Sunday, October 11, 2015

Red Ribbon Week lessons

October is one of the busiest months of the year for School Counselors who are trying to do Red Ribbon Week and Bully Prevention all in just 31 days.  Here are two intermediate lessons I have created to teach during the month of October using a variety of information off the web and ideas from the formerly free website, now $149 a year)

The first lesson called "Over the Counter and Prescription Medicine" teaches students drugs are powerful chemicals that change the way our bodies work.  These can be good or bad, illegal or legal, prescription or Over-the-Counter (OTC) or street drugs.  This lesson uses thinking maps and Kagan structures to help keep students interested, engaged and focused on the similarities and differences in prescription drugs and over the counter drugs.  I have used this lesson with 3rd, but it could easily be used with 4th, 5th and possibly 6th with some adjustments. Depending on your discussion and use student thinking maps, this could be be two 30-45 minute lessons.  Included here is the PowerPoint and lesson plan.

The next lesson is "What do you know about drugs?"  This lesson is for my older students and I use it only with 5th grade. It is definitely a lesson that could be used with 6th -8th.  You can do this as a PowerPoint  quiz and presentation/discussion, Personal Response Clicker lesson, or as a Kahoot! lesson if you have the technology or allow students to bring their own.   The "What do you know about drugs?" PowerPoint has 15 questions which function as a pre/post test with answer key and information slides at the end of the slide show.  After giving the pre test, have groups teach the class the information about drugs from their slide(s) and maybe something they did not know or was surprising to them.  After sharing, have class take the post test on paper or perhaps do the Kahoot! This lesson can take two 30-45 minutes class sessions depending on the amount of discussion generated from the information slides.  Included here is the PowerPoint and lesson plan. If you have access to technology here is a very similar version (18 questions) of the Powerpoint on Kahoot!  you may want to try this with your students as the pre/post test.  My students always want to play Kahoot! again, so pre/post it is!

My RRW Overview

Prior to Red Ribbon Week I  give teachers an overview of the week and send home our theme and a list of dress up days to parents in English and Spanish. Two weeks before I create a large template that goes with our theme and give one per class for students to decorate and sign as their pledge to practice healthy choices and stay drug free.  These are due to me by Friday before the start of RRW so I can hang them up around the school. (Last year we did "I mustache you to be drug free.")
 After hanging up class pledges, I put ribbons and safety pins in mailboxes for teachers to pass out on Monday.  On the Monday of RRW my 5th grade Leadership students  and any of their parents who would like to help, show up an hour before school to tie red ribbons on all the poles in the parent and bus loop and all the poles outside our classrooms.  (We are  in Florida, we are an "outside" school.) Afterwards, we have a doughnut and juice breakfast before sending them off to class.

Each morning of RRW I have a short message I read on the morning news show about the history of RRW, healthy choices, peer pressure, etc.  These messages are sent to me periodically as a bonus for our purchase of the Project Wisdom program.  Due to the copyright, I am unable to share them here. However, here is a brief summary message I wrote using information off the internet from the Camarena Club to explain the reason Red Ribbon Week was started.

With more standardized testing and Common Core pressure on classroom teachers, I have severely cut back our RRW activities to just the dress up days, wearing ribbons, class pledge, my classroom lessons, and morning messages.  These are about all my faculty can handle and for these I get support.

To me, RRW is all about increasing awareness of using medication correctly and wisely, focusing on healthy choices and lifestyles, and learning to handle peer pressure. RRW is not something for I which we have any school generated data, but we know students who make good choices, lead a healthy life and resist peer pressure are going to do better in school.  Now if I could only figure out how to show that with data!

For more RRW lessons check out this link to  primary and intermediate lessons I have previously shared.

Enjoy your RRW!