This third grade teacher's classroom lessons on consent are perfection.

Liz Kleinrock has used America's heated discourse on sexual violence as the springboard for lessons on consent for her third graders.

Kleinrock, who teaches at Citizens of the World Charter School Silver Lake in Los Angeles, took to Facebook and Instagram to share the visual aids she uses in her lessons about about consent.

She talks about what consent looks and sounds like. She explores when consent is needed in a way that’s appropriate for the age group. She also addresses some of the “What if” questions kids might raise, such as “What if the other person says “No,” but they’re smiling?” or “What if the person wanted a hug yesterday, but doesn’t today?” and gives kids alternatives for what to do if consent is not given.


Kleinrock says that current conversations about sexual assault prompted her to take action with the kids in her classroom.

“Everything about Kavanaugh in the news has been making me HEATED,” she wrote on the social media accounts she keeps for her website, Teach and Transform. “So whenever I get frustrated about the state of our country, it inspires me to proactively teach my kids to DO BETTER. Today was all about CONSENT. We even explored the grey areas, like if someone says “yes” but their tone and body language really says “no.” Role playing is a great way to reinforce these skills, but they MUST be taught explicitly!”

Kleinrock says her consent lessons aren't about sex, and that the concept of consent starts long before sexual relationships come into the picture.

Some people may feel weird about addressing consent with kids so young. But Kleinrock says there are foundational lessons that need to start early, which aren't directly tied to sex.

“For a lot of adults, the idea of addressing consent with children is alarming because of the relationship between consent and sex,” Kleinrock wrote in an article on Tolerance.org. “However, it’s important to break down the concept of consent regarding boundaries, comfort, physical interactions and mutual respect before even getting into the subjects of sex, romantic relationships or toxic masculinity.”

She and her third graders brainstorm situations that might call for consent, and explore the “gray areas” that sometimes trip kids—and adults—up. For example, what if someone’s body language is saying something different than their words? What if someone is hesitant in their response?

Kleinrock also points out that it’s not all about someone’s physical personal space. “Students giggle and contribute ideas such as giving hugs and kisses,” she said, “but also state that it’s important to ask for permission when it comes to sharing and borrowing items from another person. One child proclaims, ‘And telling secrets! You have to ask permission to tell someone else’s secret!’”

Kleinrock has now added “secrets” to her lessons on personal safety and boundaries.

The student who said “secrets” were something that needed consent to tell was partially right. But that message can be problematic for kids who have been violated and told to keep it a secret.

So Kleinrock has added a lesson about when to keep a secret and when not to. She points out that things like hate speech or doing something dangerous or inappropriate are not things to keep secrets about, whereas fun surprises or someone’s personal business—like a kid’s parents getting divorced—are secrets we shouldn’t share.  

Imagine if all kids got such thorough and thoughtful lessons on consent starting at an early age. Keep up the awesome work, Ms. Kleinrock.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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