“Don’t Say Gay” – When Can We Say Gay?

Recently Florida passed a controversial bill centering on the teaching of sexual orientation in public schools. Part of the text of the bill (HB 1557) bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Any instruction on these topics cannot occur in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally …

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hELLth- Supporting English language learners in General Health Education Classes

I have always struggled most with teaching my English Language Learners (ELLs). Through degrees in health, PE and literacy I did not have any classes that addressed the specific needs of ELLs. We face some particular challenges as health educators with ELLs. In most classes, students have a teacher certified in TESOL to support their …

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“The Space Between”: Identifying Barriers to Inclusion for Students with Disabilities

If there is one lesson I've learned as an Adapted Physical Education (APE) teacher, it is that Physical Education (P.E.) is one of the most powerful and essential tools for ALL kids to connect, belong and be brave.  When I first started my career as an APE teacher, I, along with my colleagues who teach …

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The Whole Picture: The Importance Of Teaching The Social Determinants of Health

Growing up, I was taught that any benefits or consequences that I would reap from my health would be due to my own efforts and decisions. It turns out that was a lie. Listen, I'm not saying that our choices as individuals do not affect our wellness; I'm just saying that it's not the whole …

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Can Health Education Reduce Crime?

Perhaps. Many Health Educators promote the benefits of meditation on mental health and share the practice with their students. With resources that offer free subscriptions for educators like Calm, Headspace and Downdog, it is quite easy to engage students in mindfulness during a class. Probably the most interesting benefit of a particular type of meditation, …

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Putting HEALTH Into Our Mental Health Lessons

May is Mental HEALTH Awareness month and a great time to reflect on our work as HEALTH educators. When New York State passed legislation mandating the inclusion of mental health in our programs, my first thought was, “No worries, I already do this.” And it’s true. I help kids understand the similarities between the symptoms …

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Influences and Influencers: Strategies to Talk About the Facts and Fiction of Programming Content

I do not watch much television. By the time I reach the end of the day and the dishes are done, the dog walked, and laundry folded, my bed is a more favorable option than trying to stay awake for a program. My television habits took an unexpected turn several years ago, when looking for …

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The Puberty Talk, the Sex Talk, and Timing

I was a weird kid. Not like, put spaghetti on my head during dinner just to get a laugh weird; more like asking my mom random questions that she didn’t see coming weird. Take for example, the time I asked her what semen was. My poor parents. Cornered by a child who wouldn’t stop asking questions. I asked my mom questions about pubic …

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Just Because They Can, Doesn’t Mean They Do

Understanding of adolescent decision making has moved beyond simple “age differences in risk perception and reasoning” to include relevant social and emotional factors that directly inform when and how adolescents make decisions about everything from substance use to condom use.[i] Adolescence is defined as the period between which “physiologically normal puberty” initiates and adulthood begins.[ii] Though …

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