Deer Hill Health Newsletter

March 2022

Happy 2022 Deer Hill Families!

I am excited to tell you we have begun our LifeSkills Training lessons. The lesson concepts come from the book, LifeSkills Training: Promoting Health and Personal Development, by Gilbert J. Botvin, Ph.D., Cornell University Medical College. These lessons help students “increase self-esteem, develop healthy attitudes, and improve their knowledge of essential life skills-all of which promote healthy and positive personal development and mental health.” These lessons also align with CASEL’s social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies. You can learn more about these lessons here. We have completed our lessons on Self-Esteem and Decision-Making, and most classes have finished the lessons on Smoking and Vaping. Next, grades 3 and 4 will learn about Advertising and grade 5 will learn about Alcohol. Students have participated in discussions on tobacco and alcohol prevention with insightful questions and interesting comments.

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I teach the concepts and corresponding life skills of these 8 lessons: Self-Esteem, Decision-Making, Smoking and Vaping Information, Advertising, Dealing With Stress, Communication Skills, Social Skills, and Assertiveness.

In the lesson on Self-Esteem, grade 3 watched the book read aloud, A Little Spot of Confidence by Diane Alber, and completed the Mirror Mirror paper, writing 5 compliments to themselves and decorating the paper. Grade 4 watched the BrainPOP video on Self-Esteem as a review of this concept and then completed a Venn diagram worksheet, looking at their unique qualities and those of a friend or sibling, as well as some ways they are alike. This exercise helps us to see what makes us unique and special, and what makes our friend or sibling unique and special. This also helps us to see we are alike in many ways. Being aware of these 2 points is a life skill strategy we can use to increase our self-esteem. It helps us to see we are all good at some things, but we cannot all be good at all things. I encourage my students to see the good in others and to be happy for them. We can learn good things from each other. Grade 5 watched the video, Queen Harrison, USA Olympian, talks drugs with Natural High. In this video, Queen talks about setting goals at an early age which helped her avoid drugs and achieve her goals. Students then completed a reflection paper on how setting goals and achieving them builds self-esteem.


In our lesson on Decision-Making, students learn and practice the Stop-Think-Go! Decision-Making method. As people can make fast decisions without thinking about the consequences, students learn we should think about our choices and the effects of those choices, before we make important decisions. Practicing this life skill will become a healthy way for them to make important decisions. The first step in this decision-making method is to stop and calm down before we act. I teach students we should take slow deep breaths to help ourselves calm down before thinking of our choices. Taking a few deep breaths helps settle our mind and body. The emotional part of the brain can cloud the decision-making part of the brain and make it harder to think. Once we have calmed ourselves, we feel ready to think about our choices.

In this lesson, all grades watched the video, How to Make Good Choices: Mindfulness for Kids, by Cosmic Kids. I taught grade 3 the Stop-Think-Go! Decision-Making method. Then they practiced it, choosing a problem to solve, thinking of 3 choices and the results of those choices, before coming to a decision. Grade 4 learned about the Direct and Indirect Influences on our decision-making and watched the book read aloud, A Bike Like Sergio’s, by Maribeth Boelts. They completed a graphic organizer, writing who or what are the direct and indirect influences their lives. Grade 5 reviewed the Stop-Think-Go! Decision-Making method. They completed a worksheet choosing a tobacco related problem to solve, thinking of 3 choices and the results of those choices, before coming to a decision.

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Smoking and Vaping

The lessons on Smoking and Vaping take a few classes to complete. Students have many great questions and comments; we spend some time having discussions. For grade 3, I like to teach them about the lungs before the smoking and vaping lesson. They will watch the KidsHealth video on the Lungs and the Respiratory System. Next, they will watch a BrainPOP video on Smoking and we will do the quiz together. Following this, as a class we will complete the guided notetaking paper on smoking and vaping. They will use this paper in their Advertising lesson, in which they will make a truth poster on the effects of smoking and vaping on the body. Grade 4 will review smoking and vaping and learn more about Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. They will begin with the BrainPOP video on Smoking, and we will do the quiz together. Next, they will watch the book read aloud Smoking Stinks by Kim Gosselin. To finish the lesson, I show the KidsHealth video on the lungs, to teach them where and how chronic bronchitis and emphysema occur in the lungs. Grade 5 does a lesson that is all about Vaping. Prior to watching 5 very short videos on vaping, students will make predictions and answer 6 True/False statements on vaping. After watching the videos, students may change their answers and can also give supporting evidence from the videos.

Extra Lessons for Grades 4 and 5

The extra lessons grade 4 will learn are: Teeth, 2 books on social emotional learning, and a couple of Mystery Science lessons. For their lesson on Teeth, students will watch the BrainPOP video on Teeth and complete a worksheet. The book read alouds on SEL are Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy by Bob Sornson, and Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are by Maria Dismondy. The Mystery Science mini lessons we will do are Who Invented Pizza? and How Does the Heart Pump Blood?.

The extra lessons grade 5 will learn are: Teeth, Digestive System, and 2 Mystery Science mini-lessons. For their lesson on Teeth, grade 5 will watch the BrainPOP video on Teeth and complete the worksheet. They will watch a BrainPOP video on the Digestive System and complete the worksheet. The Mystery Science mini lessons are the same for grade 5, Who Invented Pizza? and How Does the Heart Pump Blood?.

*You will need to log into your child’s Clever account to view the mini lessons on Mystery Science.

Lessons Going Forward

Our next lessons will be on Advertising, Alcohol (Grade 5 only), Dealing With Stress, Communication Skills, Social Skills, and Assertiveness. Grade 5 will interact with 2 community members who will speak on topics of health and wellness. Grade 5 will watch a video on Puberty sometime in May. I will email families with a letter regarding the puberty video prior to the showing of this video.

Please note, if these BrainPOP videos do not open for you, you may be able to view them by logging into your child's Clever account.

Wishing you all the best,

Patricia A. Hamlin

Elementary Health Teacher

Cohasset Public Schools