A video-based program to foster the development of coping skills

Choices, the latest in our series of video-based educational resources, was produced in response to teachers' and counselors' requests for a tool to assist them in helping teens cope with some of the common problems they experience in the middle and high school years.

This dynamic program stresses practical techniques that kids can apply when facing tough situations at school and at home. It offers a means for students to develop effective coping techniques to turn negative situations into positive experiences. This 25-minute video portrays six open-ended situations encountered by various teenagers. These include parental and self-imposed pressure for good grades, rejection in romance, bullying, death of a loved one, peer rejection, and facing new and difficult situations such as moving to a new area.

Choices can be tailored to fit into a single class session or multiple sessions. At the end of the scenarios, you have the opportunity to turn off the video and lead a lively discussion based on questions listed in the resource guide. Background information and leader's notes will give you additional facts on the topic areas presented in each scene. Ideas for curriculum integration and skills reinforcement in Social Studies, Language Arts, Health Education, and Math are included. The package also contains student handouts to photocopy, which feature practical tips and exercises to help students make positive and productive choices.

Whether you're a teacher or guidance counselor, peer or youth group advisor, religious or community leader, law enforcement officer or health professional, the program has an easy-to-follow format, and requires minimal preparation time. The Choices program will enable you to get young people thinking and talking about the pressing issues they face.

Program Objectives

After viewing the Choices video, participating in the class discussions and activity sessions, and completing their handouts, students will be able to:

  • identify external and internal pressures to get good grades and list techniques to enhance their school performance.
  • list positive steps to take when rejected by their peers and in their relationships.
  • state alternatives to reacting violently when in situations with bullies.
  • recognize effective coping techniques when a loved one dies
  • understand the positive aspects of being in new situations.

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“In summary, the video segments and issues explored in this video...are all very common issues among middle school-aged youth. I loved the way the characters' lives connected seamlessly throughout the scenarios. I thought that the life experiences presented were very realistic and variety of them was so comprehensive! I was amazed at what you were able to cover in the course of a 25-minute video... It is an invaluable tool in stimulating conversation about difficult issues that middle school-aged children face. Additionally, the leaders manual and the handouts were well thought out. The handouts will help the viewers of the video process their reactions to the tape and make plans for future choices they may face. This video production empowers middle school-aged children to think through troublesome issues to make appropriate choices. It doesn't just tell them what the right choices would be. It promotes coping skills development through active participation of the students instead of presenting a prescribed solution.”

Laura Amatea, EdS, LMHC
Marion County Children's Advocacy Center
Ocala, Florida

“...The feedback from the students has been excellent. The video shows scenarios that they can relate to and provides opportunities for discussion that they all benefit greatly from.”

Kelly Nadeau
Social Work Intern
Paul J. Primavera Educational Center
Bellingham Public Schools
Bellingham, MA

“...The students in my school responded positively to the video and activities with the video. The class discussions and role-plays were received extremely well. The format for this program, as well as your other programs, is great. Dividing it into video, class discussion, role-play and writing activities addresses the different learning styles of my students.”

Kimberly Butryn, M.Ed.
Guidance Counselor
KidsPeace National Centers
Allentown, Pennsylvania

“...a great movie. I have shown it to the 6th and 7th grade students at my school andy found it interesting, informative and entertaining. It provided a spring board for some good discussions in the classroom.”

Nancy Malarney, Counselor
Hart Middle School
Hart, Michigan

“...I thank you for the video and the topic covered. I had one of my support groups pre-view and discuss the video. The students found the material interesting and helpful. It was a wonderful tool to spark discussion.

Karen Scott
School Counselor
Richfield Middle School
Richfield, Minnesota

“I am writing to thank you for the outstanding tape entitled Choices...I showed the first segment of the tape and then stopped it for discussion purposes. My students complained that I stopped it and begged me to continue...They were that excited.”

Carol Johansen
St. Mary's School
Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Kids Do Matter is doing a fabulous job providing videos that are relevant to the issues of today's youth. I appreciate the opportunity to receive the Choices video. It addressed the issue of coping in a way students can identify with...Keep up the outstanding job you are doing helping us help the youth of America.”

Mary Ann Sweet
School Counselor
Tomball Elementary School
Tomball, Texas

“ In regard to the tape's production, I was pleased with the variety of realistic problem situations and the contemporary dialogue. The coping skills (or lack thereof) were well demonstrated, and the film portrayed ordinary families representative of a variety of ethnic groups. In a training tool of this type, short vignettes with clear stopping places for discussion make group discussion easy to lead. In addition, the discussion guide and printed materials are important adjuncts to the tape; in fact, I do not think the tape can stand alone without them.”

Susan DeVaney, Ed.D.
Associate Professor
Counseling and Educational Psychology
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, Texas

“ ...Thank you so much for this video! We found it to be a high quality production that is very applicable and useful to our student population. The 6th graders we already used it with said they could really relate to the kids in the video and found the situation to be very true to life. Finding a video that the students don't find “corny” or out-of-dat can be quite a challenge. We so appreciate your efforts to provide a practical yet effective means of helping youth deal with everyday life situations.”

Michele Parker, Counselor
Blacksburg Middle School
Blacksburg, Virginia