Live Your Dreams
ISBN 0-688-11889-5
(This is an example of what happens when others tell your story and how to overcome it.)
(Available through

Marshall B. Rosenberg Ph.D.,
Nonviolent Communication: 
A Language of Compassion,
Puddle Dancer Press
P.O. Box 1204
Del Mar, CA 92014

Films about integrity and self-image:

Captains Courageous1937

Meet John Doe 1941

It's a Wonderful Life 1946

Twelve Angry Men 1957

To Kill a Mockingbird 1962

Searching for Bobby Fischer1993 

Fly Away Home 1996

The Edge 1997

October Sky1999

Send Us Your Comments, Links, or Resources


Chapter I: Telling Your Story
(pages 19-50)
To help students gain an understanding of their unique story and how it fulfills an important function in the development of their self-image and relationships. Students become aware of the influences shaping their "story" and take steps to accurately tell their "story" themselves.

Three Precepts:

  • your puzzle piece
  • telling your own story
  • listening to others' stories
Important Concept:Responsibility
E(vent) + R(eaction) = O(utcome) 

What happens to us during our lifetime is often a result of our reactions to events. The formula E + R = O is a way to understand the concept of responsibility. It challenges one to take control of one's life and live pro-actively rather than feel that one is a "victim" of circumstances.

Personal Inventory: Text, pages 30-31 

It is important  for students to know who and what are influencing their lives and molding their self image. Before discussing this chapter have students write their answers to the questions on pages 30-31 in the activity section of their leadership notebook.

Next, have them make a collage on a 12"X18" piece of construction paper with images which represent their answers to these questions. Keep these collages or display them. At end of course revisit them and re-answer the questions. See if there are any changes which might indicate change of self-image, attitudes or values.

Question #1: (pages 31-35)Talk about the importance of needs.

"Click" here for needs/wants worksheets.

Question #2: (pages 35-38) Writing activity: Take an inventory of backpack, locker, bedroom, CD's, books, magazines, etc.

"Click" here for role model worksheet.

Question #3: (pages 38-41) Students create a coat of arms using symbols with which they identify or use to classify themselves.

Question #4: (pages 41-43) Self-assessmentto be filed in teacher-held student portfolio.

Question #5: (pages 43-45) (See Les Brown's book page 233 for "Drop Your Burdens" worksheet.) 

Activity: Letting go of "baggage." Students write negative things that they are holding on to on pieces of paper. Collect them in a paper sack and symbolically burn them.

Question #6: (pages 45-48) Here we have two activities which are aimed at having students recognize those who have helped them in their life. 

Activity #1: Quadrangle of life. Students fold a piece of paper into four parts and label each box as below with four stages of their life. In each box they then list important positive events in their life and the names of those who were central to that event.

Age 1-4


Age 4-8
Age 8-12 


Age 12-16
Activity #2: The sense of Gratitude. (See pages 45-46) Students write a "thank-you" letter to one of the people mentioned in their quadrangle of life and deliver it personally or mail it. If the person is not alive, encourage to share letter by reading it to classmates.

Question #7: Students bring a shoe box and scraps of gift-wrapping paper to class for this activity. Refer to pages 48-50 and discuss text with students before doing this activity

  • Cover the top and the box separately with wrapping paper.
  • Cut a 3" slit in the top of the box and place on top of box.
  • Decorate outside of gift-wrapped box with pictures, symbols, and words which represent what gifts they have to give as a leader. Students will add to the box's decoration whenever they feel motivated throughout the course.
  • At any time during the course classmates and teacher may use the slit in top of box to send "thank you" notes for gifts received from that person. For example, an act such as helping a classmate catch up on work and notes after an absence would merit a "thank-you" note. Also, any positive actions or gestures done outside of class would be noteworthy.

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Vernon, Ann
Thinking, Feeling, Behaving: An Emotional Education Curriculum for Adolescents
Research Press
2612 North Mattis Avenue
Champaign, IL 61821
(Available through

Goleman, Daniel
Emotional Intelligence

Free Resource Kit, Video and Guide:

The Farmer's Insurance Group
The American Promise Kit
P.O. Box 4989
Los Angeles, CA 90051-9723

(800) 204-7722

Supporting the dreams and visions of young people 
for a better world

 Do Something: organization and magazine:
 visit their website

CBS Sunday Morning
with Charles Osgood
9:00 AM ET/PT
(check local listings)
A great program for inspirational stories of average citizens doing things to improve life.

Teaching Peace
song: See Me Beautiful
Songs by Red Grammer
Red Note Records
5049 Orangeport Road
Brewerton, NY 13029


Send Us Your Comments, Links, or Resources
Chapter II: Everything is Life 
(pages 51-66)
To have students come up with some practical steps they can take to improve their lives and the lives of others.

Some or all of the following activities may be done to communicate the concept of the interdependence of life.

Circles of Self: 

Objective: To identify various aspects of one's identity.

Distribute the "Circles of Self " worksheet and explain the directions. (example: in the "Social" category one might put outgoing, likes people, etc. Once the circles are completed ask students to share the words or phrases from any two categories with a partner.


  1. How difficult was it to think of words or phrases to describe yourself?
  2. Were there some areas where you felt more comfortable?
  3. Is there a relationship between these categories?
  4. How would you explain to someone who you are?
Create a worksheet or use the worksheet from Ann Vernon's book, page 13-14.
To create a Circles of Self worksheet master:
  • Draw a circle about six inches in diameter.
  • Divide the circle into five equal pie-shaped sections.
  • Label each of the sections respectively: "Physical," "Emotional," "Intellectual," "Social," "Spiritual."
  • Write the directions at the top of the worksheet: "Identify three words or phrases in each category that tell something about you."
NOTE: Help students understand that all these aspects contribute to one's identity and that they help us recognize that we may be stronger in some areas than others. Who we are as a whole is different from others and helps creates our unique character.

Chain of Life:

  • Teacher provides at least  five strips approximately 1" X 8" of different colored construction paper to each student.
  • On one strip student prints name and at least one skill or attribute that he or she will be able to contribute to class.
  • On each of the other four strips of paper the student will print the name of a person who has helped him or her develop the quality, skill or attribute which they are contributing to the class.
  • Use the strips to create a continuous chain by stapling them with names on outside. As students add each of their five paper links, they will discuss what they have written.
  • Teachers are encouraged to display the chain of life in the classroom and make reference to it throughout the course.
Web of Life:
This activity is aimed at creating a concrete awareness of how all elements in a life-supporting system are interconnected. This can be done on either the model of a natural environmental system, or a man-made social system.

            Nature model: Have all students stand in a circle with the teacher in the middle. Teacher has a ball of string and asks students to name a plant that grows in the area. One student represents that plant and holds the end of the string. Students then name in succession animals or insects that would use plant for food and in turn animals which eat other animals and insects. Bring in other elements like soil, water, humans and so on. When each student is holding a piece of string a "web of life" is created (be sure that the ball of string is passed randomly across the circle and not passed to students who are standing next to each other). To demonstrate how each individual is important to the whole community, take away by some plausible means one member of the web. (i.e. Have one of the elements killed, eaten, die or somehow destroyed or eliminated.) When the person falls, those elements related to that person feel a tug on their string. When a person in the web feels a tug he or she gives a tug. The process continues until every person is shown to be affected by the elimination of one of the elements.

            Social Model: Same procedure as above except that each person in the web represents some element of the community which depends upon another element. These may be social or governmental services, professions, jobs, businesses, transportation, utilities and  infrastructure, recreational facilities, individual citizens, and so on. Who is affected when one of the elements is eliminated?

Practical Steps for Improving Life: (Text pp. 56-65)

"Click" here for a copy-master of activity worksheet.
Keep this worksheet in the "class activities" section of the "Leadership Notebook."

(Before starting to plan for service revisit the gift box. "What I have to give.")

Leadership Service Project:
From the "What I would like to do" column on the above worksheet will emerge the service project. One of the items can become the focus of a "Leadership Service Project."  If other students have similar ideas for a project they may work together to accomplish it.

Wait until the end of course for students to fill in the "What I've done" column of the above worksheet. This could even be the theme for a written paper or final.

Service Learning Project Log:

"Click" here for a copy-master of Service Learning Planning Worksheet
"Click" here for a copy-master of log sheet.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson, Success



Send Us Your Comments, Links, or Resources
Chapter III: Failing is Not a Right
 (pages 67-74)
To re-define "failure" and to learn how to use experiences of failure constructively, and to build a "success" self-image.

A) Pre-reading exercise: have each student write down his or her own definition of "failure."

B) See book, Winner's Circle, Chapter 6 pages 129-130. Use as overhead transparency. Cover name and age of person described and have student try and guess identity.

C) Have students write down their own definition of "success." Then read and discuss pages 70-74 in Rebellion with the objective of coming up with a class definition. (Use Think, Ink, Pop-up technique)

D) Honest confrontation of self about shortcomings, habits, addictions, dependencies without self-criticism. Let students know that "A bad habit does not indicate a bad person." Such honest confrontation creates integrity.


G.P.A.-- Growth of Personal Assets (Not grade point average! This must go before good grades; good grades will follow.)
Have students write down some personal assets which they would like to develop. Keep track of them in journal with the objective of writing a "GPA letter" towards the end of course in which they tell what assets they developed. This can be done in conjunction with the following activity.

Victory Log: Students keep a log in their Leadership Notebook of all their achievements and accomplishments in life they are proud of. Nothing is too small to be included.

The goal of these activities is to build the students' self-esteem resources. Note the "Poker Chip" theory of success: When you have a lot you risk more. Those with a small stack of chips will usually be more reluctant to take risks. 

As we approach challenges it is important that we be aware of our skills for success. These are our "chips" in the "game" of life.

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