Wellness is the active pursuit of healthy habits for better physical, mental, and social-emotional well-being. Cohasset High School has restructured its 9th grade wellness curriculum to address students’ total well-being. What was once a “traditional” games-based physical education class has transformed to support every 9th grade student with a holistic approach to total wellness.
Three Pillars To The 9th Grade Wellness Curriculum
Cohasset’s 9th grade wellness curriculum is a semester-long course. The curriculum has three key pillars to help introduce students to the total wellness picture.
1) Health Education (50% of curriculum) – Key units and topics include mental health, diversity, gender, bullying, substance abuse, first aid, and CPR.
2) Fitness & Nutrition (25% of curriculum) – Key units and topics include foundational fitness, strength training, yoga, dance, mindfulness, and other topics students can choose from. In addition, a focus is placed on fundamental concepts of nutrition.
3) Social Emotional Learning (25% of curriculum) – Key units and topics include goal setting, journaling, Project Adventure, and PE games like pickleball, Spikeball, and Kan Jam.
Ron Ford, Cohasset Wellness Coordinator and teacher, explains his approach when teaching the class,
“We want students to be able to take what they learn in class and have the ability to apply it to their daily lives. It is about giving kids real-world skills and knowledge to help them live healthier and happier lives.”
Technology Integration In 9th Grade Wellness Curriculum
Because the class aims to connect student wellness to the real world, Ron makes technology an integral part of the 9th grade wellness curriculum. Throughout health, fitness, nutrition, and social-emotional learning, the students will use different technology to access the curriculum and complete assignments.
On top of just using smartboards and laptops, Ron even lets student use their cellphones in class,
“I want kids to learn how to use their cellphones to access workouts and do activities that promote wellness in class so that they can continue to use their cellphones for good outside of class.”
Ron is working to reshape high school students’ relationship with cell phones by allowing them in class. And while many people will picture chaos and distraction with the integration of cellphones, Ron says it has actually created a positive environment for students,
“The students love the responsibility of having phones in class. It is one of the only classes where they are using phones to get work done, and that is a cool and empowering experience for the students.”
Fitness, Phones, and Wellness
One of the biggest changes in the last few years to the 9th grade wellness curriculum was the implementation of a new fitness-focused curriculum. Ron wants students to learn fundamental fitness skills in class and be able to apply them on their own at home,
“We use PLT4M to deliver fitness workouts to students’ phones. Part of the 9th grade wellness curriculum is that students must complete workouts in class and at home to build good habits in and out of school.”
The 9th grade wellness curriculum has every student complete PLT4M’s Intro To Fitness program. In this program, students learn proper form and technique in bodyweight movements like the squat, lunge, hinge, press, and pull. By completing this course, Ron sees this as a perfect “on-ramp” experience for students,
“Because we start everyone on Intro To Fitness, they learn the basics that can be applied to all other programs. In addition, I display the workouts on a big screen while students use their phones so that students can learn how to use the curriculum and app.”
Bonus Content: Sample instructional video from PLT4M’s Intro To Fitness program.
After completing the Intro To Fitness program, Ron allows students to choose from a wide array of PLT4M curriculum offerings. Ron opens up over a dozen modules like yoga, strength training, dance, boxing, pilates, and stretching through the PLT4M app,
“We have football players in the class doing dance fitness. We have female athletes doing strength training. Everyone explores different types of fitness that help them pursue for overall wellness.”
Grade 9 Period 5 Wellness Class using the Pilot Program Cleartouch mobile interactive white board to complete @PLT4M Intro to Pilates and Flexibility workouts to begin their day with fitness @CoHSPrincipal @TaraNoyes2 @SuperCohasset @CPSAssistantSup pic.twitter.com/6HxqbKhgBa— Ron Ford (@rfordo13) May 12, 2022
Real World Wellness
The different components of Cohasset’s 9th grade wellness curriculum aim to be as relevant as possible for students. At the end of each semester, Ron surveys the students to reevaluate the course offerings.
For example, one thing that stood out in a recent survey was students’ interest in nutrition,
“Nutrition was one the units kids said they loved. The PLT4M nutrition lessons are factual, honest, and filled with good information. Like all our different units, it gives students knowledge that will go far beyond class or school.”
Ron continues to evaluate all of the pieces of the 9th grade wellness curriculum to ensure that the course aligns with what total wellness means for students. From covering nutrition and fitness, incorporating social-emotional learning, and creating a space to talk about tough subjects like gender, race, and bullying, Ron knows that the class is making a lasting impact.
Key Takeaways on the 9th Grade Wellness Curriculum at Cohasset
Over the last few years, Cohasset has set out to change the 9th grade wellness curriculum. By doing so, students start their high school career with a comprehensive introduction to total wellness. Now, students have a robust semester-long experience that addresses mental, social-emotional, and physical health.
As more schools look to reshape physical education and wellness to serve students better, Cohasset sets the standard for what total wellness can look like for high school students. With a blend of different topics, technology, and teaching, Cohasset truly empowers students to live healthier and happier lives in and out of the classroom.