4th Grade – Under Whose Influence
My discussion with the 4th Grade revolved around peer pressure and alcohol. After warming them up with some words puzzles, I read the class a short “choose your own adventure” novel called Under Whose Influence.
The book tells the story of a middle-school girl that goes to a classmates house to study and is unexpectedly given the choice to drink alcohol. Depending on the choices made by the class (majority rules), the main character might be peer pressured, she might choose to stay in the house or leave, drink or not drink, or whether to keep the incident a secret or tell her mom. The story changes depending on the choice and the consequences of each choice are described for the students to hear.
The 4th graders were very interested to hear how the story turns out, and I spent the end of the class going through the branches that they didn’t choose.
5th Grade – Marijuana: Keep Off the Grass
During my time with the 5th graders I talked to them about marijuana and THC. I was happy to see Mrs. Verham again after she missed my last visit, but I was sad to miss Mrs. London (especially since I haven’t seen her since her Patriots won yet another Super Bowl).
I spent the first part of the 5th grade class answering questions that immediately popped into the kids head regarding what they have heard about marijuana in the news recently. After that I had the kids take some notes about marijuana and the drug THC in their STAR folders. Some of the points i emphasized were:
- Marijuana is not a vitamin and its not a benign food.
- Marijuana is a plant that contains the hallucinogenic drug THC.
- THC makes your heart beat faster and affects balance, vision and coordination.
- THC can cause anxiety, paranoia and psychosis and depression.
- THC makes it hard to remember things and negatively impacts learning.
- Kids that use THC have permanent negative effects to intelligence.
- THC can be just as addictive as any of the other recreational drug.
- Smoking/vaping MJ is just as bad for your lungs as smoking/vaping tobacco
We also watched a some short video clips about the ongoing research into the permanent negative effects of Marijuana on the brains of kids. The 5th grade watched part of “The Marijuana Files”.
I think its important to talk to the kids about marijuana in depth at least once a year, and the presentation builds on the material from the previous year. As always, please talk to your kids about their experiences and interactions with their peers. Every one of them will be making choices (such as whether or not to try drugs like THC) as they progress through middle school and high school. The more guidance they get from parents and the more fore-thought they put into these decisions, the more prepared they will be to make decisions for themselves.