I returned to Juan Cabrillo on Monday and Wednesday. Here is what we talked about:
4th Grade – No Way Out
With the hazards that mother nature can sometimes stir up for us in mind, I thought it would be a good time to talk to the kids about safety. Hopefully, all of the kids like to do things outdoors, but its important that they don’t put themselves in risky situations needlessly. We started class by talking about the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bike or following the lifeguards directions when you are at the beach. Every year, I hear a handful of stories from the schools that I teach at about kids that get hurt playing outside because they didn’t take a basic precaution (last year, one of my students was in Children’s Hospital for a week because he didn’t wear a helmet on his bike).
After that, we watched a PSA about the flood control channels in LA County. “No Way Out” is (by far) the oldest video I have (in order to do it justice I should play it on an old reel to reel projector). However, like a pine tree the message of the video is evergreen, and it always leaves an impression on the students that see it.
The video was produced in the 90’s in a joint effort by many LA County and City agencies to bring safety awareness regarding the concrete flood channels in the southland. These cement rivers are not meant for recreation, and although it (almost) never rains in Southern California, flooding is a very real issue when it does.
The video has lots of exciting footage of water rescues, and it finishes with a very sad story about a local boy (Adam Bischoff of Woodland Hills) that drowned in the channels. I show the video not just to show the dangers of the storm channels, but also to emphasize the importance of not taking unnecessary risks when it comes to all of the recreational activities the kids participate in.
Unfortunately, in 2017 another teenager was killed in the flood channels when Elias “Eli” Rodriguez fell into the wash on his way to his grandmother’s house from school in Sylmar last February. I show this lesson at my schools, so that our kids know the risks and hopefully help them think twice about putting themselves into these precarious situations.
5th Grade – Keep Off the Grass
After asking the kids what they already knew about marijuana (they had all heard of it, but there were a lot of misconceptions about what it actually is: a plant that contains the drug THC), we watched some clips from a video called “The Marijuana Files”. The video discusses 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.
I think its important to talk to the kids about marijuana in depth at least once a year, and each presentation builds on the material from the previous year. I emphasized to the kids that no matter what the laws are for adults (they are continually changing), drugs like THC, alcohol and nicotine have been and always will be against the rules for kids. But every kid knows they are not allowed to have it, so I want to spend the time I have in class talking to them about how using these drugs at a young age can not only be dangerous in the present but also damage their future. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.