Stories are powerful. We tell them to pass along wisdom and to teach. We even tell ourselves stories about ourselves. Our brains are literally wired for story, and stories are a vital part of being human. What stories will we tell in 2021?

In this issue of Upbeat News, we’re immersing ourselves in the world of stories. We share an excerpt from Social Emotional Stories by Barbara A. Lewis about industrious and energetic squirrels that can be used with students to help demonstrate skills of self-management, hard work, curiosity, and preparation. Read excerpt.

For more resources, read on for related books. Also check out the “My Story” download from How (and Why) to Get Students Talking by Jean Sunde Peterson, Ph.D., to encourage students to tell their own stories.
New Release Spotlight: Social Emotional Stories
Storytelling is one of the best ways to increase critical thinking skills and social emotional learning (SEL). Social Emotional Stories combines storytelling with thought-provoking lessons and activities to help elementary students improve their self-esteem, increase their engagement with school, and give them a sense of empowerment.

The book contains 24 lessons that educators can use individually with students, in small groups, or with an entire class. The lessons are interdisciplinary and flexible, with only minimal prep time required, allowing educators to adapt them for their situation. Extensive digital content supports the lessons with reproducible forms and a full-color photo of each plant and animal. Learn more.
Related Resources
Playful poetry teaches basic social skills in a lighthearted way.
Thirty first-person teen narratives demonstrate the seven resiliencies everyone needs to survive and thrive.
Bring students together to talk openly about important issues in their lives.
Check out more related resources for kids and educators here.
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Tips & Tools from the Free Spirit Blog
How to Take the ACHE Out of Mistakes authors Kimberly Feltes Taylor and Eric Braun share story-based activities that help kids dig deeper into what it means to deal with a mistake in a mature way. Read now.
Lory Britain, author of I’m Happy-Sad Today, offers tips and suggestions for encouraging children to be storytellers and to share stories from their hearts in the classroom. Read now.
Recent Review
“It is such an incredible resource, filled with prompts to help [teens] process their feelings and fortify their self-awareness and identities. First, there's a real-life story, to connect to the emotion. Then, some food-for-thought reflection prompts. And a page for creative expression.” —Barbara Gruener, The Corner on Character

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Free Download of the Month
The “My Story” worksheet from How (and Why) to Get Students Talking by Jean Sunde Peterson, Ph.D., includes 15 prompts that help students tell their story by pretending they are writing a book about their lives.

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“It’s never too late, in fiction or in life, to revise.”
—Nancy Thayer, from Quotes & Quotables In a Jar®