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Second Step


Transitioning to middle school can be tough. The research-based Second Step program helps schools teach and model essential communication, coping, and decision-making skills that help adolescents navigate around common pitfalls such as peer pressure, substance abuse, and bullying (both in-person and online).


The outcome? Reduced aggression and support for a more inclusive environment that helps students stay in school, make good choices, and experience social and academic success.


Second Step Middle School Academic Alignment

Reinforce Skills

Reinforcement is a crucial Core Program Component because students are more likely to learn and apply skills they’ve practiced and that have been reinforced by school staff. Use the tools below to reinforce Second Step skills.


Using Lesson Content Every Day

At the beginning of each lesson, on the introduction page, there is detailed information on how to integrate the skills covered in the lesson into the school day. Use it in conjunction with the Anticipate, Reinforce, and Reflect Process to reinforce and help students practice skills.


Anticipate, Reinforce, and Reflect Process

Use this three-step process to integrate Second Step skills into your classroom.

1. Anticipate

Help students identify times during the school day when they might use a new skill. When students are working in groups, say: When could you use perspective-taking skills in your group work today?

2. Reinforce

Effective reinforcement involves recognizing and encouraging new skills, especially in the early stages of learning and practicing: Josh, you were noticeably listening and considering the perspectives of others in your group today.

3. Reflect

Have students talk about how they used program skill(s) during the day and what resulted. Suggest students try the program skill in another class, as part of a sports team, or at home with their families.


Natural Reinforcement

Natural behavior reinforcement occurs when a student successfully works with another student using any of the program skills and receives acceptance and a positive response. This peer feedback can be more powerful than a teacher’s praise. Take time in private to help students recognize natural reinforcement: It looks like Sophie appreciated how you worked with her today. What were you doing that seemed to make a difference?


Reflective Writing Assessments

The Grade 6 Reflective Writing Assessments (PDF), Grade 7 Reflective Writing Assessments (PDF), Grade 8 Reflective Writing Assessments (PDF) i included in each lesson contain prompts for written reflection to help students integrate what they’ve learned into their lives and help teachers determine how well each student understands the skills. They can be used as formative assessments.


Additional Practice Activities

The Grade 6 Additional Practice Activities (PDF), Grade 7 Additional Practice Activities (PDF), Grade 8 Additional Practice Activities (PDF) help teachers extend the learning from each lesson and are particularly helpful if the class seems to struggle with the new skills.


Academic Integration Activities

The Grade 6 Academic Integration Activities (PDF), Grade 7 Academic Integration Activities (PDF), Grade 8 Academic Integration Activities (PDF) also found in each lesson, help you align Second Step skills with language arts and social studies, health and science, and media literacy so students can practice skills in the context of other subject areas.




Family Letters



Do these activities together at home to find out what students are learning in the program.

All Grade 6 Homework (PDF)

Books for Students (PDF)

Books for Parents (PDF)


All Grade 7 Homework (PDF)

Books for Students (PDF)

Books for Parents (PDF)


All Grade 8 Homework (PDF)

Books for Students (PDF)

Books for Parents (PDF)