Grade 8 Health Overview
8th Grade Health Education meets for 20 weeks. This course is a skills-based, student-centered class deeply rooted in the Social Emotional Learning framework.
The main units taught in 8th Grade Health are:
Skills: Self-assessment of wellness habits; identifying short-and long-term outcomes of health behaviors; identifying valid sources of health information on the internet
Functional Knowledge: 6 Dimensions of Wellness; criteria for identifying valid sources of information on the internet; teen brain information
Skills: Identifying personal stressors, identifying personal stress responses, creating a personal plan for healthy stress management; researching and utilizing strategies for achieving calm, focus and energy; reducing stigma associated with mental illness; accessing help for stress and mental illness concerns; “Acknowledge, Care, Tell” communication skill; identifying community resources for mental health
Functional Knowledge: Stress 101 (stress, stressor, fight/flight response), mental health, mental illness (anxiety, depression, suicide/suicide prevention)
Planning & Goal-Setting
Skills: How to set a SMART goal; selecting, researching, planning and working toward a personal health goal; identifying barriers to success and planning to overcome them; reflecting on progress toward goals.
Functional Knowledge: Influences on nutrition decisions, influences on fitness decisions, body types/body image; SMART goal criteria
Skills: Analyzing influences on decisions; assessment of personal risk/protective factors for decision-making; use of decision-making model to navigate dilemmas; strategies for “pushing pause” before making important decisions; accessing support for healthy decisions; identification of personal resources to avoid alcohol and other drugs.
Functional Knowledge: Teen brain information; information on alcohol, vaping, and other drugs; the role of stress, alcohol and other drugs on one’s ability to make healthy decisions
Relationships & Communication
Skills: Assertive communication skills (active listening, use of I-statements); assertive refusal skills; accessing community resources for sexual health and healthy relationships – including parents; forming personal criteria for sexual health decisions;
Functional Knowledge: healthy and unhealthy relationship qualities; dating information; dating relationship abuse prevention; gender (biological sex, gender identity, gender expression); attraction (sexual, romantic, emotional); anatomy & physiology of the reproductive systems; menstruation; sexually transmitted infection prevention; conception and pregnancy prevention; benefits of abstinence.
Advocacy (** may be a separate unit OR built into existing units)
Skills: analyzing data to determine priority health needs; researching information about the need; taking a health-enhancing stand; identification of an audience for advocacy efforts, selecting appropriate communication strategies for target audience; working with a group to persuade target audience to adopt health enhancing behavior
Functional Knowledge: social norms theory; project dependent but could include information about any of the following: sleep, stress management techniques, alcohol and other drug information including vaping; bullying/cyberbullying; screen time, physical activity; nutrition, body image; self-esteem; refusals; healthy decision-making.
What Parents Can Do:
· Encourage healthy living through conversations with your teen and modeling healthy lifestyles at home.
· Set clear expectations for your teen.
· Discuss your values with your teen – this positively impacts their ability to make healthy decisions!
· Reach out to your teen’s health teacher directly if you have any questions about curriculum.