Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week 8: Red Ribbon Week/ The Teenage Brain, 1960s Pop Culture Phenomenon (week of 10/28/16)

This week was Red Ribbon Week, and oh what a week it was! Each day, every student on campus had the opportunity to dress up for a spirit day and compete as a homebase. Themes included twin day, "team up" against drugs (sports day), crazy sock day (in conjunction with the Socktober organization), green and gold/Lancer pride day, and red day. There was a door decorating contest and plenty of on-campus lunchtime activities to keep the students having fun while learning how to make good choices in regards to drugs and alcohol. You may have heard about our impactful guest speaker, nurse Linda Dutil, and her scary (and gross) presentation. What I appreciated (and the students, subliminally, did, too) was that her presentation was less a lecture and more a "here are the consequences of drug and alcohol use". The teenage brain is being rewired during puberty and a constant thought, whether subliminally or stated outright, is "it won't happen to me". A lot of seemingly stupid decisions happen during puberty because the part of the brain that really thinks about consequences isn't quite formed yet. Nurse Dutil's presentation showed the effects in living color instead of talking about them in theoretics. Sure the kids were grossed out, but the message was loud and clear and I'm certain it sank in.

 You may have also heard about the "drunk goggles" activity hosted by Friday Night Live (though I'm hoping that they were referred to in the correct manner as "fatal vision goggles"). The fatal vision goggles mimic the effects of various levels of alcohol and drug use on one's vision. Friday Night Live, the club I'm the advisor for, hosted a series of activities in the gym that show the real-world effects of drugs and alcohol on one's perceptive abilities. With the fatal vision goggles on, students were asked to complete tasks like walking a straight line, throwing a basketball into a basket, jumping rope and giving a high five, and drawing on a paper jack-o-lantern to put in the drug-free pumpkin patch. This is always a popular event because it gets the students interacting with these effects without having to ingest any illegal substances. I hope everyone got the intended message behind the activities: it may feel crazy when you're under the influence, but life is much tougher and less safe under the influence and you can't take the goggles off (the effects are much, much longer lasting).


Specifically in English class, we took a closer look at infographics, both professional and from my Quarter 2 IBP last year. Students really looked at the format of each infographic, picked their favorite, and then really dug into what worked for them. Doing this activity got them thinking about what kinds of information are on the infographics as well as how much of an expert they really need to become in order to successfully complete this project. Students also had a chance to do more research and get their sources using EasyBib. This process should help each student find success in the next couple of weeks as they take control of their research.

We also had a "quick and easy" presentation this week. As a means of presenting the background information on "The Outsiders", each student group was given a facet of the 1960s to research. Working as a group, students compiled the information into a Google Slideshow and practiced "Mr. Laffin's Slideshow Presentation Guidelines" before presenting back to the class. Students then took notes on every presentation and turned them in for credit. These presentations aren't graded on a  rubric and are meant to be practice for the students; they're also not given a ton of prep time in an effort to avoid dawdling and messing around. Everyone did a great job and we're ready to move on to "The Outsiders"!

Lastly, all students will be provided with a copy of "The Outsiders" for in-class use. Students are not required to have their own, purchased copy but may want one for note-taking and rereading at home (a lot of students find that this is one of their favorite books). The copy that matches the version we're using in class can be purchased here (and is pictured on the left).

Question for the dinner table/drive home:
1. What was the most memorable part of Red Ribbon Week? What made it memorable?
2. What effects do drugs and alcohol have on your body?
3. Have you found all of your sources for the Independent Book Project? What work can be done now so the work doesn't pile up before the project is due?

Warmest wishes,
Kevin Laffin

Class website: https://sites.google.com/a/slcusd.org/laffin/home

Join my Remind classes to receive reminders and updates. Text the following codes to 81010:
Period 1- @laffin1
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Period 3- @laffin3
Period 4- @laffin4
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