Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

Reading and Sexuality

Nan Baker and Susan Airone

Contents of Curriculum Unit 80.04.01:

To Guide Entry

Imagine that you are a fifteen year old, 4’10” boy, intensely interested in sports and animals, fascinated by tall, beautiful women who think you are a cute, obnoxious twerp. You are failing in your first semester of ninth grade because your first language is Spanish, and you cannot concentrate and read and write fast enough in English. You are moved to a class called Reading, Writing and Relating.

.....you are a fifteen year old girl who lost her mother at three; your father disappeared some years later. Your grandmother, who can no longer handle you, has just turned you over to a group home. Youare failing in school even though you read and write on a thirdfourth grade level. You are transferred to Reading, Writing and Relating.

.....You are a twenty year old man. You cannot read at all. You can copy, but you cannot write anything on your own except your name. You cannot read or write the alphabet or remember your telephone number. You were married at the age of sixteen, became a father at seventeen, and were divorced at eighteen. You are placed in Reading, Writing and Relating.

.....you are a nineteen year old man. You read and write slowly, making many mistakes, but you want to learn to read because you know you cannot get a decent job and get on with life unless you can read. You have become a father a year ago. You are placed in Reading, Writing and Relating.

These are four thumbnail sketches that exemplify typical high school students with reading, writing and speaking problems. During most of the years they have been in school, these students have known failure on every level. Most have turned off to themselves and to traditional learning. At this point in their lives, they are much more likely to drop out of school than to continue. They are placed in our class because we can address their particular needs in a way that traditional classes cannot.

The course title, Reading, Writing and Relating, explains the primary goal of our unit. We expect to take high school students who have been failures in most aspects of their school careers and motivate them to want to come to school, to want to learn how to read, write, and relate to each other much more successfully than they have ever done. We believe that learning occurs most easily when students feel good about themselves and where they are in a comfortable environment. High school students who have not learned to read by traditional techniques at the appropriate time usually have experienced a great deal of failure in their school careers. Consequently, they fall into two very general groups s extroverts who, because they have not succeeded academically, act out repeatedly in class, and are consequently labeled as behavioral problems; and introverts who, because they have not succeeded academically, withdraw into themselves. Both groups have attendance problems, initially resulting from their learning problems and eventually contributing to them. A student’s selfconcept is strongly influenced by the ways in which he is treated by those around him. Students feel that they are liked, wanted, accepted, and capable from having been liked, wanted, accepted, and from having succeeded. Our students generally have experienced more rejection in their school lives than acceptance. We seek to create a non threatening environment that supplies an atmosphere of acceptance, thereby reducing fear, anxiety and hostility about learning.

Our students, by the time they reach us in high school, face sexuality directly and consciously in their everyday lives. They also want desperately to learn how to read and write more effectively. If they are still in school, they have notyet given up on learning. We plan to trade on their interest and need to learn about sexuality and reading by presenting an integrated curriculum in these two subjects. The second goal of this unit is to develop ways in which we can improve our students’ inadequate communication skills without insulting them with inappropriate age level materials and activities. Adolescence and early adulthood usually intensify interest in one’s own sexuality and in interpersonal relationships. We decided to tap this natural curiosity about sexuality, to use this interest as a tool to inform the learner about himself, while at the same time improving his reading, writing and speaking skills. The many facets of sexuality are a key part of the environment our students live in. They are keenly involved with popular music, radio, television, movies, magazines, and advertising promotions, all of which have strong sexual components. We see these elements as a bridge between their formal education and their informal lives. The highly magnetic topic of sexuality can play the role of the sideshow, drawing the turnedoff student into the big tent of learning.

It is our belief that a student’s understanding of sexuality should encompass the biological, psychological, sociocultural and ethical aspects of human behavior. The biological knowledge takes the mystery out of human sexuality and allows it to be viewed like other functions of the human body. The psychological knowledge helps to explain why people behave the way they do sexually. The sociocultural knowledge motivates the investigation of how people use their sexuality. And the ethical knowledge allows the examination of the process of evaluating the consequences of sexual behavior. In our class discussions we try to broaden our students’ views of sexuality to include the above concepts. At the same time we aim to focus on our students’ practical everyday needs in the area of sexuality.

Our students range in age from fourteen to twenty years old. Both female and male, they come from sharply differing family backgrounds, and they vary widely in their previous sexual experiences. They do share in common, however, a lack of informed information on human anatomy and physiology, an intense curiosity to become wellinformed, and a strong need to learn how to communicate with peers and with important adults in their lives about a subject that has an immense impact on their lives. We feel that students who have been placed in our class because they have been school failures all their lives will learn to enjoy school. Many of them will learn to take advantage of the integrated curriculum in such a way as to be able to start making some important, positive changes in their lives.

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We will emphasize the establishment of a homelike atmosphere in the class. Because our students are potential dropouts, we will work to establish and retain their interest and involvement. At the beginning of the school year we will concentrate on helping our students develop regular attendance patterns. Even though our students often look like young men and women, most of them are insecure, failureridden, emotionally and academicallyarrested children who crave love and attention’ they have never known success in school, and they hate school. Reading, Writing and Relating is virtually their last chance to be integrated socially and academically into high school and to master some very basic social and academic skills.

For the first couple of months we will stress attendance first, accomplishment second, individualizing performance expectations for each student. Many of our students have developed eccentric, nonconformist behavior patterns to divert attention from their inability to achieve academically. Rather than throwing these students out of the room which is what they expect and often unconsciously desire, we tolerate eccentric behavior as long as it is not abusive or extremely disruptive. We often incorporate a discussion of such behavior into the regular academic lesson. For instance if a student is talking loudly out of turn or staring other students down or refusing to sit with the group, we will stop the lesson and have a five ten minute discussion on how that student’s behavior affects the rest of the group. We also talk to such students individually as a way of getting to know them. Once students come to believe that we will not reject them for their inappropriate behavior but instead will give them room and support to change their behavior, they become willing to evaluate and discuss with us their feelings and actions. Most students have developed their behavior patterns as a result of having been put in competition with other more successful students in the past. Their actions, which appear to be eccentric, are actually quite adaptive. When they talk loudly, isolate themselves from the group or stare down other students, they are protecting themselves from the devastating effects of repeated failure and loss of face in front of other students. When we as teachers take away the competition and humiliation that they have faced for so many school years and substitute a relaxed atmosphere and recognition of their efforts to achieve, most of our students are ready to learn more appropriate social behavior and will adopt it as they become more comfortable.

As the year progresses, we will make more demands on our students in terms of holding them responsible for their social and academic behavior. We will expect them to modify the behavior patterns that are bothersome to the class and to be more considerate of other people’s feelings. We will expect them to achieve more academically. We will also count on them to contribute to the care of the room. They will keep folders, pens and pencils and other classroom projects in their own assigned spaces and decorate the walls of the room with their string designs, macramé and their names and astrological signs written in calligraphy. To enhance their investment in the class, we will include science projects such as the incubation of chick eggs where students will have a chance to observe, record and be responsible for the maintenance of the growing process. We will stress the importance of both individual responsibility and group responsibility to the classroom.

No verbal or physical abuse will be tolerated. Our students, who are extremely low in academic and social skills, often seek to enhance their own selfimage by putting someone else down. We plan to work with students who create a negative classroom atmosphere by showing them bow to relate to others in a more positive manner. We will emphasize caring for the feelings of others, caring for the classroom, plants and pets, and caring for oneself.

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Structure of the Class

In the year and a half that we have teamtaught together, we have taught reading and sexuality sidebyside, with students rotating from teacher to teacher and subject to subject. In this unit we plan to work out an interdisciplinary approach that combines reading and sexuality so that our students will be learning both subjects from both teachers. The interdisciplinary approach will give us much more freedom than we had before to be inventive and coordinated in our approach to lesson planning and in our interactions with the students.

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Time and Content

Our class meets for three hours a day, five days a week, all year long. Because at the beginning of the year our students tend to range between first and third grade in their reading ability, Nan, the main reading/English teacher, will spend about an hour a day familiarizing the students with the “Words in Color”(Gattegno) reading charts. Susan, as the main biology teacher, will initiate discussions of physiology and sexuality in which, at first, there will be very little reading.

We will plan some wholegroup activities for the final hour of the class, such as handwriting, calligraphy, puzzles, macramé, string designs, signmaking, and other art activities. The group activities will be aimed at promoting a positive self image, good interpersonal relations, pride in one’s work, and the development of finemotor coordination. Because we have a large block of time to work with our students each day for a whole school year, we can meet the students’ needs for security and consistency. In order to meet those same needs, the reading/English teacher will remain in the class for the entire year. At the mid point of the year the biology teacher will switch out and will be replaced by a math teacher.

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StudentTeacher Ratio

Our class size ranges between 20 and 25 students throughout the year. We encourage all students to stay in the class until the end of the year, although occasionally students may make enough progress to want to try a more advanced class. Teachers from both classes will closely watch such students to make sure that the move is successful. If the students appear to fall behind in the more advanced class, they will be transferred back. Two teachers will work with Reading, Writing and Relating at all times. In addition, the reading specialist, if one is assigned to the school, will have as a primary responsibility the job of working with our students on an individual or small group basis.

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The Classroom

Because our classroom is our home, we will encourage students to give it special care and attention. It is not just a classroom in which they pass 40 minutes before they move on, as in traditional high schools, but their room to live in, to keep their possessions in, to keep clean and to decorate. We, the teachers, plan to have our free period between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. before Reading, Writing and Relating begins so that we can open the room up to the students. Many students will learn to come early, walk in and out of the classroom, bring their friends who also arrive early and perhaps eat an early morning snack. Some students will do homework during that time because they know they can get help from teachers. A few students will use the room during that time to do extra work on a regular basis for credit.

The room that we will use is an oldfashion school room with four walls, plenty of blackboard space and many windows. Each teacher will use a separate section of the room, setting up work space for her students by putting together rectangular tables. Students will be divided into two groups, each of which will spend an hour in reading and an hour in biology/ sexuality on a rotating basis. We will assign students to the groups according to their reading ability. After this workperiod there will be a short break followed by activities. The tables will be moved to form a communal group so that everyone can work together.

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Our students are able to earn four credits a year if they attend Reading, Writing and Relating on a regular basis. They can earn credit in English, science and math. All of our students are encouraged to take an additional hour class in another subject in order to earn the full five credits that an average student would be expected to earn. Their other option is to spend the first hour of the day in our classroom working on mutually agreed upon assignments and keeping regular attendance.

In awarding credit we consider attendance, effort and noticeable progress in the mastery of basic reading, writing and speaking skills. Our students are so far below grade level that we cannot use any of the basic standards of measurement that are usually used for high school students. Instead we look at where our students start when they first appear in our class and set individualized academic and social goals for each one. At the beginning of the year we heap praise on what would be relatively small accomplishment for the average high school student; i. e., attending school for a full week without missing a single day, completing an assignment, writing neatly, expressing an opinion in a class discussion or getting a 60, 70 or 80 in a tenword spelling quiz. Our students are so used to failure that they need to learn that there is a possibility of success before they will begin to try to learn in earnest.

In order to give our students a clear idea of what we expect them to accomplish, we will draw up a weekly checklist of their classwork. The students learn to organize, check off and staple together their week’s work. Although we will have already seen and corrected most of their daily papers, we can at the end of the week check out how the student himself feels he has done. Close daily and weekly supportive feedback on a regular basis will be a normal part of the student teacher interaction.

Our school issues credit four times a year. A student can earn 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or 1 full credit at the end of each marking period. Rather than giving letter grades each teacher writes a narrative evaluation describing the academic and social progress that the student has made during the marking period.

By the second quarter we will identify the main handicaps our students have, and we will develop a working strategy for dealing with the problems. We will set up individual conferences with the students to discuss our assessment of their strong points and their weak points, and where we and the students work out some mutual goals. We will include communication with their families as an integral part of the feedback process. Most parents of our students have developed attitudes toward schools that are just as negative as those of their children. When the parents of our students have received communication from school, it has usually been because their children have had academic and/or behavioral problems. We plan to start the school year with positive communication with the home, so that we can develop a working relationship with the parents that will be supportive to the students.

Most of our students will graduate from our class and advance to the next reading class at the end of one year. Some students will be permitted or encouraged to remain with us for two years. Students who can not progress to the next class after two years in ~ will, in most cases, be counseled to enroll in a different program outside of our school more suited to their special needs.

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Why I Teach Reading and SexualityNan

I teach both reading and sexuality as an integrated curriculum because:

1. Our high school students have a high degree of interest in both subjects.
2. A sound knowledge and understanding of both subjects will give our students much greater control over their lives.
3. Many of our students are already sexually active and are motivated to read words and stories pertaining to sexuality.
4. I teamteach with a biology teacher who is interested in teaching an integrated curriculum.

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Sexual Terminology and Literature

Our students have been trying unsuccessfully for years to learn to read beyond their fairly limited sight vocabulary. Many students still have trouble with onesyllable words and guess wildly and wrongly at two, three and four syllable words. Their feelings of discouragement are enormous. They are still willing to try, but they need to work with reading materials that are at their level of interest and maturity. They read on the level of an elementary school student, but they cannot be given reading materials designed for children. Clearly, reading materials with sexual content are designed for young adults and are of interest to high school students.

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Students who have had trouble learning to read, write, spell and comprehend words like Soot, slot, skim, trim, rule, roll, stroll find it new and different and fun to work with words like sex, breast, penis, vagina, tampon, make love, hug and kiss. When their decoding ability is more skilled, they are willing to tackle words like, intercourse, masturbation, ejaculation and menstruate. I work with some of the sexual slang words also. Most of these are onesyllable, AngloSaxon words that the students already know. I teach in a school where the use of slang in an educational context is considered appropriate. Your school may be quite different. Whatever words I use, my ultimate aim is to familiarize my students with new decoding, spelling and vocabulary comprehension skills using a phonetic approach which I will explain further on in the unit.

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One’s own sexuality and the sexuality of others is a topic of great interest to authors, scientists, psychologists, physicians, theologians, moralists, journalists, and the general population. Short story writers like Langston Hughes, novelists like D.H. Lawrence, James Baldwin, Ernest Hemingway, newspaper columnists like Beth and Ann Landers, New Haven teenagers, like those who contribute to the Hill Health Center Newspaper, Teens Cool Out, write eloquently and poignantly about the complexities of human sexual attraction and interaction. Many of the short novels and readers designed by the educational book companies for teenagers with low reading skills cover such topics as romance, dating, teenage pregnancy, V.D., the trauma of separation and sexual abuse. Many of these works can be used as they are, or they can be adapted for use as high interest reading material.

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Children, teenagers, and adults are exposed to tremendous amounts of sexuality through the media, TV $ radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, bill boards, popular music, whether they want to hear it or not. Beautiful, sensuous women and handsome, seductive men talk and sing about the joys of sexuality every day. You do not have to read to know what products and sexual connotations are associated with the following phrases:

“Fly me, I’m Sasha.” National.

“It’s better in the Bahamas.” Bahama Tourist Bureau.

“Weekends were made for Michelob. Michelob.

“Go stag and heads will turn.” White Stag.

“The ends of the rainbow.” Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.

If you have any doubt, look at the pictures in these advertisements. Students can be given many different kinds of reading assignments related to advertising and sexuality. This kind of assignment is particularly useful at the beginning of the year because advertisements are big on graphics and small on reading content. They are also highly motivational because students are already familiar with many of the advertisements and will think it fun to go out and look for others. These are some possible assignments

1. Choose any magazine. Look for an advertisement that contains a romantic or sexual picture to advertise its product. Read the advertisement. Underline any words that are romantic or sexual in themselves or by association with the picture. Explain in your own words how sex and romance are used to sell the product.
2. Find another advertisement that contains a romantic or sexual picture to advertise its product. Cut out the written message. Insert your own written message in which you use romance or sex to sell the product.
3. Look at copies of three different magazines. Examples: Ebony, Newsweek, Time, Jet, Look, Snorts Illustrated. Count the number of advertisements that use sex and romance to sell their products. Count the number of advertisements that do not use romance or sex. In your opinion, why do some magazines use more advertisements based on romance and sex than others? Explain.
4. If you were to own a magazine of national appeal, where would you draw the line between a sexual advertisement in poor taste or in good taste? Are there advertisements that you find offensive because of their sexual content? Explain.
5. Do you think that the government should impose restrictions on the sexual content of advertisements? What about the use of four letter words? What about the use of nudity or near nudity or sexual touching in advertisements?
6. Do you think that the company selling the product should be the sole determiner of what is good taste or poor taste in terms of sexual content?
7. Pretend that you own a company that just invented a new product. Decide what the product will be and give it a name. Make up two advertisements to introduce the product to the American public. Draw the pictures and write the messages. Make up one advertisement that uses romance or sexuality to sell its product. Make up the second one using a non sexual or nonromantic message. Which one do you feel is more effective? Why? Give the two advertisements to your classmates. Ask them which one they feel is more effective. Why?

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How I Teach Reading

I use the “Words in Color” reading approach developed by Caleb Gattegno. It is a phonetic approach which utilizes the Fidel—two large charts which are divided into columns. The charts contain a separate column for each sound of English and every spelling of that sound which occurs in English. The approach also utilizes twenty large word charts in which the phonetic sounds from the Fidel are colorcoded into words. The first few charts contain onesyllable words with easy spellings like net, Pit, not, Spot which are within the sight vocabulary of most of our students. I spend several weeks working with the students concentrating on the Fidel and the first word chart until the students become familiar with the colorcoded phonetic sounds. I then proceed to teach the more complicated sounds and spellings that are contained in the words on Charts Two through Twenty. Along with the “Words In Color” charts I make extensive use of Gattegno’s game of transformations in which students learn new decoding skills by transforming one word into another word by following a specific set of rules (examples in —> spot). In this game you are allowed to change just one sound at a time (example: in Ð> it —> pit —> pot —> spot). For a fuller explanation of the phonetic code and game of transformations see the 1979 Language and Writing Unit, Volume IV, written by Alice Mick and Karen Wolff for the YaleNew Haven Teachers Institute, pp. 110112. For more information on the “Words in Color” reading approach by Caleb Gattegno see the books listed in the annotated bibliography.

As the students become familiar with the first few “Words in Color” charts, they will begin to have a basic reading vocabulary in addition to whatever reading vocabulary they brought with them from previous years in school. I will make use of this common reading vocabulary by asking them to write. A safe beginning for those who are afraid to put pen to paper is the group story. Most of them are afraid to write. They cannot spell simple words, their handwriting is shaky, and they do not know what to say. After writing a group story, many students find that it is fun and will risk writing a story of their own.

The work with the “Words in Color” reading charts will continue throughout the year. As the students become more proficient in reading and writing, I plan to start them on a writing project concerning their roots. The students will start by reading selected passages from the novel Roots by Alex Haley. I will show the film Roots also. As a class we will discuss genealogy. What does the word mean? Why is it helpful to know about your genealogy? What are the various research methods students can employ to research their own genealogy? What can you learn about history, geography, ethnic groups, races and religions in the process of study? How can you build ties between generations? What is a family “skeleton,” and how do you handle it if you discover one? What might it mean to future generations in your family if you can pass on an oral and written genealogy?

I will expect all students to work on a written genealogy of their own families. They will keep a notebook in which they will collect information about themselves, their mothers, their fathers, their maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents, aunts and uncles. They will then draw a family tree. They will also trace their geographical origins and record them on a map. The class project will include visiting or writing to relatives, newspapers, travel bureaus, town officials, libraries, embassies for information. Students will be asked to collect family photographs, letters, diplomas, family Bibles and other family artifacts. All students will be asked to conduct interviews with members of their families and to record the information. Students who have access to tape recorders can use them. I will give the students questionnaires which they will be required to fill out as homework assignments.

Because one of our major topics in our classroom is sexuality, I will design some questionnaires for the students who feel comfortable talking to parents and relatives about their love relationships, dating behavior and sexual knowledge when they were teenagers. Talking to parents about such sensitive matters will be very difficult or impossible for some students. I will provide alternative assignments for those students. One such assignment would be to write about the difference between students’ and parents’ views on sexuality. Another topic would be generational differences in views toward birth control. Some students might be able to tackle generational differences in views toward abortion or teenage pregnancy.

Other questionnaires will direct students to more interviews and research on parents’ and grandparents’ eating habits, clothing styles, housing, recreation, schooling, employment, politics and religion. Few of our students have ever conducted interviews or done research, so we will start by conducting mock interviews, inviting guest speakers in, and going out on field trips to someone’s home or to the library or historical society. I am always looking for ways to lengthen the attention span and improve the listening skills of our students. The interviewing and recording processes will strengthen their abilities in these areas.

In order to promote an integrated curriculum, Susan and I will do some joint activities with the class concerning basic genetic principles in which students will learn to trace some hereditary factors in their families. See the genetics activities.

For a joint art project, the class will take some of the small family trees drawn by individual students and turn them into postersize drawings. We will also make collages of students’ photographs and places of origin and draw a poster size map illustrating family migrations. Students who are into printing and calligraphy will reproduce family documents such as an old will or diploma or birth certificate.

The genealogy study will lead into short pieces of writing. We will start with group stories about our students’ lives. Group stories are nonthreatening, fun, and often silly. The silliness is an important release of tension, removing the inhibitions and fears of failure which are particularly debilitating to our students. I jot on the chalkboard quickly, “The worst thing that I did when I was a baby was...” Students call out any serious or nonsensical continuation of the sentence. “I peed on my brother,” or “I vomited on my grandmother’s best dress,” or “I cried for two hours in church.” In a group story I do as little censorship or criticism as possible unless the new sentence makes no sense at all or unless the story starts to trail off to nowhere. If the story runs into trouble, I stop writing on the board and consult the group. We consider other possible ways to continue the story choosing a suggestion from someone that seems to please the majority of the students.

After the group writing I will ask each student to go home and ask a relative to recall an incident that actually happened to him when he was very young. I will expect the students to write their own individual stories and keep them in their folders after they have been corrected. When I correct their writing, I usually point out the basic spelling errors and a few simple punctuation errors. As with the group stories I leave the content as they write it, unless some part makes no sense. I will often take a group of these stories and type them up on a ditto master after I have put in the correct spelling and punctuation. I give each student a copy of the stories, and we read them aloud. I try to include an individual story written by each student as well as one or more group stories. Students are thrilled to see their stories and names in print and will compete actively to read the stories aloud to the rest of the class.

I will assign other short pieces of writing about the students’ lives. These are some of the many possible topics. “My First Boyfriend (or Girlfriend),” “My First Memory of my Mother,” “When I was very Sick,” “The Worst Fight I had with my Brother,” “When: First Realized that I was a Girl (or Boy),” “The First Time I Heard about the Facts of Life,” “My First Menstrual Period (or Wet Dream),””I Thought I was in Love When..,” “The Night I cried.”

My longrange aim is to have all students write an autobiography when they have completed the shorter pieces of writing. I will give them each a special folder in which to keep their autobiographical writing. After they have amassed plenty of genealogical information about themselves and their families and after they have written the stories listed above, I will introduce to them the concept of a time line and ask all students to write out their own time lines including all the important events that they can remember. At this point starting to write the autobiography will be mostly a matter of organization and selection of material. In conjunction with our class study of sexuality, the autobiography will include a section on the students’ development as adolescents. I will ask them to include their physical development, their emotional development, and how they expect to develop during the next five years.

Their final writing project will be to write a play about sexual problems that adolescents face. Whole class activities will be to act out and videotape the plays that the students write. Our students will share the video tapes or the live performances with other classes in the school. For further information on filming students’ performance see the 1979 Strategies for Teaching Literature Unit, Volume V, written by Robert J. Winters for the YaleNew Haven Teachers Institute, pp. 130139.

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Note to the teacher:

The purpose of this assignment is to familiarize the students with a new speaking and reading vocabulary in reference to menstruation and to reinforce previous work done with the “Words in Color” reading charts. Students may only be familiar with the vernacular terminology for menstruation. In this assignment they will learn to read, write and spell both the vernacular and the scientific terminology. Because I use the “Words in Color” charts, I have left blank words from the charts. If you are using a different reading program, you can leave blank any word you wish. For example, you may prefer to leave blank the new vocabulary words instead. If you use the lesson exactly as it is written, teach your students how to read and define the new vocabulary words before they start to fill in the blanks.

New Vocabulary

period menstruate flu
curse menstrual tampons
cramps menstruation sanitary napkins
Directions: Fill in the blanks using the words from Charts 1 20.

An Embarrassing Situation

Last year my sister chart 1 was chart 12 teen years old. She had chart 2 yet gotten her period. My chart 2 told her not to chart 6 but Pat chart 12 n’t listen. Her friends at chart 10 had told her about “the curse” or their “rag days.” Sometimes they asked her if “her friend” had come yet. Pat looked for spots of chart 11 on her panties. One day she even chart 16 she had menstrual cramps, but she found out that she had the flu instead. She wanted to menstruate so that she could be like her friends and feel grown up. One night Pat and her chart 17 friend went to the movies. She wore her new white chart 2 and a chart 6 sweater. In the middle of the movie her boyfriend went to get some chart 1 corn, and she went to the bathroom. She saw a large chart 5 spot in the crotch of her pants. She knew she had started to menstruate. She had waited so long for this special chart 13 , and now she was stuck in the ladies’ room. If she left the room, people would see the red spot on her pants. Besides she had no tampons or sanitary napkins and even if she did, she wasn’t chart 12 that she chart 14 exactly how to use them. She felt so chart 14 . How could she get home?

If you are not using the “Words in Color” charts, use the words listed below to fill in the blanks.

not mom Patfour
worry school thoughtsure
knew black popdumb
day blood pantsred
Assignment:Finish writing this story either as a group story or as your own individual story.
Assignment:Write a story about a teenage boy who finds himself in an embarrassing situation similar to the one above. For example, he could have an involuntary erection on his first date.

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My name is .

My address is .

My date of birth was .

My place of birth was .

I weighed ______ pounds at birth.

I was ______ inches long.

I was delivered ______ weeks premature, ______ on time, ______ weeks late.

I had ___ no hair, ___ little hair, ___ lots of hair.

The color of my hair was ______.

I speak (languages): ____________.s

My mother’s name My father’s name
Her mother’s name His mother’s name
Her father’s name His father’s name
My sisters’ and brothers’ names





My Mother

Her name is first middle last .

Her address is .

Her date of birth was .

Her place of birth was .

Her occupation is ____________________.

She speaks (languages): ____________________.

Her mother’s name Her father’s name
Her grandmother’s name (maternal) Her grandmother’s name (paternal)
Her grandfather’s name (maternal) Her grandfather’s name (paternal)e
Her sisters’ and brothers’ names





Continues My Father, My Grandmother, My Grandfather

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GENEALOGY— My Family Tree

(figure available in print form)

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Directions: Write your autobiography including:
Your births: place, date and events.
Your earliest memories.
Important early childhood events.
Important early relationships (family and friends).
Family traditions.
Sexual upbringing.
Physical development.
Emotional development.
Adolescent changes.
Important events in adolescence including sexual experiences. Important relationships in adolescence, nonsexual and sexual. How you expect to develop during the next five years.

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Directions: Write a play about teenagers who are facing problems concerning their sexual development. Suggested topics:

Girl’s Point of View

1. You and your boyfriend want to have sex. He refuses to use birth control. Neither of you wants to have a baby. How do you handle the situation?
2. You are pregnant. You are scared to tell your parents but you have to. How do you say it?
3. You are pregnant. You tell your boyfriend you will (will not) have an abortion. He objects.
Boy’s Point of View
1. Your girlfriend will not use birth control, but you both want to have sex. Neither of you wants to have a baby. How do you handle the situation?
2. You got your girlfriend pregnant. You are scared to tell your parents but you have to. How do you say it?
3. Your girlfriend is pregnant. She tells you that she will (will not) have an abortion. You object.

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Teaching Sexuality—Susan

Historical and Political Background

A great deal of knowledge about the biological aspects of sex and reproduction has been available for many years. This information has not been accepted in most school curricula, even within the structure of human biology courses. School administrators have been very cautious not to stir up opponents to school participation in sex education. At one point inmy early teaching at an area suburban junior high, fifteen years ago, a transparency of the human reproductive system was removed from all copies of a new set of seventhgrade biology books. I feel that even today there is considerable apprehension by school systems about confronting adversaries of sex education in the schools. A report from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America based on the results of a Gallop Poll conducted for the White House Conference on Families showed that four out of five Americans supports sex education in the schools, but only Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia require it. Many teachers are also hesitant to teach sex education because about their own sexuality. Forcing every teacher to teach such a sensitive subject would have disastrous results for everyone involved. Our school encourages the teaching of all aspects of sexuality in order to enable our students to make informed and knowledgeable decisions about their lives.

In September of 1979 the New Haven Board of Education issued a proposed policy concerning Family Life education programs for New Haven school children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. According to the Board, “The instruction will include the emotional, physical, psychological, hygienic, human sexuality, economic and social aspects of family life.”1 The advisory committee, of which I am a member, is made up of a cross section of parents, educators, professionals, and clergy has met three times—May 13, 1980, June 17, 1980, and July 15, 1980—and is cochaired by Dr. Philip Sarrel of Yale and Dr. Jessie Bradley, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Development. Five task force committees have been established:

1. Teacher training
2. K4
3. 58
4. 912
5. Family Life Education resource centers. Each task force committee will meet monthly, starting in September, 1980, to study what has been done in their respective areas and what resources are available for the development of a family life and sex education curriculum.

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How I Teach Sexuality

The introductory biology sessions will be predominantly discussion centered. I will be the primary leader, although it does not take long before everyone is actively participating. The use of simple language, along with the acceptance of vernacular terms, will help build complex vocabularies eventually students should use the correct scientific terminology. I have found that by putting myself and other real people I know into many situations described I can generate excellent discussions. For example, I tell how I was sure I was dying of cancer when I started to menstruate, or how a former student I had practiced “having a baby with little pain” by not moving her bowels for days. She believed that this practice enlarged the opening through which the baby came. I clearly establish from the beginning that putting anyone on the spot will not be tolerated. Anyone may and is encouraged to volunteer experiences, but no one can be pumped for personal information or ridiculed. One of the initial guidelines in the class is that everyone agrees to respect each other’s confidentiality and to keep personal stories shared in class to themselves. No one wants to be labeled a “snitch” when they willingly agreed not to “tattle.” Extremely intimate experiences such as incest, homosexuality, and birth have been shared and kept within the walls of my classroom.

A situation that I deal with immediately at the beginning of the year is the namecalling problem. Most of our students are at the bottom of the pecking order in life, and they will seize any opportunity presented to put someone down. A sexual putdown, such as “fag,” “queer,” or “homo” implying homosexuality, is a powerful weapon that can sabotage my efforts to build an atmosphere of openness and trust. This appears to be a predominantly male problem, because it has been my experience that females rarely call each other or are called “fag,” “butch,” or “dike.” Because the accused male has no realistic way to disprove the claim, he usually resorts to more name calling or a physical fight as a way of defending his honor. I attempt to get ahead of the situation by discussing the problem as a group before an incident occurs. I bring up the problem of sexual namecalling and point out its unfairness. How can a male prove that he is not a homosexual? Would they have him pull down his pants and expose his genitals? Would they have him have intercourse with some girl in the class? Both of these acts would prove nothing. Since sexual acts are usually done in private, how can you establish that you are straight if you are? And if you are not straight, it is easy to find a cover. Just walk around with a person of the opposite sex on your arm.

I also point out that the use of sexual putdowns are very confusing and can cause misunderstandings. These labels have different meanings to different people in different situations. For example, “You fag!” is used many times when someone is fooling around or has done something stupid. A student using a term in jest may find himself punched in the nose because the other male took the name the wrong way.

In class discussions I talk about adolescence as a time of continual internal and external questioning about who they are and who they want to be. There are strong pressures put on teenage males to be machomen. One of the problems that many of our male students face is that they are exposed to adult female role models much more frequently than to male role models. A male who has no father or uncle around is at a disadvantage if he is unsure of his own orientation. Discussions on what makes a man a man or a woman a woman(masculinity and femininity) are very appropriate at this point. Frank and direct discussions about homosexuality are quite possible, if they are handled from the perspective of clarifying misinformation about homosexuality. Discuss the stereotype homosexual and then if possible have a guest speaker in from one of the local gay alliances. Discussions on this type of namecalling aid in focusing attention on other types of putdowns commonly used by teenagers. By working to eliminate these putdowns, a more positive selfimage is established and the individual is more receptive to learning because he feels better about himself.

Students know that they can ask any question without being put down and that all questions will be answered honestly. My establishment of a good rapport with the students, coupled with my reputation for openness and risk taking, helps to remove the embarrassment that prevents much of the factual information from being received. For example, I use simple dolls made from sanitary pads. After both male and female students have laughed at them and touched them, they are not nearly as self-conscious about menstrual blood. They are ready to hear about the importance of the cyclic changes that occur in females.

It is equally important that students give attention to the other systems in their bodies along with the reproductive system. This enables them to establish a sense of completeness about themselves. Students are sincerely interested in prenatal development, how they grew from an egg and sperm to be who they are today. Prenatal nutrition is a natural lead into discussions about what they as teenagers eat. This sparks serious treatment of nutrition and the digestive system, which easily connects with the circulatory, respiratory, and excretory systems. Students have walked around all their lives inside their bodies which they do not understand. They look at the outside only in mirrors as they style hair or apply makeup. They spend enormous amounts of money and time covering their bodies in the latest style, yet what goes on INSIDE their bodies is a complete mystery to them. They are extremely receptive to information on how their bodies work. This interest is the spark that can ignite the flame of learning. I leave many different books out in the classroom that contain a wide variety of pictures and sketches of anatomy, contraceptives, instruments, fetal development and the birth process. The pictures are handled by students in many different manners, but the pictures are not enough. It becomes quite clear to students that a picture is T always worth a thousand words. They need to know how to read to find out more.

I have found that students with poor communication skills have not been able to cope with the usually difficult scientific terminology of human anatomy and physiology. These students, because of their limited speaking skills, have not been able to discuss their feelings about sexuality except in crude street terms. The abundance of words of Latin origin in much of the vocabulary associated with previous science classes was too difficult for poor communicators to handle. The factual, straightforward style in which most science text books are written is discouraging for poor readers. Students have found science reading to be dry, dull, and monotonous. They have been overwhelmed by the continual parade of factual information without a story line.

To help the students in Reading, Writing and Relating master the difficult vocabulary associated with anatomy, physiology and sexuality, we have developed exercises that use “Words in Color” sound codes. Students will master the sound charts which color code all the different spellings of each sound. New science vocabulary words that are not found on the “Words in Color’” charts will be introduced by presenting them on specially prepared dittos. Students will color in the letters of the word with the correct color for each sound. For example, the words will appear on the dittos like this:

(figure available in print form)

Students will check their coloring of the letters in the word against master sheets for correctness and they will make any necessary color changes. Students will now have the correct coloring of the letters in the word, thereby giving them the correct sounds in that word and they will be able to pronounce the word.

I will develop in the students a strong scientific vocabulary by first expecting correct spoken usage and then requiring written competency as well. Many times students are unwilling to even try to pronounce or to repeat difficult appearing or sounding words or sexually related words, but I have found that making sillysingsongs out of such words helps to get them over their embarrassment.

Students will use the local newspaper for articles that pertain to sexuality. They will summarize the articles, explain why they think the articles were written and finally react to the articles. They will review newspaper articles first as a group oral activity and then as an individual written assignment. School and homework assignments will focus on the use of sexuality in the students’ high interest leisuretime activities involving recordstapes, radiotelevision, movies and magazines.

I have found that most high school students are popular music nuts. They listen to music as much as, if not more than they watch television. Many have very elaborate “boxes”(music machines which are combinations of radios, tape players and recorders.) They also have extensive sound systems at home. They spend a great deal of money to purchase and maintain these items. For example, the average single song record costs approximately $1.15 and albums run $5$15, with tapes running slightly higher.

Many people such as Rev. Jesse Jackson are not so critical of the cost of today’s popular music as they are outraged at the “obscene” messages contained in the music to which teenagers are constantly exposed. For example, “Dynamo Hum” and “” by Frank Zap use street language to refer to orgasms, oral sex, and genitals. It was only two decades ago that “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James and the Condoles was banned from many radio stations because of its sexual implications. “Tonight’s the Night” by Rod Steward in 1976 left very little to the listener’s imagination.

In class I will examine with the students the obvious references to sex in much of the popular music today. We will talk about both the subtle and the obvious references to sexuality in popular songs. How do the students feel about these references? Do they listen to the words/lyrics or mainly to melody and the rhythm? Are their parents aware of the wording and the meaning of these type of songs? Can they discuss a sexually explicit song with their parents? Would their parents approve or disapprove of the message o£ such songs? Do the students themselves approve or disapprove of the message of such songs?

Some songs are more romantic than sexual such as the Commodore’s hit “Three Times a Lady” or Smoky Robin son’s “Cruising.” In our discussions we will work on using metaphors to describe feelings and emotions. The currently very popular theme song from the movie, The Rose, sung by Bet Milder gives four beautiful metaphorical definitions of love.

The Rose

Some say love it is a river

That drowns the tender reed.

Some say love it is a razor

That leaves a soul to bleed.

Some say love it is a hunger

An endless aching need.

I say love it is a flower

And you its only seed.2

These excellent examples of metaphors act as the catalyst that stimulates students to write their own metaphors defining love. This lesson will be done in conjunction with the “Love is...” activity included in the section of sample lessons.

I will also ask students to bring in records and tapes of songs that we will examine. Students who hate to write in other circumstances will work very hard to transcribe neatly and exactly the words to a song that intrigues them, especially if the song is romantic or sexual or both. After the students have transcribed, we will review the content of the song. The students will then write a paragraph where they will describe their reactions to the song and its wording.

As an educator who comes in contact with a large number of teenagers and as a parent I have been deeply disturbed by the ramifications that result from the increasingly high number of teenage pregnancies. The act of conception has such rippling effects on so many people, the mothertobe, the father, both of their parents and families, their education, their futures, as well as on “The Baby.” So many of these effects are permanent in nature. Conception always leads to a series of immediate decisions that have LIFELONG effects. I use the following flow chart in discussions with students:

(figure available in print form)

Students need to think and talk about the possible span of their lives to gain the proper perspective to view these different decisions in terms of the overall effect each would have on their lives. See the “TimeLife Span” activity. I stress with both female and male students that the three immediate choices to conception, abortion, adoption, and raising the child, represent decisions that will stay with you for the rest of your life no matter which one you choose. Our students live in a timewarp. They think in terms of NOW and have no real sense of the future. They need help in standing back to look at the whole picture of life.

I work on trying to prevent teenage pregnancies. To do this the students must have a sound knowledge of how BOTH the male and female reproductive systems work and how conception occurs. Students must receive this information about how their “plumbing” works in a manner that they can hear. If the listener/learner (teenager or adult) is too embarrassed at the nature of the information being presented, this material will fall on deaf ears. The instructor must be able to break down that shield of discomfort. My style of teaching combines personalization, honesty, directness and humor as the means for penetrating the barriers that prevent teenagers from learning this fundamental information.

Students who understand their anatomy, physiology and how conception occurs are ready to look at the fuller scope of their sexuality. I have found that The Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman, which has been ordered to accompany this unit, covers all these points. Its many chapters deal with a wide spectrum of topics, “Woman’s Body/ Woman’s Experience,” “Man’s Body/Man’s Experience,” “Healthy Body/Healthy Mind,” “I Need Help to Be Beautiful,” “The Truth About Venereal Disease,” and “Birth Control: An Ounce of Prevention,” always include a great many of actual questions that adolescents want answered and the book does just that’ It is very readable. The diagrams, such as the ones that accompany the description of a pelvic exam, are very clear. It has an outstanding section on how to get help and what to ask, as well as a statebystate guide of many different agencies that teenagers might wish to contact. I will introduce the section on sanitary products by having my sanitary pad dolls and vials of red dyed water that we will use to test different brands of tampons.

Nan and I feel that students in Reading, Writing and Relating who complete the full unit of study will have participated in a reading, writing and sexuality course that will have a significant impact on their emotional, social and intellectual development, both as high school students and as members of their families and community. We believe that our students will be able to utilize their newly developed skills in reading, writing and sexuality in such a way as to begin taking charge over their own lives rather than allowing life to roll over them. Not all of our students will succeed in conventional terms—finishing high school, getting a good job, having a planned family. But they will have a chance to achieve some of these goals or to plan and achieve other less conventional goals. By the end of the course they will read and write on a far higher level than before, and they will have a much better understanding of their own and other people’s sexuality. And most important—they will still be trying.

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The Mask of Life

The different roles we play and the different masks we wear throughout our lives are emphasized by discussions and activities such as the construction of face masks from plasterparis bandaging. This activity requires cooperation and trust between students. We usually demonstrate on ourselves. 0ne individual lies on a table top and has her face covered, except for her mouth, with plastic wrap. Care is taken to protect her hair and clothes. Strips that vary in size, 28”, are cut from the castbandaging roll. These are dipped in water, and then placed on the protected face until the entire face is covered. The plasterofparts dries enough within 510 minutes to allow the mask to be removed from the face. The masks should be allowed to dry overnight before students decorate them.

How Does the World See Me?

This activity allows students to compare their view of themselves with how someone else views them. Students are paired up, preferably not with a friend, but merely with a classmate. Each student receives a specially folded ditto sheet with a hand mirror on the front and inside. Each student writes down on the inside mirror at least ten characteristics that describe how they think others perceive them—shy, outgoing, truthful, etc.. The students then tape close the outside flaps and give the sheets to their partner. The partner writes down on the outside mirror those characteristics that they feel best describe the individual. The sheets are then returned to their owners.


I have found that students understand cell structure, DNA, chromosomes, and genes if they can see and handle a model. The typical cell can be represented by a container that separates such as the L’Eggs “egg.” The nucleus of the cell can be represented by the clear plastic containers found in gum type machines. The chromosomes can be represented by pieces of pipe cleaners. And finally the genes on the chromosomes can be represented by different colored thread wrapped around the pipe cleaners.

(figure available in print form)

Put the pipe cleaners which represent the chromosomes with genes on them inside the clear plastic container that represents the nucleus which goes inside the Lieges container that represents a typical cell.

You are now ready to use your model in discussions on genetics.

Sample lesson in genetics:

All humans begin life as one fertilized egg formed by the joining of the male sperm with the female egg cell. This fertilized egg grows by dividing into two cells, then into four, and so on, until an adult body contains approximately 60 trillion (60,000,000,000,000) cells.

1. When a sperm cell and an egg cell join, the result is a ____ egg.
2. An adult body contains approximately ______ cells.
How do all of these rapidly dividing cells grow into the many different kinds of cells a human body needs? How do they know what their job is? Amazingly enough, each one of these 60 trillion cells carries the HEREDITARY information that directs that cell’s growth and development. This information is found inside the cell’s NUCLEUS on structures called CHROMOSOMES. In humans there are 23 pairs or 46 tiny threadlike chromosomes. Chromosomes are made up of smaller parts called GENES. Each gene is made up of a certain amount of DNA. DNA appears to be the storage place for all hereditary information. Each gene is related to a particular trait or characteristic, such as color of eyes, skin and hair, blood type, etc., Genes come in pairs with one gene of each pair coming from the mother and the other gene coming from the father. There are estimated to be about 30,000 genes in the nucleus of most cells in the body.
3. Hereditary information is carried within the cell’s ___, on threadlike structures called ______.
4. Chromosomes are made up of smaller units called ______.
5. Each gene is made up of ___ ___ ___ which stores the hereditary information.
6. Humans have ______ chromosomes
The pronunciation of all new vocabulary words introduced would be worked on by students when they are in their groups with Ann.


You are going to use your own family to study how the genes, located on chromosomes that are found in the nucleus, express themselves. Genes for certain traits, or characteristics, express themselves in different ways. For example, some characteristics, such as eye and hair color, hair texture and blood type, have a variety of possible expressions of the same trait. Other characteristics, such as Hr factor and hair on the second digit of any finger, are either expressed or they are not expressed. Yet other characteristics, such as the ability to taste a chemical called P.T.C., are not expressed in a way that can be seen. Other characteristics, such as baldness, are not expressed until later in life.

Use the table below to record some of the characteristics of your family. The more information that you can gather from different family members, the more you will be able to see how certain characteristics are inherited.

(figure available in print form)

Students eagerly contribute to the discussion of heredity versus environment when they understand that each person gets his unique combination of genes at the moment of conception and that combination remains constant till death. But the environment starts to INFLUENCE the expression of those genes the very next moment after conception and continues to do so till death. Students are very interested in the genetics of defects, such as diabetes, glaucoma, Down’s Syndrome(mongolism), hemophilia and sicklecell anemia. A guest speaker from the National Foundation March of Dimes, 135 College St., New Haven, 7877459, who can accurately address these problems is a resource to use.


How a baby develops during the time between conception and birth is usually a total mystery to our students. They are aware of the obvious physical changes that occur in the mother during pregnancy because they have observed it in themselves or seen it in others. The use of aids in studying human fetal development such as dittos, films, slides and pictures in books are helpful, but it is still not real to many of our students. If only there could be a window through which they could look at the developing baby it would make it easier for them to grasp. The study of the development of the chick embryo is the “handson” experience that enables students to view embryonic development.

Before getting into chick development, I introduce the unit by having students prepare simple egg recipes in class, such as hard boiled, scrambled, fried, omelets and meringues. We do egg blowing and then decorate the egg shells with magic markers and paint. Remember that the contents of the egg shell can be used for cooking, and that the yolk can be separated (an art in itself) and pigments can be added to this base to make different colored paints as did the artists of long ago. If you are brave, you can have students attempt to break a raw egg by placing the egg in the palm of their hand and squeezing it lengthwise or sidewise. No fingernails allowed’ Be prepared in case of breakage. Have the class look at the different grades of eggs(AA, A, B) and how they are sized (jumbo, extralarge, large, etc.). Investigate the nutritional value, as well as, the structure of the egg(shell and its membranes, air sac, albumen, yolk, and the strands of albumen that anchor the yolk). Have FUN!

The following is an activity that I have adapted from Education for Sexuality by John Burt and Linda Mecca to fit the needs of students in Reading, Writing and Relating.3

The chick egg provides an excellent material for studying the development of the embryo. It has been used as an experimental “tool” for over three hundred years.

Eggs laid by hens(female domestic fowl) come in two varieties fertilized and unfertilized. The eggs you buy at the grocery store are unfertilized. They have not been joined by the father rooster’s(male domestic fowl) sperm. The eggs you buy from the grocery store will not hatch a chick. For new life to begin to grow, an egg cell from the mother must be joined with a sperm cell from the father.

 1. Female domestic fowls are called ______.
 2. Male domestic fowls are called ______.
 3. The eggs you eat at breakfast are ______ eggs.
 4. New life begins to grow when an ______ cell from the mother joins with a ______ cell from the father.
In the hen there is an opening under her tail feathers. This opening is the beginning of a long tube inside the mother hen. This opening is called the OVIDUCT. The oviduct is a long tube that leads to the mother hen’s eggs or OVA. Almost every day in the mother hen’s life one of her eggs enters her oviduct. Food for the egg surrounds it and is called the YOLK. There is a little white cloudy spot on the egg yolk that is called the GERMSPOT. The germspot is a special place for the sperm cell of the rooster. If no sperm cell gets to the germspot, the egg will NOT be fertilized and no chick can grow. The egg will be UNFERTILIZED and it will be the type of egg we eat as scrambled eggs or mix in a cake mix.

 5. Eggs in a hen get to the outside of her body by traveling down a long tube called the ______.
 6. Eggs in a hen are also called ______.
 7. Food for the hen’s egg is called the ______.
 8. The joining of the rooster’s sperm with the hen’s egg happens at the ______.
 9. If the sperm and the egg do NOT meet at the germspot, the egg will be ______ and is the type we eat at breakfast.
10. If the sperm and the egg do meet at the germspot, the egg will be and a baby chick will develop.
To understand how the sperm cell gets to the germspot, we must look at the father rooster. He has an opening beneath his tail feathers too. It leads to where his sperms are made. The father rooster makes a lot of squawking noises and circles around the mother hen to get her attention. The father rooster jumps on the hen’s back and presses the opening beneath his tail against the mother hen’s opening beneath her tail. The sperms enter her oviduct. They swim toward her egg. One of the sperms will join with the egg at the germspot. Now the germspot on the egg can start to grow into the chick. As the egg, fertilized by the sperm or unfertilized, starts to travel down the oviduct, it is surrounded by egg white which keeps it from drying out. An outer shell forms around the egg to protect it even more. The “egg” is well protected when it comes out of the opening beneath the mother hen’s tail feathers and is laid into the nest.

11. Sperms from the rooster come out by an opening located ______.
12. The sperms swim to meet the hen’s egg in the ______.
13. The sperm and the egg join at the ______.
14. As the egg, fertilized or unfertilized, travels down the oviduct it is surrounded by ______ which protects the egg from ______.
15. The egg is protected even more by the formation of a ______ around it.
The fertilized egg has about 21 days of growing to do inside the eggshell before it becomes a chick and hatches. A remarkable change begins inside the fertilized eggshell when it is kept warm. Most of the time the egg is kept warm by the mother hen sitting on it, but we can do the same job by using an incubator. It is important to understand that the mother hen does not control her egg production. One egg is laid everyday whether it is fertilized or not. Commercial egg farmers want Unfertilized eggs, so they would keep roosters away from their hens, but chicken farmers want fertilized eggs, so they would keep roosters with the hens.

16. It takes about ______ days for a fertilized egg that has been laid to develop into a chick.
17. Necessary heat for the developing chick can come from the hen sitting on the egg or from an ______.

Students should be able to tell or write about how an egg is fertilized and how an egg is laid. They should also be able to put the following sentences into correct order:

a. The rooster sends his sperms into the hen.

b. The developing chick is kept warm in the eggshell.

c. The fertilized egg hatches.

d. The hen releases an ova.

e. A yolk covers the egg.

f. A shell covers the egg.

g. The hen lays the egg.

h. The white covers the yolk of the egg.


I have felt that one important goal of my teaching is to instill in students a realization of the possible length of their lives and the possibilities that span in time holds for them. Many times it is difficult “to see the forest for the trees.” To get students to look at the whole picture, I first have them look at the building block, a day, 24 hours at a time. We initially do the “Pie of Life,”4 a values clarification exercise in which students visually divide up a typical 24hour day into the categories which define their day, such as: sleep, school, work, activities with friends, TV, or whatever. They are supplied with a worksheet ditto that contains the following activities:

(figure available in print form)

We discuss that a circle represents 24hours, so 12 hours
would be half of the circle, 6 hours would be onequarter

of the circle, etc.

2. Students having completed the above exercise are ready to divide up their circle. It is helpful to make a distinction between a weekday and a weekend because students’ lives differ sharply between the two. I once again use myself as a real life model of how my day is divided up. The pie of a student might look something like the following:

(figure available in print form)

I strongly feel that presenting the same factual information in several ways affords for maximum student understanding. Therefore, I have students represent their typical day in bar graph fashion as well.

(figure available in print form)

Now that students have a realistic grasp on the building block of life, a day, we can move on to their potential life span. Students are given graph paper, each square of which represents a year of their life. Students are encouraged to discuss how long THEY think they will live. The depth of these discussions is up to the teacher. Each student indicates how old he or she thinks they will be when they will die. They then take a piece of graph paper(more if needed) with large squares and count off ONE square for each year of their expected life span, birth till death. They indicate significant events such as entering elementary school, graduating from middle school, and anticipated graduation from high school, college or job training may be a consideration for many students. They should then enter such events as possible marriage, when first to LAST child is born, when LAST child enters fullday school, and when that last child graduates from high school. Emphasis should be placed on career goals for BOTH male and female students. What do YOU want to make of your life? What must YOU do or sacrifice to make those goals attainable? Hopefully, students will look at long range goals and not be tempted to “live for the moment.”

(figure available in print form)

The important message to students is that you need to plan ahead. If you want an active sexlife NOW, but you aren’t ready for the long lasting consequences of children, you need to PLAN!! You can’t leave it up to LUCK. Decide ahead of time when having a family fits into your OVERALL plans for your life. Don’t be a victim of chance, the odds are not in your favor.

These activities are an excellent leadin to discussions on birth control. The responsibility of both the male and the female in sound family planning can never be stressed too much in my book A child is a commitment for many years. A baby is not always a bundle from heaven. Babies get sick, they cry, they even spit up foul smelling curdled milk and ooze diarrhea from their diapers at the most inappropriate times. Plan ahead. What do YOU need to do to insure your goals? Students need to be made aware of THEIR own part in their destiny. They are not marionettes on the stage of life.


Stimulate discussions by the use of cartoons from newspapers and magazines. They present many different points in humorous combination with pictures in a simple manner that even the basic reader can handle. For example:

One cartoon could have a little girl explaining to her mother about a love scene on T.V..

“We learned all about that in our sex class.

Another cartoon might have a little boy explaining to his friend what one adult is really trying to tell another adult.

“Carol’s in a family way.”(adult)

“That means she’s pregnant.”(child)

Another could have an elderly man reading a book.

“You really know you’re getting old, when you hear the word ‘kinky’ and you think of hair.

Have students look for examples of cartoons to be discussed in class and have them make up a cartoon bulletin board where the cartoons can be displayed with the name of the student who brought them in.

A very popular cartoon series, “Love is...” by Kim,5 is featured in the New Haven Journal Courier. These are excellent discussion starters and “primers” for the beginning reader because of the basic vocabulary used. Students will quickly come up with their own definitions of what love is. Making a class mural is a good way to share their thoughts and feelings with the rest of the student body in the school. For examples

“Love is...not letting too much space come between you.”

“Love is...trying to understand her/his moods.”

“Love is...wearing your heart on your sleeve.”

This becomes a springboard exercise. You can then have students do “Friendship is..”, “Respect is.., “Caring is..”, and any other qualities you want students to explore. It is also useful to discuss negative or painful qualities as well, “Hate is.., “Pain is..”, “Loneliness is..”, “Jealousy is..”. Once again, the teacher giving a few of her own definitions is an excellent way to start student contributions. Have the students volunteer their definitions which you can then put on the board if their written vocabulary is limited.

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YaleNew Haven Hospital located at 789 Howard Avenue offers three specialized services.

YaleNew Haven Hospital, Women’s CenterAbortion Clinic

Phone: 4360198
Serves: Any female seeking an abortion
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 2s30 p.m.Monday through Friday
Cost: Fees range from approximately $163 for a 1st trimester to $800 for a 2nd trimester abortion. Fees are payable upon admission. No personal, payroll or welfare checks accepted. Social worker available to assist.
Services: Termination of pregnancy by outpatient procedure (up to twelve weeks). Inhospital termination for 2nd trimester. Evidence of a positive pregnancy test must be brought to first visit.
Application Procedure: Call 4360198 for an appointment.
Location: 789 Howard Avenue down ramp to right of main entrance sign labeled “clinics”.
Conn. Transit: West Haven/Congress bus. Get off at Howard Ave.

YaleNew Haven Hospital, Young Mothers’ Program

Phone: 4368810
Serves: Any teenage mother and mothertobe
Hours: Initial visit and intake procedure scheduled by appointment usually lasting 2 hours between 8:30lO:30 a.m. Weekly sessions on Fridays from l:OO4:00p.m. when in program.
Cost: Fees on sliding scale. Social worker available to assist.
Services: Pregnancy testing, birth control, and all facets of prenatal care.
Application Procedure: Call 4368810(Social, Maternal and Newborn) for an appointment.
Location: 789 Howard Avenue down ramp to right of main entrance sign labeled “Clinics”.
Conn. Transit: West Haven/Congress bus Get off at Howard Avenue.

YaleNew Haven Hospital. Adolescent Clinic

Phone: 436-3616
Serves: Any teenager between the ages of 11 and 21 years old
Hours: By appointment NOT a walkin service
Cost: Fee on sliding scale. Social worker available to assist.
Services: General medical and psychological needs of teenagers. Staff trained especially to work with adolescents.
Application procedure: Call 4363616 for an appointment.
Location: Primary Care Unit to the right of the Emergency Room entrance.
Conn. Transit: West Haven/Congress bus Get off at Howard Avenue.

Family Planning ClinicNew Haven Health Department

Phone: 7878192
Serves: Anyone
Hours: 9:OO a.m. to 5:OO p.m.Monday through Friday
Evening hours on Tuesday and Thursday
Cost: $10 for entire visit or on ability to pay
Services: Contraceptive methods and education, complete physical exams, paptests, VD screening, pregnancy testing and counseling, screening for anemia and diabetes, diagnosis and treatment of vaginal infections, counseling/referrals
Application procedure: Call 7878192 for an appointment/walkin
Location: 710 Sherman Parkway, New Haven
Conn. Transit: Dixwell Avenue bus Get off at West Hazel St.

Women’s Health Services

Phone: 7774781
Serves: Any female
Hours: 9:00a. m. to 5:00 p.m.Monday through Friday
Evening clinics available
Cost: Pregnancy test$10 or ability to pay
1st trimester abortion$175
Services: Abortion and contraceptive education and counseling, pregnancy tests, lsttrimester outpatient abortions
Application Procedure: Call 7774781 for an appointment
Location: 19 Edwards Street, New Haven
Conn. Transit: Any State St. bus Get off at Edwards St. Any Orange Ave. or Whitney Ave busGet off at Edwards St.

Planned Parenthood of Connecticut

Phone: 8656986
Serves: Anyone
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Monday through Friday
Teen clinic Thursday evenings at 6:OO p.m. by appointment only. Other evening appointments available.
Cost: By ability to pay and type of service required
Services: Pregnancy test, pap test, VD test, complete family planning services including birth control supplies, 1st trimester outpatient abortions, vasectomy, and educational speakers, films and literature.
Application Procedure: Call 8656986 for an appointment.
Location: 129 Whitney Avenue, New Haven
Conn. Transit: Any Whitney Ave. bus Get off at Bradley Street

Other helpful agencies are the Hill Health Center, 428 Columbus Avenue, 4364680 and their satellite program TAP(Teenage Parent Program) located at 130 Davenport Avenue, 4364489. The Fair Haven Community Health Clinic, 374 Grand Avenue, 7777411. I have also found INFO Line extremely helpful as a referral source 6244143

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The following is a list of films that I have viewed and have found useful in my classes. Other films are available. Call Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut at 8650595 or drop in to their headquarters at 129 Whitney Avenue.

TEENAGE MOTHERA BROKEN DREAM, 15 min., color, Carousel Film, Jr/Sr

A case study of a 15 year old girl who first has an abortion and then has a baby. She and her mother are interviewed along with the narrator presenting general teenage pregnancy information in an interesting and informative manner.

TEENAGE FATHER, 30 min., color, Children’s Home Society of Calif., Jr./Sr.

This film focuses on the thoughts and feelings of a 17 year old boy who is the father in an unplanned pregnancy. This is an excellent discussion starter on the often over looked problems faced by teenage fathers.

I’M 17. I’M PREGNANT...AND DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO, 28 min., color, Children’s Home Society of California, Jr./Sr.

An older film that deals with the problems faced by pregnant teenage girls by showing the true story of one girl. It is out dated in that a significant number of mothers now choose to KEEP their babies instead of placing them up for adoption as was true when the film was made. It is still a moving and informative film.

YOU CAN’T MEAN NOT EVER d, 28 min., color, Univ. of Minnesota, Jr./Sr.

This film is about a couple who decides not to have children and the pressures put on them by friends and relatives to change their decision. An excellent discussion starter on whether everyone makes good parents, over population, and what is gained or lost in having children.

A BABY IS BORN, 23 min., color, Perennial Education, Jr./Sr.

The film shows the actual birth of a couple’s first child. Problems and emotions that arise are explained. A strongly supportive role is depicted by the father. Excellent view of the placenta. Brief description of birth control measures to allow proper spacing between pregnancies.

NOT ME ALONE, 31 min., color, Polymorphi Films, Jr./Sr.

This film records the labor and delivery of a couple’s first child. Natural childbirth is emphasized.

THEN ONE YEAR, 19 min., color, Churchill Films, Jr./Sr.

A good introductory film on the physical and mental changes that occur in adolescents. Masturbation, wet dreams, fertilization and hygiene are also discussed.

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1. New Haven Board of Education, A Proposed Policy Concerning Family Life Education Programs (1979) 2. Amanda McBroom, “The Rose” (Fox Fanfare Music, Inc., BMI.) 3. John J. Burt and Linda Brower Meeks, Education for Sexuality: Concepts and Programs for Teaching (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1975), pp. 252255. 4. Sidney B. Simon, Leland W. Howe, and Howard Kirschenbaum, Values Clarification (New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1972). p. 228. 5. Kim, “Love is...” (TM Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.all rights reserved Los Angeles Times Syndicate.)

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Boston Woman’s Health Book Collective. Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Book BY And For Women. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971.

Written by nonprofessionals but it is accurate in its information. It presents educational and personal material about all facets of womanhood. Excellent insight in understanding women’s needs, both physical and emotional. A must for both males and females.

Comfort, Alex, M.D., Jane Comfort. The Facts of Love: Living, Loving and Growing Up. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.,1979.

Covers a wide range of adolescent sexuality topics in a readable lowkey manner. Parents would enjoy reading it also. Drawings are usually full page and nonthreatening yet informative or mood setting. We use it in our “Sexuality and Interpersonal Relationships” course.

Dally, Dr. Ann. A Child is Born. London: Peter Owen Limited, 1965.

Large, detailed photographs of the birth of a baby, including early labor to birth to afterbirth.

Gordon, Sol. Facts About Sex. New York: The John Day Company, 1969.

Just what the title says—facts about sex. Designed to be read by teenagers. Good illustrations that includes blacks as well as whites.

Gordon, Sol, Roger Conant. You. New York: Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Co., 1975.

Lots of helpful information and advice for teenagers along with essays, cartoons, etc..

Kaplan, Helen Singer, M.D., Ph.D.. Making Sense of Sex. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

Matteroffact, explicit explanations of the biology of sex, the sexual response, birth control, stages of human sexuality. The drawings are spectacular.

Maternity Center Association. A Baby is Born. New Yorks Grosset and Dunlap, 1957.

Photographs of lifelike medical sculptures of the development of a human fetus including fertilization, the birth process and the after birth. Excellent illustrations.

Milinaire, Caterine. Birth. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1974

A very positive book about the joys of childbirth. An enormous number of terrific photographs, diagrams and illustrations mixed in with short stories, personal experiences and a variety of helpful hints

Parker, Stephen. Life before Birth: The Story of the first nine months. London: Cambridge University Press, 1979.

Exquisitely illustrated color illustrations of the development of a fetus from a slidesound program from the British Museum(Natural History). Spectacular color illustrations’

Pomeroy, Wardell B., Ph.D..Boys and Sex. Delacorte Press, 1969.

A thoughtful description of the feelings and expectations, questions and answers that concern boys. Makes good reading for parents and young people. No illustrations.

—————. Girls and Sex. Delacorte Press, 1969.

A thoughtful description of the feelings and expectations, questions and answers that concern girls. Makes good reading for parents and young people. No illustrations.

Scheier, Michael, Julie Frankel. Digging for My Roots. New York: Scholastic Book Service, 1977.

An inexpensive paperback. Full of ideas about teaching young people how to draw up their own genealogy.

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Ambron, Sueann Robinson. Child Development. San Francisco: Rinehart Press, 1975.

A very readable text on child development that includes birth and before, infancy, preschool years, middle childhood and adolescence. It presents technical information in a clear manner.

Burt, John J., Linda Brower Meeks. Education for Sexuality: Concepts and Programs for Teaching. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1975.

A practical guide for teachers to use in their teaching. It covers basic factual information and concepts of sexuality as well as examples of detailed teaching units for elementary, junior and senior high teachers. EXTREMELY clear drawings in the back of the book that can be used by teachers.

Comfort, Alex, M.B., Ph.D.. The Joy of Sex. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.

It you plan to talk with and/or teach adolescents about anything to do with sex you MUST read this—read it even if you aren’t.

—————. More Joy of Sex. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973.

After having read the first book, you will want to read the second book.

Diagram Group. Man’s Bodys An Owner’s Manual. New York: Bantam Books Inc., 1976.

A factual paperback that covers a wide range of topics but on a very shallow level.

Gattegno, Caleb. An Experimenta1 School. New York: Educational Solutions, Inc., 1973.

How the Twin Parks School in the Bronx opened in 1971 as an experimental school with Dr. Gattegno and his staff at Educational Solutions as consultants.

. Teaching Reading with Words in Color. New York: Educational Solutions, Inc., 1967.

—————. Words in Color. Chicago: Learning Materials Inc., 1962.

Further explanation of how to teach reading through “Words in Color.”

Murphy, Sister Mary Leonore. Doualas Can’t Read. Reading, Berkshire, Great Britain: Educational Explorers Ltd., 1968.

How to teach reading using Gattegno’s “Words in Color” reading program.

———. Creative Writing. Reading, Berkshire, Great Britain Educational Explorers Ltd., 1966.

How to teach creative writing using Gattegno’s “Words in Color” reading program.

Saxon, Burt, Peter Kelman. Modern Human Sexuality. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1976.

A very usable activityfilled book. It is used at Lee High School where Burt Saxon is a teacher. Sexual responsibility is stressed throughout the book.

Simon, Sidney B.. Values Clarification. New Yorks Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1972.

A valuable handbook of practical strategies that can motivate almost any group on almost any subject.

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