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Spread the word.


AGE GROUP: middle and high school students

NUMBER OF KIDS: 12 or more, working in teams of three for classroom visits

NUMBER OF ADULTS: 1 per visit

TIME: 3 weeks

RESOURCES: paper, fact sheets, downloaded information and photographs from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Web site, video recorder and videotapes (if available)

COST: $12-$20

Activity Overview: With a team of three students and one adult, plan a visit to third- and fourth-grade elementary school classes in your neighborhood so you can educate students about the tobacco industry and the harmful effects of smoking.

Why Do It: Studies show that some kids as young as in fifth grade are starting to smoke. (5) Because you are role models for these kids, your words and actions can have a powerful impact on their attitudes about smoking.

What to Do

Three Weeks Before: With the help of an adult advisor, decide which schools in your community you would like to visit. Research the addresses and phone numbers of the schools so you can contact the principals.

Write a phone script that you can refer to when calling the schools you would like to visit. Be sure to include your name, school, explanation of the project, and why you specifically want to visit the third- and fourth-grade classrooms. Request permission to videotape your first presentation. Explain that you will be bringing an adult along on your visit.

Ask for the principal's permission in writing before going forward with your plans.

Two Weeks Before: Research the latest statistics on tobacco use, money spent on marketing by tobacco companies, advertising aimed at kids, and the deadly (and disgusting) effects of tobacco use. Incorporate these facts into your presentation.

Contact the teacher(s) whose classes you'll be visiting. If possible, meet them in advance to talk about the visit and your presentation. Provide an outline of your presentation and discuss whether the content and information is appropriate for their students.

Work on your presentation: Keep it simple, entertaining, and brief. Fifteen to twenty minutes is long enough. You may want to use props to illustrate the importance of keeping your lungs healthy. Allow time for questions.

One Week Before: With a friend, rehearse to perfect your presentation. Practice answering tough questions. Arrange for transportation to and from the elementary school on the day of your visit.

During Your First Visit: Videotape your presentation. Afterward, review the tape to make sure your message is effective, and look for ways to make your presentation even better as you visit other classrooms. Be sure to answer students' questions as thoroughly as possible.

Next Steps

* Extend the reach of your presentations through these activities. Ask other teachers or youth group advisors to show your video to their students and discuss its impact.

* Send a letter and a copy of the videotape to your local cable and public access stations. Tell them you are available to discuss your "Spread the Word" project.

Another Idea

Skit: Create a skit about the dangers of tobacco and perform it for students in your school.
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Title Annotation:Student Reproducible
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Date:Feb 21, 2005
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