Most schools in Austin have been in session for about one month this school year. Now that most routines have been established and the pressure for the STAAR test has not quite set in yet, it is the perfect time to add some spice to classrooms. October happens to be an eclectic national awareness month for a variety of organizations, initiatives, and interests. Depending on student age and curriculum goals, some of the following aims may be appropriate to share with students:
National Arts and Humanities Month- This month can be a creative celebration of culture in America. Encourage students to participate in the arts as a lifelong endeavor for promoting creativity and expressiveness.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month- Celebrating the strength of domestic violence survivors can be another platform for October. This would provide the opportunity to discuss how to solve conflicts using words and how to seek help from abusive relationships.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month- For older kiddos, informing them of all cancer causes, preventative strategies, and early detection is knowledge they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Some may even feel inclined to participate in fundraising or one of the many 5K races that are held in support of cancer research.
Bullying Prevention Month- With bullying at an all-time high and fatal consequences being recorded, this is great reason to inform students about bullying prevention. Empower spectators and victims to step up while addressing the reasons bullying occurs in the first place (e.g., low self-esteem, peer acceptance, prejudice, etc.).
Dental Hygiene Month- With Halloween candy at every corner, use this month to educate children on what that candy does to their teeth and their body. Perhaps bring in a dentist as a guest speaker and have him/her demonstrate proper dental habits. He/she may even bring in free samples of dental hygiene products for the kiddos!
Cyber Security Month- This month could be the first time a student ever learns about the dangers of identity theft on the Internet. This would also be a good time to introduce the concepts of phishing, cyber bullying, and password strengths.
Health Literacy Month- October is the time to teach students to take ownership of their health. Teach them to read nutrition labels, understand blood pressure numbers, be conscious of their height: weight ratio, comprehend SPF values and purposes, and countless other health related information that too many adults are unaware of.
National Book Month- October is a wonderful month to celebrate the importance of books. Austinites are fortunate to live here because the Texas Book Festival will be at the Capital on October 27-28. This would be a great way to encourage students to wrap up National Book Month by visiting with some of their favorite authors.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are other initiatives that may propose awareness or support during the month of October.
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