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HealthSmart supports Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts in the areas of Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening and Language.
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.
Students gain better 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.