Developed by: Electric Eggplant
Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are is a book app about a group of friends who help bolster one another's self-esteem in the face of teasing, bullying, or mere self- doubt. While there are some mean kids in the story (who never physically assault anyone), most of the torment these young protagonists endure is self-inflicted. They feel bad about themselves because of their height, weight, grades, athletic skills, self-image, etc. But their friends always know what to say to turn things around and give them perspective. (Common Sense Media)
Prepare to use this app by using any of the following activities:
- Build Background: As stated in the title, this book deals with friends helping one another through various types of insecurities to build one another’s self-esteem and confidence. Start a discussion with your child about this topic. Can they relate? Does this sound familiar? Why or why not? What are some of the things your child feels really good and confident about (personally, at school, etc.)? What are some things your child worries about? What makes them anxious? If they want to talk to you about it – great! If they’d rather not talk, encourage them to journal independently. They may feel more ready to talk to you about this topic after having some time to write it out.
- Get to know the cast of characters: Have your child explore the “About the Cast” section. Ask them to read their blurbs and then talk to them about who they most identify with and why. Who do they least identify with? Why?
Help your child get the most out of this app experience by trying either of the following activities:
- Me too! As your child starts reading this book, encourage them to try and make as many text to self-connections as possible (times in the text where something reminds them of their own life and experiences). Talk about these during or after reading (their preference), or ask them to jot their personal connections down on a piece of paper. This will help them to build empathy (feeling what others feel) for the cast and thus have a much more enjoyable reading experience.
- Character Analysis: Characters reveal themselves to the reader through what they say, think, feel and do. Throughout this book, have your child focus on this and have them compare and contrast the cast of characters to themselves. Would they have acted that way? Said those things? Thought and felt that way? This will also help them to make text-to-self connections if they are struggling to do so. Revisit these questions after they are done reading.
Extend your child’s learning by using any of the following activities:
- Chapter Reflection: Which chapter was most relevant to your child’s life? Why? Middle school can be a rough time, to say the least. Are their things your child can do to feel better about themselves or to help others feel better about themselves? Help your child brainstorm some concrete steps they can take to make their own or others’ middle school experience more enjoyable.
- Be the Director: If your child could turn this book into a movie, who would they cast? Why? What parts would they keep the same? What parts would they change? Encourage them to gather up a cast of characters and film their own movie adaptation.
- Missing Chapter? Was there a confidence or self-esteem issue that wasn’t covered in this book? Have your child write the missing chapter themselves.
- Sing it: Ask your child to turn the message of their favorite chapter into a song, chant or rap. Encourage them to “perform it” for friends or family members, or record it and play it when they are comfortable doing so.