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posted: Tue, Feb 14th, 2017

"Don't be mean behind the screen": Health classes present workshops at MOMS

Olivia Trezza works with MOMS students on anti-bullying activities.

Use your words wisely was one of the messages shared during the anti-bullying workshops that several of the 9th grade health classes presented to Mount Olive Middle School students at the end of last semester. Students in Ms. Kelly Churchill's and Mrs. Jen Rebels's health classes worked together to share anti-bullying messages peer-to-peer.

Ms. Churchill said, "Our high school students were put into small groups. Each group created a mini lesson in class to teach to the sixth grade classes. These lessons taught the sixth graders about harassment, intimidation, and bullying (H.I.B.) and the true understandings of what could happen when students are bullied."

Victoria Gayles, Jordan Thomas, Gabby Castro, Olivia Trezza, and Jon Pignataro were some of the students who attended the trip and presented to students.

Gabby said the presentations helped her understand how it feels to present to others, not just classmates. "I realized how difficult it is to be standing there presenting," she said. "I was able to appreciate giving presentations as both a learner and as a presenter."

Jordan agreed and said, "I think you actually get a view of what teachers go through and how hard it is to talk to young kids. It was fun to go back to our old school and teach them the anti-bullying lesson."

Vicky said planning and executing the presentations was fun. "The presentations helped them understand bullying on a deeper aspect. They listened really well. Most of them already knew the topic but they didn't understand how it really affects people."

Vicky explained how her group did an activity with students to help them understand the power of words both in person and behind a digital screen. The group had students pump shaving cream out of a can, and then they instructed the students to put the shaving cream back in the can afterwards. The message of the activity was that hurtful words can't be put back in once they're out, and it's important to consider the words we use and how we choose to conduct ourselves.

Oliva had fun working with the students. She said, "As fellow students, it helped us share our perspectives on bullying, as opposed to the information coming from an adult. This definitely helped the students get a better grasp of the effects of bullying."

Jon enjoyed presenting to the students as well, saying, "This was good for the kids because it wasn't some cookie-cutter anti-bullying lesson. We were able to teach the students the principles behind bullying and how to stop it, and they were able to understand it coming from fellow Mount Olive students not much older than they are."

The presentations were a huge success, and both the middle school and high school students had a great time. Many of the high school students who participated said they enjoyed serving as role models for the younger students.

The junior and senior health classes will also be working on units this semester that have real-world applications and projects that will help students get involved in the Mount Olive community, as they share their research and findings.

The juniors are going to be working on an "Active Nutrition and Weight Management" unit, in which they develop and manage effective personal wellness plans to contribute to healthy decision-making over one's lifetime.

The senior health classes are working on a "Stress Management" unit, in which they will explore various essential questions including: How does stress affect you in positive and negative ways? How do you manage stress to reduce the amount of stress in your own life? How can you develop a stress management plan to improve/maintain wellness?

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Mount Olive High School
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