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G.R.E.A.T. Middle School Component
Middle School Component

Introduction

The G.R.E.A.T. middle school component consists of a competency-based life skills curriculum designed to produce knowledge and attitudinal and behavioral changes through the use of facilitative teaching, positive behavior rehearsal, cooperative and interactive learning techniques, and extended teacher activities. It is designed to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence.

Goal

To help youth avoid gang membership, prevent violence and criminal activity, and develop a positive relationship with law enforcement, resulting in safer communities.

Program Structure Middle School Group
  • The curriculum is designed to be taught in the classroom at the entry level of junior high or middle school. However, it may be taught in the sixth, seventh, or eighth grade.
  • The curriculum has integrated the National English Language Arts Standards and National Health Education Standards and is based on effective research practices.
  • Sworn/certified criminal justice professionals must first be certified to teach the G.R.E.A.T. Program.
  • The curriculum can be used in conjunction with other prevention programs to encourage positive relationships among the community, parents, schools, and law enforcement.

The Lessons

The curriculum consists of thirteen 30- to 45-minute lessons designed to be taught in sequential order with no less than one day and no more than two weeks between lessons. Several lessons are accompanied by a family letter that the student takes home explaining the lesson and encouraging parent/student interaction.

One special feature of the curriculum is the G.R.E.A.T. Project, which requires students to present a plan for improving their school. Research indicates that gang members have lower levels of school commitment than non-gang members, as well as higher levels of social isolation. This assignment acknowledges these findings by helping students feel a stronger connection to their school.

Another special feature is the use of scenarios that address bullying behaviors. Students are presented with a situation where they must make decisions about how they would respond. The activity focuses on empathy, taking personal responsibility, and knowing when to take action.

The curriculum consists of the following lessons:

  1. Welcome to G.R.E.A.T.: A Gang and Violence Prevention Program
  • Lesson Goal: Students will identify the relationship among crime, violence, drug abuse, and gangs.
  1. What's the Real Deal?: The Real Deal on Gangs and Violence
  • Lesson Goal: Students will analyze information sources and identify realistic, normative beliefs about gangs and violence.
  1. It's About Us: Being Part of the Community
  • Lesson Goal: Students will define their roles and responsibilities in the family, school, and community.
  1. Where Do We Go From Here?: How to Set Goals
  • Lesson Goal: Students will write realistic and achievable goals.
  1. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Making the Right Choice
  • Lesson Goal: Students will practice decision-making skills.
  1. Do You Hear What I Am Saying?: How to Communicate Effectively
  • Lesson Goal: Students will practice effective communication skills.
  1. Walk in Someone Else's Shoes: Thinking of Others
  • Lesson Goal: Students will identify active-listening skills, how to recognize the emotional state of others, and how to demonstrate empathy toward victims of crime and violence.
  1. Say It Like You Mean It: Some Ways of Refusing
  • Lesson Goal: Students will practice effective refusal skills.
  1. Getting Along Without Going Along: Dealing With Peers
  • Lesson Goal: Students will practice effective refusal skills. (continued)
  1. Keeping Your Cool: Managing Your Anger
  • Lesson Goal: Students will practice anger-management skills.
    • Practice Cooling Off
  1. Keeping It Together: How to Calm Others
  • Lesson Goal: Students will identify how anger-management skills help prevent violence and conflicts.
  1. Working It Out: How to Solve Conflicts
  • Lesson Goal: Students will practice conflict-resolution techniques.
  1. G.R.E.A.T. Days Ahead: Applying Your G.R.E.A.T. Skills
  • Lesson Goal: Students will explain how their G.R.E.A.T. Project helped them develop a feeling of commitment and ownership of their school and their community.
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