Red Ribbon Week is Almost Here, Again
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Some people think that Red Ribbon Week is no longer important, but I disagree. I believe that the earlier we reach children the better. One of the best ways to reach school aged children with a message about saying no to drugs is through the use of plays or programs.

Now I know that there are a lot of professional groups that go around and do a music program or something like that and then at the end, as an after thought they tell the students to not do drugs. This is not the type of program that I think is the most effective.

I believe that the most effective programs or plays are ones that students participate in themselves. I believe that when students participate in the program they get the message better. If they perform and are trying to convince someone else to not use drugs they understand the message that they are trying to portray.

If humor is used in the program then the message is also better received than if it is just a lecture. It is surprising how much of a lecture can be given by dividing it up into speaking parts and having students say the same thing that a teacher would say. Programs put on by upper grade students to lower grade students give the message to the younger ones that look up to the older students.

If you want the students to get the message then there are three things that need to be put into the program. The first thing is what drugs can do to you to harm you.
The second thing is how to say no in a variety of ways. The third thing is what can you do instead of drugs. So many times we focus on the no and don't that the students don't see that there are many many things out there that they can do and they are much more fun than doing drugs.

Students all over are more receptive to hearing from their peers than hearing from some one they think is old fashioned and out of touch with the world. Programs can be in the style of a play, but the problem with a play is that there are few participants. I would look for a program that could be put on by a whole classroom of students using a minimal amount of practice time, some humor, and something that will in the end get the audience to participate in the just say no to drugs theme.

Some programs can be used over and over. Just wait two years and then you can repeat the same program. If it worked the first time you will have refined it and made it better for the second time. If you are doing a play with just a minimal amount of students then have something that is modern and up to date. Do a take off on a popular book character or something everyone is familiar with such as movie stars, athletes, fairy tale characters.

Just remember that the important part is tell them why they need to say no, how to say no, and what you can do instead of doing drugs.

Caroline Mackay 2007

Caroline Mackay is a retired teacher of thirty seven years and writer and producer of many school programs. You can view programs at the site she hosts. She is the host of And

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