Red Ribbon Week is a nationwide anti-drug campaign that usually takes place in the last week of October. It began in 1985 to honor a slain DEA officer, according to I'm Drug Free. Its focus is on the prevention of drug use through education, with special emphasis on encouraging children to pledge their commitment to living drug free. Children as young as elementary school age can benefit from a variety of awareness activities.
One way that elementary aged students can participate in Red Ribbon Week is to share what they have learned regarding the perils of drugs and alcohol. Have students compose short messages containing substance abuse information or conveying their feelings about it. Add the students' names, class and school contact information. Put the messages into balloons and release the balloons, suggests Pro Teacher. Track any responses that the class receives.
Sobriety Test Dramatization
One demonstration suggested by I'm Drug Free calls for the teacher to have a volunteer from the class perform a simulated sobriety test. Put a masking tape line down on the floor. It should be long enough to require a student to take several steps to walk it. Ask a volunteer to walk the line heel to toe, with one foot directly in front of the other. When she reaches the end, ask her to walk back to the starting point the same way. Next, spin the student until she is dizzy. Walking along side the student for safety, ask the student to repeat the process. Discuss the differences in the student's ability to walk the straight line.
Advertisements in the media consistently send messages glamorizing alcohol and tobacco. I'm Drug Free suggests having students collect alcohol and tobacco ads from magazines to analyze their meanings. Split the class into groups and be sure each student has an advertisement. Have each student individually decide the message of his ad. Have students in each group compare ads and select one for their group to rewrite, giving the ad an accurate message. This may include rewriting a slogan or creating new artwork. Have each group select a "reporter" who will present his group's "before" and "after" ad to the class.
Hands Off Board
After discussing the negative effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, have students create a "Hands Off Drugs" board, suggests Pro Teacher. This might be a piece of particle board, or a wall covered in poster board or heavy paper. At the top of the board, post a pledge to live drug free. Have students place their hands in finger paint and make a hand print on the wall. Ask each student to sign her hand print and thereby sign the pledge.