The Beginners Guide to Skills-Based Health Education

If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard of skills-based health education, you seem intrigued by skills-based health education, but you just don’t know where to start when designing a skills-based health education curriculum.  When I was first introduced to skills-based health education, I thought “this seems so fun!”, “my students will love this!”, “I will love this!”, “oh wait, do I kind of already do this?”, and, finally (yes, I’ll admit it) “but this seems like so much work, when will I find the time?”

Here’s three simple steps on how I’m doing it!  Full disclosure: I am no expert, I’m just like you!

  1. Do your research.  Really start to dive into skills-based health education and figure out what it’s all about.  My go-to book when planning and implementing a skills-based health education curriculum is Lesson Planning for Skills-Based Health Education by Sarah Benes (@sarahbenes12) and Holly Alperin (@HollyAlperin).  This book was an absolute lifesaver, especially at the beginning stages when I was trying to wrap my head around everything.  There are plenty of other great resources out there; find what works best for you!
  2. Join social media.  Chances are, you came across this page through social media, so you’re already off to a good start!  My favorite group on Facebook is Health Teacher Central and my favorite hashtags on Twitter are #SkillsBasedHealthEd and #HealthEd.  Since joining Twitter, I have made so many connections to people, some that I have never even met IRL (in real life), who have helped me tremendously in my journey of transitioning to skills-based health education.  Shout out to Debbie Thomas (@PMS_Health), Deanne Romero (@Ds_healthedlife) Emily Zien (@Ms_Zien), Sarah Gietschier-Hartman (@GHSaysRockChalk), and Anna Marriott (@iteachhelthed), you guys are AMAZING!
  3. One lesson at a time.  This is where I’m currently at.  I’m transforming…one…lesson…at…a…time.  I was stuck for a long time thinking that I needed to have my entire curriculum skills-based, or nothing at all.  I thought to myself “I can’t do this, I don’t have the time!” Since then, I have been working to implement one more skills-based lesson for each unit each grading term.  No, I don’t teach skills-based units…yet. I still teach content based units but I’m infusing the skills within them so eventually I’ll be able to transition to a skills-based curriculum.

By following these three simple steps, I have made health class fun and meaningful for my students and I have re-energized my teaching practices.  Skills-based health education can be overwhelming when looking at the big picture, just break it down and go little by little. Trust me, I’m an all-in, go-big-or-go-home person, it was tough for me to get over that barrier and admit to myself that I can’t do it all at once; I have to go little by little…but it has been SO worth it!

Jessica Matheson (@Coach Matheson) is a high school health teacher at Rockford High School in Rockford, Minnesota.

This microblog post was a featured post in  #slowchathealth’s #microblogweek. You can search for all of the featured posts here. Please do follow each of the outstanding contributors on social media and consider writing a microblog post of your own to be shared with the global audience of

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