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PEC's Web Site Review of the Month: January 2009 by Kelly E. Duell


Visit KidsHealth
kids health


How the body works
kids health

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Reviewed Site: KidsHealth (How the Body Works Section) (http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/htbw_main_page.html)

Site Content Area: Active Lifestyles, Health, Health-related, and Heart Information

Site Requirements/Access:

There are a lot of active images, moving parts, and video clips, so be sure your audio and video cards are functional and turned on. The other thing you need to be prepared for is the pop-up windows, which are used to open the movies in a new window. If you have your settings turned off, please remember to put them on to allow this site or temporarily allow this site. The only problem I had was with the audio, but my sound card is temperamental, so I'm sure it was on my end, not the site's!

Overview:

Each section, (for parents, for kids, and for teens) has many subsections or topics, which you can get lost in if you keep clicking, however they did try to streamline some of the topics. I found several of the links led to the same articles, so be careful what you have your students link to as some articles may be above their grade level. This site is so comprehensive there is no way I can review each and every page, in all three sections, as well as read every article, quiz, game, activity, and movie, so I'll give you a brief summary of what you will find in each section for the Kid's and Teen's pages. I would however, recommend you surf through the whole site, as there is a lot of incredible information.

The Look:

If you go to the main page, there are three sections, for parents, for kids, and for teens. The parents' section has a plain white background with lilac navigation; very soothing. The kids' section has a bright green background with purple navigation; if you like color, this is the site for you! The teens' section is very modern with a soft green background with 70's flowers and a cool blue navigation; they hit the mark on design for this age group.

Features of the Site:

Kids' Section:

Dealing with Feelings: this section has many different topics ranging from bullying to being "green" to self-esteem. This section seems to be a good place to send parents and students who have specific issues or concerns; I would share this with your school counselor.

Staying Healthy: has an impressive number of articles dealing with every day situations such has how to be fit, how to avoid sports injuries, obesity, being good to your body, and food related issues. I was happy to see they had articles for both athletes and non-athletes, so they hit every type of kid.

Recipes: when I first clicked on the link, I figured there would be just your ol' typical recipes that most sites have; you know the ones, low fat, low calorie, nothing to write home about, however I was way off. There were recipes for all types of kids: Celiac Disease, Lactose Intolerant, Vegetarian, Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, and easy for kids to make themselves. This is worth a peek and something I would consider sending home to share with your community.

Everyday Illnesses and Injuries: sometimes I wonder if we give kids too much information if they will then use it to get out of things…hhhmmm. If that's the case, they're not going to get it from here. These articles are well written, contain a ton of content, some illustrations, and some ideas on what to do if you think you are sick. I was glad to see they included several sports-related articles here as well.

How the Body Works: The first thing you will notice is all the images lined up and moving quickly to the left, then you'll see a big magnifying glass. You have to click on the magnifying glass when the body part you want to learn about is underneath it. Fortunately there are arrows you can use to speed up the line so you don't have to wait too long for your specific body part. I clicked on the heart since that seems to be where my focus has been as of recent. The center of the page changes to the content you selected and within it, you have to choose further areas to investigate. I thought the movie was cute, maybe a little silly for older students, but still a great review. Listed are a few articles, all of which can be found in the other sections. There is a quiz you can have your students take; a word search with key terms, and different activities the kids can do with you in class or at home with their families. All these opened and played no problem the first several times I went to the site. Unfortunately I tend to write late at night when everyone else is sleeping, get my best work done then, and the entire site minus the front page was unavailable. Could have hit it during maintenance, so be sure to visit the site during normal hours!

Growing Up: this is the section where all you Health teachers revel and those of us who are not, squirm and fidget; you got, all that "sex-ed" stuff like puberty, and menstruation. Never fear, there are other articles that aren't so bad, such as myths about acne, alcohol, drugs, and BMI.

Kid's Talk: these articles all address questions kids have sent in and want answers for; and definitely range from one extreme to another. "What's a Booger?" stands out for sure! I was also glad to see the authors play it straight about swimming while on your period-always one students try to use to get out of class. At any rate, there are a lot of interesting articles worth reviewing.

People, Places, & Things That Help Me: this is a short list for kids to use when they are curious or fearful of going to the doctor or the hospital.

Watch Out: excellent resource to remind kids about staying safe in many environments, and learning about safety. Perfect for reviewing why we practice fire drills, or right before cutting the kids loose on the computers.

The Game Closet: oh boy, be ready to spend lots of time here since there are several cool games and movies. I did have a problem with a couple of them not playing although I have the required Flash program.

Kid's Health Problems: this is the hard-hitting section, dealing with many difficult health concerns, and they do a pretty good job with addressing each one. If you have any special needs students or students with specific health issues, this would be a good resource to use either in your class or for you to get a better idea of what the student is dealing with each day.

Word! A Glossary of Medical Terms: I was surprised this glossary was not as in-depth as the rest of the site; it's a good beginning, but needs more work.

Health Problems of Grown-Ups: fairly small section with limited articles.

En Espanol: you got it-if you need the content in Spanish, this is the place to go.

Teens' Section:

I think they did a good job targeting teens in this section; not too youngish, but not over-the-top either. I showed it to my teenage daughter and the first thing she commented on was that they never get any of the cool games (they meaning teens) because adults think that games are for kids and teens can't or won't learn from them. I'm going to put that to the test by having several high school students use one of the kids' movies as a review for a quiz. I'm curious to see if it helps, it they think it is silly, or if they truly like it.

Your Body: lots of articles including information on bodies, taking care of your body, skin issues, basic health concerns, medical care questions, body art, and a library. When you click on one of the articles, of course you go to that article, but if you look on the right side of the page, you will see a couple more navigation features (more articles like that one and resources).

Your Mind: quite a large array of articles, including family issues, various problems, relationships, body image, feelings, mental health, and parents.

Sexual Health: you got it-"sex-ed" again! Many more advanced articles are contained in this section, including birth control, STDs, reproductive system, sexual orientation, and other specific health-related concerns.

Food & Fitness: I'll have to say I was very impressed with this section as it addresses the concerns for both the athlete and the non-athlete. They have it all, articles about why you should exercise, how to prepare for your sports season, proper nutrition, various sports one can try, sports-related injuries, issues, questions, and sports journals. These are my absolute fav-these are mini-books written by real-life teens about their journey through sports. A for sure read!

Recipes: these are the same as the kids' section with a few additions.

Drugs & Alcohol: I was expecting this section to be stacked with hundreds of articles, but it was sparse. A few worth reviewing, maybe even use it your class, but don't expect to find everything you may be looking for in this section!

Q & A: this is the area where teens can write in questions and the experts answer, so the range is all over the map.

Diseases & Conditions: there are some crossover articles here but many new ones as well. The thing that caught my eye were all the personal stories from teens. I think those are the things that will hit home with your students more than any other piece of information you share with them. I'm going to have my high school students read at least one and journal their thoughts and feelings after reading it. Who knows, it may open up more lines of communication or spark the interest to do a deeper search.

Infections: Wow! Definitely some articles I really did not need to read more about, like Jock Itch or Pubic Lice, but again, a wealth of information here.

School & Jobs: this is a very odd section with stuff about going away to college, driving in bad weather, finding a summer job, dealing with summer romances, note-taking tips, goal-setting, or how to talk to a friend who is having a serious problem. Good information for the teens to read, and when you come up with a lesson plan on how to incorporate them into your class, please do submit it PECentral so everyone can share in the wealth.

Staying Safe: I was expecting this to be about how to keep yourself safe in different situations, for example, holding your car keys between each of your fingers, clenching your fists, and keeping your arm up in a ready-to-hit position, or never getting in a dark car without first checking the backseat, or even about walking on campus alone, but these were not the articles I found here. Many were the same ones you read in other sections, but there are a few new ones.

En Espanol: if your students prefer to visit websites in Spanish, this is the place to go.

Conclusion:

All-in-all a site worth bookmarking. There is something for everyone, all ages, and all levels. The articles are all written by either medical doctors or PhD's, which I found to be comforting. As a teacher I am always trying to figure out how to incorporate different things into the curriculum, or how to address certain issues, and although this site does not contain lesson plans, it does have a lot of tools you can use to develop some pretty cool ones. So, remember when you do come up with a lesson plan, submit, submit, submit! I look forward to seeing a huge slue of ideas in the upcoming weeks, and do share how it went and what the students thought! Job well done!


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