Monthly Archives: February 2018

Skills-Based Health Ed on the Jersey Shore

Holly and I returned home today after an amazing 2 days down in New Jersey for the 99th NJAHPERD conference. The fabulous beachside location was not only a welcoming venue for learning; it also provided fresh ocean air during a walk on the beach, an opportunity to see NYC and even some whales made an appearance – all while enjoying a beautiful sunset!

The real treats, aside from our invitation to present three sessions, were the New Jersey hospitality, getting to know some NJ #healthedheroes and sharing our passion – skills-based health education!

Our three sessions included:

  1. The Case for Skills-Based Health Education
  2. Mental Health in a Skills-Based Program
  3. Designing Authentic, Performance-Based Assessments

In this blog post we will provide a brief overview of each session with links to to the slides and handouts!

Let us know your feedback and tell us how we can help you continue to #switchtoskills and advance your #skillsbasedhealthed practice!

“Knowledge alone is not power. The sharing of our knowledge is when knowledge becomes powerful” ~Rich Simmonds

The Case for Skills-Based Health Education

This session focused on providing support for a skills-based approach. We wanted to provide participants with some evidence that can be used to “make the case” for skills-based and then we dove into the components of a skills-based approach. In the PPT, you’ll find 5 reasons for skills-based health education and an overview of core components. We are working on creating a resource that pulls together references and resources supporting SBHE – stay tuned!

Link to PPT slides: http://bit.ly/2oAITHf

Link to handout: http://bit.ly/2oC2WVO

Mental Health in a Skills-Based Program

This session discussed ways to think through functional information for the topic of mental health and ways that you can teach mental health through skills. Since information is not the focus in a skills-based program, we wanted to show how you could take a current topic and align it with skills of the NHES. The handout has valid and reliable resources related to adolescent mental health and also some sites for curriculum ideas and implementation.

Link to PPT slides: https://tinyurl.com/y9prn8o3

Link to handout: http://bit.ly/2FBFhwJ

Designing Meaningful Authentic Assessment

For our final session, we provided guidance on designing authentic, performance based assessments in skills-based health education. We discussed the need to shift to students demonstrating what they can do and apply what they know and this really requires some form of project-based assessment. We also showed how to integrate the NHES with the New Jersey state frameworks to create your unit objectives!

Link to PPT: http://bit.ly/2t29um5

Link to handouts: http://bit.ly/2HQT8QF

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The “How” Part 2: Assessment and Learning Activities

 

At this point, you are feeling pretty solid on what you want your students to know and be able to do by the end of your course. You have even determined what you unit objectives are going to be and paired the performance indicators with the topic to provide a context for student learning. Now you are ready to plan your assessments and learning activities. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

 

Step 5 – Designing Authentic, Performance-Based Assessments.

I know, that seems really specific, and in a way, it is. If we want students to leave our classes not only knowing new information and being able to apply skills, but also having the ability to transfer that new learning outside of the classroom and in a variety of settings we must assess them in ways that have students show us they have the ability to do so. The best way to do this is through summative, performance assessments that have students perform the action we want them to do in their real life, in situations that are similar to what they will face in their real lives. In other words, demonstrate successful application of the skill. This is an important distinction because a test or quiz will show you what a student knows, but not necessarily their ability to apply their learning.

Here are some examples of performance-based assessments for different skills:

  • Students identify a health service in your community and evaluate this product or service using the ACCESS skill cues and then describe whether the source or product is a credible and reliable and justify their reasoning. Skill = accessing information, products and services
  • Have each student complete a personal wellness assessment and identify one are to improve. Once identified, set a goal and work through a goal setting process to improve the behavior. Students need to have time to work on their goal and reflect on their experience working toward the goal. Skill = goal setting
  • Evaluate and review local risk behavior data. Identify an unhealthy behavior students are engaging in and create commercials or advocacy campaigns that promotes the positive health behavior. Skill = advocacy
  • Have students create an infographic that provides tips and strategies for reducing stress for a target audience of their choosing. Skill = advocacy

You will notice that the emphasis here is on the skill. You could include any topic into any of the sample assessments. This is one of the great things about a skills-based approach – you can easily include a variety of topics but you also have opportunities for student choice! Your focus is on the skill so whether they advocate for healthier eating, crossing guards near the school, more open park space or stress management – you can skill evaluate their ability to perform the skill of advocacy and you can let me choose an area/topic they are interested in. It’s a “win-win”!

The opportunities for meaningful, engaging and relevant assessments are endless. Here are some tips to remember as you consider developing your performance tasks:

  1. One assessment for the skill – Ensure that the assessment measures ALL performance indicators being used within the unit. You want one final assessment that has students demonstrate their ability to apply the skill.
  2. Promote critical thinking – Go beyond memorizing new information. Have students get creative and apply their learning. Whether it is through a dialogue, infographic, comic strip, role play or  performance have students demonstrate the skill in action.
  3. Get personal – Write your assessments so they require students to apply the skill and their learning in ways that are meaningful or applicable to their world. Let’s get away from having students tell us how someone else should handle a decision and have them work through a decision that is meaningful to them.
  4. Get practical – There are so many aspects to health and we never have enough time to cover everything. Design assessments that make a difference. For example, while knowing the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions helps to raise awareness, instead consider focusing on ways to reduce stigma of mental illness, promote strategies to support a friend, or identify local resources for help and support.

 

Step 6 – Lessons & Activities

Now, you can think about all of those great activities and classroom experiences that will help prepare students to meet the identified objectives, prepare them to successfully apply the skill, help students develop the knowledge and skills they need to successfully complete the assessment and see the connection of the skill to their real life outside of the classroom.

Some of the activities you have been using in the classroom will not work when you transition to a skills-based approach. I repeat, some of the activities you are using – maybe even some of the ones that you love – will need to be modified or removed. I know this is a challenge – Sarah and I have found this to be one of the hardest parts for teachers and we get it! But we promise that you will find new activities that you will love equally as much – or more – and that you will not regret your decision to make the shift!

Here are some things to consider as you are planning your lessons and activities:

 

  • Participatory methods – focus on student-centered approaches where students are active participants, constructing their own learning and take ownership of what is happening in the classroom. Here is a link to a great blog post from Education Rickshaw about “changing the direction” of learning in the classroom: Time to Throw Out the Playbook
  • Purposeful planning – one of the benefits of a backward design approach is that you can maximize the limited time you have with students by planning activities that are aligned with your unit objectives and that help students work toward being able to successfully complete the unit assessment and to achieve the stated outcomes.
  • Make connections to other learning – as more and more schools move to a competency-based system, use your lessons as an opportunity to reinforce previous learning. We are making connections and helping students to transfer their learning.

You may also be able to provide a second (or third) opportunity for students to demonstrate a previously assessed competency. Note: only use this approach when students have already been assessed a first time. We don’t want to try to teach or assess two skills at once. 

  • Time is limited – even with thoughtful planning, time can get away from us and we can be forced to make important decisions about what to keep and what to pass up. Consider this when planning your lessons. When we know ahead of time what is the most important we can be sure to spend the most time there and in ways that will help our students to demonstrate the desired outcomes.

 

 

Until next time…remember,

 

The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.

-Jean Piaget

18 School Shootings are 18 too many – Support for Parkland, FL

Today, we planned to post a blog about curriculum development. Now, after the tragic events in Parkland, FL, it just doesn’t seem right.

Our hearts are breaking for the parents, families, and friends of those affected.

We must engage in the hard conversations because our kids deserve better. No student should be in fear of going to school. No parent should have to wonder if their child is going to make it home safe. No teacher should have to constantly be on high alert and scan the exits not knowing if/when they have to secure a room for their students.

Our children deserve schools that push them to their potential and are safe places of growth and learning. Parents deserve to know that their children are receiving a high quality education and that the whole child is being considered as a part of that education, teachers deserve to feel that they work in a school where they can meet the needs of students and help them to be academically successful without questioning their safety.

We must work together. We must do better. We can do better.

We cannot accept that this is how things will continue to be.

18 school shootings since the beginning of 2018 are far too many.