This last Monday, I returned to Malibu High School to teach the 8th Grade. It was great to see my good buddy Mr. Larsen again and to see the how the campus is doing amidst all the construction.
I started the day by passing out this year’s materials: a STAR folder, a name card, a pencil and an eraser. As I passed everything out, I talked to the students about what we covered in the STAR Program up to this point, and I also talked about what types of lessons are coming during 8th grade.
Next I spent a little time talking to the kids about goal setting and decision making. Most of students I teach already have a list of accomplishments and have set their sights on the future, but it never hurts to remind them about the importance of setting goals and working towards them. We talked about why goals should be Personal (or important to them), Possible and Specific, and then we talked about the steps to creating a goal:
- Name your goal. (write it down or tell someone)
- Visualize achieving the goal.
- Come up with a plan. (Think about it)
- Take action. (Like Nike says: Just Do It.)
- Assess how you did and make adjustments if necessary.
I also spoke to the kids about making good decisions. Its important to remember that our brains don’t fully develop until our 20’s. Teenagers are absolutely capable of making good decisions, but they need to understand that their natural tendency may be to act first and think later. The teenage gas pedal works terrific, but the brake pedal is still being developed. With that in mind, I reminded them of the STAR model for making good decisions:
- Stop – whatever the situation, and take a moment to …
- Think – about your options, before you …
- Act – on your best plan, and then
- Reflect – on how you did, so you know what to do nextime.
In the time we had remaining, I had them complete the Time Capsule activity. Each student writes down a list of their favorite things on a worksheet I hand out, and then they fold and staple it shut until the end of the year. When the students open the capsules in the spring, they see how much their preferences change even over just a few months. At this point in their lives, everything is changing all the time for these kids; their bodies, minds and abilities are all still developing at a crazy rate. They might feel awkward or clumsy because of it, but the good news is that all of their peers feel the same way too (although they might not admit it to each other).
Red Ribbon Week
While I was on campus, I spent the break at the lunch tables with the DUI goggles. I also passed out Red Ribbon Week wristbands to all the middle school students, and gave a brief in class Red Ribbon talk in the 6th and 7th grade classes.
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. Today, schools across the country 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 a better place.
I also warned the kids to not think of drugs as good or bad. Drugs are just inanimate chemicals that affect 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. The only time a kid should be using a drug is with their parents knowledge and/or under the care of a doctor when necessary.