As the year progresses, there are many behaviors that we can highlight to help our students create healthy habits. Setting realistic, attainable goals a great way to keep kids on track and to redirect children who have strayed from the ideal path. Ask your students, “How can you lead a healthier lifestyle? What is one thing that you can do at home and one thing we can do together to reach the goal of being healthy?” I’m sure you’ll get many great ideas, which can then be turned into goals.
The National Health Education Standards for grades 6-8 include the following seven objectives but how do you teach these in ways that are relevant, personal, easy, and fun for middle schoolers?
- Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health. Analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
- Demonstrate the ability to access valid information and products and services to enhance health.
- Demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
- Demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
- Demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.
- Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
- Demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.
Teaching tweens and teens about the effects that alcohol has on their growing bodies is an important lesson that they need to learn now. Free digital resources from Responsibility.org’s Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix curriculum provide innovative materials for teachers, school counselors, nurses and other educators to teach middle schoolers about what the brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what that does to you.
The seven-part animated series provides students with practical, relevant, and highly personal learning that demonstrate the effects that alcohol has on their growing brains. Lessons are aligned with National Health Education Standards, Common Core State Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards and provide age appropriate instruction. In addition to the animated videos and lesson plans, the new content includes interactive classroom activities, vocabulary exercises, and comprehension questions to present content in fun ways while checking for understanding.
As students are making realistic goals to say yes to a healthy lifestyle and no to underage drinking, they can feel supported by other school staff and their parents to set them up for success. Ask, Listen, Learn materials also include resources for school counselors and a sample letter to parents. Together, we can help kids make good choices for healthy living.