As educators, we live for the moments when our students understand the complex key concepts, skills, and topics they have been focusing on and practicing throughout an International Baccalaureate unit of study. The moments when our freshman students say, “Ohhhh I get it now!” and “That’s amazing!” are priceless. As the new Physical Education/Health teacher at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, I was excited to see this happen numerous times with my students over the course of the three units we have worked on thus far this year.
The freshman health students have been engaged and open minded while understanding more about their own personal health and wellness and the health and wellness of people around them. We kicked off the year with the six components of health: physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental. The students investigated, researched, and analyzed their personal level of health and wellness in each of the six components. They then explored how different variables could possibly affect their health and wellness. The students examined and defined physical health and planned and created original videos that captured social, emotional, and mental health information based on evidence-based research. They then showed their videos to their peers to provide researched-based advice on how to be socially and emotionally healthy in the real-life situations they face on a regular basis.
It was incredible observing the freshmen utilize their IB Learner Profile characteristics of being open-minded and caring inquirers to gain knowledge and then communicate their new knowledge by providing evidence-based advice on living a healthy, balanced life. Students experienced additional “wow moments” in unit three when all of the health classes teamed up with the Erie Health Clinic, which has an office on the 2nd floor at Clemente. On several occasions, specialists from the Erie Health Clinic visited Clemente health classes to teach our students about sexual health. Students learned how to make safe, healthy choices and learned where to locate available sexual health services and counseling support. Most importantly, students focused on developing and maintaining self-respect when making choices that could have an incredible impact on their current and future lives.