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Lessons Taught, Lessons Learned Vol. II

Here's Looking at You 2000 Workshop

 

by Cheryl Severns
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

 

In today's schools we have chemically dependent individuals as well as those from chemically dependent homes and dysfunctional families. Teachers are having a hard time getting through to these students with regular classroom subjects because they are struggling with these issues and can't concentrate on the presented material. Who should do what is always the big question. When students start using chemicals, the parents point their fingers at the schools saying they aren't doing their job, and the schools point their fingers at the parents saying they aren't doing their job. Then everybody points their finger at society saying it's not enforcing the laws and the judicial system is not punishing justly. This goes round and round with no one accepting the responsibility. We need to stop pointing fingers and everyone - the teachers, parents and society - work together to help our youth stop using chemicals.

The school can do its part by educating the students about chemical use and abuse. Families can do their part by reinforcing what is being learned at school, as well as teaching good morals and correct attitudes toward chemical use and abuse. And society can enforce laws and can organize groups to help with prevention, intervention and support for the non-user.

During the Rural and Interior Alaska Instructional Improvement Academy, I attended the Here's Looking at You 2000 curriculum workshop. It was presented by Stan Mayra and Paul Sulley, excellent trainers from the Alaska Council on Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Anchorage. 

Here's Looking At You 2000 is a drug and alcohol intervention program was was developed into a curriculum for grades K through 12. This curriculum is being adopted by many school districts including the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. The curriculum was originally developed in the 1970's as "Here's Looking at You." It has gone through changes and been updated with current information to keep the curriculum useable. Today, it is Here's Looking At You 2000.

The Alaska Council on Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Anchorage is funded by grants. Part of their function is to travel around the state inservicing teachers on how to use the Here's Looking at You 2000 curriculum. They also travel to high schools throughout the state putting on the Natural Helpers workshops. These workshops take a selected group of students through a peer training session to equip them with the desire and skills needed to intervene and help their fellow students.

The training that we received in the workshop covered information on alcoholism and other chemical dependencies, the effects on the body and the effects on the family. The course included an overview of the dysfunctional family, enabling roles and intervention procedures. We were also given a list of behaviors to watch for in our students, such as the characteristics of children of alcoholics, chemically dependent families and chemical dependency in the adolescent.

After the background information was given about chemical dependency, the trainers led us into the Here's Looking at You 2000 curriculum. We were given a chance to see the materials and each of us presented a lesson to gain familiarity with the format. By the end of the workshop, it was very clear to me that there is a need to teach this type of subject matter to my students. The hands-on experience was beneficial and really convinced me of the successfulness of the approach used in this curriculum.

My present teaching assignment is to teach physical education and health in an elementary school, grades K through 6. My intent for next year is to use the Here's Looking at You 2000 curriculum in my health classes.

The curriculum itself is broken into grade levels, with each level's materials packaged in its own "tub." These tubs are suitcases which contain all the materials for the lessons taught to that grade level. Materials in the kits include books, posters, videos, games, experiments, puppets, etc. Also in each tub is a kit notebook for the teacher that has the curriculum broken down into individual lessons. Each lesson has background information for the teacher, the handouts that are needed, the lesson objectives, the lesson itself and extension activities which include some family and home involvement.

The Here's Looking at You 2000 curriculum has three major components

1) information

2) skill building

3) bonding

The first component gives each grade level the information appropriate for their age concerning drugs and alcohol, their affects on the body, family history correlation with drug use, chemical dependency, at risk factors, fetal alcohol syndrome, and community programs available for help.

The second component, skill building, is also different for each grade level. The Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades learn how to ask for things. This helps develop their assertiveness and the ability to verbally communicate their wants and desires to others, without using violence or going along with the crowd. Grade 3 learns how to stay out of trouble, working on their self control. Grades 4, 5 and 6 learn refusal skills, working on how to say "NO" and keep their friends.

During each of these skill building lessons the same methods of skill teaching are used that would be used in teaching any skill. First motivation of the student to learn the skill. Next, teach the skill in small steps. Finally model the skill using various methods. The students can then practice the skill while being reinforced with various techniques. Videotaping and transfering the skill to other situations are excellent tools to use. For example, having the students go on location to areas around the school, the parking lots, overpasses, bathrooms, etc., and practice using their refusal skills in front of the camera. The more students can see themselves using the skill the more likely they will use it when it comes to a real situation.

The third component, bonding, deals with bonding in a number of different ways, students with teachers, students with parents and families, students with peers, students with the school, and students with themselves. Some of the lessons work on self esteem - getting to know and like oneself. Showing that each individual is special and unique in their own way. Other lessons use group activities, bonding students together. There are activities to do at home involving the students, siblings and parents, helping them develop healthy relationships.

In the workshop, different student groups were discussed. These groups could be held after school, before school, or during the lunch hour. Groups could be formed for users, children of alcoholics, children of divorced parents, or just for the straight kids. There, children can get help to understand what is going on in their lives and help them to realize that it is not their fault. Leading these groups would require some special training, but the time would be well spent. These groups would create bonding opportunities for the students as well as the teachers.

The Here's Looking at You 2000 fits into the curriculum in a regular classroom situation very easily. The lessons fit into a number of subjects. In a science unit a lesson could be used that relates to body functions and structures. Some of the lessons incorporate writing skills and vocabulary which would fit into an English unit. Other lessons have reading components, which would go along with a reading unit. There are situations where students work in groups and develop their communication as well as other social skills. Students can learn about programs in the community designed to help chemically dependent individuals and their families, which fit in a social studies unit. There are also lessons dealing with numbers and statistics, which would fit in a math unit.

In a number of secondary schools, the teachers divide up the lessons between the different teachers according to their subject. Then the Here's Looking at You 2000 curriculum gets delivered to the students interspersed throughout their subjects.

Next year I intend to teach the curriculum lesson by lesson in my health classes. But I also will encourage the regular classroom teachers to reinforce the material by incorporating some of the activities into their units in the classroom.

Specific traits that were discussed in the workshop that I intend to develop in order to enhance my effectiveness as a teacher are:

1) Walk your talk

2) Use a variety of teaching strategies

3) Use cross age teaching

4) Be knowledgeable on the topic

5) Help the material come alive for the student

6) Develop a trusted relationship with the students

7) Desire to teach the material.

Walking my talk is important. My abstinence in the use of chemicals will convey my sincerity when I discuss with the students their need for abstinence. It will also avoid giving them mixed messages about chemical use and abuse.

Using a variety of teaching strategies is necessary, not all students learn in the same way and in order to reach a greater number of students, I need to teach using as many styles and strategies as I can.

The benefits of using cross age teaching was brought Out in the workshop. They recommended using at least a three year age difference. The older child internalizes the material or skill more fully by teaching a younger student. The younger student more readily accepts the knowledge because of the unique method of having a student present it to them.

A desire to teach the material does a number of things for the teacher, as well as the students. It provides motivation for becoming knowledgeable on the subject, which makes teaching easier since it's easier to teach something you know well. It will also help me be enthusiastic and make the subject come alive for the students, thus helping with their retention of the material.

Above all else, there must be a conviction of the need to teach this material to the students - a conviction that this is not just a phase that students will pass through, and that too many are getting caught in the downward spiral of drug and alcohol addiction. There also needs to be a conviction that we are losing a significant percentage of a whole generation and that something has to be done -something more than pointing fingers. 

I am looking forward to teaching this material and making an impact on the lives of individual students. It will be a big challenge but a worthwhile endeavor.

 Sailboat

Foreword

Ray Barnhardt

Part I * Rural School Ideals

"My Goodness, People Come and Go So Quickly Around Here"
Lance C. Blackwood

Parental Involvement in a Cross-Cultural Environment
Monte Boston

Teachers and Administrators for Rural Alaska
Claudia Caffee

The Mentor Teacher Program
Judy Charles

Building Networks
Helen Eckelman

Ideal Curriculum and Teaching Approaches for a School in Rural Alaska
Teresa McConnell

Some Observations Concerning Excellent Rural Alaskan Schools
Bob Moore

The Ideal Rural Alaska Village School
Samuel Moses

From Then To Now: The Value of Experiential Learning
Clara Carol Potterville

The Ideal School
Jane Seaton

Toward an Integrated, Nonlinear, Community-Oriented Curriculum Unit
Mary Short

A Letter from Idealogak, Alaska
Timothy Stathis

Preparing Rural Students for the Future
Michael Stockburger

The Ideal Rural School
Dawn Weyiouanna

Alternative Approaches to the High School Curriculum
Mark J. Zintek

Part II * Rural Curriculum Ideas

"Masking" the Curriculum
Irene Bowie

On Punks and Culture
Louise J. Britton

Literature to Meet the Needs of Rural Students
Debra Buchanan

Reaching the Gifted Student Via the Regular Classroom
Patricia S. Caldwell

Early Childhood Special Education in Rural Alaska
Colleen Chinn
 

Technically Speaking
Wayne Day

Process Learning Through the School Newspaper 
Marilyn Harmon

Glacier Bay History: A Unit in Cultural Education
David Jaynes

Principals of Technology
Brian Marsh

Here's Looking at You and Whole Language
Susan Nugent

Inside, Outside and all-Around: Learning to Read and Write
Mary L. Olsen

Science Across the Curriculum
Alice Porter

Here's Looking at You 2000 Workshop
Cheryl Severns

School-Based Enterprises
Gerald Sheehan

King Island Christmas: A Language Arts Unit
Christine Pearsall Villano

Using Student-Produced Dialogues
Michael A. Wilson

We-Search and Curriculum Integration in the Community
Sally Young

Artist's Credits

 

 

Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.

 


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Last modified August 18, 2006