Social-emotional learning (SEL) is now a major focus for K–12 teachers and administrators—and for good reason. While increased needs for SEL were well established prior to 2020, recent events including the global pandemic and national protests have rapidly changed student needs for support in the areas of mental wellness and behavior.
You can help students in Grades 8–12 understand the life-changing power of hope, empathy, resilience, and acts of kindness with an all-school read or a class book study of Steve Pemberton’s A Chance in the World.
“We aren’t measured by what happens to us, but rather by how we respond to it.“
Have your students struggled with any of these questions?: Where do I belong? How can I succeed when others dismiss my worth? How can I help others who don’t have much support? In what ways do my origins influence who I am?
A Chance in the World addresses these questions, moving and inspiring teens who see their own lives reflected in the author’s story, which was originally written for the author’s own children.
Teachers attest to the power of this story to engage students who may normally avoid tackling full-length books—and as an all-school read, the book serves to build community and help break down barriers among students, teachers, and staff.
Teach students that we all have the potential to grow and change, even in the face of difficulty and failure.
Inspire students to seek positive role models and spread the word about the power of kindness, empathy, and community action.
Show students that books can motivate and empower, inspiring readers to rise above challenging circumstances to create a better future.
Based on feedback from educators, we recommend six weeks for an all-school read.
Extra time may be needed for the writing workshop and school assembly, whether in person or online.
The curriculum includes a recommended project and related weekly reading, which can be assigned during or after the program.
Consider assigning the book as a summer read and scheduling discussions and other activities when school begins again.
Plan and engage with an educator-to-educator video, letter to readers from Steve Pemberton, Spark posters and bookmarks, discussion strategies, and academic vocabulary.
Read and discuss with a weekly curriculum including SEL, vocabulary, discussion questions, ELA connections, suggested project ideas, and related readings.
Respond and take action with culminating projects and a personal narrative writing workshop.
You may wish to focus on just SEL activities, the essential questions, and projects. Or you may wish to concentrate on ELA discussion questions and lessons, along with the writing workshop.
The program offers resources and ideas to help you facilitate a school assembly—which you may opt to host remotely—to celebrate completion of the reading.
Consider closing with a video of an interview with Steve Pemberton, or invite a speaker in person or via video whose life or work is relevant.
Whichever options you choose, strive to make this educational experience reflect and support the character and spirit of your school.
A Chance in the World is included on the HMH Into Literature™ novels list and can be purchased separately—and Relationships for Learning is a dedicated SEL program that prepares students for current and future success.
Social-emotional learning is a recurring theme in HMH Into Literature, and A Chance in the World Integrated SEL Curriculum is a great way to reinforce SEL competencies. Students will use charts, graphic organizers, and surveys to examine their own cognitive and behavioral patterns and explore issues and concerns that matter to teenagers.
Relationships for Learning reinforces the SEL competencies taught in both curricula, with a focus on fostering whole-child growth, improving academic achievement, and preparing tomorrow’s workforce.
Help today’s students in Grades 6–12 grow into tomorrow’s leaders with ELA instruction that integrates SEL.
Foster ongoing social-emotional learning with a flexible SEL program customized to your class, school, or district.
See how A Chance in The World Integrated SEL Curriculum can make positive change in your classroom.