Although it’s a new year and a new semester has begun for students in many parts of the country, the idea of keeping New Year’s resolutions is long gone. The enthusiasm that tweens and teens originally display towards sticking to personal resolutions often evaporates before the first month of the year ends. But what if teachers were to challenge kids to make relevant resolutions they’d want to keep throughout the year that would serve them well throughout their lifetime?
Middle schoolers need to know that making and keeping a resolution isn’t hard, especially if it’s easy and something they truly care about. Now is a great time to seize the opportunity to create meaningful instruction around the importance of being healthy and practicing healthy behaviors by making learning relevant, personal, attainable, and fun.
Make it relevant
We know the curriculum that we’re supposed to teach, but it’s important to make the learning relevant. Examine learning standards, outcomes, and objectives and match them to real world examples that will help students understand what you’re trying to teach and provide context for the important lessons you’re imparting.
Make it personal
One of the best ways to make learning relevant is to make it personal. Demonstrate how what they’re learning affects them with age appropriate examples that are easy to comprehend. Having a tween and teen of my own, I know that this age group needs to connect with resolutions on a personal level. Make the connection between the learning and how it affects them, and you’re far more likely to grab their attention.
Make it attainable
Tons can be said about the attention span of this generation and their inability to stick with a task for an extended period of time, but the reality of the situation is that if a goal is too lofty the end goal is less likely to be achieved. We know this as adults, and kids are the same way. Resolutions should be realistic. Change created over a reasonable period of time should help develop positive habits for life.
Make it fun
Gone are the days of paper and pencil tasks and reading textbooks to learn. Today’s generation is used to learning with multimedia, and thankfully, there’s no shortage of free resources online. After identifying curriculum goals and objectives, search out interactive flip charts for digital white boards, age appropriate videos, and apps that can support student learning in your classroom. We know that kids need to hear messages more than once for learning to sink in. Digital resources can be effective tools for conveying messages in a variety of ways to reinforce classroom learning.
There are many behaviors that we can highlight as the year progresses to help our students create healthy habits. Teaching tweens and teens about the effects that alcohol has on their growing bodies is an important lesson that they need to learn now.
Teaching students about healthy behaviors for a healthy lifestyle is great to have at the start of any new year but needs to be ongoing to be most effective. Thankfully Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix is the most widely-distributed and evaluated program of its kind and the new free digital resources provide relevant, personal, easy, and fun ways to keep kids engaged with this topic now, during their middle school years, and throughout their lives.