My middle school students are especially chatty so I harnessed their energy into skits to demonstrate refusal skills.
We first reviewed the STOP model of refusal skills. I wrote the letters “STOP” vertically on the board and asked students to help guess what the letters could mean regarding refusal skills.
Then I filled in the “correct” answers.
S- Say “no” firmly.
T- Tell why not.
O- Offer other ideas.
P- Promptly leave.
We talked about how when I was in school, I always imagined a scary person jumping out and offering drugs. As I got to be a teenager, I realized it was peers who first introduce us to substances. Refusal skills are important (and difficult) because we are saying no to someone we like or love.
On their own lined paper, students number 1-5, skipping a line in between. They write the peer pressure side of the script. They start by offering a substance (we did this as part of our alcohol unit) and give four more reasons to try the substance. This coincides with their notes on why students drink alcohol.
Then students trade papers with a partner. Students are required to create a script for a skit by demonstrating the four refusal skills. This coincides with their notes on the consequences of drinking alcohol.
With extra time, students are given the opportunity to perform their skit for the class.
This activity went very well. It was structured enough for positive classroom management, but it was freeform enough to be fun for the students.