Let me start by saying I know that I am not alone in having a schedule that caused a full teaching day (no preps). However, I wanted to reflect on my experience.
Every Thursday I am a student. The only breaks I have is their breaks, I eat at the same time and I am teaching the same minutes they are learning in other classes.
I start work at 6am by hitting the pool (this I belief is a lifesaver of this day) however, there are no students exercising at this time, most (thankfully) are trying to get their recommended 9 1/4 hrs sleep. I've worked at many schools with before school activities and although I understand the need to educate and enforce sleep patterns, I also advocate for exercise. My question would be if we (we being the entire community) can get students sleeping 9 1/4 hrs sleep and also encourage exercise before school, what educational benefits would we see from our students? To research more on this I recommend John Medina's Brain Rules or Attack of the Teenage Brain.
By 7.15am I am eating my breakfast at a Wellness Team Meeting (ironic, given that we discuss health and wellness initiatives). I do love this meeting and its creative discussions we have. I also believe we provide a service that sometimes is missed in schools. At this time most students are arriving to school.
8am the days starts. Lessons here go for 70mins, so the schedule looks like:
Block 1 - Grade 9 Health
Block 2 - Grade 9 Health
Block 3 - Grade 10 Health
35min lunch break
Block 4 - Grade 8 Health
Block 5 - Grade 10 Health
So ... the positives.
Considerations for teachers (for yourself and your students)
In summary, I will be:
This quarter I have been consumed with most things nutrition. Both my Grade 10 and Grade 8 class started and finished their projects. Please check out the Life Skill Grade 10 Unit - here and my Open Inquiry Grade 8 Unit - here for more unit building information. Additionally, my Grade 6 class was building relationships and collaborating with our Active parenting course. You can read all about that here.
What links all these units together was the new relationships we built within our school community. We built relationships with our canteen manager, cooks and service workers. and we communicated and learned together with our Active parenting class. The responses and experiences shared with our community allowed the students projects to have real life impacts.
Kindness Week at Lincoln International School
“Who knew being kind was so difficult”
During a week of Kindness some of our High School students took a step back from their regular interactions with their peers to look at how kind they were being. “Isn’t sarcasm, poking, wit and or a joke kind?” “it makes me people laugh?” “they are also laughing” were a few questions and comments that made each class rethink their interactions and their definitions of kindness.
On a walk to school during Kindness week, I discussed how the week was going with a colleague and friend. We discussed that kindness was an emotion or an act that we didn’t fully comprehend. That when asked to be purposefully kind, it evoked an emotional response that some of us were not ready for.
So, if you or your school is preparing for the Kindness Challenge, remember, it is just that, a challenge. It might be one of the most powerful challenges you could ask of your community. It also could prove to be a difficult challenge for many.
The Great Kindness Challenge (GKC) is a bullying prevention campaign. Click here to find out how you can involve your community. There is an official week however, with busy schedules and the flexibility of the concept, implement this within your community at anytime. The program is free and the website has downloadable resources to help you. As Lincoln is an international community, the Wellness Team adapted the checklist to suit our community.
Lincoln International School Wellness Team teamed up with the financial support of PAL (Parents at Lincoln) to bring the GKC to their community. The concept was to bring the whole school together and embrace kindness. The week comprised of many initiatives to ensure all community members could participate in the challenge.
The week kicked into full swing with a whole school kindness video, shown in every class on Monday at 8am. The video was put together by our social media coordinator Vileta Bullrich, she recorded community members expressing their ideas of what kindness was.
To ensure we were continually reminded of the GKC all community members received green wristbands that read - Kindness Matters. In the weeks following many community members can still be seen sporting these bands.
Staff, teachers and parents all received GKC checklists that provided a variety of tasks that they could do to show kindness throughout the week. The tasks are supplied by GKC and can be adapted to your culture or language. This initiative had all members of our community snapping themselves in acts of kindness and bringing the community closer. The Lincoln Wellness Team created checklists for kids, staff and parents.
With the influence of technology and students love of gaming. The Wellness Team sort the service of KU NAME one of the school's learning coach. In conjunction with Wild Goose he created an online scavenger hunt that elementary classes could work together to complete and Middle and High School students could independently work on during the week. The app included taking pictures of you leaving kind notes, including people at lunch, reading to younger students and had the option to demonstrate your own individual kind act.
Additionally, each school (elementary, middle and high) had creativity stations in their common areas. These allowed students and staff to create kind notes, posters, drawings and over the course of the week created. The creative stations ensured students were engaged with kindness during their breaks.
Each morning a video, quote or idea was read to each advisory and elementary class. Teachers and students engaged in conversations about Kindness. To ensure that students were seeing initiatives by other students their age, the Wellness Team showcased apps, quotes and promotional material created by youth.
The final initiative implemented by the Wellness Team and the piece that was the most visible was the Kindness Mural. The mural hung towards the front of the school and involved all members of the community tying ribbons with kind messages in a color coordinated fashion. This resulted in a rainbow effect and by the end of the week tied the Lincoln Community together in Kindness.
The week was jam packed with Kind initiatives implemented by teachers, students The Wellness Team and all members of the community. The Great Kindness Challenge is not solely student focused. It ensures all types of bullying is positively impacted by Kindness.
The Wellness Team
I was inspired by a TED talk by Kelly McGongial on “How to Make Stress your Friend” I was so inspired that I completely changed the way I teach stress to middle school students, how I chose to interpret stress and how I talk to my students when they believe they are stressed.
Kelly McGongial is a psychologist who has worked with people for many years telling them stress is bad for your health. After a study with over 30,000 participants was published, she changed her mind. The study found that “believing” that stress was bad for your health was the precursor to bad health due to stress. Those that didn’t identify stress as being bad for them did not suffer poor health due to stress.
If we are able to think and act positively to stress we limit the constriction of blood vessels and we limit the physical effect of stress on our body. Kelly speaks about the difference between the constriction of blood vessels when people are stressed and how the blood vessels have a relaxed response when we think positively about stress.Therefore, new research says that, stress is only bad for us if we believe it to be that way.
It was big enough statement for me to have a look at myself as a teacher and the messages we were sending students. My grade 7 students were embarking on a discussion. Most of the health information I could find was about how we needed to not be stressed, how it was bad for us both physically and mentally. The curriculum shared with students, all the consequences of being stressed: anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, anger issues and suicide. Health curriculums also address “stress busters” or “how to deal” tips for students to limit stress. However, these tips rarely address or attempt to change the core belief that stress is bad and it is bad for our health.
So how are we trying to change the story?
School being stressful is ingrained in most of our thinking. Students are told by their parents, teachers and even their peers that the next phase of schooling is more stressful than the current. As a class we decided to attempt to change the story, our new story was that school was not stressful, we accepted that we would feel stressed but that we would learn to identify our personal bodies response to stress and by positive thinking and the use of stress busters, act, think and respond differently.
We started by watching Kelly’s TED talk and Scholastic’s youtube channel, “How to Deal with Stress” video. “ This video took Kelly’s TED talk and simplified it, Berna addressed the science behind stress and the reasons why our bodies respond to the oxytocin hormone released during this time. In a fun and entertaining way she provides two stress busters for students “Spartan” and “twerking.” Following us watching the video, I set the students a task that requires them to “Spartan” - start the task straight away and “twerk” use their friends for support. The task is to read up on a mental health topic for our favourite health website - kids health. They are to produce their own “how to deal” video and have it uploaded in only 20mins. The activity is designed to have kids identify the stress responses they feel in their bodies and to act on them. Once we can identify how our body responds to stressful activities we can start to change our thoughts and actions. This activity always has a “lightbulb” moment for the participants. Many students realise the importance of starting something “Spartan” instead of procrastinating. They realise that procrastination is them being overwhelmed by the feeling of stress, that stress is normal belief and not something they can easily control.
Following this we embark on a conversation over many weeks on how we can attempt to change our core belief that stress is bad for us and that school is stressful.Here are some of our tips and takeaways.
The surprising outcome of this unit was the outcome of the following unit. The unit switched to nutrition and students were in charge of their own assessment, they could chose whatever assessment they preferred to use to demonstrate their understanding of nutrition. When the assessment became “stressful” you could hear students saying to each other “spartan” it or “twerk” find a friend or discuss it with someone. There also was a 100% on time turn it in rate.
The conversation that school is not stressful is worth starting.
Welcome to healtheducationforteens.com! My name is Stacy and I am really excited about what this page will become.
My professional story is that I trained as a Physical and Health educator at QUT in Australia. I went into this field because I loved coaching, I was good at it and I enjoyed the results that I saw and the impact sport had on my athletes. I enjoyed 4 years of university and 4 years teaching in Brisbane.
In Australia we are very blessed to have health integrated into our PE curriculum and we have separated PE and Health as options for Years 11 and 12. I loved this curriculum! It started my passion for health all over the world.
I moved to Uganda in 2008 as a Maths and PE teacher and due to my lack of interest in Maths, quickly put my hand up to write the PSHE (Personal Social Health Education) program for the school. PSHE is a wonderful program and as this site develops I will share my work in this area.
Six years later I moved to South Korea and worked with the MYP philosophy. Like Australia it is attempting to combine Health and PE. This can be very tricky as people at times prefer to favour the physical over the other dimensions of health. This site aims to be able to provide MYP Health units and activities.
Today, I am in Argentina as full time health teacher working with the CGC (Common Ground Collaborative), to create a new health curriculum. This curriculum hopes to align the Argentine, Australian and American standards.
This site aims to be able to provide resources for parents, kids, teens and teachers. I have many people that inspire me in how I create lessons and have many links available that share the wealth of health and wellness information around the world.
I hope that everyone who accesses the site is able to implement a resource into their lesson, share a resource with their students or families and/or take a personal message away from what I am sharing.
My name is Stacy. I am an educator. I have become an advocator for health education for many years.