You are on page 1of 7

Justification Paper

Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking Health Education

Jeanne Searfoorce
Boise State University
Summer 2013
Graphic Design for Learning
Intended Audience
The intended audience for my lessons is middle school students in grades six through
eight ranging in age from 10 to 14 years old. Many of these students are reading at a
level lower than their grade level. For this reason, these Health Education lessons
were developed to educate the students though strong visual graphic images (to
evoke feelings and opinions about the images), tactile exercises (use of websites) and
listening skills (though video presentation). While these lessons can be standalone
online lessons, educators can use these lessons in conjunction with classroom
discussion and printed materials to enhance the key themes in each lesson.
New Jersey Common Core Curriculum Standards
Technology Literacy
8.1.8.A.5 The use of technology and digital tools requires knowledge and
appropriate use of operations and related applications. (Select and use
appropriate tools and digital resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and to
solve problems.)
8.1.12.A.3 The use of technology and digital tools requires knowledge and
appropriate use of operations and related applications. (Participate in online
courses, learning communities, social networks, or virtual worlds and recognize
them as resources for lifelong learning.)
8.1.P.E.1 Effective use of digital tools assists in gathering and managing
information. (Use the Internet to explore and investigate information with a
teachers support.)
8.1.2.E.1 Effective use of digital tools assists in gathering and managing
information. (Use digital tools and online resources to explore a problem or
issue affecting children, and discuss possible solutions.)
Health Education
2.3.6.B.1. Explain the system of drug classification and why it is useful in
preventing substance abuse.
2.3.6.B.2 Relate tobacco use and the incidence of disease.
2.3.6.B.4. Determine the impact of the use and abuse of alcohol on the

incidence of illness, injuries, and disease, the increase of risky health

behaviors, and the likelihood of harm to ones health.
2.3.6.B.5. Determine situations where the use of alcohol and other drugs
influence decision - making and can place one at risk.
2.3.6.B.6. Summarize the signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse.
2.3.6.B.7 - Analyze the relationship between injected drug use and diseases
such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
Design Process
Lesson Plans and Website
As an EdTech student, one of the fundamental components of the program is to
integrate technology to enhance and facilitate online learning. Personally, I believe
that it is extremely important to get out of your comfort zone and try new things.
This summer in particular, my personal and academic mission was to explore and try
as many new technology tools as possible. is a fantastic website and blog
creation tool. I was introduced to this software in another course and it became clear
that it was the only tool I wanted to employ for the final project for this course. The
more you focus your site on its goals and the more precisely defined your target
audience is, the more efficiently and effectively you can present the information.
(Williams and Tollett, 88)
I immediately began thinking about the final project. I decided that I wanted to
design materials that would afford me the opportunity to not only explore new
technology but also turn-key content to other educators for use in their classrooms. I
spoke with the Health and Physical Education teachers at my school regarding online
lesson units in health education. The decision was made to create three related units
of instruction: Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking. I was supplied curriculum, offered
enthusiasm and was afforded assistance if I had questions about the content. As I
began looking online for information contained in the massive, overwhelming
curriculum, it became immediately apparent that this important subject had little or
no centralized information or curriculum. Knowing the learning goal can establish an
expectancy in learners, arousing their interest and giving them a goal toward which to
direct their cognitive energies. (Smith & Ragan, 132)
The images were all created to coincide with the three units of instruction: Drugs,
Alcohol and Smoking. The purpose of the images was to invoke raw emotion. The
intent of some of the images was to humor the audience while conveying an
important message (Sophisticated Smokers, I Always Dress My Best, Say Cheese!,
and Grasshopper) while the intent of the other images was to bring reality to the
forefront (Death Rhymes With Meth, and Im Finally Part of the In Crowd). Both,

Can She Have Another Round? and, Smoke and Mirrors, border on humor and
reality. In my Graphic Descriptions there is more information regarding my thoughts
and process when creating these images.
The goal of the Drug, Alcohol and Smoking units is for students to make healthy
choices. The color green means, Growth, freshness, health, hope but is also
associated with guilt, disease, nausea, terror (Nelson, 1989); among the most cited
favorite colors (Boyle, 2001). (Lohr, 270). The minute I chose the template, I knew
that it was one that would convey every message contained within the sites pages.
As with any website, the homepage is cover page and its presence defines the mood
of the content that lies within its pages. My target audience is a diverse group of
middle school students so it was imperative that the image represented the most
varied group of students imaginable without being mundane or too stereotypical.
Ironically, I found the image I used on a website targeting teens with acne. The image
represents my mental image of middle school teens.
I wanted the format of my website to be simple, effective, easy to navigate and
interesting. On a website, your navigation buttons are a repetitive element. Colors,
style, illustrations, format, layout, typography, and so on can all be part of the
repetition that unifies the entire site. (Williams and Tollet, 122). I chose the topics
early in the course. Two of the three lesson plans were completed by the third week
of the course. That was extremely helpful as I designed my graphics because my
lesson concepts were front and center in the creative side of my brain.
Within each unit (Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking), there two modules. These modules
contain links to various types of content including images, video, web 2.0 tool and
printable pages. I included printable pages because many educators like to have
paper documentation of student work for grading purposes as well as evidence of
content comprehension. All materials are made available to both the student and
teacher to enhance the goals and topics of the health education lesson.
Asynchronous tools allow learners to engage with the course when it is convenient
for them, within defined due dates and timelines on specific activities. These tools
are the backbone of online instruction, and their well-planned use can determine the
success of a course. (Rice, 187)
Students studying independently or in a classroom setting should use the images on
the main pages of each topic area as a Do Now to get them thinking about each
particular topic. For the educator, the images are an excellent way to create an open
forum of discussion. An icebreaker should be carefully planned, not left to chance. It
sets the tone for future communications between learners; therefore, it should be
fun, creative and expressive. (Conrad and Donaldson, 52)

To eliminate user frustration, I wanted to design a site without redundancy and that
has an intuitive flow from one content area to the next. While each topic has the
redundant third module of Healthy Choices, I chose to place this material in its own
section where it can be used to conclude a particular unit or be utilized as a fourth
unit of instruction. Each independent topic has two modules contained within their
particular unit.
The justification tab links directly to my paper with my ideas and concepts used for
the conceptualization of the images, content framework and website design process.
I also created a lesson plan tab so educators can use these lesson plans in their
classroom and can submit to school administrator. All of the tools on the website are
included in the plans and each educator can continue to amend them as needed.
Graphic Descriptions
Sophisticated Smokers
Color, Depth, Space and Selection
I thought that humor would evoke an unexpected reaction
about the negative effects of smoking. Most students
hear, Dont smoke. Its bad for your health. This image
approaches the subject of smoking from a purely
superficial standpoint, How do you look when youre
smoking? With an image driven society such as ours, this image is one where
discussion may linger for quite some time after the students have seen it.
Color may not be necessary. (Lohr, 269) Chose colors that help the user see the big
picture (gestalt). (Lohr, 269). With a white background, the audience will notice
that the animals are smoking which is abnormal. For this reason, I feel the audience
will see the big picture. The students may ponder if they look as cool as the
animals which are smoking.
Death Rhymes with Meth
Typography and Shape
Meth, a drug once popular only in the suburbs and has
slowly moved into the urban drug scene. Since I teach in
an urban setting, I thought that incorporating a focus on
meth is important because of its devastating effects.
I this image invokes a feeling of fear. That was my initial
reaction where I saw the before and after photos. This
image is effective because the photos are real and show

that drugs can take your beauty. Secondly, these young people aged exponentially
Asymmetry is form that does not have balanced proportions. Asymmetrical balance
is achieved when all elements in display are in harmony, but the elements are not
symmetrical. (Lohr, 180) The unbalance in this image further reinforces the
unbalanced life of a drug user.
Can She Have Another Round?
Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity (CARP)
Many kids may not be interested in trying hard drugs but
would be interested in drinking alcohol because it is not
illegal to purchase alcohol (unless you are under the age
of 21), and they see many family members consuming
alcohol for various happy celebratory occasions.
I wanted the students to focus on a 120 pound female
drinking four glasses of beer at a party within an hour. By
the second glass, she is intoxicated at the party. Drinking alcohol underage may seem
like a fun ride, but like a carousel, it will come to an end. The possibility is it will not
be as fun as the moments you were consuming the alcohol.
I Always Dress My Best
Organization and Integration
After I read the text, I found this lesson a personal
challenge. The word chunking stood out. This lesson
focuses on why students should not drink alcohol to
I particularly focused on beer consumption as it seems
many underage drinkers prefer the frosty beverage.
Then, it popped into my head, Put a costume on the
beer. Low and behold, I found a penguin costume and
dressed up my bottle of beer. Penguins like the cold.
The beer looks cold. This was honestly a happy
coincidence. The lime added some character.
The idea was that dressing up a beer bottle as a penguin
is ridiculous. Drinking too much alcohol underage is
ridiculous. Dont be ridiculous. I added some text in blocks so the message would
pop. Addressing the students with humor prior to adds laughable moments at
appropriate times keeping the mood light and the content engaging.

Im Finally Part of the In Crowd

Since my youth, one clich location where kids are known
to get into trouble is the playground. In the town where I
used to live (which was quite nice), nighttime activities
at the playground included graffiti (which I saw when
taking my children there to play) and drug dealing (which
was mentioned at a town watch meeting by authorities.
The irony of this image is to remind teens that the cool
kids are not always conducting themselves safely. If teens begin to think about
subjecting themselves to using drugs, especially to garner the attention of the cool
kids at school, they are also subjecting themselves to the physical, social and
psychological consequences associated with drug use. This image is a stark reminder
that using meth can cause drastic physical changes. They should ask themselves if
these friends are worth keeping.
Say, Cheese!
This image is about taking literal expressions to the
extreme. The term party animal is used to describe
someone who likes to act wild and crazy at parties
typically drinking alcohol to excess. If you take this
expression literally one step further, imagine attending a
party with animals dressed as people. It seems absurd.
Take this concept literally one step further, these same
party animals are at a party in Key West, Florida (which
is known to have a booming party scene). Finally, this
image is taken to the furthest extreme when these party animals in Key West,
Florida pose for a photograph and say, Cheese!. The message of this image is to
relate the silly nature of this literal image to teens drinking to excess underage.
While it is dangerous, the humor in this image is one way to express ridiculous
drunken teen behavior.
Smoke and Mirrors
There are millions of people who smoke cigarettes that
show no extreme outward signs of being smokers. Many
teens would express how smokers look glamorous,
sophisticated and there are no negative outward signs of
smoking (like using meth). Technology has not brought us
forward economically to the point of being able to
examine our internal organs cost effectively. Therefore, I am using this beautiful
country cottage to parallel with a person who started smoking two packs a day as a

Compare yourself (you are you so you are no cost) to a stunning home that is free
to the first interested party. You would expect that anyone would want to live here.
From the outside, it seems perfect. After closer inspection, the description describes
the interior is covered in smoke and soot. The point of the image is that is the effects
of smoking are internal and you cannot see the real damage until its too late. You
will have physical symptoms, find out you are possibly terminally ill and think about
the poor choices you made as a teen. Beauty is skin deep.
From a young age, teens value friendships, are aware of
their image and seek to be individuals at the same time.
In a media-centric world where celebrities and politicians
alike have their most personal daily accounts exploited,
teens are sent many mixed messages about these
individuals actions. Are these acts by adults morally and
legally acceptable? Are these the individuals who they
aspire to be like? Celebrities and politicians are not held to the same legal standards
as the rest of us.
Teens do not truly understand the consequences of their actions. You can be arrested
if you are using or possessing illegal drugs. In a world where kids are bombarded with
test scores, applying to high school or college, and performing well in extra-curricular
activities there is no severe consequence if these particular parts of their life are
imperfect. Yet, using or possessing an illegal substance like marijuana can place a
mark on their permanent record far worse than a D in mathematics. Kids need to
realize some risks are not worth taking.
Conrad, R & Donaldson, J. Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for
Creative Instruction. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual
literacy. Columbus, Ohio: Pearson.
Rice, K (2012). Making the Move to K-12 Online Teaching: Research-Based Strategies
and Practices. Columbus, Ohio: Pearson.
Smith, P & Ragan, T. Instructional Design. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Williams, R & Tollett, J. (2006. The Non-Designers Web Book. Berkley, California:
Peachpit Press.