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Teaching Students Hand-Washing Skills

With the holidays comes “cold and flu season.” Everyone is locked inside, windows are closed, and germs are everywhere! How appropriate that this is also National Hand-Washing Awareness Week! For, research shows that one of the ways to stop the spread of the cold and flu viruses is to regularly and correctly wash our hands. Teaching our students proper hand-washing is a vital adult living skills to keep them healthy and germ-free.

How to Use this Free Lesson

Use the short, clear lesson, “Wash Your Hands,” from Hygiene for Guys or Hygiene for Girls from the Daily Living Skills series to introduce the concept of hand washing.

  1. Use crepe paper streamers to display the concept of germs. The average sneeze spreads germs some 26 feet. Put students in groups of two with pre-cut 26’ streamers. Have the “sneezer” signal his or her partner to back up while unrolling the streamer. Allow several pairs to do this to demonstrate the “field of germs” caused by a sneeze. Explain how all the surfaces in that 26-foot-range will be showered with virus germs.

  2. Complete Page 43. Work as a group to discover times when your hands could become covered with germs and dirt.

  3. Dramatize hand-washing. If actual soap and water is unavailable, let students demonstrate the 5 steps of hand-washing. Sing a happy chorus of “Happy Birthday” while scrubbing your hands together to illustrate what 20 seconds feels like when hand-washing.

  4. Wiggle your hands. Or, fan them, wave them, or twirl them to feel the air against them as you practice “air drying.”

  5. Complete the chart. Reinforce the five steps by allowing students to complete the “How to Wash Your Hands” chart on page 45.

For More Information

Like other books in the series, Hygiene for Guys and Hygiene for Girls are written on a 3rd/4th grade level with bullet-point information and light, airy pages that, nevertheless, honor teens maturity and sensibilities while meeting Indicator 13 requirements and federal transition mandates alike. For more information on the series, go to our website.

12_1 Handwashin WS
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