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Using the Curriculum

Who can teach HealthSmart?

You don’t have to be an expert to provide learning experiences that will help students practice healthy behaviors. Both new and experienced teachers will appreciate the teacher-friendly design, and the program supplies everything needed to teach the lessons. Teacher preparation is minimal, and teaching steps are clearly defined. The Teacher Background books at Grades K-6 and the optional Health Facts books that support Middle and High School give teachers a handy reference to refresh their knowledge and enhance classroom instruction.

Do I have to teach the units in a particular order?

No. HealthSmart allows school districts and/or teachers to determine the order in which units will be taught. However, we recommend starting with the Personal & Family Health unit in Grades K-4, and the Emotional & Mental Health unit in Middle and High School, because these lessons provide an opportunity to establish a supportive classroom atmosphere and help students become comfortable with the teacher and their classmates before moving into other health content areas.

In Grades 5 and 6, we recommend beginning instruction with the optional Start with the Kids supplement, a 5-lesson plan for building a classroom learning community. Because the Personal & Family Health unit at these grades covers puberty, teachers may want to teach this unit a little later in the course so that students will feel comfortable when discussing sexual health issues.

How many lessons are there?

There are over 400 HealthSmart Lessons across grades K–12. The total number of lessons at each grade level are shown in the table below:

Level Lessons
Grade K 28
Grade 1 26
Grade 2 26
Grade 3 22
Grade 4 31
Grade 5 38
Grade 6 42
Middle School 100
High School 96

How long does it take to teach the program? Is it a semester or year-long course?

This depends on how often health classes are taught. The elementary grades are designed to be taught over the course of the school year for each grade, depending on how often teachers address health. At the middle and high school levels, most content units can be taught over a semester, and up to three content units could be taught in a year, if health is taught only once per week. If health is a daily class, it might be possible to cover three or four of the content units in a semester, and all of the units over the course of a year. Teachers can use the online Lesson Planning Tool to help design a course of study that will cover desired content in the time they have available.

How do I make decisions about what to leave out, if I don’t have time to teach the entire program?

Many health education programs throughout the country don’t allow enough time for all HealthSmart units and lessons to be taught. If there isn’t enough time to teach the entire HealthSmart curriculum, school districts should choose those units and lessons that are aligned with their scope and sequence and/or examine existing local health behavior data to determine the greatest needs for the students in their district.

Our online Lesson Planning Tool enables educators to select particular content areas, skills and healthy behavior outcomes outlined by CDC’s Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) to generate a personal lesson plan that contains the lessons most relevant to their needs and desired outcomes.

Reviewing the HealthSmartScope & Sequence charts for each grade level can assist schools with deciding on a focus. Which healthy behaviors need to be reinforced at your school? Have you identified areas of problem behavior or risk taking? The Scope & Sequence charts identify core concepts, lesson objectives, National Health Education Standards met and healthy behaviors supported by each lesson.

If you must omit some of the lessons in the program, using the Lesson Planning Tool and Scope & Sequence charts will allow you to make an informed decision.

I absolutely love the online lesson planning tool. It will be such a valuable tool to advocate for health time within our program.

Catherine Corkery,
Oregon Education Program

Should I use the Grade 6 program or the Middle School program for my sixth graders?

School districts will need to determine which solution is best suited for their 6th-grade classrooms. Both the Grade 6 Teacher Guide and the Middle School modules meet National Health Education Standards for grades 6-8. The Grade 6 program is specifically targeted to a year of teaching this grade as a comprehensive health course, while the Middle School program offers a subject-by-subject approach for this grade span.

What is the materials duplication policy?

No part of the Teacher Guides or Student Workbooks and other materials may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written consent of ETR. 

For the Print Edition, all teacher resources, including the slides, blackline masters, flip chart images, student journals, rubrics and answer keys may be copied and distributed for use within a single classroom. HealthSmart Kids magazines for Grades 5 & 6 and Student Workbooks for Middle and High School are available for purchase in sets of 5 or 30, and larger quantity discounts are available. Site licenses are available to allow teachers or schools to make copies of blackline masters for multiple classrooms.

For the Digital Edition, the teacher license grants a teacher access to all of the lessons and related teacher resources. A separate student license (for a set number of students per year) is required to print and distribute the activity sheets that comprise the Student Workbook. Note that the online access to the program is for teachers, not students.

Contact us at for more information.

Do I have to buy Student Workbooks?

Student Workbooks (or Student Licenses for Digital Edition users) are required for the program. Student participation is an essential part of any research-based or evidence-informed intervention. The student workbooks provide students with all of the activity sheets used in the program. Having their own workbooks helps ensure student engagement, and also provides educators with a completed portfolio of student work for review and assessment.

Digital Edition users purchase a Student License that allows them to print a predetermined number of copies of the student activity sheets. Users of the Print Edition also have the option to purchase a license to print student materials, rather than using the printed and bound student workbooks. Many schools or agencies also purchase the Digital Edition for their teachers, but provide the printed workbooks for students.

Workbooks can save time and money over duplication costs (see cost comparison chart) and are an easy and complete way to ensure all students have the requisite reading assignments, worksheets, roleplays and other activity sheets.

Cost Comparison for 48-page Student Workbook

HealthSmart Student Workbooks Typical Copy Prices
Single workbook = $3.00 @ 0.11 per page = $5.28 for single workbook
Classroom set of 30 = $90.00 ($3.00 each) Price for set of 30 = $100.80 ($3.36 each)
Saddle stitched Add stapling = $102.30 ($3.41 each)
Full-color heavyweight cover Add color cover = additional $35.40 for 30 ($4.59 each)

Is the print or digital edition best for me?

It depends on what you need. School districts that are currently using or moving toward using technology in the classroom may find it ideal to have the lessons in a digital format. The digital edition is also cost-effective for schools that are reducing their paper consumption, large districts, or those that want access to the entire K-12 program for one price.

The print edition gives teachers their own individual printed teacher guide and classroom materials, such as colorful flip charts and posters for grades K-4, and individual student workbooks and magazines at the upper grade levels. It’s ideal for schools whose teachers prefer a bound book or where teacher/student computer access and/or Internet service is an issue.

See the comparison chart for print versus digital >>

Can I print out lessons from the digital edition?

The Digital Edition Teacher's Guide is in an e-book format that can be viewed online from any laptop, tablet or mobile device. The lessons cannot be edited or printed out.

Do the students complete assignments online with the digital edition?

No, currently the digital edition student materials are provided as downloadable PDFs that for the teacher's use. They must be printed out for students to complete on paper.

What does the program cost?

The print edition of HealthSmart can be purchased by grade level for K-6, and by individual subject units or complete sets at Middle and High School. Grades K through 6 are $549.99 per grade. Middle and High School prices are $91.99 per subject unit, with student workbooks available for $3 each, or $549.99 for a complete Middle School or High School set of all 6 units, plus $18 per student for a complete workbook set.

The digital edition of HealthSmart contains the entire program, including all lessons from Grades K through 12. The cost is $199 for one teacher license that grants online access, plus a student license fee of $9 per student per year. The student license grants the teacher access to the program for a set number of students (a minimum number of students is required). Price breaks are given based on the total number of students, length of the license and special use considerations. Please call to discuss your needs.

For more information about HealthSmart pricing, contact John Henry Ledwith at or at 1-888-220-9455 x204.


HealthSmart Theory & Practice

What learning theory is HealthSmart based on?

HealthSmart is grounded in sound educational and behavioral theory. The Theory of Planned Behavior provides the framework for lessons and activities. Concepts from Social Learning Theory are strategically woven throughout the program. The Transtheoretical or Stages of Change Model serves as the foundation for activities designed to support student change of unhealthy behaviors.

In addition, HealthSmart was developed to meet the 15 Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula as identified by the CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health.

How does HealthSmart involve families?

HealthSmart recognizes that parents and family are essential in the health education of children and adolescents. Opportunities for families to be involved are woven throughout the program. Each grade level includes take-home family sheets throughout the lessons that encourage family talks about key health topics. Other take-home activities such as surveys or requests for advice give parents and other family members ways to actively participate in their children and teens' health instruction. The program includes family letters that can be sent home at the start of each unit, to inform parents and guardians about the topics to be addressed.

How does HealthSmart relate to asset building?

Developmental Assets represent the relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to avoid risks and to thrive. HealthSmart focuses on helping students adopt or maintain targeted health behaviors, which will help them avoid risks and thrive both emotionally and physically.

How does HealthSmart support media literacy?

Media Literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms. The elementary grades include lessons that ask students to apply what they see on television and in other media to the content they are learning in the lesson and to analyze the influence of media in their lives. At the middle school and high school levels, HealthSmart provides opportunities for students to access, analyze and evaluate the influence of media (including websites, television, movies, music and commercials) on a variety of health behaviors. Students also have opportunities to use a variety of media and technology to complete in-class and take-home assignments.


School Health Guidelines

How many hours of health education do kids need?

The National Health Education Standards recommend that students in Pre-K to grade 2 receive a minimum of 40 hours and students in grades 3 to 12 receive a minimum of 80 hours of instruction in health education per academic year.

How does HealthSmart fit into a Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP)?

The HealthSmart program provides a comprehensive curriculum to provide Health Education, one of the essential components of a Coordinated School Health Program. The effectiveness of school health education is enhanced when it is implemented as part of a larger school health program and when health education outcomes are reinforced by the other 7 components in the CSHP model. HealthSmart lessons offer opportunities to involve other components of the CSHP, particularly those activities that engage students as health advocates and allow them to share their learning with the wider school community.

How does HealthSmart align with the National Health Education Standards?

The National Health Education Standards (NHES) detail what students need to know and be able to do in order to achieve health literacy, by setting performance indicators around the functional knowledge and essential skills required for adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors. All lessons in the K-12 curriculum are aligned with NHES, and great emphasis is placed on students having opportunities to become proficient in and master the concepts and skills outlined at each grade level. The specific performance indicators met within each lesson are clearly identified in the lesson overviews.

Click here to learn more.

How does HealthSmart align with the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT)?

The Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) was developed by the CDC to provide guidance to improve curriculum selection and development. The HECAT identifies the healthy behavior outcomes considered to be the most important behaviors to promote in a K–12 health education curriculum, and the corresponding knowledge and skill expectations that must be met at various grade levels in order to achieve these outcomes. The HECAT builds on the characteristics of effective health education curricula and reflects the National Health Education Standards.

HealthSmart was developed to support healthy behavior outcomes for children and youth. The HECAT played a primary role in the development of the second edition of the HealthSmart middle and high school programs. Key concepts and skills required by the HECAT were a driving force in the development of the lesson objectives and assessments in all content areas.

Click here for charts that show the full HECAT alignment for Middle School and High School.

How does HealthSmart align with the National Sexuality Education Standards (NSES)?

The goal of the National Sexuality Education Standards is to provide clear, consistent and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum, core content for sexuality education that is age-appropriate for students in grades K–12. HealthSmart lessons related to sexual health have been aligned with the NSES for Grades K through 12.

Click here to learn more.

Does HealthSmart meet state standards for health education?

Yes, HealthSmart aligns well with many state standards in health education. 

Click here to learn more.

Does HealthSmart align with the Danielson Framework for Teaching?

Yes, HealthSmart can support teachers in meeting the competencies outlined in the Danielson Framework for Teaching in many ways. You can download a document showing how here.


Teacher Support

Does HealthSmart include assessment tools to use with students?

Yes. Each unit in the Teacher Guides for Grades K-6 includes a Portfolio Checklist that lists evidence of student progress. The Assessment Benchmarks given for each lesson link the lesson objectives to specific activities, practice sessions and worksheets completed within the lesson.

In Middle and High School, objectives for each lesson are linked to clearly identified teaching steps and the corresponding student activity sheets and other performance tasks. New assessment rubrics at these upper grade levels provide scoring guidance to ensure that student mastery can be assessed for every lesson objective. In addition, each subject module in Middle and High School culminates with two overall assessment activities: a written assessment of content and concepts, and a performance task that provides authentic assessment of content and skills through a creative individual or group project.

Where can I get background information on content?

Background for the K-4 and 5/6 programs is covered in the Teacher Background book included with each grade-level set with the print edition of HealthSmart. Digital copies of these books are also available free of charge for purchasers of the program on the HealthSmart website.

Background for the middle and high school programs is provided in the optional Health Facts books. These comprehensive resources include background information and the latest statistics, trends and research about the health topics taught in HealthSmart. The 8-volume set makes a great addition to the school or classroom library, and individual books can support teachers in delivering the individual content area modules. Learn more about the Health Facts series >>

What is the Lesson Planning Tool?

The HealthSmart Lesson Planning Tool allows teachers to select HealthSmart lessons in particular content areas that address specific skills and support desired healthy behavior outcomes.

It is based on two powerful documents that define key content, skills and outcomes for health education.

  1. The National Health Education Standards set performance indicators around the essential knowledge (Standard 1, Comprehending Concepts) and skills (Standards 2 -8) required for adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors. The Lesson Planning Tool shows you the particular skills covered within your selected content area(s) and lets you choose the ones you wish to address.
  2. The CDC’s Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) was designed to guide curriculum selection and development. It builds on the characteristics of effective health education curricula and the National Health Education Standards by identifying the knowledge and skill expectations that will support healthy behavior outcomes (HBOs) for students at various grade levels. The Lesson Planning Tool groups the HealthSmart lessons according to the content areas defined by the HECAT, and allows you to choose which HBOs you wish to address within your selected content area(s).

The Lesson Planning Tool:

  • Eliminates hours of lesson planning.
  • Combines healthy behavior outcomes and skills to achieve real, measurable success.
  • Creates a flexible, responsive plan tailored to the number of health class periods available.
  • Generates results that correlate to the CDC’s Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) and the National Health Education Standards (NHES).

Try the Lesson Planning Tool >>


I have my lesson plans hanging at my desk for all three grade levels. They are my checklist of everything. My life is so much easier because of you. I LOVE it!

Audra Deli-Hoofnagle, PE and Health Teacher,
Elkhorn Middle School, Franklin, Kentucky

Are the lessons the same between the print and digital editions?

The print and digital editions of HealthSmart teach all of the same content and skills. However, in Grades K-6, the lessons are numbered slightly differently between the print and digital versions. The print edition groups lessons in Grades K-6 by content area, and a "lesson" may consist of several "activities" or class sessions. For the digital edition, lessons were numbered sequentially for each grade level, and the Keep the Learning Alive activities were integrated into the lesson in which they best fit.

A chart showing the correlation of the print and digital lessons for Grades K-6 can be found here.

For middle and high school, the second edition print and digital lessons are essentially the same. However, the debrief for homework activities in included in the lesson in which the homework is assigned, rather than being reviewed at the beginning of the following lesson, in case the educator is not be teaching all of the lessons in order. 

Will HealthSmart be relevant to my students?

One of the key characteristics of effective health education curricula identified by the CDC is that these programs “use strategies designed to personalize information and engage students.” HealthSmart includes many student-centered activities and questions that allow students to apply the content and skills to their lives.

What I like most about the lesson plans is that they really relate to kids, so I've had really good buy-in from the students. The sequence and pacing of the lessons are super teacher-friendly as well.

Cassidy Greif, MSEd, CHES, Classroom Instructor, Denver, Colorado

How does HealthSmart help me teach tough issues?

HealthSmart has detailed lesson plans and support materials for teachers. If there is a difficult or controversial topic to teach, the Teacher Guides include additional guidance for discussing and handling the topic in the classroom, including how to answer questions about sexuality and sexual health.

Professional development resources for Grades K-4 are available to purchasers of both the print and digital editions of the program on the HealthSmart website. These free full-length books cover the important content areas of Nutrition & Physical Activity, Tobacco, Safety & Injury, and Sexuality and include guidance on answering difficult questions.

Is training available for teachers?

Yes, HealthSmart training is available. ETR offers a 2-day HealthSmart training with a 1-day follow-up booster session. This comprehensive professional development opportunity for educators covers both the characteristics of effective health education curricula and how to use the HealthSmart curriculum, with an implementation booster session offered several months later. A shorter, less formal day-long orientation to the program is also available.

For questions about training, contact John Henry Ledwith at to discuss the best options for your program. If you are interested in scheduling the formal 2-day training, please complete Training & TA Request Form >>

Is there technical support for HealthSmart?

Yes. For questions or assistance please contact us at


HealthSmart & Common Core State Standards

Does HealthSmart align with Common Core State Standards?

Yes, HealthSmart supports the Common Core State Standards for English and Language Arts in the following ways:



Grades 5 and 6 include dynamic student magazines and reading sheets that make the health topic interesting and relevant. Students apply what they've read to the health concepts and skills they are learning. Within the middle and high school lessons, students read and analyze informational text on various health topics, and integrate and apply what they have read to draw conclusions or teach others. They read case studies and make logical inferences about health risks based on what they’ve learned. They are asked to integrate and evaluate content presented through slides, reading assignments, quizzes and self-assessments, and occasional graphs.


HealthSmart encourages effective writing by having students express their personal knowledge, ideas and opinions. For example, most middle and high school lessons begin with short writing assignments, and the optional Student Journal provides an ongoing record of these assignments as well as supporting note-taking skills. Assessment activities that promote competency in writing include writing coherent explanations of concepts learned, short narratives or case studies, public service announcements, advice columns and, at the high school level, opinion pieces and fact sheets to share with peers. Through these assignments, students gain practice in writing explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas based on the content they have learned in the lesson, as well as expressing their opinions and supporting claims with logical reasoning and relevant evidence to demonstrate their understanding of the topic.

Speaking & Listening

Students gain mastery of speaking and listening skills when they engage in collaborative discussions in pairs, triads, small groups and as a class, which gives them experience in expressing their thoughts clearly and building on the ideas of others. At the middle and high school levels, they also conduct short research projects and then present their claims and findings with relevant evidence and valid reasoning. Refusal, negotiation and other communication skills practice helps them learn to use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume and clear speech.


Writing assignments throughout the lessons provide students with practice and teachers with opportunities to assess students' command of grammar and usage conventions, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. Language is developed at middle and high school through the introduction of relevant Health Terms, which are explained by the teacher during the lesson. A comprehensive Glossary is also provided, which may be shared with students.

Common Core State Standards Alignment for HealthSmart Middle School
Common Core State Standards Alignment for HealthSmart High School
Common Core State Standards Alignment for Grades K-6

How do I know which Common Core State Standards a HealthSmart lesson meets?

Documents showing the alignment of HealthSmart lessons with the Common Core State Standards can be downloaded at the following links:

In addition, the Lesson Planning Tool results show the CCSS alignment for each lesson in the teaching plan.


What's New in the Second Edition

  • Updated content. All lessons were reviewed for accuracy and to best reflect the recommendations of the National Health Education Standards (NHES), the CDC’s Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT), and other current health information to align the teaching more closely with what research has shown to be effective. Lessons address specific HECAT knowledge and skill expectations and identify the NHES performance indicators met.
  • A new instructional design template with more guidance for teachers. Lessons use a consistent and organized plan with clear steps for getting students ready for learning, teaching concepts and skills, assessing student progress and supporting diverse learning styles.
  • Emphasis on assessment. Objectives and standards for each lesson link to clear outcomes assessed through student activity sheets and other performance tasks. New scoring rubrics provide guidance for evaluating student mastery of knowledge and skills. Each subject module also culminates in two overall assessment activities: a written assessment of content and concepts, and a performance task that allows authentic assessment of content and skills through a creative individual or group project.
  • Digital resources. To reduce paper usage and make teacher tools more flexible, each module includes a CD of all slides and blackline masters. Slides are made available in PowerPoint as well as PDF format.
  • Student journals. A guided journal for each subject module gives students a place to write and take lecture and discussion notes. Journals also list important new health terms from each lesson. The student journals for each content area can be found on the CD and on the HealthSmart website.
  • Health terms glossary. Each lesson includes a list of vocabulary words related to the content, and the teacher guide includes a glossary of all health terms from the module. The glossary for each content area is also provided on the CD and on the HealthSmart website.
  • Online support. The website gives HealthSmart teachers free access to digital versions of the teacher guide resources, content updates, current articles about school health, and professional development materials.

The second edition of Middle School and High School continues to be teacher friendly, with clearly defined teaching steps that require only minimal preparation.  The HealthSmart program continues to be committed to providing learning activities that build a personal value for health, shape healthy peer norms, and enhance students’ power to make healthy choices that contribute to a better future.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the first edition was a 9... but the new second edition of HealthSmart is a 20!

Marlene K. Tappe, PhD, MCHES, Professor & Chair,
Department of Health Science, Minnesota State University


Specific Topics in Middle and High School

Does HealthSmart address gun violence?

Does HealthSmart address eating disorders?

Does HealthSmart address cyberbullying?

Does HealthSmart address LGBTQ issues?