Front page > Power Tools > Weekend Edition > September 16 & 17, 2000

Hats Required - At School?  It's sort of a foreign concept for American teachers, but in Australia, they're standard issue. And for good reason. Contributor, Barbara Braxton, really caught some American teachers off guard when she explained her school's hat policy. Read on for the American explanations of why you would never see hats in the states...

Hats are COMPULSORY in most Australia schools as part of the SunSmart Policy. Skin cancer is one of the biggest killers of Australian adults and the damage starts in childhood so we make the kids very aware of slip (on a t-shirt), slop (on some sunscreen), slap (on a hat) and wrap (your eyes in sunglasses.) This is a continual advertising campaign on television. Most schools have a 'no hat, then play under cover' rule all year round because it is not the temperature that is dangerous but the UV rating (which is a feature of the daily weather forecasts) and many schools are now insisting on broad brimmed hats or legionnaires style. Caps offer no protection. At Palmerston, we have even put large roofs over our two outdoor equipment areas so they are safe all year round. How do American schools address the issue of the danger of the sun? Is the Australian sun different? Is cancer prevention not a school issue there? Or are your education authorities leaving themselves wide open to a heap of lawsuits in the future from kids with cancer that started when they were young? Just curious... [Barbara Braxton Teacher Librarian, Palmerston District Primary School, PALMERSTON ACT 2913 AUSTRALIA]

Did you know there are special vitamins just for teachers? Yup, they're labeled under the brand name "M&M's"! Our T2T contributors shared a few variations on this cute teacher gift:

Bonnie Sulens:
Green for Energy
Orange for Hunger
Yellow for Moodiness
Brown for Light Stress
Blue for Heavy Stress

Paula M. Lee, Third Grade Teacher
Monroe Elementary, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota:

Inspiration Pill: Yellow
Creativity Pill: Orange
Report Card Pill: Blue
Calming Pill: Green
Energy Pill: Red
Patience Pill: Brown.
Use LOTS of patience pills and Energy ones too. For the others, you'll need a few of each.

Although school has already started and everyone's getting to know each other, there are always those "special additions" to the classroom. New students may change schools locally for personal reasons or they may have moved from far away. Whatever the reason, chances are good that sometime after those first few days, you're still going to need an ice breaker. So break out the M&M's or Skittles once again:

Celeste, 6th grade Language Arts & Social Studies:
Offer students [some] M&M's or Skittles. For each color, they have to tell about a different aspect of themselves.
green = embarrassing moments
red = family
brown = likes
yellow = dislikes
Of course, you don't tell them this until after they choose their candy. You could limit the amount of candy they pick.

Tell the kids to take as many as they want. They usually take about 10-15 Skittles. Then the teacher takes some too. Next, pick out some fun music, and for each Skittle they took the students must say one thing about themselves while moving to the music. The teacher demonstrates first, of course. An option: Each color of candy represents a category students must speak about, e.g.,
orange = scary memories
red = great vacations
green = something about your family
blue = favorite hobbies...
The activity is as real ice breaker and the kids love it! After that, they are feeling comfortable and the class is no longer quiet.

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