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Chicken Soup for the Soul in the Classroom: High School Edition: Lesson Plans and Students' Favorite Stories for Reading Comprehension, Writing Skills, Critical Thinking, Character Building

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'Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.'

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a teacher, you have the unique opportunity to teach and inspire your students to be goal-oriented, compassionate, confident, and ambitious. Anna Unkovich, a former teacher of thirty-five years, made a difference in her students' lives through the daily use of stories from the bestselling series Chicken Soup for the ...

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'Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.'

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a teacher, you have the unique opportunity to teach and inspire your students to be goal-oriented, compassionate, confident, and ambitious. Anna Unkovich, a former teacher of thirty-five years, made a difference in her students' lives through the daily use of stories from the bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul.

For many years, Unkovich read these stories to her students and noticed remarkable changes in them, both academically and personally. Recognizing that today's teenagers have more challenges in finding positive role models, she teamed up with bestselling author Mark Victor Hansen and veteran teacher, inspirational speaker, and bestselling author Jack Canfield to create an unprecedented educational curriculum for teachers to use to empower their students in the same way that they have. Unkovich chose the most inspirational stories from the more than one hundred Chicken Soup books published. These stories, activities, and plans will enhance your existing curriculum. Designed to be read aloud to students, each story is accompanied by thought-provoking questions and exercises specifically designed and used by the authors.

Your students will identify with each of the powerful stories and will be encouraged to apply the lesson plans to their own lives, challenges, and situations, and at the same time improve their critical thinking and writing skills. More important, unlike other curriculums, Chicken Soup for the Soul in the Classroom educates and provides opportunities for open dialogue on real-life issues, including character building and self-esteem.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780757306969
  • Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/15/2007
  • Series: Chicken Soup for the Soul Series
  • Edition description: High School Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Canfield has a master's degree in education and was a classroom teacher in Chicago, Iowa, and Massachusetts. For more than thirty years, he has conducted training seminars in hundreds of school districts and educational associations around the world.

Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield are the creators of The New York Times bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Ana Unkovich has over thirty-five years of experience at the middle school, high school, and college-levels in Michigan and California , with frequent success talks to elementary students. She is the recipient of multiple local and national teaching awards and was named Who's Who Among American Teachers five times.


While Jack Canfield himself may not necessarily be a household name, it's very likely that you have heard of his famed Chicken Soup for the Soul series and nearly as likely that you have at least one of them sitting on your very own bookshelf! Having got his start as an inspirational speaker, Canfield's own story is nothing less than inspirational.

Jack Canfield had been traveling around delivering key note speeches and organizing workshops to help audiences build their self-esteem and maximize their potential when he had an in-flight brainstorm that changed his life. While flying home from a gig, Canfield realized that the very same advice he had been delivering during his in-person addresses could potentially form the basis of a book. Canfield used inspirational stories he'd gleaned over the years as the basis of his speeches, and he thought it would be a terrific idea to gather together 101 inspirational stories and anthologize them in a single volume. Upon returning home, Canfield approached friend and author Mark Victor Hansen about his concept. Hansen agreed it was a great idea, and the two men set about finding a publisher. Believe it or not, the mega-selling series was not an easy sell to publishers. "We were rejected by 123 publishers all told," Canfield told "The first time we went to New York, we visited with about a dozen publishers in a two day period with our agent, and nobody wanted it. They all said it was a stupid title, that nobody bought collections of short stories, that there was no edge -- no sex, no violence. Why would anyone read it?"

Canfield wisely practiced what he preached -- and persisted. Ultimately, he and Hansen sold the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book to a small press based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, called Health Communications. The rest, as they say, is history. There are currently 80 million copies of the Chicken Soup books in print, with subjects as varied as Chicken Soup For the Horse Lover's Soul and Chicken Soup For the Prisoner's Soul. Canfield and Hansen ranked as the top-selling authors of 1997 and are multiple New York Times bestsellers. Most important of all, the inspirational stories they have gathered in their many volumes have improved the lives of countless readers.

This year, expect to see Canfield's name gracing the covers of such titles as Chicken Soup For the Scrapbooker's Soul, Chicken Soup For the Mother and Son Soul, and Chicken Soup For the African American Woman's Soul. He and Hansen have also launched the all-new "Healthy Living" series and 8 titles in that series have already been released this year. There is also the fascinating You've GOT to Read This Book!, in which Canfield compiles personal accounts by 55 people each discussing a book that has changed his or her life. The most compelling of these may be the story of young entrepreneur Farrah Gray, who read Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success at the age of 11 and made his first million dollars at the age of 14!

With no sign of slowing down, Canfield continues to be an inspiration to millions, who fortunately refused to give up when it seemed as though he would never even get his first book published. "Mark and I are big believers in perseverance," he said. "If you have a vision and a life purpose, and you believe in it, then you do not let external events tell you what is so. You follow your internal guidance and follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell used to say."

Good To Know

Canfield is the founder of two California based self-esteem programs, "Self-Esteem Seminars" in Santa Barbara and "The Foundation For Self Esteem" in Culver City.

Writing the first Chicken Soup book was a lot more daunting than Canfield expected. After the first three years of research, he and Mark Victor Hansen had only compiled 68 stories -- 33 tales shy of their goal of 101 stories.

Along with co-writing dozens of full-length books, Canfield also publishes a free biweekly newsletter called Success Strategies.

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Canfield:

"My inspiration for writing comes from my passion for teaching others how to live more effective lives. I started out as a history teacher in an all-black inner city high school in Chicago, graduated to a teacher trainer, then psychotherapist, then trainer of therapists, then large group transformational trainer and then a writer and keynote speaker. All along the way, my desire was to make a difference, to help people live more fulfilling lives. That is what I still do today. Most people don't know this but I was not a good writer in college. I got a C in composition. Nobody would have ever believed I would grow up to be a bestselling author."

"I play guitar, and I am learning to play the piano. I love movies and some TV shows. My favorites are Six Feet Under, Grey's Anatomy, House and Lost. I love to play Scrabble, poker and backgammon with my in-laws, nieces and nephews. We really get into it. I love to travel. I have been to 25 countries and try to add two or three new ones every year."

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    1. Hometown:
      Santa Barbara, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 19, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Worth, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

A Simple Hello

I have always felt sympathy and compassion for the kids I see at school walking all alone, for the ones who sit in the back of the room while everyone snickers and makes fun of them. But I never did anything about it. I guess I figured that someone else would. I did not take the time to really think about the depth of their pain. Then one day I thought, What if I did take a moment out of my busy schedule to simply say hello to someone without a friend or stop and chat with someone eating by herself? And I did. It felt good to brighten up someone else's life. How did I know I did? Because I remembered the day a simple kind hello changed my life forever.

Katie E. Houston

Night Watch

Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.
Erich Fromm

'Your son is here,' the nurse said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the man's eyes opened. He was heavily sedated and only partially conscious after a massive heart attack he had suffered the night before. He could see the dim outline of a young man in a U.S. Marine Corps uniform, standing alongside his bed.

The old man reached out his hand. The marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp hand and squeezed gently. The nurse brought a chair, and the tired serviceman sat down at the bedside.

All through the night, the young marine sat in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering words of encouragement. The dying man said nothing, but kept a feeble grip on the young man's hand. Oblivious to the noise of the oxygen tank, the moans of the other patients, and the bustle of the night staff coming in and out of the ward, the marine remained at the old man's side.

Every now and then, when she stopped by to check on her patients, the nurse heard the young marine whisper a few comforting words to the old man. Several times in the course of that long night, she returned and suggested that the marine leave to rest for a while. But every time, the young man refused.

Near dawn the old man died. The marine placed the old man's lifeless hand on the bed and left to find the nurse. While the nurse took the old man away and attended to the necessary duties, the young man waited. When the nurse returned, she began to offer words of sympathy, but the marine interrupted her.

'Who was that man?' he asked.
Startled, the nurse replied, 'He was your father.'
'No, he wasn't,' the young man said. 'I've never seen him before in my life.'
'Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?'

'I knew there had been a mistake by the people who sent me home on an emergency furlough. What happened was, there were two of us with the same name, from the same town, and we had similar serial numbers. They sent me by mistake,' the young man explained. 'But I also knew he needed his son, and his son wasn't there. I could tell he was too sick to know whether I was his son or not. When I realized how much he needed to have someone there, I just decided to stay.'

Roy Popkin

Winning Isn't Everything

Great competitors are bred, and great sportsmen are born. I came to that conclusion at a Little League T-ball game in Davis, California, for which my son, Matt, was umpiring. This conclusion was cemented solidly just last week when a friend of mine related a horror story from her son's Little League game.

'One of the coaches just ripped off a kid's head for making a mistake,' she noted. 'What does that teach him?'

In both of our books, nothing.
We have become a nation addicted to winning. 'We're number one' puts smiles on sports fans' faces. Running a good race doesn't always.
This premise relates to every facet of life, whether at home, at church, at school, at work, or at play. Numbers are crunched; awards are pursued; emotions are stifled in favor of one-upmanship. Even the Joneses have a hard time keeping up.

Life too often becomes a tough game with more losers than winners. When claiming the prize eliminates the good in playing, no one wins. Real rewards come from teamwork and playing the game unselfishly for the good of the whole.

On a hot, sunny afternoon, a small boy stepped up to bat. The crowd watched like hawks for his move, waiting for the sought-after home run that most likely wasn't to be. After all, these kids were five and six years old, much too little to stroke a ball past the pitcher, if at all.

The little guy's determination showed in his stance: gritted teeth, slightly bulging eyes, hat-clad head bobbing slightly, feet apart, hands with a death grip on the bat. In front of him was a small softball, sitting perched like a parrot on a lone tee, awaiting the six swings that the batter was allowed.

Strike one.
'Come on, you can do it!' came a solitary voice out of the bleachers.

Strike two.
'Go for it, son!' the proud father yelled encouragingly.

Strike three.
'Go, go, go . . .' the crowd joined in.

Strike four.

'You can do it!' just the father and a couple of viewers crooned, others losing interest and turning to bleacher conversations.

'YOU CAN DO IT!' And suddenly bat hit ball, amazing the crowd and the little boy, who stood rock still, watching it travel slowly past the pitcher on its way to second base.

The stands rumbled with stomping feet.
'Run, run!'
The little boy's head jerked ever so slightly and he took off toward third base.
'No!' the crowd yelled. 'The other way!'
With a slight cast of his head toward the bleachers, the boy turned back toward home.
'NO!' My son, the umpire, waved him toward first base.

The kids on both teams pointed the way. The crowd continued to cheer him on. Confused, he ran back to third. Then following the third baseman's frantic directions, he finally ran toward first base, but stopped triumphantly on the pitcher's mound. The pitcher moved back, not sure what to do next. The crowd stood, shaking the bleachers with the momentum. All arms waved toward first base. And with no thought for his position, the first baseman dropped his ball and ran toward the pitcher.

'Come on,' he yelled, grabbing the hand of the errant batter and tugging him toward first base while the crowd screamed its approval. The ball lay forgotten as a triumphant twosome hugged each other on the piece of square plastic that marked the spot where lives are forever shaped.

Two little boys, running hand in hand, toward a goal that only one should have reached. Both came out winners. In fact, there wasn't a loser in the stands or on the field that summer day, and that's a lesson none of us should ever forget.

Winning is more than being number one. Winning is helping another when the chips are down. It's remembering to love one another, as biblically directed, despite the flaws that sometimes appear in the fabric of daily life.

No one will ever remember the score of that summer afternoon encounter. Competition, usually fettered by jeering remands, lost to sportsmanship, an innate formula for winning.

When you get to first base with opposing teammates, families, friends, and grandstanders behind you, a home run is never that far down the road.

Mary Owen

I'll Get Another One

At his father's funeral, American Carl Lewis placed his one-hundred-meter gold medal from the 1984 Olympics in his father's hands. 'Don't worry,' he told his surprised mother. 'I'll get another one.'

A year later, in the one-hundred-meter final at the 1988 games, Lewis was competing against Canadian world-record-holder Ben Johnson. Halfway through the race, Johnson was five feet in front. Lewis was convinced he could catch him. But at eighty meters, he was still five feet behind. It's over, Dad, Lewis thought. As Johnson crossed the finish, he stared back at Lewis and thrust his right arm in the air, index finger extended.

Lewis was exasperated. He had noticed Johnson's bulging muscles and yellow-tinged eyes, both indications of steroid use. 'I didn't have the medal, but I could still give to my father by acting with class and dignity,' Lewis said later. He shook Johnson's hand and left the track.

But then came the announcement that Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids. He was stripped of his medal. The gold went to Lewis, a replacement for the medal he had given his father.

David Wallechinsky

©2008. Katie E. Houston, Roy Popkin, Mary Owen, and David Wallechinsky . All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Soul in the Classroom - High School Edition by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Anna Unkovich. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street , Deerfield Beach , FL 33442.

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