Respect Others. Respect Yourself.

First published 2016. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.

The lessons and activities in this program will help develop students’ understanding of how respect is key to healthy behaviors and healthy relationships.

Click below or scroll down for all the
turnkey materials needed for this program.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have joined together with Scholastic to develop this grades 6–12 ELA and life skills poster/teaching guide in support of National Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month.

The purpose of this program is to build students’ understanding of how respect—for oneself and for others—is part of the foundation for healthy behaviors and healthy relationships.

Through the lesson, activities, and work sheets, students will build skills around recognizing and practicing healthy communication techniques. These skills will serve them in all relationships, and in particular could help prevent emotional or physical abuse from happening in their relationships. Additionally, having strong communication skills will help students to navigate difficult situations, such as peer pressure or conflicts.

While some of the content involves subject matter that may not be appropriate for all classrooms, the materials are tiered so that they can be easily taught to focus on the core messages of building healthy communication and behavior skills for teens.

As a key influencer in students’ lives, you have the opportunity to help them develop respect for themselves and others, and we urge you to use these activities as part of your work in preparing students for success in all areas of their life.

Download This Poster/Teaching Guide (PDF)

COMPONENTS: Poster • Lesson and Activity • Work Sheets
TOPICS: Personal Relationships • Dating Violence • Drug Use

  • Build student understanding of the relationship between healthy communication and respecting others.
  • Build student understanding of the relationship between healthy behaviors and respecting oneself.
  • Build students’ healthy communication skills.

You Can Also: Develop students’ awareness of how healthy communication can be a protective factor against dating violence and drug use.


  • Nine percent of high school students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the prior 12 months.1
  • Twenty-two percent of females and 15 percent of males who have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence between ages 11 and 17.2


  • Loveisrespect: (1-866-331-9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522) provides free 24/7 support and help for teens in unhealthy or unsafe dating relationships.
  • RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline: (1-800-656-HOPE)
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center: or 1-800-246-PRIDE (7743)

Health/Life Skills Standard 1: Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease. SL.1 Collaborative discussions
English Language Arts Standard 2: Analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, and other factors on health behaviors. SL.3 Evaluate point of view
Standards 4 & 5: Use interpersonal communication skills and decision-making skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks. SL.4 Present reasoning
Standard 8: Advocate for personal, family, and community health. RL.2 Determine central idea
W.6 Write narratives



Respecting Others and Ourselves
Through Healthy Communication and Behaviors

Time Required: One 40-minute class period (includes one work sheet). More time for additional work sheet activity, plus time for optional reinforcement/wrap-up activities

Levels: This poster/teaching guide is flexibly designed with two student work sheets that cover a wide range of communication issues and scenarios for grades 6–12. The program can be used with one or both work sheets as appropriate for individual classrooms. The first work sheet is a basic introduction to peer communication, including in unhealthy situations. The second work sheet is more advanced and expands into dating violence and drug use.

Cautionary Note: Some scenario topics (drug use and dating violence) may be sensitive, so please read through all content to determine topic appropriateness for your classroom.


Hang the poster (PDF) and use it to engage students in a conversation about what respect means and why it is important. Revisit the questions when wrapping up the activity to give students an opportunity to expand on their original answers using what they have learned. Recommended discussion questions include:

  1. Which chat boxes on the front of the poster are related to respecting others? What are other ways people show respect for others?
  2. How is the way you talk to others related to respect?
  3. Which chat boxes on the front of the poster relate to self-respect? What are other ways people respect themselves?
  4. How are healthy behaviors, such as not using drugs, related to self-respect?
  5. How are respecting others and self-respect related to dating?


  • Display the following definitions of respect and healthy communication.
    • Respect: Treating all people (including yourself, as well as people with whom you disagree) in a way that demonstrates that all people are important and that their feelings and thoughts are valuable.
    • Healthy communication: When communicating with another person, feeling heard, understood, and respected by the other person, as well as being able to listen, understand, and respect what the other person is saying.
  • Group Activity: This activity presents students with statements that illustrate disrespectful ways of saying something or behaving so as to provide an opportunity to correct the disrespectful language or behavior. Students are asked to consider how particular language or behavior would make someone feel, and to think of respectful alternatives.
    • Step 1: Read or display the statements further below.
    • Step 2: After each statement, ask students to offer ideas on how the statement would make the other person feel. Write these feelings on the board.
    • Step 3: Ask students to offer a respectful alternative to each.
      • Idea: Have students think of alternatives by using the tips on the “Practicing Healthy Communication” work sheet as well as the respectful behaviors listed on the poster.
    • Step 4: Ask students how the alternative would make the other person feel.

Statement 1: “That’s a stupid idea. What is wrong with you?”

Statement 2: “You’re so rude. Who shows up 30 minutes late without even texting?”

Statement 3: “I already decided where we are going later so I don’t need your opinion.”

Statement 4: “Why were you talking to that guy/girl between classes? You know we’re together.”

  • For additional support, refer to:
  • Work Sheets: Distribute one of the two reproducible work sheet options (see details below). Refer to work sheets for directions. Work sheets can be used for individual, small group, or classroom activities, or a combination of all three.

    “Practicing Healthy Communication” (PDF): Basic introduction to peer communication to resolve conflicts or address unhealthy situations
    “Using Healthy Communication to Resolve Conflicts” (PDF): More advanced, covering when to get help in dating relationships as well as how to respond to various negative situations, including dating violence and drugs

  • Discuss students’ responses to the work sheets. Conclude by highlighting the importance of students identifying a go-to trusted adult with whom they can talk if they need to chat or if they have a problem. Provide the names of people at school who could fill that role, such as a guidance counselor.


Options A and B are recommended for reinforcement the day after the group activity. Alternatively, if time is limited, Option C can be completed at the close of the activity.

Option A. Acting Out Scenarios: Direct groups of students to write and act out their own original scenarios to perform for the class to demonstrate how healthy communication can be employed to resolve or avoid an unhealthy situation.

Option B. Writing Activity: Instruct students, individually or in groups, to write or design public service announcements (PSAs) that draw the connections between respect for oneself and others to healthy relationships and living drug-free.

Option C. Strategy Writing: Instruct students to describe a potentially unhealthy situation they may face and how they would respond using healthy communication strategies.



1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2011. MMWR, Surveillance Summaries 2012; 61(no. SS-4).

2Black MC, et al. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

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