It was a rainy Friday at OLM last week; here is what we talked about in class:
4th Grade: Don’t Let Your Dreams Go Up In Smoke
I spent the first part of the 4th grade class answering questions that immediately popped into the kids head regarding what they have heard about marijuana and THC. After that I had the kids read a story about a boy that started using THC in middle school. His academic and athletic careers were both derailed by using THC at a young age. Some of the points emphasized were:
- Marijuana is not a vitamin and its not a benign food.
- Marijuana is a plant that contains the drug THC.
- THC makes your heart beat faster and affects balance, vision and coordination, reaction time and motivation.
- THC makes it hard to remember things and negatively impacts learning.
- Smoking/vaping THC is just as bad for your lungs as smoking/vaping tobacco.
Even though the 4th graders (thankfully) don’t know a lot about marijuana, almost all of them had heard of it. This 4th grade lesson is the first of many (just see below) that I have with the kids to help them understand the dangers of using THC while their bodies and brains are still developing.
5th Grade: Keep off the Grass
Because of the Rainy day schedule, the 5th graders decided to make a fort in class. . .
After we got them out of the fort, we also talked about marijuana. We watched some clips from a video called “The Marijuana Files” about the ongoing studies into the permanent negative effects of THC on the brains of kids. The show follows two teenage hosts that travel across the country to interview researchers. While we watched the video, the kids filled in a handout that points out the effects of THC on the heart, lungs and brain.
6th Grade – The Blame Game
In the 6th grade we talked about accountability and taking responsibility in an activity called “the Blame Game”.
During the activity, I presented the students with 3 scenarios where a kid makes a bad decision, and we discussed who is to blame for why things went wrong.
The first scenario is about a kid who forgets to dry his soccer uniform and gets held out of his game. Do you blame the dad? The coach? Or is it his responsibility to get his stuff together.
Scenario two is a little more serious. Two boys are stuck at the mall without a ride home and eventually get a lift from an older sibling that has been drinking and driving. There is an accident and one of the boys is paralyzed. Who’s to blame? The driver? The friend that pressured him to get into the car? The mom who didn’t show up? Or it the boys fault for making the decision to get in the car with someone he knew had been drinking?
The last story is about two girls who are supposed to be shopping at the mall, but instead go to a park to meet a boy. One of the girls want to make out with the boy, and she convinces the other girl to go with her. When they get there, the boy offers them marijuana to smoke. One of the girls doesn’t want to smoke with them, but the other two pressure her until she succumbs. When she starts to smoke, the police show up and catch them all in the act. What could the girl have done differently? Should she have called for help or abandoned her friend before the situation got this out of hand?
The point I try to get across to the kids in this lesson is that there are very few times in life when you don’t have a choice. Sometimes the choices may seem awkward or difficult to make, but we are still choosing for ourselves. We are all responsible for the consequences of our decisions, so we might as well try to make the best decision possible instead of going along with someone else’s dumb idea.
7th/8th Grade – Edible THC
I spent the day talking to the 8th grade about edible THC products. We started by writing down some notes about marijuana that refresh and build on what we talked about last year:
- Marijuana is not a vitamin or a health food.
- Marijuana is a plant that contains the hallucinogenic drug THC.
- THC makes your heart beat faster and disrupts balance, vision, coordination and reaction time.
- THC makes it hard to recall information and negatively impacts learning.
- Kids that use THC may permanently lower their intelligence.
- THC can be just as addictive as any of the other recreational drug.
- Abusing THC can trigger mental illness.
- Smoking/vaping marijuana is just as bad for your lungs as smoking/vaping anything else.
As I wrote in the last entry, I think its important to talk to the kids about marijuana in depth at least once a year, and you can see how each presentation builds on the material from the previous year.If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.