Student View

Characters Your Students Need to Meet

By Lauren Salisbury
October 27, 2020

At Scope HQ, we’re strong believers in the power of great stories—and great characters—to help us understand and manage the anxiety, uncertainty, and difficult situations we face in real life. It is our hope that the characters your students meet in the pages of Scope are ones they can carry around in their pockets to help them feel supported, reassured, and encouraged when life gets messy.

Here’s a round-up of characters from stories, poems, and plays that will bolster your students and give you entry points for powerful SEL discussions.

In this powerful work of fiction, a boy comes face-to-face with his worst nightmare.
Essential Questions: How can we deal with fear? What is it like to have a parent with a risky job?

In this inspiring poem by Joyce Sidman, the speaker lacks confidence but acts in spite of her feelings of worry, uncertainty, and fear.
Essential Question: How do we find our courage?

This moving play tells the story of a homesick teen, a gravely injured sea turtle, and a summer that changed everything.
Essential Questions: How do we cope with change? How can one person make a difference?

This beautiful work of fiction tells the story of a young girl living in Tokyo when Japan was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
Essential Questions: How do we cope when bad things happen? How do we grow and change as people? What truths can we learn from fiction?

This sweet work of fiction by award-winning author Jason Reynolds tells the story of a boy who overcomes his fear in a surprising way.
Essential QuestionsWhere can we find comfort when we are in distress? How can we help someone who is suffering? How can one thing be many things?

A work of fiction and a short nonfiction text explore what life is like for military families.
Essential Questions: What are the risks of pretending to be something we are not? How do we deal with stress and fear? What is it like to have a parent in the military?

This heartfelt Fiction In a Flash story begs the question: Who needs perfection anyways?
Essential Questions: How do we find happiness? What does it take to be yourself?

This is the true story of 15-year-old Salvador Gómez-Colón, who kept hope alive after Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Essential Questions: What is the value of hope? How can one person make a difference?

Coming soon in the December/January issue of Scope
This moving Fiction In a Flash feature tells the story of a teen who fears her best friend has forgotten her after she moves away during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Essential Question: What is the value of friendship? How do we cope with change? How can we help others when they are down?

Credits: Dave Wheeler ("Aftershocks"), Alex Nabaum ("The Broom Dog"), Randy Pollak ("The Perfects"), Dave Wheeler ("Song of Bravery"), Gary Hanna ("Bearing Up"), Sebastian Crocker/ (saxophone); (music notes), Conetha Stilley/EyeEm/Getty Images (beach); Simon Eeman/ (turtle); Genuine_life/ (footprints), Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images ("Island of Sorrow"), ("The Stars Between Us")

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