1. Explain to the students that our goals and values are among the personal factors that help us make any kind of decision, including those about alcohol and other drugs. Our goals are important because they help define who we are as individuals. Students in grade 7 may not have thought much about what their goals are, but they probably do have some. This activity is intended to bring those goals to light.

  2. Ask the students to define the word goal. (A goal is something that we want to do, to be, or to achieve.) Ask for examples of some goals any of the students have right now. Is it something they think about a lot or hardly ever? Is the goal a long-term one or is it short term?

  3. Tell the students that they will be working individually on this activity and hand out a copy of Student Handout 7.C-Some Things That Are Important to Grade 7 Students to each student. Explain that the items included in the list come from a survey of grade 7 students across Canada.

  4. Ask the students as a whole to name any items that they think are missing from the list and have the students add the new goals to their list.

  5. Have the students pick the three items that are the most important to them and ask them to write them down. Ask the students to share their three most important items with the class.

  6. Ask the students: “How do you think the things that you've stated are important to you might be affected by using alcohol?” How might they be affected by using cannabis?” How do you think they might be affected by using any other drug?” If time is short, the focus can be on the alcohol question, followed by cannabis, as they are the substances the students are most likely to encounter. It is useful to have students consider alcohol independently from cannabis and other drugs as this may reveal some perceptions about alcohol as not having the same consequences and effects as other drugs.

  7. Finally, tell the students that they will be using the model in a future class that will focus on making decisions about alcohol and cannabis. Ask them to keep the things they have identified as being important to them in mind as they work through the next activities and think about how the decisions they are being asked to make fit with the things they have identified.

4. The ideas for personal goals in this learning theme are from the resource Making Decisions—Grade 7 (1999) and are used with the permission of Alcohol-Drug Education Service, Vancouver, BC.