Back to School with RealCare Baby

It’s Back to School time, which means it’s time to get RealCare Baby out of storage and ready for some new adventures! Here are some tips to get you started and back in the groove with your RealCare Baby program.

  1. Take the RealCare Program Health Assessment to learn how you can improve the health of your RealCare Program.
  2. Before deploying Baby each week, charge it overnight to ensure a full 7 day’s use.
  3. Number all accessories that come with each Baby to easily track parts.
  4. Review the many support resources available to you free on our website including:
  5. Give your students access to the RealCare Baby Guide app (available for iPhone and Android) so they can easily access “how-to” info, FAQs and video guides 24/7 to help them with their care experience.
  6. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube, for news, updates, free downloads, product support tips, etc.

For more back to school tips and tricks take a look at this video, which reviews Baby’s components, programming, report interpretation, curricula, product support resources and more.

Student Workbooks as an Effective Instructional Resource

Educators have debated the effectiveness of worksheets, handouts and workbooks for years.  Similar to technology use in the classroom, efficacy all depends on how they are used.  Here are a few nuggets to contemplate from a review of literature on the subject:

  • Graphic organizers help learners to understand tasks by nurturing active participation, decrease dependency on rote learning and memorization, tap into learners’ prior knowledge, and show association between concepts to build new understanding (Kirylo & Millet, 2000).
  • Worksheets help students to construct knowledge, help to assess students and get feedback, are used as supplemental material to textbooks in authentic lessons, and build scaffolding for  some teaching strategies (Demircioglu & Kaymakci, 2011).
  • Using Multiple Intelligences learning theory, teachers should vary instruction and assessment strategy because all students do not learn and exhibit learning the same way (Smith 2002, 2008) Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences.

We are happy to announce two new student workbooks now available as supplemental resources to the RealCare Baby Simulation Experience and the Pregnancy Profile Simulation.

The RealCare Baby Experience Workbook includes all handouts needed for the simulation experience. Rather than photocopying dozens of pages, it is all ready for use in this handy workbook. Graphic organizers, rubrics and quizzes are included. Students will also complete journal and self-assessment exercises to reflect on their learning.  The completed workbook is a great addition to student portfolios for highlighting this project.

The My Life Student Workbook is a companion product to the Pregnancy Profile simulation experience. Rather than photocopying and assembling these workbooks in class, you can use that valuable time to teach the key objectives. Many of the handouts involve setting goals, reflecting on what a teen pregnancy would do to those goals and journal on a wide variety of questions relating to the impact of an unplanned pregnancy. These exercises strengthen student writing and research skills. The completed workbook provides a meaningful take-home manual that students can keep and refer to.

Follow this link to learn more about these effective student workbooks and how you can use them in your program.

Incorporate Infant Toy Safety Into Your Family & Consumer Sciences Classroom This Season

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

In the next few weeks, children around the globe will be gifted with toys of all shapes and sizes. Since December is also Safe Toys & Gifts Awareness Month, a lesson on the importance of selecting safe and age-appropriate toys for infants and children might benefit your parenting, child care career or child development class. Keep reading to learn more about this awareness month and to download two free toy safety handouts.

ToySafety

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 251,800 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2014. Of those toy-related injuries, an estimated 84,400 (34 percent) happened to children younger than 5 years of age.

Infant and child safety is an important part of the curriculum that accompanies RealCare® Baby. Our Basic Infant Care curriculum includes two lessons that touch on various aspects of toy safety. Lesson 1.2, Infant and Toddler Development, includes a robust activity on identifying age-appropriate and safe toys for infants and toddlers of various stages. Lesson 3.4, Safety, First Aid and Infant Health, includes information specific to Riding Toy Safety. Students are even given a lengthy stack of flashcards with toys on them, which they must identify as safe and appropriate, and unsafe and inappropriate.

  • Click here for your own free Toys & Toy Safety download.
  • Click here for your own Riding Toy Safety download.

Celebrate this special month by integrating these free resources into your child development lessons this month. Together, we can make this season even safer for the infants and young children in our lives now and in the future.

For more information about this organization and tips for purchasing safe toys, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

How are you incorporating infant and child toy safety into your FCS program? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Customer success story: RealCare® Baby provides MO FACS students with authentic learning experiences

AmandaKlenke-HeadshotSince September 2013, Battle High School Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher Amanda Klenke has used Realityworks’ RealCare® Baby infant simulators to provide her Child Development 1 & 2 students with authentic, hands-on learning experiences as they discuss human development. As a result, Klenke’s 14- to 18-year-old students leave the classroom more prepared for children in the future and  or careers related to child care.

“The Babies have become so much more than just a project for these students,” said Klenke, who has 11 RealCare Baby 3 infant simulators and one RealCare™  Pregnancy Profile Simulator. “They have really become a great discussion piece for choosing to parent or building their resumes for jobs.”

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Battle High School students experience RealCare® Baby infant simulators during weekend simulations and in-class “Baby Bootcamp” sessions.

 

The electronic infant simulators cry for care throughout the day and night and require regular changing, feeding, burping and rocking. They also monitor surrounding
temperatures, track how long they sit unattended in car seats and how often their clothing is changed. All of this data is wirelessly tracked and used to generate caregiver reports. The Pregnancy Profile simulates the final trimester of pregnancy, allowing users  to feel what it is like to be 9 months pregnant. Klenke acquired the Babies, car seats,  accessories and program materials in June 2013, and started getting to know her new additions right away. As Klenke recalls, understanding the best way to use these powerful imulators required time, but was the process was made easier thanks to support provided  by Realityworks.

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Battle High School students are required to complete follow-up writing assignments following their weekend simulation experiences with RealCare® Baby.

 

“I spent lots of time on the Realityworks website and with the help line,” recalls Klenke. “The more I used them, the more comfortable I became with their needs and knowing what to expect.”

Click here to download Klenke’s full testimonial and learn how she uses these experiential learning products to provide her high school students with hands-on child development education. 

Recent Sex Ed Briefing Confirms Need for Effective Sex Education Programs

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute published a new State Policies in Brief – Sex and HIV Education report. This timely briefing contains updated statistics and information by state on key sex education mandates and metrics.

In the past decade, sex education has been in the news frequently. The new National Sexuality Education Standards were published in 2012, while federal funding underwent a fundamental shift away from abstinence-only programs. Additionally, schools have been urged to select sexuality education curricula that follow the characteristics of effective sex education developed by Douglas Kirby.

Realityworks has watched these developments with great interest, as it is part of our mission to provide educators with useful resources and experiential learning tools to help young people make good decisions. We have two comprehensive, abstinence-plus sex education curricula available that follow the Kirby principals.

On the fourth page of the State Policies in Brief – Sex and HIV Education report, you’ll find specific content requirements for sex and HIV education according to the Guttmacher Institute. Our Healthy Choices Sex Education Program curricula includes much of the content requirements found on this document. Topics such as contraception, abstinence, health decision-making, communication, and avoiding peer pressure are all part of the lessons found in Healthy Choices. In addition, the Healthy Choices curricula aligns to the National Sexuality Education Standards.

TPE-All

To learn more about our Healthy Choices Sex Education Program, including a lesson sample and standard alignments, click here. Additionally, the Guttmacher Institute‘s website provides a plethora of helpful sex education resources. This organization’s goal is to advance sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education, and their website features an interactive map for state-specific information as well as a searchable database.

Why do you value comprehensive sex education in schools? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Must-See Highlights from the RealCare Curriculum: Trimester Development Mix-Up Activity

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

In addition to offering powerful experiential learning products, RealityworksRealCare product line also offers effective, standards-based curriculum. In a new blog series called “Must-See Highlights from the RealCare Curriculum,” we’re going to highlight various activities, lessons and free downloads from each product’s curriculum to help ensure that our product users are making the most of their tools.

Let’s start with our Pregnancy Profile Simulator, which includes the “Understanding Pregnancy” curriculum. This curriculum has many hidden gems that you might not know about!

For instance, one important part of Lesson 5 is a discussion about fetal development by trimester. As you can see from the below example, the slide presentation designed to accompany that discussion shows fetal development month by month:

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In addition to this slide presentation, we also offer a free in-class activity designed to enhance the fetal development lesson: the Trimester Development Mix-Up.

Learn more about this activity and how to utilize it in your classroom by downloading your own Trimester Characteristics handout, then reading the instructions below!

Trimester Development Mix-Up instructions:

  1. Cut each developmental characteristic listed on the Trimester Characteristics sheet following the provided dotted lines.
  2. Write “First Trimester,” “Second Trimester,” and “Third Trimester” on a marker board or chalk board.
  3. Mix up the developmental characteristics in a hat or other container, then have each participant take turns drawing one and deciding which trimester it belongs in.
  4. Write the characteristic on the board under the trimester the participant chose, or tape the papers on the board and move as needed.
  5. After all the characteristics have been assigned, hand out the Trimester Development sheet and discuss each trimester. Change the lists so they are correct as you discuss each characteristic.

Discussion questions:

  • Does one trimester have more characteristics than another? Which one?
  • Which trimester is the most important? (All three are equally important, but major organs and systems form mostly in the first trimester.)

This activity could also be part of a day that includes guest speakers brought in to discuss pregnancy, labor and delivery. Speakers could feature:

  • A panel of women currently at various stages of pregnancy
  • Obstetrician from a local clinic
  • Ultrasound technician

You could use this activity in a unit on human growth and development, pregnancy, or health occupations.

How do you envision using the Trimester Development Mix-Up Activity in your classroom? Share your ideas in the comments!