1. Deck, Michele L. MEd, BSN, RN, LCCE, FACCE, Column Editor

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I met a creative and energetic educator, Karen Ellenwood, BSN, RN, faculty at the Diman Regional School of Practical Nursing in Fall River, Massachusetts ([email protected]), at a presentation where I demonstrated the use of props as teaching tools. Karen recently e-mailed me about how she took this idea and made it her own. Here is her description:


I have used this technique to teach the diabetes triad: Diet = plastic food model, Exercise = jump rope, and Medication = a recycled large mayo jar with a computer-generated label. I hide each of these items in a large paper grocery bag. Each bag has a number on it (1, 2, and 3) and is sealed.


I take each bag and hand it to a random student in the class. Then I begin a review of the reading assignment for diabetes. When I get someone to say one of the components of the triad, I ask the student with the appropriate number bag to open the bag and come up front with the prop. If after a few minutes no one has named a component of the triad, I call a number to trigger their memory. This approach adds fun and visuals to the concept and gets discussion going. The PN students like the approach and remember this presentation.


I have recently begun graduate school working for my MSN at Framingham State College and used this technique with other grad students to help tie together a group presentation on an analysis of the curriculum in the program at the College.


We reviewed 13 courses, and this is not a very exciting topic. We used a variety of objects to symbolize some component of each course; we used play money for policy and politics; an army fatigue jacket for strategic planning; a baby doll and Barbie doll to symbolize growth and development; international hats for cultural diversity and ethics; a lab coat/gray wig/cane for research; and the finish was a graduation teddy bear/mortar board/and MS stole depicting graduation. Well, the grad students loved it and some are planning to try the technique out with their students.


Good luck, Karen, on completing your master's in the class of 2010!