Comprehensive lessons for teaching about puberty!

Overview of Changes, Changes, Changes

Changes, Changes, Changes is an expansion of the classic New Methods for Puberty Education. This new edition features nine 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.

Chapter 1: Introduction

How to Use Changes, Changes, Changes
An overview of the manual’s organization.

Principles for Sexual Health Education
Shows how Changes, Changes, Changes! engages with the CSE Principles for Sex Education.

Creating a Supportive Environment for Learning about Sexual Health
Provides interaction guidelines for educators.

Why Teach in Coed Groups?
Reviews how to facilitate coed interactions in the classroom.

Objectives for Sexual Health Education
Reviews the objectives for the lessons in this manual.

Top 13 Teaching Sex Ed Tips
Reviews some of the poignant tips for educating about sex in a classroom.

Making Random Groups
What are some of the different strategies for creating groups in the classroom? This resource gives you different tools for group creation.

The Importance of Feedback and Processing
It is exceptionally helpful and meaningful to ask students for their feedback and future improvements after each class session or activity. This resource gives you some example feedback questions.

Chapter 2: Getting Started in the Classroom

Cross the Room
Puberty can be a difficult time in an adolescent’s life. They may feel overwhelmed with their physical changes and unprepared to deal with various experiences in their personal lives. This activity allows students to see that they are not alone in their experiences, and that other students may have the same concerns and issues that they do.

Getting Acquainted
This ice breaker activity encourages students to interact with a large number of their classmates, including classmates they might not otherwise speak with. It also allows for students to determine what kinds of questions are easy for their classmates to answer and those that are more difficult or embarrassing.

Anatomy Alphabet
This lesson intends to assess the students’ level of knowledge of sexual terms, to provide initial practice in saying these words aloud in the classroom and to identify basic anatomical differences between males and females. It also is designed to establish the vocabulary that is appropriate for classroom discussion.

“This and That”
This lesson serves both as a review of the reproductive systems for students who have already received some background information on reproductive anatomy as well as a group-building activity where students practice communicating effectively with each other. It is intended to help the class become aware of the need to use scientific vocabulary and provides students with an opportunity to practice using appropriate terminology so that others do not have to make assumptions about what they are trying to communicate.

Buying Body Care Products
This lesson addresses various body care products a person might purchase and some of the feelings that might arise when purchasing these products.

Chapter 3: Puberty Basics

“Before You Begin” Quiz: A Test for Teachers
This quiz is intended to help you clarify your knowledge and attitudes about puberty development

Sexual Development and Sexual Behavior Problems in Children Ages 2-12
This Fact Sheet provides basic information about sexual development and problematic sexual behavior in children ages 2-12. This information is important for parents and professionals who work with or provide services to children such as teachers, physicians, child welfare personnel, daycare providers, and mental health professionals.

Stages of Puberty Development for Girls and Boys
This Fact Sheet outlines the changes that girls and boys experience during puberty.

Physical Anatomy and Puberty Changes
This lesson includes many anatomy diagrams as well as a humorous story that helps students to explore this sensitive topic in a nonthreatening way.

Experiencing Puberty
By participating in this activity, students will become familiar with the roles of estrogen and testosterone in puberty as well as the mechanisms by which they are produced in internal sex organs. Furthermore, this exercise will provide an interactive environment in which students can actively engage with the material.

How Hormones Affect Puberty Changes
This lesson helps participants learn the body changes during puberty that are caused by the action of hormones, and it helps participants understand which glands produce which hormones.

Life is a Roller Coaster Ride
In this lesson, participants become familiar with the pros and cons of puberty.

Puberty Sketchionary
This lesson is a multimodal game that can be used to provide students with a context to learn, review, question and communicate about pubertal changes in a humorous and friendly way.

Pop Goes Puberty
This activity addresses factual information as well as changes that young males and females may experience throughout their development.

Clearing Up Misconceptions about Acne
This lesson is intended to help students assess what they already know about acne and to correct any misinformation they might have. The discussion part of the lesson encourages students to question the information they receive and to verify accuracy.

Good and Secret Touch
This lesson will give students a chance to learn about good and secret touch in a comfortable and safe environment, where they will be able to ask questions and get the answers they need. Furthermore, students will be able to discuss ways in which they can react and protect themselves from being touched inappropriately and will identify a trusted adult they can speak to about this subject.

Chapter 4: Body Basics – Boys

Building Anatomy
By developing their own models with everyday items, students will be able to use their creativity in a way that will promote their knowledge of these reproductive systems.

Let’s Talk about Sexuality
This lesson allows students to talk with their same-gender and other-gender peers about issues involving puberty and sexuality.

Teaching about Seminal Emissions
This lesson activity builds upon the previous male reproductive anatomy lessons by explaining the process of seminal emissions.

Chapter 5: Body Basics – Girls

Uncovering the Hidden Story
This lesson gives them permission to talk openly about sexual language, both formal and slang, as well as ask their questions.

Menstruation: Feelings, Questions, and Answers
This lesson activity will encourage students to ask questions about this process, and provide a safe and understanding environment for such discussions to take place.

Periods, Pads, and More
This lesson will provide students with critical information about the female reproductive system, as well as the menstrual cycle.

Caring about Menstrual Care
This lesson activity encourages class participation and provides students with important information about menstrual care products.

Chapter 6: Social Rules

This lesson helps students examine common attitudes and beliefs about masturbation in a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental manner.

This lesson activity engages students by using competition to motivate their creativity in coming up with fun, safe and nonsexual activities.

“Texting about Sex”
This lesson activity utilizes a fictional story that illustrates the value of having a “sex talk” with parents/guardians.

Beyond Pink and Blue
In this lesson, students are prompted to think about their assumptions regarding gender roles and stereotypes.

Discussing Puberty with Peers
This lesson provides students with an opportunity to explore puberty related issues in an anonymous and private way.

More than “Just Friends”?
This lesson helps students identify the qualities they value in any friendship, including a dating relationship.

A Lesson on Homophobia and Teasing
This lesson will encourage discussions concerning what it means to have gay, lesbian or bisexual parents or family members and the negative effects of homophobic bullying, as well as how gay and lesbian families are similar to other types of families.

Fighting Homophobia
This lesson will allow students to participate in a group discussion about what they should do if they witness someone being teased or bullied for being gay/lesbian/bisexual/ transgender or having a family member who is gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender.

Chapter 7: Body Image and Self Esteem

Conformity and Individuality 
This lesson attempts to help students explore how conformity and individuality operate in their lives, without attempting to undermine the importance of either.

Ready or Not?
This lesson helps teens identify, define and evaluate the variety of factors that help determine whether or not a person is ready for intercourse, and it helps them recognize signs of readiness in a couple’s relationship.

Check It Out!
In this lesson, young people have the opportunity they need to discuss the qualities they value in relationships and to assess a relationship they know about. They also learn a process for communicating their feelings and needs to a partner.

Body Image v. Real Ideal
The goal of this activity is to increase students’ awareness of their physical selves and of media influences on their self-image and behavior.

Media Messages
This lesson is meant to help children see beyond the Madison Avenue images and consider what body types are overrepresented in the media, as well as what types are underrepresented or missing.

Learning about My Self Image
This lesson helps students put their body concerns into a broader perspective and allows them to recognize a range of traits that make them unique individuals.

Chapter 8: Problem Solving and Perception

Problem Solving
This lesson helps young people identify the six steps in the problem-solving process and apply the problem-solving process to issues that involve body care and body concerns.

Adjusting to Changes
This lesson provides a format for examining the adjustment process in a manner that incorporates humor and active student participation.

Presenting Images to Others
By focusing attention on the inanimate characters, the lesson provides a safe structure for examining physical traits, such as height and weight, while also expanding students’ understanding that a person is much more than his or her physical makeup.

How Other People Respond to Our Appearance
This lesson is intended to help students learn about how others respond to this experimentation and how these responses might affect their self-concept.

Chapter 9: Problems with Technology

Online Safety
This lesson will allow students to consider various scenarios that deal with Internet safety.

Practicing Safe Text
In this lesson, participants are invited to explore the potential benefits and consequences of tech use.

“What’s Real?” Activity Kit
This lesson will provide an opportunity for students to consider their beliefs about pornography, particularly regarding how they view bodies and images that they see online.

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 PÃ¥ 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.

Click here for a free sample lesson plan.

Changes, Changes, Changes

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