As a statewide stay-at-home order goes into effect for all of Missouri, TPPP is proud to support educators who continue to prioritize the health of their students by providing knowledge and skills on sexual health topics. We recognize that you are re-working, revising and adapting to a changing learning environment whether you typically provide classroom- or community-based education. After speaking with a few TPPP members, our Executive Director has compiled a few ideas and resources that you may be able to use to save time and engage students.
For starters, you may be asked to work on an online platform that you have never used before or that still feels new. While most software providers have online tutorials, you may benefit from one that is tailored to educators. Check out Wide Open School for tips on how to get set up on Zoom and Google Classroom.
If you can, practice the best practices in climate setting and don’t forget to give parents advance notice and an opt-out if you are starting sexual health topics. Set up group guidelines for students to follow and decide how you will manage questions. Can you set up an anonymous online question form? Set up links to trusted sites that have medically-accurate, age-appropriate information for completing assignments or provide the handouts to ensure that content isn’t blocked on student devices.
There are many important sexual health topics that you may have planned to include in your spring health classes. Below are a few broad topics with ideas to get you started with online lessons.
Missouri’s state statute on sex education requires students receive information on consent. While there are many wonderful options and creative solutions for addressing consent, you should visit http://www.teachconsent.org if you haven’t already. This website has a video that is age-appropriate for a wide range of students from tweens to teens and there is a downloadable discussion guide for parents if you are partnering with adults at home promote learning and conversation on the topic.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and there are materials to promote it from the National Sexual Violence Research Center.
Awareness events (days, weeks or months) are an opportunity for an assignment that engages students in deeper levels of learning and moves them from a basic understanding of the topic to being able to explain and demonstrate it to their peers by creating their own health messages. You could create a student assignment where they craft messages that would support peers who have experienced sexual assault or promote consent and healthy relationships. Have them get creative with graphic design on their computer or by taking a snapshot of an awareness poster they create on paper.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
If you have attended a TPPP training where we discuss STIs, you know we promote teaching methods that include basic knowledge and skills, but not lengthy slide shows with scary pictures. Plus, we want to keep in mind that younger siblings may be in the shared space where students complete lessons at home! If you usually use games to reinforce basic information on STIs, you might consider a True/False game. For classes that meet virtually, you can go “low tech” and have students put “true” on one side of a piece of paper and “false” on the other side. You can read out T/F statements (while they listen over headphones) and have them hold up their true or false sign so you can see them in the virtual classroom (a dozen, or more, students yelling answers in a video conference probably won’t have the desired impact). For students that are working individually, there are also STI quizzes online.
KidsHealth has an STD true/false quiz for middle school students.
Myths and facts about pregnancy and birth control abound, which means students may need an online lecture or slide show on these topics. You may want to include answers to frequently asked questions from classes you have taught before. To reinforce medically-accurate information, you will want to have a learning activity. If the STI online true/false quizzes work well, there are also pregnancy and contraception online quizzes like this one or you could use Quizlet to make your own.
TPPP has always included parents as primary sexual health educators. This spring you may want to partner with parents more directly on puberty education because the topic is probably new for younger students and it is difficult to anticipate what questions a student might have. If you are able, share the videos and handouts you would normally use and encourage parents to set aside time to cover the materials with their child.
To support parents, Amaze.org has started an Askable Parent Challenge. When a parent signs up for the “challenge” they receive a daily email for 6 days with videos, activities, and other materials designed to gently guide them on how to have positive, productive, and powerful conversations with their family. In addition, Amaze has plenty of videos and discussion guides currently available for parents on a variety of development and sexual health topics.
Our friends at Advocates for Youth are hard at work to make your job easier. They have created an online version of their popular Rights, Respect, Responsibility (3Rs) curriculum for students in Grades 8 and High School using Google Classroom. They plan to share the Google Classroom teacher codes with anyone who is interested so you can copy the entire classroom (including all of the folders containing all of the assignments, worksheets, links, etc.), save it to your computer and hopefully make teaching sex ed remotely much, much easier. Each grade has 11 lessons, the titles of which you can find here. The expect to have this ready on Friday, April 10th.
Common Sense Media is aware that young people are spending even more time online, learning and socializing. This makes lessons on internet safety, online bullying and sexting even more essential. They have compiled their resources to make it simpler for you to share them with students and families – check out their coronavirus page for lessons for students using technology to connect from home.
Added April 14, 2020 – ETR has put together tip sheets with concrete, practical ways to move your lessons online and accomplish planned learning goals. Check out all three by visiting their website:
- Recalibrating for a Virtual World
- Adapting Sexual Health Education for a Virtual Environment
- Adapting Teaching Strategies for a Virtual Environment
Lets Work Together
We know health education is more effective when it engages students and gives them opportunities to practice skills. If your class or the schools you work with aren’t doing live online interactions, you will probably want to use pre-recorded lectures and handouts even though live games would be more fun. If you need activities and lesson plans, KidsHealth and the 3Rs (Rights, Respect, Responsibility) curriculum from Advocates for Youth have many to choose from that you can also adapt as needed.
These are just highlights – National and local nonprofits and educators continue to share new webinars, materials and resources to support you, your students, and their families every day. If you need assistance finding a resource or just want to connect with someone about your experience moving sexual health education to an online format, please reach out to Meg at TPPP. During this time physically apart, we are still stronger when we work together!