By John Henry Ledwith | February 5, 2015
National Sales Manager, ETR
Happy February! What a great time to plan some dynamic school health activities for the coming months. In most parts of the country we still have some super-cold days ahead. Those are the days when Physical Education classes move indoors, and everyone tries to figure out what to do with a bunch of energetic, slightly stir-crazy kids.
And we’ll also start seeing the thaw into spring—the occasional crisp, sunny day, that changing angle of light that tells us the earth is moving on its axis and, yes, baseball season is coming again!
Indoors, outdoors—it doesn’t matter. These are all perfect days to support Healthy Behavior Outcomes for your student population.
Glad you asked! First, plan to augment any indoor PE classes with health education lessons that are relevant to your students and your region. We’ve seen great success in schools where health educators and PE staff coordinate their focus, and even include others in their planning. That might be other school staff, other schools, other districts, or some of the National Educational and Health Awareness dates.
For example, February brings us National Boost Your Self-Esteem Month, American Heart Month and National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. March offers National Nutrition Month, Gender Equality Month and National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
HealthSmart, ETR’s signature comprehensive health curriculum, offers lessons relevant to all of these areas. You can visit the HealthSmart website and use the Lesson Planning Tool to design a tailored course of study to address these or other topics. Whether you’ve got one super-cold day keeping students indoors, three days of rain, or five hours a week of classroom-based health education over the next few months, you can find lessons and activities that engage students in meaningful learning.
The Lesson Planning Tool is open to the public, so even if you’re not using the HealthSmart curriculum, it can help guide you in developing a lesson plan that works for your setting.
One of the things I like best about HealthSmart is the way it addresses topics that matter to children and teens—the issues that students want to learn about. Many of my school health colleagues get students even more involved in the learning by having them use and analyze different health promotion materials.
We’re talking pamphlets, posters and DVDs focused on subjects such as mental and emotional health, violence and injury prevention, healthy nutrition and respecting others.
It’s always interesting to offer students a professionally produced product, and then ask them to rework the content to make it more relevant to the real-life situations they deal with every day. This is a wonderful way to engage students in deeper learning on the topic. I know it’s something that worked with my kids as they were growing up.
These sorts of resources are available from a number of agencies and your school may already have some on hand. Check with your district to see what’s available.
Of course, ETR offers an impressive array of health promotion materials, so you may want to consider using some of ours. In my humble opinion, our award-winning titles are the best in the business. You don’t need to take my word for it, though. You can request review copies of any of our content.
Find some of our fine products on Healthy Relationships and Emotional & Mental Health here.
Check out some of our fantastic Nutrition, Weight & Fitness titles here.
This is also a good time to review the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model we’ve discussed in previous columns. This model offers guidelines for incorporating input from colleagues throughout the school environment to create an overall plan to support student health.
One of our main goals at ETR is to make it as easy as possible for you to offer students essential and effective health education. If you have other ideas about ways we can support you, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
And thanks, as always, for all you do.