Comprehensive lessons for teaching about puberty!

Overview of Changes, Changes, Changes

Changes, Changes, Changes is an up-to-date expansion of the classic New Methods for Puberty Education. This new edition features 9 chapters with more than 40 engaging and informative lesson activities. Topics range from emotional and physical puberty changes, to problem-solving and social situations, to dealing with homophobia, to social media safety. Comprehensive educator instructions are given to help create a safe and inclusive classroom environment where student participation and fun are given as much importance as the critical lessons being taught.

Table of Contents for Changes, Changes, Changes

Chapter 1: Introduction

How to Use Changes, Changes, Changes! Great Methods for Puberty Education
Principles for Sexual Health Education
Creating A Supportive Environment For Learning About Sexual Health
Why Teach In Coed Groups?
Objectives For Sexual Health Education
Top 13 Teaching Sex Ed Tips
Making Random Groups
The Importance of Feedback and Processing

Chapter 2: Getting Started in the Classroom

Ice Breaker Activity: Cross The Room
Ice Breaker Activity: Getting Acquainted
Lesson Activity: Anatomy Alphabet
Lesson Activity: “This and That”
Lesson Activity: Buying Body Care Products

Chapter 3: Puberty Basics

“Before You Begin” Quiz: A Test For Teachers
Fact Sheet: Sexual Development And Sexual Behavior Problems In Children Ages 2 -12
Fact Sheet: Stages of Puberty Development for Girls and Boys
Lesson Activity: Physical Anatomy And Puberty Changes
Lesson Activity: Experiencing Puberty
Lesson Activity: How Hormones Affect Puberty Changes
Lesson Activity: Life is a Roller Coaster Ride\Lesson Activity: Puberty Sketchionary
Lesson Activity: Pop Goes Puberty
Lesson Activity: Clearing Up Misconceptions about Acne
Lesson Activity: Good and Secret Touch

Chapter 4: Body Basics – Boys

Lesson Activity: Building Anatomy
Lesson Activity: Let’s Talk about Sexuality
Lesson Activity: Teaching about Seminal Emissions

Chapter 5: Body Basics – Girls

Lesson Activity: Uncovering the Hidden Story
Lesson Activity: Menstruation: Feelings, Questions, and Answers
Lesson Activity: Periods, Pads, and More
Lesson Activity: Caring about Menstrual Care

Chapter 6: Social Rules

Lesson Activity: Masturbation
Lesson Activity: Abstinence
Lesson Activity: “Texting about Sex”
Lesson Activity: Beyond Pink and Blue
Lesson Activity: Discussing Puberty with Peers
Lesson Activity: More than “Just Friends”?
Lesson Activity: A Lesson on Homophobia and Teasing
Lesson Activity: Fighting Homophobia

Chapter 7: Body Image and Self Esteem

Lesson Activity: Conformity and Individuality
Lesson Activity: Ready or Not?
Lesson Activity: Check it Out!
Lesson Activity: Body Image vs. Real Ideal
Lesson Activity: Media Messages
Lesson Activity: Learning about My Self-Image

Chapter 8: Problem Solving and Perception

Lesson Activity: Problem Solving
Lesson Activity: Adjusting to Changes
Lesson Activity: Presenting Images to Others
Lesson Activity: How Other People Respond to Our Appearance

Chapter 9: Problems with Technology

Lesson Activity: Online Safety
Lesson Activity: Practicing Safe Text
Lesson Activity: ‘What’s Real?’ Activity Kit

Foreword for Changes, Changes, Changes

By Bill Taverner

Congratulations to Stephanie Mitelman, Susan Milstein, and Amanda Saxe on the publication of Changes, Changes, Changes: Great Methods for Puberty Education. This work builds and expands on the original work of New Methods for Puberty Education by Carolyn Cooperman and Chuck Rhoades. Their work was first published in 1983 … when I was going through puberty! Ah, puberty. I distinctly remember my seventh grade health class, in which the teacher clearly did not have the benefit of having Cooperman and Rhoades’ masterpiece in hand. He told the students, “We’re going to learn everything we need to know about female sexual anatomy.” Then, having the attention of every student in the room, he raised the projection screen to reveal a 12-foot, detailed, color-coded diagram of the internal female reproductive system. Not only was it overwhelming (it seemed every fimbria was labeled), but it looked nothing like what we imagined (or knew) female sexual anatomy to be! While he had momentarily captivated my attention with the idea of having all my questions about sex answered, it soon became clear this was just going to be another class of stuff to memorize.

By contrast, Cooperman and Rhoades made puberty education engaging, interactive, memorable, and fun. I wonder what it would’ve been like to be a student in a classroom where the teacher was using their guide. In my class, and probably most classes, lots of facts were disseminated to us. There was no principle of “meeting students where they are.” There were no discussion questions, no kinesthetic activities, no paired or small group activities. Furthermore, the topic did not extend far beyond the “plumbing” of puberty. Changing feelings, social pressure, dating, and healthy versus unhealthy relationships were not on the agenda. And while the teacher was a very nice man, none of us had the courage to ask about something truly on our minds. We didn’t learn very much about puberty that year, but we did learn to make paper airplanes.

New Methods for Puberty Education created a student-centered approach to teaching about puberty, one that would become a hallmark of all publications by The Center for Sex Education (CSE). One of my favorite activities in that manual is “Conformity And Individuality,” in which students move around the room all bunched up together as a collective “clump” to illustrate and then critically evaluate the pros and cons of groupthink and self-expression. I was glad to see that lesson make the new edition! Another favorite is the “This And That” lesson, which shows how chaotic it can be when we are vague about naming things; it brilliantly illuminates the importance of using accurate sexual terminology.

In New Methods for Puberty Education, Cooperman and Rhoades constructed a teaching resource built to last — focused on the things young people needed to know — with activities that would captivate students (other than me) for generations.

And New Methods for Puberty Education did last. For decades, teachers would look past the old Courier typewriter font and know a great, timeless lesson when they saw one. But we knew we would need to publish something new, and soon. The world was changing fast, and these changes, changes, changes were affecting the context in which young people were experiencing puberty. Politics, school budget cuts, and competing educational priorities result in minimal learning about puberty today. My own children’s puberty education programs consisted of little more than a field trip to a local wellness center, where they would supposedly learn everything they needed to know in the span of a few hours. I accompanied my older son on his trip, and while his ability to answer every single question made for a very proud father, I was also saddened by the other students’ inability to answer any question. Maybe they knew some of the answers, but they certainly hadn’t developed the confidence and skills to talk about sex that are implicit in New Methods for Puberty Education.

What is it with the USA? In my opinion, the absolute best puberty education book available is It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. When I visited Stockholm, Sweden, on a cross-cultural sex education exchange program, I had some downtime in a Swedish library and looked up Harris’s book, which was titled På tal om sex (English translation: Speaking of Sex). You don’t have to know Swedish to know there’s something very different about that title. In the United States, we spend so much time trying to reassure ourselves that puberty and sexual development are “perfectly normal,” with some Americans disagreeing and calling to censor and ban Harris’s book. But in Sweden — and many other developed nations — the normalness of sexual development is understood and no convincing is necessary, making it completely appropriate to title a children’s puberty book “Speaking of Sex.”**

But back to New Methods for Puberty Education. Two serendipitous things happened two years ago First, Carolyn Cooperman, now in retirement, came by with five prototype lessons on sex education and technology, and offered to author what would eventually become Sex Ed in the Digital Age, also published in 2014. It was so exciting to reconnect with Carolyn and see how her mind works. She is truly one of the most skilled people I have ever encountered when it comes to pedagogical design.

Second, Stephanie Mitelman called. Stephanie is the owner of Sexpressions, the largest sex education organization in Canada. Her organization produces DVDs, posters, and a full library of educational materials addressing a spectrum of sexual health topics. We were talking about some of our respective new initiatives, and I mentioned how I had hoped to do a new edition of New Methods for Puberty Education, but was finding it difficult to find the time. Stephanie enthusiastically offered to write the new edition, noting she could also integrate some of her exceptional illustrations into the new publication. So we had a deal. Stephanie would update and expand New Methods for Puberty Education, Sexpressions would sell the new edition in Canada, and CSE would sell it in the United States.

Under Stephanie’s leadership as Editor-in-Chief, the new manual underwent some substantial changes, not the least of which was the title itself, Changes, Changes, Changes: Great Methods for Puberty Education. The subtitle serves as a tribute to the original work of Cooperman and Rhoades. Major changes include:

  • Revisiting and critically examining all the original lessons and making edits and cuts where appropriate
  • Incorporating new activities and lessons, expanding the scope of the manuscript and keeping up with contemporary knowledge about young people, puberty, and society
  • Adding clear new images and diagrams
  • Incorporating discussions of contemporary issues, such as online safety
  • Having the manuscript critically reviewed by peer experts and implementing their recommendations

Stephanie worked closely with Sexpressions associate Amanda Saxe to bring revisions to life, and then Susan Milstein joined the team. Susan is an outstanding editor who has worked on several other CSE publications, including the award-winning Teaching Safer Sex, Volumes 1 and 2. The team worked tirelessly to perfect this work, and the result is the publication you hold in your hands.

There are indeed a lot of changes in this edition! I counted 19 brand-new lesson plans and activities. There is an expansion of content addressing gender, sexual orientation, homophobia, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and safety — both in person and online.

One particularly important new lesson is “Good And Secret Touch,” which helps students identify and differentiate between healthy and abusive touch. “Pop Goes Puberty” is a fun lesson. (Really, any time you can incorporate balloons into a lesson plan, you will have students’ undivided attention!) Lessons on abstinence and masturbation provide for vital conversations often omitted in puberty education. “Beyond Pink And Blue” helps students challenge common stereotypes about gender, while “A Lesson On Homophobia And Teasing” and “Fighting Homophobia” establish the classroom norm that students’ engaging in name-calling putdowns is not ok. “Body Image: Real Vs. Ideal” supplements several excellent lesson plans that allow students to challenge socially reinforced messages about beauty. And finally the brand-new section on technology offers three important lessons, including “Practicing Safe Text” and the “’What’s Real?’ Activity Kit” for helping students consider safety and decision-making in a world quite different from when we all had our first puberty lessons.

Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Mitelman and Associate Editors Susan Milstein and Amanda Saxe have done well building and expanding on the groundbreaking work of Carolyn Cooperman and Chuck Rhoades. I commend them for their tireless work creating what may be the most comprehensive puberty education resource in print.

On behalf of everyone involved in this publication, I wish you lively and invigorating classroom discussions about puberty. I commend you for being a positive and memorable force as your students navigate the changes, changes, changes in their lives.

Changes, Changes, Changes

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