Respect Recess

Last week SHAPE America  released an awesome document and set of resources that provide step-by-step guidance and evidence-based strategies to support school recess for all K-12 students and enhance active school environments. This great advocacy document, prepared in collaboration with the CDC and other partners can be used by teachers, administrators and other stakeholders to ensure that schools create environments that allow students to be active, in ways that they choose, while taking a break from academic work during the school day.

This is a milestone in our quest to increase children’s physical activity levels. Daily recess, monitored by well-trained staff or volunteers, can optimize a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Recess contributes to the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity for students and helps them apply the knowledge and skills they learn in an effective health and physical education program. In addition, recess supports 50 Million Strong, SHAPE America’s commitment to empower all kids to lead active and healthy lives. – SHAPE America Chief Executive Officer E. Paul Roetert, Ph.D.

As health teachers we know that recess allows students to take some of the health skills that we teach in the classroom and practice and apply them in real life settings. Recess gives students the opportunity to practice health enhancing behaviors in the larger setting of recess, a setting in which all students are free to interact irrespective of academic needs, functional limitations or physical disabilities.

Although the physical nature of free play during recess increases the level of activity that students can get during the day, it is the social and emotional skills that can be developed at this time that many health educators will be interested in. I asked some educators in the #Healthed Voxer group what their views were on increased student access to recess.

I’m interested in the emotional and social aspect of what recess does for kids each day. This is the only time of the day where a child’s time is their own, their choice, their ability to have free time, free play, free choice, and the positive effect on their social and emotional health. They’re developing friendships and resolving conflicts, and navigating their world through free play – Judy LoBianco

Judy acknowledges that recess can help our students practice social skills such as cooperation, following rules, problem-solving, negotiation, sharing, communication and conflict resolution. In the Voxer chat I also heard from our National Health Teacher of the Year, Melanie Lynch who saw ways in which health teachers might be able to help make the recess environment more engaging.

This is the only time that is their own. They may find that it’s important to work on relationships that day rather than to play hopscotch, or whatever activity is going on. We as health educators should offer up recess challenges, scavenger hunts etc. We tend to do more of that kind of stuff in the classroom. Think of this as a big brain burst only we finally have the space that we always wish we had in our classrooms – Melanie Lynch

All educators should be in support of these recess strategies as we know that active students are more likely to positively engage in classroom activities, and that being active can enhance cognitive performance. Additionally, a well-organized recess plan can also reduce bullying and exclusionary behavior thus helping our students feel safe and more engaged in school. This in turn can lead to higher levels of school connectedness, contributing to a positive school climate.

As health and wellness educators it is important that we support and spread the word about this document and the importance of recess. We should be discussing this with other teachers, administrators, students and parents so that they too can be vocal and advocate with us.

Q1. What are the strengths of your existing #recess provision? #slowchathealth

Q2. In what ways has your school created a #recess environment that supports physical activity? #slowchathealth

Q3. How do you involve students in the planning and leading of #recess? #slowchathealth

Q4. What data, if any, do you track during #recess? #slowchathealth

Q5. Give a shout out to a stakeholder who has supported your #recess program! #slowchathealth


Health in Action

As #healthed teachers it is of the utmost importance that we tailor our teaching to encourage critical thinking and give students the opportunity to shape their health-enhancing choices and attitudes. This in turn allows our students to make healthy decisions and engage in health-enhancing behaviors outside of the four walls of the classroom. Our role in this is so much more effective when we receive the support of other stake holders within the school community, adding to our voice and re-enforcing our healthy message.

With final exams coming up for my students, here are ways in which we allow students to apply our message to their day-to-day lives and provide them with the opportunity to practice their health-enhancing skills.


One of our clubs at school, Peer Helping, wanted to encourage their peers to prepare effectively for the finals and so I helped them create this series of four posters that you can download here. The QR codes direct you to additional resources, including scholarly raps from Andy Horne.



Obviously playing off of the Game of Thrones slogan “Winter is Coming” (It feels like -12, perfect White Walker weather as I type) the posters remind students that eating breakfast, staying hydrated, reducing stress levels and getting sufficient sleep have all been proven to improve academic and sporting performance – what student doesn’t want that? These posters have been enlarged and are on display outside of our locker rooms, a part of the building that ALL students visit daily (thank you Illinois and your 4 years of mandatory physical education!).

Open Gym

Another poster on display, and actively promoted by our physical education department and shared by our advisers is this one below.


We offer open gym sessions throughout the duration of the exams and students are free to come into a number of gym spaces and workout, shoot hoops etc under the supervision of teachers who sign up to be present. A small stipend is offered to those teachers as an added incentive. Note that the posters give further information regarding the link between being active and brain functioning. This is also something that is now included in the Illinois Physical Education standards.

For further resources regarding the link between exercise and the brain, including shareable images, literature and advocacy documents check out this Pinterest Board.

Support From Parents

On the first day of the final exams a group of parent volunteers, in conjunction with the Parents Association, arrange for, and distribute healthy breakfast snacks to the students. Again reinforcing the message coming from health teachers, teachers and coaches that appropriate nutrition can improve memory, improve attention, improve behavior and increase test scores.


Obviously there are many ways in which the health message from our classrooms is supported within the building but I am comforted by the fact that during the final exams I am able to show that other teachers, parents, and my State AHPERD stand alongside me as I encourage my students to make health-enhancing choices.

*At my school, we don’t have a final exam for health. Does yours?*

Q1. How is your #healthed message visible outside of your classroom? #slowchathealth

Q2. At school who are the biggest supporters of your healthed message? #slowchathealth

Q3. Download the “Finals Are Coming” posters here:





Last week I revealed that my #oneword for 2017 will be collaboration, following on from provocation, advocacy, and resilience. I collated some resources on the one word concept and apparently I’ve chosen an active word because I’m in a season of growing. This makes sense to me as I still feel like this year is on track to be my most successful year in my 21 years or so in education.

I chose collaboration because I still feel like there are more opportunities for me to grow as a teacher by working with other excellent educators, and I think it will be a great way to get to know the leaders in my field by creating something with them.

We can not accomplish all that we need to do without working together – Bill Richardson

My aim with collaboration is twofold. I want to seek out and find opportunities for me to work with other educators and I also want to create opportunities that will allow my students to collaborate with their peers. If you check out the infographic below you’ll see that I also plan on collaborating in three different areas.

Within my school: Although I get to collaborate with some great teachers within my health department I can definitely improve upon this, particularly when it comes to creating assessments. I also want to collaborate with teachers outside of my own discipline and plan to do so when I research and present a session on ‘Race & Health’ at our whole school seminar day in February. I can definitely benefit from brainstorming with teachers from the English and Social Studies department. It has also been my aim to provide opportunities for my students to create with their peers in other health classes. I think with some good planning, some shared Google documents and creative use of technology I should be able to get my period 4 students collaborating with my period 5 and period 7 students.

Collaborate with people you can learn from – Pharrell Williams

Across the USA: My PLN is widespread and contains outstanding educators, many of whom I haven’t met. Collaborating with these teachers will allow me to grow as a professional. Already I’ve identified writing projects with Justin Bell and Tammy Wynard, and plan to collaborate with the other TOY’s that I meet at #SHAPEBoston in March. Also at the National convention I will get to meet Justin Schleider with whom I will be presenting a session on social justice. I recently signed up for Shape America’s Mentor Match and the next obvious progression in my relationship with my mentee is to work together on a health related project – we’ve had a few initial discussions already and I am excited for this. This project looks like it will allow my students to collaborate with other students on the East Coast, and so does another project that I’m lining up with Charlie Rizzuto.

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success – Henry Ford

Across the globe: I enjoy hearing from educators teaching in other countries as it gives me a better appreciation of the similarities and differences that we face. Plus I get to hear how PE and Health are valued (or not) in different countries. For that reason I enjoy listening to this podcast from Carl Condliffe. I have been discussing a collaboration with Tasmania based teacher Pat Coleman which will allow our students to work together on a decision making lesson and I will repeat my successful International Podcast Day project again, recording the voices of teens across the world discussing health.


Many educators have shared their #oneword with me over the past week or so and I’ve heard from teachers focusing on pivot, balance, growth, heal, reach, connect, reflection, advocate, invigorate, consistency, no and disallow.

Here are a few questions for you to consider this week:

Q1: What steps have you already taken towards embracing your #oneword? #slowchathealth

Q2: Which areas of your life will be effected by your #oneword? #slowchathealth

Q3: With whom will you share your #oneword? #slowchathealth

Q4: How will you know if your #oneword was a success? #slowchathealth


One Word

It’s that time of year when one of our #healthed skills, goal setting, gets a lot of media coverage. New Year’s Resolutions will be talked about at home and people will be encouraged to think of ways in which to improve themselves, usually after dwelling on their imperfections. However, because these resolutions tend to be behavior based often we set ourselves up for failure. “I want to quit caffeine”, “I want to visit the gym more”, “I’m going to lose weight”. The trouble with these resolutions is that they are too easily broken, which inevitably leads to failure (or guilt).

One alternative to the traditional new years resolution is the concept of one word. The theory behind this idea is that we choose a guiding word that points us towards the type of person that we want to become. And unlike a resolution, a single word can’t be broken. I think of it more as a gentle nudge in the direction towards a more improved version of myself. In this article by Nicole Dean she suggests that you decide what one thing, if applied to every area of your life, will have the most impact and bring the most positive changes into your life. Then you work to apply that word to every area situation and task you find yourself in.

I can’t remember where I first heard of this idea but I embraced the concept back in 2014 and first publicly shared this in a blog post about professional growth plans by Paul Rosengard.


In 2014 I chose the word resilience because I wanted my students to become more aware of the fact that the skills learned in my health class would allow them to face difficult situations in life with confidence. Over the year I would seek out articles on resilience and share them with students and my own peers. Three years later, as a result of the constant ‘drip, drip, drip’ reminder, the concept of resilience is now firmly embedded in my mind, and I find it easier to weave that concept into my teaching.

In 2015 my word was advocacy. I chose that word because I always felt that for my students to become fully health literate they should feel confident and competent in advocating for those around them who were less healthy than themselves…and yet up until that point I hadn’t found a way in which to include advocacy into my teaching. As a result of my one word for that year I was able to create an interactive advocacy e-book that I used in class with much success. This project has already been adopted by other teachers both within my building and further afield. Again, that one word has firmly embedded advocacy into my teaching and I am much more confident in my ability to create young advocates.

2016’s word was provocation and was inspired by Andy Vasily and his reflections upon his use of provocations to challenge the thinking of his students. This use of cognitive dissonance encourages students to think about their views and beliefs and challenges them sufficiently enough to motivate them to want to learn more.

And so with all of the above in mind I can reveal that my one word for 2017, and the topic of my next blog post, will be collaboration. I’ll talk more about why I chose that specific word and how I think it will improve both my teaching, and increase the engagement of students in my classroom in my first blog post of 2017. Until then, I’ll let you think about which word you think would best be your motivation or mantra for 2017. Looking for motivation? Check out this list of possible words to consider from the #onelittleword2017 expert Ali Edwards. Her blog shows one way in which the one word concept can be expanded upon.

I’ve Picked My Word For The Year. Now What? is a great blog post from Kimberly Job.

My One Word for 2017 and Beyond by Neil Gupta suggests 4 ways to make the most of your one word.

This Happier Podcast episode from Gretchen Rubin discusses choosing your one word.

Here are a few #slowchathealth questions to take us towards the end of the year.

Q1. Have you ever chosen a #oneword before? How was it for you? #slowchathealth

Q2. What will your #oneword be for 2017? #slowchathealth


Using YRBS Data in #Healthed

When looking for a ‘hook’ to get students engaged in health class I have found that using Youth Risk Behavior Survey data one of the most effective ways to engage students. When discussing sensitive topics such as relationship safety, bullying, stress & anxiety, depression & suicide, substance use and sexual activity, the ability to provide students with accurate data reflecting the behavior of their peers allows me to focus their attention and my teaching.

Students are more interested in a topic when they have a personal connection to the material. Although I could use the excellent CDC data, I am fortunate to work in a school that conducts a YRBS every two years. Once the data has been ‘cleaned’ by an external statistician we have information on the behaviors of over 3000 students that can be cross referenced by a large number of sub-groups.

Using our YRBS data to challenge perceptions is one of the most effective uses of these stats. A great lesson starter might be “What percentage of students at school do you think drank alcohol in the past 30 days?”. After a group discussion students report back their answers. These answers are based on their own behavior, that of their peers, and what they have observed and heard from their friends. Once the disparity is revealed between perception and reality we can then ask the question “How do perceptions shape behavior?”

Our use of data allows students to make health related decisions based on evidence.


We have an outstanding group of faculty at school that administer our social norms campaign. Color posters, referred to as “Tinkle Times” are displayed around the school, in classrooms and bathrooms raising awareness of the health behavior being targeted that year. Teachers are given materials to allow them to have conversations with students, challenge perceptions and explain social norms. This allows the health message to be reinforced by different adults within the building and makes my job as a health ed teacher a little easier.


Because our YRBS is repeated every two years we are able to provide our students with the most up to date information. Can you imagine a textbook being able to provide information that relates so closely to our students? We can also track changes in student risk behavior (hopefully for the better). Consider the following and you’ll appreciate how these figures improve my curriculum:

Students reporting cigarette use in the past 30 days

Nationally – 27.5%    Illinois – 14.1%    Our School – 12%

If I was using national data, I might think that cigarette use was an issue among all students and yet that isn’t necessarily the case at our school. I also know that cigarette use has fallen significantly at our school over the past 10 years. Perhaps this is due to the efforts made by faculty.

Social Work Groups

We can shape our curriculum and educational campaigns based upon the specific needs of our students. The support groups provided at school also benefit from the YRBS data. Our freshman and sophomore health units, in  part, reflect the behavioral choices being made by students of that age.

iBook YRBS

Access to our YRBS data in a graphical format allows me to add those images into the iBooks that I create for class. Throw in a few live links, some pop-up widgets and a link to great TED Talk and I guarantee my students will spend more time looking through the material than they would using an old textbook.

My goal in health is to encourage my students to become more health literate and in turn make healthy choices. I also encourage them to advocate for those that are less healthy than themselves. This semester I will be using YRBS data to show my classes what are the biggest health concerns affecting the school community. They will then choose to advocate for one of those areas, speaking with friends, family and peers, aiming to raise awareness and challenge perception. Providing my students with YRBS data specific to their peers will allow them to educate, advocate and lobby, mobilize, target and build allies, create strategies before implementing their ideas to make our school community a healthier, happier and safer environment.


The original version of this blog post appeared on a blog that I share with Andy Horne.


Music To Grade To

This week, as I closed the grade book at the end of the quarter I found myself with the usual flurry of last minute grading due in part to procrastination, and part allowing students to re-submit assignments.

I can not work in silence when I know that I am in for an extended session of grading and I will usually have music on quietly in the background, or use the awesome sound generating app Noisli, which aims to improve focus and boost creativity.

The theory behind playing music or sounds when trying to be productive seems to vary but it would appear that silence is actually better for cognitive performance, calming music is better than stimulating music,volume plays a crucial role and can be more important than the type of music played, and the presence of lyrics can be distracting.

However, as I feel like I am more productive when I play my relaxing, instrumental playlist quietly in the background I thought I would share it with you. Twenty instrumental songs lasting just under 2 hours. An eclectic mixture of pop, electronic, classical and jazz.


Perhaps you listen to music when grading? Does your grading music of choice differ from mine?

#slowchathealth questions will appear here shortly.


Free Health PD

I’ve blogged before about how there are so many free professional development opportunities out there for teachers nowadays. Nearly all of which can be accessed in your own time, without spending a dime. I thought it would be useful to collate some of those links all on one page so that it might act as a one stop shop for health teachers seeking inspiration.

physedagogy-iconThe Physedagogy Physed Summits continue to be a leader among our profession and have actively encouraged the health community to join in with their movement. At the most recent summit Claudia Brown, Gary Lemke, Mary McCarley and Amy Lauren Smith (check out her blog) all presented outstanding health sessions.

Andy Horne and I cut our webinar teeth during Physed Summit 3.0

4603e_11154736We can thank two members of Team Physedagogy for another awesome series of health professional development resources, namely the Shape America podcasts. Growing from strength to strength this podcast continues to raise the profile of health education. Matt Pomeroy and Collin Brooks are the co-hosts that do a great job!

Health Literacy Part 1 with Claudia Brown and Health TOY Melanie Lynch

Health Literacy Part 2 with Claudia Brown and Melanie Lynch

Health Education Part 1 with Jeff Bartlett, Andy Horne and Andy Milne

Health Education Part 2 with Jeff Bartlett, Andy Horne and Andy Milne

Health Education Part 3 with Jeff Bartlett, Andy Horne and Andy Milne

Skills Based Health Education with Dr Sarah Benes & Dr Holly Alperin

spark2SPARK push out great, and varied webinar content and have also shown a lot of love towards health education. They are hosted by Naomi Hartl. You can access all of their webinars via their site, or app.

Ignite YOUR Health Education with Amy Prior (recorded the audio only)

4603e_11554944Back to podcasts for our final list of easy to access resources and it’s a big thank you to my good friend Jorge Rodriguez for his Global Physed Voxcast. Again, his output is varied and is supported by Physedagogy – you can access the back catalog via their website. The Voxcast has also taken Justin Schleider‘s Blabbermouths webinar/podcast under it’s wing (check out the awesome Social Justice episodes with Dr Martha James-Hassan.)

Mindfulness with Neila Steele

Health Education with Andy Milne

International Podcast Day (Views of health from kids across the world) with Andy Milne

For a more comprehensive list of podcasts, including those created by teachers, for teachers, check out this earlier #slowchathealth blog post on my podcast addiction.

SHAPE America members can also check out the latest Toolbox for Health teachers on their website. Yet another membership benefit!

If you are a health teacher looking to connect with other health teachers, there are two Voxer chats that you might be interested in. There is a general health education chat, and also a skill-based health education chat. Click on either link to enter the conversation.

If you are on Twitter, and looking to connect with others that tweet about #healthed I have collated a list of accounts that you might want to follow.

What have I missed? Let me know if there are any other great links out there and I’ll continue to update this page.


Can We Talk?

Recent justified outrage over comments made by a Presidential nominee has spurred many to speak up about what they heard. And rightly so. If we applied National Health Education Standard 4 to this individual, he would fail. As Health teachers we are tasked with encouraging our students to become responsible individuals who use verbal and non-verbal skills to develop and maintain healthy personal relationships. I think “responsible individual” and “healthy relationships” might equate to a double failure on that count.

This event has gifted us with another opportunity to use a real life example to discuss educational themes with our students and despite attempts to pass this off as “locker room banter” (cue outrage from athletes) it is crucial for us to encourage our students to voice their concerns when they hear inappropriate comments. Casual misogyny, casual racism, casual homophobia etc must be challenged. Every time.

Ignoring inappropriate comments only serve to normalize them and empower the cowards that use this type of ‘banter’ to degrade others. We already have a society in which there are too many passive bystanders. Worryingly a recent College Campus Climate Survey reported that 55% of college students who witnessed a sexual assault did not intervene.

I discuss the idea of speaking up when students hear inappropriate language when I talk about advocacy. In class I use Poll Everywhere to anonymously ask students if they have heard the word ‘gay’ used in a derogatory way in the last 30 days. Once the results are in I ask of those who had heard the word being used, did they step in and say something. This is usually a small number of students but I then ask those students to report back what they said, and how was it received. I want to recognize those students that speak up, and I hope that sharing their experience will embolden their peers. Here are two screenshots of polls that I use in that lesson.








Speaking out against injustice, oppression and hatred is something about which we teachers don’t really get a choice. We are expected to model the behavior that we would hope for from our students. As my good friend Andy Horne often says “what you permit is what you promote.”

I’m pleased that so many people from different walks of society have spoken up regarding this recent incident. The voices of opposition to the someone who the Nation’s First Lady referred to as a “…powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior” have been many, they have been united, and they have been loud. It’s commendable that they have felt confident enough to voice their concern. But these voices have been less united and, at times, quiet over other recent issues of racial and gender inequality. Speaking out, voicing opposition and having courageous conversations can be difficult…but we don’t get to pick and choose. If you are confident enough to speak out about disparaging remarks towards women then you should feel equally confident enough to speak out about issues of race and gender.

Remember: Change happens slowly. People make small steps, typically, not large ones. Stay prepared, and keep speaking up. Don’t risk silence.

“There’s a sense of personal disappointment in having not said something when you felt you should have,” said Ron Schlittler, acting executive director of the national office of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

Bob Carolla, spokesman for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill puts it this way: “If you don’t speak up, you’re surrendering part of yourself. You’re letting bigotry win.” taken from Six Steps to Speak Up

Some associated resources:

NPR’s inaugural Code Switch podcast episode asked Can We Talk About Whiteness?

Code Switch later followed that up with Hear Something, Say Something

From the Washington Post Teachers are expected to remain politically neutral. These Teachers of the Year say they can’t.

Do Teachers Remain Neutral or Share Their Beliefs With Students? by Rick Wormelli (Thank you Jeff Bartlett for recommending this article).

And from the outstanding site Speak Up 

And if you want to follow some people on Twitter, check out Justin Schleider, Dr. Martha James Hassan, Greg Curran and Val Brown. Also check out Justin’s SlowchatPE blog and Greg’s podcast.


Free Self Esteem Program: Confident Me

Teachers, school nurses and counselors: If you implement the FREE 1 or 5 lesson Confident Me! Program by December 15, you could win a chance to attend SHAPE America’s Convention in Boston in March or a state conference of your choice! 9 lucky teachers will be selected in December. Send the following information: Full Name, Work Email, School(s) Name, District, State, Grades Teaching in 2016, Current Number of Students

 The early teen years are one of the most dynamic in terms of development- physically, emotionally and socially. Fitting in and being accepted by peers is central. In fact, brain science tells us that during early adolescence social acceptance by peers may be processed by the brain similarly to other pleasurable rewards, such as receiving money or eating ice cream. This makes social acceptance highly desirable and helps explain why adolescents change their behavior to match their peers.

The drive to be accepted socially can lead to issues like disordered eating, engaging in risky behaviors (like drinking and drug use) or depression. Young people need the support of caring teachers and adults to help them build skills to make healthy choices.

There is growing acknowledgement that social/emotional and mental health of students is a vital ingredient to success in school and beyond the classroom. Self-esteem works in concert with other personality traits, like openness, conscientiousness and belief in one’s ability to overcome obstacles (self-efficacy).

What is the Confident Me curriculum?

Dove’s Confident Me is designed to promote body confidence in a classroom setting. The lessons are aimed primarily at 11-14 year olds, but can also be used with older girls and boys if you think it’s appropriate for your students. The free downloadable materials include a range of curriculum-relevant teaching resources, developed in collaboration with teachers and students. Research has shown that students who participate in Dove Confident Me workshops have improved body image and self-esteem, and they feel more confident to participate in social and academic activities.

The core themes covered in Confident Me include: Appearance Ideals, Competing and Comparing Looks, Media and Celebrities, and Body Talk. There are presentations, teaching guide and student worksheets available to facilitate discussions around body confidence issues.

Check out the Confident Me webinar with Jess Lawrence and Shape_America on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

How can the Confident Me curriculum can help me meet accountability standards for high-quality health education?

The Confident Me program is currently going through a national pilot implementation process to inform how to update and revise the current single-session and five-session programs to be most relevant in the US classroom. This means alignment to the National Health Education Content Standards (NHES), the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) and the effective practices in health education.

The instruction within Confident Me will support building student knowledge and skills, including analyzing influences, accessing information and advocacy. The HECAT Healthy Behavior Outcomes and knowledge and skill expectations are still to be determined, based on the outcomes of the pilot process.

Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), formerly No Child Left Behind, offers new opportunities for states and schools to focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of students. Provisions allow schools to use funding to develop school-wide health programs, such as implementing positive behavior and social-emotional support strategies. Within Title I, II and IV of the new federal legislation, there are opportunities for during and after-school for programs focused on the social-emotional well-being of students.

How can I get the Confident Me curriculum?

You can find the current programs (both the 1 session and 5 session) here:

Here are the #slowchathealth questions for the week. Answer them as they are released daily, or all at once. Keep the conversation flowing and consider following others involved in the chat.

Q1. How does poor body confidence impact students health, participation/achievement?

Q2. What examples of analyzing influences do you use around body image?

Q3. What impacts student beliefs on appearance ideals?

Q4. What self esteem, body image resources/people do you use/follow?

Q5. Go to for more information on Dove’s free Confident Me Program and to learn about the possibility of winning a trip to SHAPE America’s Convention in Boston in March! Will you implement?


Health Literacy Month ’16

health-literacy-monthOctober is our month! It’s Health Literacy Month. Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals (that’s you and me!) to promote the importance of understandable health information. The theme for Health Literacy Month 2016 is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” It’s about taking action and finding ways to improve health communication. Health Literacy Heroes are individuals, teams, or organizations who not only identify health literacy problems but also act to solve them.

Previously on the the Slowchathealth blog, Shaun Bowes wrote at length about Health Literacy, putting it into a historical context, defining it, and stating it’s importance. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out. A question that we posed that week was “Can you define Health Literacy in 140 characters or less”. You rose to the challenge and came up with some great suggestions. In fact, Shaun created a Storify link to all of the responses that week.

You might like to recognize Health Literacy month by getting students to describe what health literacy looks like to them. You might provide them with fullsizerender-2information to encourage them to advocate for those less health literate. You could invite Health Literacy heroes from your school or local community to speak to your students about the health
concerns that they have identified and attempted to solve. Whatever you do, it would be great for you to share it with other #healthed teachers.
As a Health Literacy Hero yourself, you might be interested in the Health Literacy tee-shirt from Not only will this shirt prompt some great conversations with those around you, but it will also help send a teacher to #SHAPEBoston who wouldn’t typically be able to attend due to a lack of financial support from their school or district.

Check out these great videos from OPHEA Canada aimed at health and physical literacy for students:

In advance of a month of Health Literacy, Shape America tweeted out this link, with a small selection of resources that might be useful to you as you prepare the month ahead.

This list of resources from the US Department of Health & Human Services is useful for those of you putting health literacy content online.

The Institute of Medicine provide an email subscription to their Roundtable of Health Literacy content that might be of interest to you.

Here are this weeks slowchat questions:

Q1 Health Literacy Heroes identify health problems & act to solve them. In what ways are you a Health Literacy Hero? #slowchathealth

Q2 Health Literacy Heroes identify health problems & act to solve them. What are you doing to create future Health Literacy Heroes? #slowchathealth

Q3 What super powers do Health Literacy Heroes have? #slowchathealth

Q4 Complete the sentence. Kryptonite is to Superman as (blank) is to Health Literacy Heroes. #slowchathealth

Q5 Nominate your health hero here. #slowchathealth

Hey – check out this great Andy Horne Health Literacy blog post!