Learning Objectives: Identify creative ways to educate K-3rd grades on the harmful effects of tobacco.
Abstract: What do stinky cheese, commercials, a rat, educational lesson plans and performance troupes have in common? They're all creative educational tools that help K-3 graders learn the harmful effects of tobacco. The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi incorporates the R.A.T. Program (Reject All Tobacco) into communities, schools, and homes. The campaign is based on a comprehensive approach-reaching student through a variety of outlets.
With its media campaign, performance troupe, and other interactive activities, the R.A.T. program helps youth "teach up" to their family and friends. R.A.T. incorporates the dangers of second-hand smoke and the health effects of tobacco use. Terrance the R.A.T., an animated spokes character, provides a powerful execution of the message, "You Better Tell Somebody". Terrance and his partners in rhyme, the R.A.T. Pack, have reached over 60,000 students through its song and dance routines.
Another vital aspect is the teacher education component. Teachers are invited to attend scheduled trainings to receive the free educational materials including lessons plans, coloring books, family activity guides, music cd, interactive cd-rom, and in-school video. Lesson plans are developed for implementation into existing curriculum. Over 5,000 Mississippi teachers have received training and are eligible for incentive items.
R.A.T. is an innovative program that proves that it is never too early to begin tobacco education and prevention. This systematic approach to prevention teaches youth to say "no" not only to tobacco but also to other unhealthy lifestyles.
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