novels to read, with the hope that I can engage middle school students in discussions about reading. I've had some great discussions with kids about the books I'm reading (they've read some of them after I have!), and reading a book from this list could allow me to have important sexuality conversations that might not initially come up during class. Ideally, students would also realize that I am promoting discussion about these types of issues, while being accepting of students no matter what their sexual orientation happens to be. I would be more cautious about discussing this with sixth grade than I would with my eighth graders, however. Also, June is Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, and middle school librarians could have a display in their library focusing on LGBTQ literature geared towards youth, allies, and educators. This might be a hot button issue in many communities, but it's an issue people have to stop hiding from and start talking about!

FAQs & Stories. Stories from staff writers and contributors fill a list of stories highlighting a myriad of topics relating to LGBTQ youth: coming out to your parents, being harassed at school, even information about professional athletes dealing with harassment about their sexuality. Making students aware of these stories can help them understand that they are not alone and their experiences are normal. The FAQ section also provides a great starting points for students who are curious and seeking extra information on what they are feeling and going through. This information could be shared in a variety of classroom activities, depending on the content of the story. A post-reading classroom discussion about the stories would be crucial in order to make sure students understand the knowledge and attitudes you want them to learn.

Web Sites and Hotlines. Sex, Etc. provides teenagers with twenty two websites and nine hotlines, such as PFLAG, The Trevor Project, and outLoud Radio. Teenagers can connect with students going through similar experiences, find support, and learn something from all of the listed web sites and hotlines. These organizations are easily made available to all students through a classroom display (it can be as small as one piece of paper on a bulletin board, or a larger display) or even through a classroom project asking students to research the different organizations and what they offer to teenagers.

Forums. The Sex, Etc. forums offer a way for teenagers to connect with others through discussion. It appears that the LGBTQ specific forums don't get too much activity compared to the other sections, but hopefully with the attention around these new resources activity will increase! The other forums are packed with information, with questions answered by an on-site expert. This is a great resource for teenagers who don't want to ask their parents or doctors the "tough" questions. Many teachers would not be able to share the content of these forums in their own classroom due to school policies or parental issues (which is a whole other topic!) but the forums are definitely a "go-to" outside of school resource.

As of right now, my curriculum relating to sexuality includes puberty in sixth grade and HIV/AIDS and other STDs in eighth grade. If I had my way, I would be able to teach everything! I'm hoping to work to improve that in my district, but because I can't right now, Sex, Etc. is a resource that I am comfortable passing along to students if they so inquire when I am teaching the units I mentioned above. So many websites on the Internet contain information that is false, and Sex, Etc. is the type of websites teenagers need to see!

All in all, the LGBTC section of Sex, Etc. provides valuable, must-see information for teenagers, educators, parents, and allies. I can only imagine what it would have been like if teenagers in my parent's generation would have had access to resources like these. It is vital to spread this information so we can prevent more tragedies, promote tolerance and acceptance, and finally be able to accept everyone, no matter what their sexual orientation is, simply for who they are.

As always, please e-mail me with any questions, comments, or concerns.
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