I made my second visit to Webster on Wednesday, and it was great seeing all the kids again. With Red Ribbon Week programs going off at most schools, I was able to hand out some LASD approved Red Ribbon Bracelets to the kids and explain to them the origins of the Drug Awareness campaign.
It all started back in the mid-80’s after DEA Agent Enrique Camarena was killed in the line of duty, and his home town in southern California paid tribute to him by wearing red ribbons. The campaign gained momentum in California over the next few years and it eventually became part of the national drug awareness program at the time. Schools across the country today still focus drug awareness campaigns around Red Ribbon Week, and it all goes back to the sacrifice of one cop trying to make his community better.
I also warned the kids to not think of drugs as good or bad. Drugs are just inanimate chemicals that effect our minds and bodies in a variety of ways. The good or bad comes from why a person chooses to use a drug. The laws and attitudes surrounding drugs are constantly changing, but every time a person uses a drug for any reason there is a risk involved. Especially for kids that are still growing and developing, the only time they should be using a drug is under the care of a doctor and/or with the approval of their parents. Any thing beyond that should be unacceptable.
4th Grade – Too Good Gazette
After talking about Red Ribbon Week, I started my first STAR topic with the 4th grade. I started by having the kids close their eyes and imagine what they would be like when they were 6th graders: what kind of activities would they be involved in? What would they look like? How about when they were graduating high school? What college do they want to attend or what type of career do they want to train for? I then had the kids write a newspaper article in the fictional Too Good Gazette about themselves at 25. The headlines that they wrote were about a lifetime goal that they had accomplished, and the body of the story told about how they got there.
It’s a fun exercise for the kids (most of the stories were about winning a major sports title or inventing something amazing), but the point was to have them think about the future and how to get there. All the hard work and good habits they develop now builds towards there accomplishments later. On the flip side, if they slack off when they are young or develop bad habits, there will just be more obstacles to overcome as they get older.
5th Grade – Communication
After our discussion about drugs and Red Ribbon Week, I gave the kids a communication exercise. The students paired off and interviewed each other on a couple of set topics. The first interview involved a famous person that they would like to meet, and the second asked about a fictional planet of their creation. After the interviews were completed, some of the kids came up to the front of the class and shared their interviews.