Elementary SELect Program
Hallway Heroes is a skills promotion program that uses free-standing lessons, academic integration, and teacher practices to promote social emotional learning in students. The program offers differentiated curricula for grades 1-8, which include developmentally appropriate lesson plans and journaling templates. Each grade level curricula contains 12 lessons, meant to be taught over a semester or school year by a classroom teacher, school counselor, or other educator. Each lesson uses a modification of the 5E learning cycle and instructional model, called the 7E approach (elicit, engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate, extend). This approach encourages students to draw from their lived experience. It also affords ample opportunities for students to practice generalizing their learning to real-world scenarios. While it is encouraged for instructors to complete all portions of each lesson, Hallway Heroes organizes lessons to be customizable. The intent is to provide flexibility for teachers to fit each lesson into the amount of instructional time a given teacher has to dedicate to SEL instruction. With this flexibility, lessons can take anywhere from 15-60 minutes.
Hallway Hero’s lessons also aim to address literacy skills like reading comprehension, writing, speaking, and listening. Each lesson utilizes a real-life story from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be the Best You Can Be (elementary) or Chicken Soup for the Soul: Create Your Own Best Future (middle school) to frame the conversations and activities. The program provides how each lesson aligned with Common Core literacy standards, and teachers have access to an online database for alignment to specific state standards. Additionally, a vital feature of the program is student journals. In every lesson, students reflect and write about what they have learned as well as create original, personal narratives. Finally, the Hallway Heroes teacher manual offers teaching practices that are critical for effective implementation. Teaching practices include modifying the lessons to serve their unique students best, creating a safe classroom environment, grouping students, and questioning strategies. These practices are presented at the beginning of the teacher’s manual and also recur within each lesson plan to prompt teachers to consider their pedagogical approach for particular activities. For example, if a story from a lesson involves trauma, teachers are prompted to consider their students’ possible past trauma and how that might impact their teaching practice).
Training and Implementation Support
Hallway Heroes offers both onsite and virtual seminars for training teachers and school leaders on implementing the program with fidelity. The program’s staff customizes training seminars based on needs. Training can last anywhere from one hour to all day, depending on the time schools and teachers can dedicate to training. Training includes foundational knowledge about SEL, a deep dive into the program’s format and lesson structure, and the facilitator modeling a lesson from the program. The final training activities ask teachers (in either grade level or interdisciplinary teams) to breakout and plan a lesson from Hallway Heroes. Teams then model the lesson for the entire group, receive feedback from the trainer and colleagues, and reflect on how the program fits into their instructional practice.
Additionally, schools can request follow-up webinars throughout the year for additional support. In addition to seminars facilitated by program staff, Hallway Heroes offers online interactive training for schools who cannot accommodate an onsite or virtual seminar. The online interactive training consists of a series of modules teachers work through at their own pace and covers the same content as the seminar/webinar options. For tracking fidelity and impact of implementation, each grade level curricula contains pre/post student assessments. The program also recommends conversations with students about their journaling to be a useful source of tracking and assessment. Finally, the program offers an administrator’s implementation guide to assist school leaders in supporting the implementation of the program.
Evidence of Effectiveness
Results from a quasi-experimental evaluation conducted in 2019 supported the effectiveness of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Hallway Heroes Program for elementary students. In sum, these evaluations included 435 students who were in 4th and 5th grades (Black = 32%, White = 23%, Hispanic = 30%, Multiracial/other = 10%; 73% of student body at participating schools was eligible for FRPL). This evaluation found that students receiving instruction using the Chicken Soup for the Soul Hallway Heroes Program showed significantly greater growth in teacher-reported self-awareness, self-management, and responsible decision making than the control group (outcomes reported approximately 8 weeks after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest). Additionally, there was significantly greater growth in teacher-reported social-awareness and relationship skills in 5th grade students receiving instruction than 5th grade students in the control group; however, there was not a significant program effect for 4th grade students.