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Archived Information

Health Curriculum Framework
Building Resilience Through Comprehensive Health

January 1996

Healthy Self-Management Strand

The study and practice of healthy self-management enables students to integrate and apply essential knowledge and skills with respect to their own health-related decisions and behaviors. As the Common Core proposes, all students should "make informed and responsible judgments regarding personal health, including avoidance of violence, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases." They should also "develop skills and participate in physical activities for personal growth, fitness, and enjoyment" and manage resources including "money" and "time" so as to achieve balance and steps toward career goals and economic independence.

Learning to assume increasing responsibility for their own health-related decisions and behaviors entails self-assessment, goal-setting, and decision-making, as well as the ability to consider potential consequences and evaluate actual outcomes. One central task for health learners is to develop an understanding of risk and probability. For any individual, a specific behavior (or avoidance of it) is not likely to guarantee a long life or good health; it can, however, alter the odds of a particular outcome. By practicing a repertoire of health-promoting behaviors, students can significantly increase the likelihood of good health -- be it physical, intellectual, emotional, social, or economic -- for themselves, as well as for their families and communities.

For a young learner, healthy self-management might mean choosing nourishing snacks, asking for help in making a particular decision, and learning how to stay safe. An older learner might begin to maintain a personal health history, including a record of immunizations, blood type, allergies, major illnesses, and medical and dental check-ups. In high school, learners take increasing responsibility for balancing competing priorities, allocating time among study, work, and recreation, and refining and testing career goals and life plans. At all grade levels, students demonstrate age appropriate behaviors and habits that build physical, emotional, and social health.

Learning Standard 5:

Students will assess health beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in order to set achievable goals, monitor progress, and evaluate outcomes.

Students focus on their attitudes and beliefs to become more conscious of how these affect their actions. They identify changes in personal behavior and health habits as well as new or improved skills that will improve their health. They plan concrete steps and goals, monitor progress, and evaluate outcomes, often revising their plans and setting new goals.

  • How do I influence my own health, positively and/or negatively, both now and in the future?
  • What roles do individual, family, community, and cultural beliefs and priorities play in health decisions?
  • Why do people relapse into unhealthy behaviors and how can this be prevented?

Grades PreK-4 Standards

1. Compare and contrast health habits and behaviors with guidelines approved by government and/or health agencies.

2. Set a personal health goal in hygiene, nutrition, or physical exercise and measure progress towards its achievement.

3. Recognize and apply strategies for managing stressful situations and conflict.


1. PreK-2: Students mark pictures to record the number of servings of fruit and vegetables they eat during a day and compare with USDA food pyramid recommendations. (connects with Mathematics)

3-4: After recording their nutritional intake for several days according to the categories in the USDA food pyramid, learners compute their averages in each category. (connects with Mathematics)

2. PreK-2: Having done the example in 1a., students set a nutrition goal such as five fruits and vegetables per day and record their intake for a week.

3-4: Based on a health-related fitness test, students decide which personal fitness component they wish to improve and set individual goals. Working with partners, they use graphs and charts to monitor progress. (connects with Mathematics)

3. PreK-2: On the playground, students practice using verbal and non-verbal communication instead of physical force to express disagreements.

3-4: Students practice calming down techniques such as slow breathing and tightening muscles and letting go as steps to be used before verbal problem solving in a conflict situation.

Grades 5-8 Standards

Continue the PreK -4 Standards and:

4. Investigate and describe how personal responsibility for health-related decisions and behaviors can change over the life span.

5. Establish and monitor progress towards personal goals in relation to adolescent health concerns.

6. Identify ways to gain support from others in changing problem behaviors and maintaining healthful behaviors.

7. Examine health attitudes and beliefs about sexuality and how these affect setting goals and limits.


4. In a group of peers who are also helping younger children, students discuss child care or cross-age tutoring experiences for developmental insights. (connects with Science and Technology)

5. Students establish a realistic health goal to achieve over one month. Students keep a written log of their progress and answer questions such as: What surprised me?, What might I do differently this coming week?, and What factors helped or hindered in attaining my objectives for this week?

6. Sharing their health goals from the example above, students work with a partner to identify what things that others did and said helped them to achieve their goal.

7. Eighth grade students examine definitions of "consent" and work at developing guidelines for a "Rights in Relationship" contract.

Grades 9-10 Standards

Continue the PreK-8 Standards and:

8. Develop a personal risk profile and relate it to short- and long-term health goals.

9. Research, evaluate, and implement strategies to manage personal stress and improve individual health.

10. Evaluate protective factors influencing personal health, plan ways to increase them, monitor progress, and revise plan.

11. Identify life-management skills that contribute to achieving personal goals.

12. Identify safety planning strategies used in dealing with violence in relationships or other unsafe interpersonal situations.


8. Students gather information as available on personal health histories, environmental conditions affecting health, and individual health behaviors to identify health goals. (connects with Social Studies)

9. In pairs, students develop individual six-week exercise plans, monitor progress, and reevaluate.

10. As a class, students brainstorm ways to get in touch with supportive adults and where they can find them; e.g., coaches, school guidance counselors, youth outreach workers, clergy, extended family members, Boys and Girls Clubs, congregations, battered women's shelters, etc.(connects with Social Studies)

11. Working in small groups, students develop a list of skills and attitudes important in parenting and a list of skills and attitudes useful in finding employment, documenting on-the-job problem solving, and assuming increased work responsibilities.

12. Students interview local district attorney staff, battered women's advocates, and others to determine strategies for maintaining personal safety when confronted with a violent partner including avoidance, distancing, and terminating relationships.

Grades 11-12 Standards

Continue the PreK-10 Standards and:

13. Develop short-term, long-term, and lifelong personal health and fitness goals.

14. Compare and contrast health issues associated with a variety of occupations, professions, and workplace conditions.


13. Students share what they think their lives will be like 1, 5, 25, and 50 years hence. Working in small groups, they brainstorm the effects of current health behaviors on future expectations.

14. Learners share health-related information about places they and their peers are currently working or have worked. They identify the pros and cons and chart the benefits and health risks associated with various types of employment. (connects with Social Studies)

What this looks like in the classroom/laboratory/physical education setting

  • In addition to interviewing parents, Ms. Walter's 9th grade family and consumer sciences class uses simulated parenting experiences to reflect on the question, "Am I ready to be a parent?" To represent a child, students use a five pound bag of flour covered with a white tube sock with stuffing for its head. Each student is given an index card with the sex of the infant, the amount of money saved for expenses or available as support. Students are instructed to keep the infant with them at all times or place it under care of a trusted person. At the end of a month, students submit a budget, their daily logs, and describe how the experience influenced their thinking about parenthood.

Learning Standard 6:

Students will demonstrate the ability to assess risk, consider potential consequences, and make health-enhancing decisions.

Students carefully examine how they make decisions and weigh the probable consequences of their actions. They consider the role that risk plays in their lives, both the need to take risks such as standing up for one's opinion and the need to avoid other risks associated with dangerous situations or behaviors. Students practice the art of making health-enhancing decisions and defending them.

  • How can we identify and assess various degrees and types of risk?
  • What specific behaviors pose risks for oneself or others, now; in the future?
  • How can a person best determine the likely consequences of his or her actions?
  • What questions should one ask before making a decision?

Grades PreK-4 Standards

1. Identify behaviors and situations that are safe, risky, or harmful to self and others.

2. Identify and practice steps in assessing risk and making responsible decisions.


1. PreK-2: As a class, brainstorm a safety checklist for the playground. With a teacher or adult, students evaluate hazards posed by litter and unsafe behavior. They design warning signs where necessary. (connects with English Language Arts)

3-4: In small groups, students give examples of behaviors that might pose risks for oneself and others when using various pieces of gymnastic equipment.

2. PreK-2: Learners discuss risks associated with Halloween trick-or-treating and develop guidelines for examining candy with an adult before eating, crossing streets and negotiating steps while in costume, and other potential dangers.

3-4: Students role play asking an adult for information, advice, and support in making a decision about whether or not to try smoking tobacco.

Grades 5-8 Standards

Continue the PreK-4 Standards and:

3. Demonstrate the ability to make health-enhancing decisions in the areas of substance use, violence, and sexuality.

4. Identify barriers to and supports for making health-enhancing decisions.

5. Develop proactive strategies for managing peer pressure.

6. Investigate and give examples of the short- and long-term consequences of specific risk behaviors for oneself and others.


3. In small groups, students make and defend choices in hypothetical situations that involve alcohol, tobacco, violence, and/or sexuality.

4. Learners develop a list of questions to ask when assessing risks and making health-related decisions and write them on a pocket or wallet card.

5. Role-playing in small groups, students create situations in which one student is pressured to try smoking. As a class, students analyze what each character stands to gain by his or her interactions. They discuss and evaluate strategies for responding to peer pressure.

6. Students identify and give examples of myths and misinformation about risk behaviors that can lead to contracting sexually transmitted diseases including HIV infection.

Grades 9-10 Standards

Continue the PreK-8 Standards and:

7. Demonstrate the ability to reflect on the consequences of health decisions and revise decision-making strategies.

8. Recognize and distinguish types and degrees of risk encountered in daily living.

9. Identify the legal, financial, social, physical and psychological consequences of potentially harmful behaviors.


7. Selecting a previous health decision, students analyze positive and negative outcomes for themselves and others and determine improvements such as others with whom they might consult, information they might have overlooked, and/or steps that might improve the decision making process.

8. Learners interview a guest speaker from a battered women's shelter and identify and list warning signs of an abusive relationship.

9. In small groups, students research and discuss the policies of colleges and local businesses regarding the use of tobacco, alcohol, steroids, inhalants, and other drugs.

Grades 11-12 Standards

Continue the PreK-10 Standards and:

10. Conduct and analyze research on risk factors and behaviors.

11. Use current research in making personal health decisions.


10. As a class project, students research and compile statistics to document the relative prevalence of various risk behaviors in their community, Massachusetts and the nation. (connects with Mathematics)

11. Using computer data bases, information services, networks, and school libraries, students gather data on the prevalence, prevention, and treatment of a selected disease, health condition, or health issue. Then they report to class on the implications for individual health decisions. (connects with Science and Technology)

What this looks like in the classroom/laboratory/physical education setting:

  • Mr. Bradley's health class sometimes sounds like a movie set. Student's raise their voices in role-play as Alicia and her friends argue about accepting a ride home from Mike who is drunk and refuses to let Tommy drive his car. Mike and Alicia's friends try to reason with Mike who takes hold of Alicia's arm. "CUT!" Mr. Bradley stops the action and begins a class discussion of the situation: What were the individual characters thinking and feeling? Why did some onlookers intervene, and others move out of the way? What risks were involved--for Alicia? for Mike? for Tommy? For others? What other strategies might have helped in this situation? Using role-play, Mr. Bradley's class is able to deal with decisions and the risks they pose in everyday life.

Learning Standard 7:

Students will manage resources and practice behaviors that protect and enhance their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social health.

Students try new behaviors from integrating new exercise habits into their daily lives to working through conflicts with different expectations. They wear safety helmets when riding bicycles, use proper eye wear in laboratory experiments, decide to postpone sexual activity or utilize safer sex practices if sexually active. They also use what they have learned about setting and monitoring goals and assessing risks to make and defend health decisions.

  • Why is the word habits used to talk about some health behaviors?
  • How can increased practice of positive behaviors help me to avoid previous problem behaviors?
  • How does practicing healthy behaviors in one area of my life affect practicing healthy behaviors in other areas?

Grades PreK-4 Standards

1. Demonstrate personal hygiene practices that stop the spread of illness and disease.

2. Use communication and problem-solving skills to set personal boundaries, resolve conflicts, and develop positive relationships.

3. Use knowledge of exercise, nutrition, rest, resource management, and recreation to maintain and improve personal health.

4. Demonstrate strategies for preventing and treating common injuries.

5. Demonstrate ways to get assistance in dangerous or threatening circumstances.


1. PreK-2: Responding to a classroom visit by a dentist teaching proper tooth brushing techniques, students and teachers decide to institute daily tooth brushing practice after lunch.

3-4: Students wash hands, utensils, and surfaces when preparing, serving, and cleaning up after a classroom snack.

2. PreK-2: Students create a card for a friend or relative expressing appreciation for sharing or doing something together. (connects with English Language Arts, Arts)

3-4: Learners use role playing to demonstrate resolving conflicts in school and on the playground and identify techniques useful in preventing violence.

3. PreK-2: Using a personal log, students record measurements of improvements in muscular strength and endurance, and heart and breathing rates accompanying exercise. (connects with Mathematics)

3-4: In small groups, learners discuss ways to better manage their time in order to get adequate rest, have time for play and socializing, and be able to eat meals or get places without having to rush.

4. PreK-2: In the classroom, students work with the school nurse to learn basic first aid procedures.

3-4: Before physical activity, students use warm up exercises and explain how they prevent injuries.

5. PreK-2: Students role play telephoning "O," 911, police, and/or fire departments giving name, address, and other critical information.

3-4: As a class, students brainstorm a list of persons to whom they could turn with concerns about peer and family violence and identify important qualities to look for in these people.

Grades 5-8 Standards

Continue the PreK-4 Standards and:

6. Describe the personal benefits of making positive health decisions and working to attain health goals.

7. Identify and demonstrate strategies for resolving conflict and building positive relationships.

8. Demonstrate skills used to care for infants and young children.

9. Demonstrate first aid skills and injury prevention strategies used in sports, hobbies, and leisure activities.

10. Demonstrate refusal and negotiation skills when pressured to engage in violence, substance abuse, or sexual activity.


6. In physical education class, students document individual progress towards personal fitness goals and discuss ways their increased fitness has benefited them in other areas.

7. Working with the guidance counselor, students train to be peer mediators, applying communication and conflict resolution skills in school settings.

8. Learners pass an accredited baby sitting course.

9. Students learn skills to achieve certification in CPR.

10. In small groups in an eighth grade class, students role play resisting another person's unwanted sexual advances and then discuss alternative refusal strategies.

Grades 9-10 Standards

Continue the PreK-8 Standards and:

11. Identify and demonstrate helpful ways to discuss sexuality, violence, and substance abuse with a parent, other adult, or friend.

12. Document personal health history.

13. Identify and practice resource management skills that are needed to maintain and improve health.

14. Demonstrate using feedback to improve communication and assertiveness skills.


11. Learners role play talking about sexuality with a parent or other trusted adult and discuss what they find difficult and/or useful.

12. Students initiate and maintain a personal health record including blood type, allergies, immunizations, etc.

13. Working within a limited budget, students plan a week of nutritious meals for a family of four. (connects with Mathematics)

14. After hearing group comments on their role play of a situation in which they attempted to express feelings and met disapproval, students try using suggested assertiveness strategies.

Grades 11-12 Standards

Continue the PreK-10 Standards and:

15. Demonstrate the effectiveness of continued, regular practice of positive health behaviors in overcoming setbacks and relapse and achieving health goals.

16. Demonstrate the ability to complete personal health forms and report personal health information clearly and accurately.


15. Working in pairs, students analyze their journals in which they write about their personal reactions to regular physical exercise. They identify and discuss times when they found it difficult, plateaus, and breakthrough experiences. (connects with English Language Arts)

16 As a class project, students gather and practice completing sample personal health history forms used by college admissions departments, employers, physicians, and hospital admissions departments and discuss.

Last Updated: January 1, 1996
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