THE S.O. WHAT! LITERACY, LIFE SKILLS, AND CHARACTER EDUCATION CURRICULUM FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS
“The S.O. What! program helped me to work harder in school to plan what’s best for my future.”
-Trinity, 7th Grade Student
WHY THIS MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM WAS NEEDED
Middle School is an important time of transition for students. No longer little kids and not quite ready for high school, middle school students fight to fit in and figure out their place. They are also beginning to learn and adjust as their bodies start to change. With these new responsibilities, middle school students are exposed to more freedom and more grown-up media and materials and are often unaware of the consequences of their actions.
I created the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education Curriculum for Middle School students to help students understand themselves, their bodies, their potential, and the consequences of their actions. The curriculum helps students recognize that everyone goes through changes and challenges. It also helps to prepare them for entering high school and set themselves up for success while improving literacy and academic performance.
The curriculum has been impactful because I combined a relatable, non-fiction text that youth actively seek to read with a workbook that uses higher learning standards for English Language Arts to teach critical life lessons. Most students see themselves in the story, and the workbook encourages them to examine their choices and prepare for the future they want to have.
A LIFE SKILLS CURRICULUM FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS THAT IMPROVES LITERACY
The S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum guides students through my journey from bullying and insecurity to confidence and success. Through the text along with the workbook and journal, students explore the obstacles that I encountered, discuss my challenges and choices, and examine their own. The curriculum helps students discover who they are, what they like, and possible career paths to pursue. With a focus on helping students achieve success by overcoming their obstacles, eliminating their excuses, and calculating their choices, the curriculum addresses tough topics that impact students’ lives the most. The non-fiction text has an estimated Lexile band of 1050-1160, which aptly supports the Higher Learning Standards emphasis on text range, quality and complexity. Because of the content and relatability of the text, even struggling readers push themselves to read and comprehend the material improving their literacy skills.
A MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM THAT HELPS SCHOOLS:
- Improve academic performance, standardized test scores, school attendance rates, graduation rates, and post-secondary attendance rates
- Build digital literacy and STEM skills
- Develop college and career goals and workforce readiness
- Promote literacy, academic excellence, health-related and financial education
- Build self-esteem and help students value themselves and their futures
- Reduce bullying and violence and decrease discipline referrals
- Encourage leadership, teamwork, and community involvement
- Develop character and teach life skills to help students succeed in school and beyond
- Improve emotional learning initiatives
A Literacy and Life Skills Curriculum the Parent Turned Teacher Can Easily Support
Parents have always played a critical role in supporting the educational achievements of their children. They are also a student’s first teachers of life skills and character development. With many parents now forced into a teacher role, educators need curriculum that parents even without the background and the patience of educators can easily support. Students as well as adults can relate to the text and workbook contents of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum. Because the curriculum fosters important conversations, educators and parents learn more about their student as the student learns more about themselves, how to make good decisions and overcome their challenges, and how to set and achieve goals for their future.
WHAT EDUCATORS SAY ABOUT THE S.O. WHAT! LITERACY, LIFE SKILLS, AND CHARACTER EDUCATION CURRICULUM FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS
“This book made them read more. I feel as though a few students have actually looked for other reading material along the same line. I think this helps because it was encouraged them to read. Great program overall. The curriculum was self-explanatory and easy to use.”
Zandra Hall, Cummings K-8
WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THE S.O. WHAT! LITERACY, LIFE SKILLS, AND CHARACTER EDUCATION CURRICULUM FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS
“(This program) will help me make better decisions in the long run”
– Jonathan, Middle School Student
HOW THE S.O. WHAT! LITERACY, LIFE SKILLS, AND CHARACTER EDUCATION CURRICULUM WORKS
The first step is to contact me to discuss the best implementation plan for your school or district. Then educators who will lead the curriculum participate in the Train the Trainer program. They learn how to teach the curriculum based on their own teaching style and unique needs of their students. Educators receive an Instructor Guide as well as a copy of the textbook for the curriculum and a S.O. What! T-shirt. Implementation of the program can be done in-person, virtually, or a combination of both methods at the determination of each educator.
Students receive a Student Workbook and Journal, a copy of the textbook for the curriculum, and a S.O. What! T-shirt which students are encouraged to wear when engaging with the curriculum. The program starts with students sharing a S.O. What! Statement of a current challenge or insecurity. The workbook includes 14 lessons each of which can be taught over one or multiple periods depending on the goals of the facilitator and identified needs of the class/group. The lessons are designed to fit in 60-90 minute blocks and can be scaled up or down to accommodate various group sizes and learning situations. Although many schools allocate 2-3 class meetings per lesson at least one semester for the full curriculum, most schools spread the lessons over a full school year because of the depth of materials covered in the lessons and the interest of the students.
A capstone project concludes the program. Students revisit the key topics of each lesson, perform a job shadowing activity then write and present on what they learned and how they will apply what they learned to their careers and lives in general. In the final activity, students create their So NOW What? Statements where they express how they will move forward from the challenge stated in their S.O. What! Statement.
Bring This Impactful Literacy Curriculum to Your School or District
Contact me to discuss the best implementation plan for the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum in your classroom, school or district. I’ll help you get your students reading, writing, thinking, dreaming, and achieving S.O. What! Success.
Looking for an inspiring, relatable speaker to encourage and motivate your high school students. Bring Summer to your campus in-person or virtually!
Schools using the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum also get the Summer Send-Off program at the conclusion of the curriculum implementation.
Key curriculum topics:
- Understanding emotions
- Cause and effect
- Relationships and sex
- STD’s and teen pregnancy
- The power of friends
- Money management
- Handling disappointment
- Communication skills
- Planning and thinking ahead
- The importance and impact of education
- Delayed gratification
- Goal setting
- Making a good impression
- The value of hard work
- Handling disappointments
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I think many of us underestimate the importance of the decisions and connections that we make in high school. After becoming a teen mom, I still chose to be a leader and focus on my grades so that I could be successful. I was determined to go to college, have a career, and provide for myself and my son.
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