A review of current education industry topics from the publisher of Learning A-Z

“Every day I make an effort to go toward what I don't understand. This wandering leads to the accidental learning that continually shapes my life.”
Yo-Yo Ma, cellist

Bob Holl is the Co-Founder and President of Learning A-Z. His passion is creating and delivering high-quality educational resources that help teachers help kids learn.

May 2011 Archives

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Check Your Head: Teens Hip-Hop Their Way Toward Better Mental Health

One of the things I appreciate about including the arts in school is that it's an ideal medium for teaching abstract notions such as beauty of sound or movement. It can teach persistence, since no one becomes a great dancer or drummer without practice. It's also a great way for students to learn to constructively channel emotions.

Check Your Head, a six-week program designed by Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC), is offered as an after-school program at some Colorado high schools, an elective in some charter schools, and a required course for seventh graders at others.

The students explore deejaying, hip-hop, dance, and poetry while developing strategies to cope with stress, identifying positive role models, and making friends with people they might not otherwise have met. Students also explore the "myths and realities of mental health."


 "The curriculum is based on factors that have really been demonstrated to help protect students from things like suicide, bullying, [and] substance abuse," said Richard Evaleigh, vice president of programs for MHAC. "By building on those protective factors, we're helping students to protect themselves from negative influences."


The MHAC website describes the program Check Your Head as "a school-based program that encourages young people to explore issues such as self-identity, conflict resolution, depression, and tolerance. The program helps young people identify their mental health needs, communicate their needs to others and find constructive resolutions to the problems they face."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Will You Teach the Death of bin Laden?

There are some very good resources for teaching older students about this historic event, such as the The New York Times guides on bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and terrorism; and the White House webinar for high school students.

But what about younger students? How do you approach this kind of news? Wall Street Journal blogger Rachel Emma Silverman talked with parents who either struggled with the discussion or shielded their children from the news.

I believe that with younger children, you should follow their lead. If they are curious about bin Laden's death or want to discuss it, you should make time for it. Young people may not know about the 9/11 tragedy but may want to know why people are celebrating this death. Teachable moments for younger students might include the concepts of justice versus revenge and, of course, reassuring them that they are safe.

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