The Hangout Content Area
The Hangout encourages youth to explore self-knowledge, friendships, recreation, and methods of dealing with teasing and bullying. This content area is comprised of four units:
Click here for a complete Map of The Hangout.
The Hangout focuses on the significance of belonging: knowing that you have a valued place in the world – at home, at school, and in the community. Adolescence is a time when peer relationships become very important. In order for teens to develop their own identity and autonomy and to plan for the future, they need constant interaction with supportive peers, but they also need the guidance of caring adults. The Hangout introduces the importance of understanding ourselves, the importance of relationships, how to have fun, and addresses the issue of bullying and teasing so that youth can begin the process of developing a sense of self as well as others.
Youth with disabilities have additional material to engage with in The Hangout. This includes material to help them understand their specific disability, how it impacts their daily life with respect to recreational activities (learning about access and transportation options), and more.
By reading and completing online activities in The Hangout, youth will achieve the following outcomes:
- Learn more about themselves: what they like, don’t like, believe in, value, and care about.
- Define friendship and learn how to increase their skills in developing and maintaining friendships.
- Discuss what makes a good friend and understand how this applies to their own behavior as well as that of others.
- Learn about what they like to do for fun and how to make it happen.
- Understand what bullying and teasing is and what they can do about it.
- Develop goals in the above areas in their Life Map
Activities to Assign
Before leading youth through The Hangout, please take into account the following:
- This unit may be difficult for some youth. Exploring who they are, the friendships they have, how they have fun, and the issue of bullying and teasing may be very threatening for some young adults. Try to be very aware of what the dynamics among the young adults you are working with.
- If an individual is uncomfortable or does not want to do a certain activity you may want to think of an alternate activity or assignment that seems less threatening.
- Try to keep things as positive as possible. When we explore different aspects of our selves and our self-concept it can be easy to dwell on traits you see as negative rather than the positive. Support youth in finding as many positive traits about themselves as possible and encourage them to be supportive to one another during this unit.
In addition to the reading material available in each unit, there are numerous activities you may choose to assign youth. These include questions to consider for discussion or reflection, online and hands-on activities to complete, and other Web sites to explore.
1. Lead a Discussion
When working with youth in this content area, you may want to facilitate a group discussion about the topics explored in each unit. Below we’ve provided sample discussion questions to help youth explore each unit’s topic in more depth. These questions can also be used as writing assignments for youth to reflect on a topic, either confidentially in their Private Journal, or to be shared with you as their Youthhood Guide in their Class Notebook. (Note: You have the option to view and comment on their work in the Class Notebook. See Viewing & Commenting on Entries for more information.)
Discussion Questions for Knowing Myself Unit
- How does knowing more about yourself change the way you see yourself?
- Does knowing more about who you are help you to think about the future and what you want to do with your life?
- What was the most important thing you learned about yourself as you went through this section of The Youthhood?
- What was your favorite part of this area and why?
Discussion Questions for Having Friends Unit
- What is the hardest thing about making friends?
- What do you like about the friends you have?
- Do you think you are a good friend to others?
- What is the most important thing you learned from this area of The Youthhood?
Discussion Questions for Having Fun Unit
- What do you like to do for fun?
- What is one thing you learned from going through this area of The Youthhood?
- What is one new fun activity you would like to try? What is your plan for doing this?
- What are the biggest problems at your school?
- What are your thoughts about bullying and teasing?
- Have you ever been or do you know someone who has been bullied or teased? What was it like for you or for them?
- What should schools and communities do to stop bullying and teasing? What can you do?
- What scares you the most about bullying and teasing?
2. Assign a "Youthhood Poll"
The Youthhood homepage has a new poll question every few weeks. Youth must be logged in to vote on a poll. See About the Youthhood Poll for more information.
3. Assign "My Youthhood" Activities
Here at The Youthhood we’ve designed numerous online activities to help youth build a strong foundation of knowledge and to apply the material on the Web site to their own life. These include the Private Journal, Activities Folder, Life Map, and Class Notebook and are part of the "My Youthhood" menu youth see when they log in. See Online Activities for more information.
Click here to Preview Online Activities in The Hangout.
4. Assign Other Web Sites to Explore
There are some terrific Web sites available for youth to learn more about the topics covered in The Youthhood. You may wish to assign youth the task of exploring some of these Web sites.
Click here to Preview Web Sites Linked in The Hangout.
5. Assign Hands-On Activities
In addition to the existing materials on the site, you might create additional real-world, hands-on activities so that youth can see the concepts in action. The following are examples of hands-on activities you might assign youth in The Hangout:
- Encourage youth to research local activities they might want to check into for fun and recreation. Bring in a local newspaper that lists upcoming events and have them learn about what’s happening right in their own community.
- Have youth develop a list of school and community organizations where they might be able to meet others their own age with common interests, such as school clubs, community education, the YMCA, etc.
- Have youth journal privately and/or discuss as a group issues they face with making and keeping friends. What is the easiest/hardest thing about making and keeping friends for them?
- If a young adult admits or acknowledges that they have been either a victim or a perpetrator of bullying and/or teasing, you may want to work with that youth individually to help them develop a plan to address what has been happening (see How to Stop Teasing and Bullying activity).
- If bullying becomes a central issue for youth and you are teaching this unit in a school, have youth take the lead in forming an anti-bullying task force for the school as part of their assignment. If you are teaching in a community setting, have youth do something like this for their community as part of an initiative through your organization.
Developing a Lesson Plan
We’ve provided some tips on how you might incorporate the interactive features with the content pages and your own supplemental activities to optimize learning for youth. See Developing a Lesson Plan.
Here are additional online resources for you as the Youthhood Guide to learn more about the topics presented within each unit of The Hangout. Titles with "(PDF)" are links to PDF documents, and require Adobe Acrobat Reader (free) to download.
- Youth Development & Leadership (National Center on Secondary Education and Transition) This NCSET Web Topic explores the benefits of youth development and leadership, and how youth can get involved in the many opportunities available to them for developing leadership skills.
- National 4-H Are your students wondering how they can get involved in this great organization? Do they wish that you could do more for their community? Are they looking for some more fun and excitement in their lives? Find out how they can join 4-H by visiting this site.
Surviving the Lunch Room
- Resources to stop bullying (stopbullying.gov) Courses, information, and ways to get help as well as “What you can do” guides for parents, educators, community members, teens and kids.
- Bullying and Teasing of Youth With Disabilities: Creating Positive School Environments for Effective Inclusion (National Center on Secondary Education and Transition) This Issue Brief provides clear definitions of bullying, teasing, and disability harassment. It also outlines research about bullying and harassment, and describes two effective, comprehensive, whole-school, anti-bullying programs. Finally, the brief offers recommendations and resources for further action.
- Bullying, Teasing, Youth Violence, and Prevention: Addressing the Needs of Youth with Disabilities (National Center on Secondary Education and Transition) Transcript of the NCSET national teleconference call held October 24, 2003. Presenters on this call addressed research, basic information, and best practice recommendations regarding youth with disabilities with respect to bullying, teasing, and youth violence; peer pressure and its relationship to bullying and teasing; and prevention and intervention. Includes resource list.
- Is Your Child a Target of Bullying?: Intervention Strategies for Parents of Children with Disabilities (PDF) Intervention strategies for parents of children with disabilities. This curriculum, developed by the PACER Center, is available on CD-ROM or on overhead color transparencies with a printed script. It is available in both English and Spanish. $15 CD-ROM / $165 Color Transparencies with Script.
- Bullying prevention (Pacer) Website for the prevention of bullying which offer information, videos, stories, program and resources to help youth and adults prevent bullying.
- MedlinePlus: Bullying (National Institutes of Health) "Bullying" is one of over 650 health topics on the Medline Plus Web site. MedlinePlus is a product of information garnered from the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and other resources.