Tag Archives | health class

Instilling a Life-Long Love of Fitness

When you ask most adults to recall their experience in middle school PE, you get a wide array of responses, but very few of them are pleasant. Climbing the rope, awkward attempts at pull-ups with underdeveloped arms, being last to get picked for teams — the list goes on.

This isn’t the fault of the well-meaning PE teachers we worked with. Most of them were coaches and athletes themselves, and grew up believing that anyone could be an athlete if they just tried hard enough.


Puberty Resources & Advice For Parents of Preteens

We’ve just finished up with our puberty unit for the 6th graders, and oftentimes, it’s more stressful for the parents than it is for the kids. Comfort levels vary, and they might not have received any education on the topic themselves, except for a slightly awkward conversation with their own parents.

They want to do right by their kids and support them as they’re going through these changes, but they need a little support from us as their health teachers as well.


5 TED Talks to Use During Health Class

Gone are the days of filler movies or meaningless worksheets. We’ve got a wealth of amazing guest speakers at our fingertips, whether we’re absent or not.

Here are five TED talks that I show almost every year. Usually I’m there when I show them so we can discuss afterwards, but in case of a last minute emergency, these classics would work in a pinch.


Teaching Kids to Break Down Gender Stereotypes

Standard 2: Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.

Over the last year or so, there’s been a large amount of attention in the media on gender stereotypes and how they can be limiting for all of us, especially children.

So what exactly are gender stereotypes?


The Elephant in the Room

Two years ago, I was in Charlotte, North Carolina for the national convention of Health and PE teachers. I attended workshops on alcohol and drug prevention, nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, sex ed, you name it. Basically, it was a health teacher’s dream… especially for a curriculum dork like me.

The last session I attended was presented by a peer-based sex ed group, and while I was impressed with what they were doing, I still felt like there was something missing. So when they asked if anybody had any questions, I couldn’t help but pose one to the room.

When are we going to talk about porn?


Procrastination in the Age of Distraction

Procrastination is a crime, it only leads to sorrow. I can stop it anytime, I think I will tomorrow…

I learned that little jingle back in 7th grade, and it still goes through my head when I’m putting things off. Like just the other day when, Ironically enough… I was trying to assess these projects. On procrastination.

Procrastination has always been an issue for middle school students. I mean… it must have been, if my 7th grade teacher, Mr. Everett felt the need to teach us a song about it. And this was way back in 1989, when our biggest distractions (at least mine anyway) were the phone, Sweet Valley High books, and a Milli Vanilli song on the radio. Don’t judge me. I’m sure the 7th grade you had questionable taste as well.


Developing a Healthy Relationship with Technology

Last week we had parent-teacher conferences, and as has been the case for the last few years — rather than grades — the majority of parents wanted to talk to me about one thing. Screen time. As in, how much of it is healthy, how do I help my child manage it, and what the heck am I supposed to do?

The average teenager spends 7 1/2 hours a day in front of a screen, and while recommendations have been made on specific limits for younger kids, with teenagers, it’s not so cut and dry.


No More Shame — The Social and Emotional Roots of Obesity

Sorry folks, but we’re going about this all wrong.

As teachers, we know that shaming rarely works to motivate behavior change, yet it still seems to be the focus of our fight against obesity.

Full disclosure here: I’m a health teacher, but I was not a healthy teen. I understand the damage of fat-shaming on a personal level, and it’s hard not to get angry about it… even though I now experience it from the other side. I’m constantly caught off guard when I hear people that I respect — people who only know me at my current size — making judgmental comments about other people based solely on their weight.


New Research That Will Change the Way You Think About Teens and Health

You can tell teens they need to eat more fruit or that it pays to exercise, but as we all know, that doesn’t mean they’ll take action. So what’s standing in the way? Whenever I talk to teens who are struggling with their weight, they express frustration with the power that stress or sadness or bad body image has over their habits. If they don’t believe they’re strong enough to exercise, or if something’s making them feel lousy that day, no amount of knowledge will be able to trump that […]