Common Sense Review
Updated October 2016

Character Playbook

Realistic comic book-style stories help build healthy relationships
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Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Character Playbook is an online curriculum about developing healthy relationships.
  • Students can complete six 20- to 30-minute modules.
  • Students log into EverFi to access the course.
  • Quizzes within the modules help kids reflect on tough decisions.
  • Off-site resources vary in interactivity, but they're consistently high quality.
Pros
Surprisingly realistic situations appear throughout the modules, making for a truly useful, worthwhile experience that will leave kids thinking critically.
Cons
Interactivity is limited, and the pace can be pretty slow; content is of varying quality.
Bottom Line
A valuable series of modules to get kids thinking about how their choices help build strong character.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/nonprofit member
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

The site features a collection of content from a range of developers, so some lessons and activities are a lot more appealing than others.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Quizzes, videos, and simulations feature diverse characters and true-to-life scenarios. This strong collection of resources is likely to resonate with kids and has great potential for transfer to the real world.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

It's frustrating that leaving a module means you have to start over, and there's not much in the way of progress tracking. The off-site resources are excellent.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

These modules are short, so they're not likely to serve as a stand-alone curriculum, but they might be a great tool to fit into your current work. Consider how these six modules might fit into your existing ELA, social studies, or health curricula.

How might these sites' quizzes and activities boost the content you already have? In general, think about how tools such as these can contribute to your classroom's culture. What does it mean to your students to be an "upstander"? What does it mean to be a good friend as you navigate the challenges of high school? While these tools don't have all the answers, they are definitely rich opportunities to host critical conversations with your students.

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What's It Like?

Character Playbook is a web-based curriculum related to building healthy relationships. The program was developed by content collector Everfi and is sponsored by the National Football League and the United Way. Students in grades 6 through 9 can explore brief, graphic novel-style modules in six areas, each of which is designed to take students 20 to 30 minutes. The six modules are: Analyzing Influence, Understanding and Managing Emotions, Communicating Effectively, Resolving Conflicts, Stepping In, and Making Decisions. Students have to wait for the narrator to read the on-screen text before they can proceed to the next screen. Various stories ask kids to take surveys and select from a range of choices about good decisions and healthy behavior. A Resources button links to a series of offsite tools that can help students learn more about these topics and seek help from professionals.

Students log in through the EverFi website and can access course content for free once their school sets up an account. Meanwhile, teachers can find a suite of tools to support their work, from the results of student pre- and post-tests to a series of lesson plans and discussion guides that can support the themes students explore in the modules.

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Is It Good For Learning?

The content here is solid; it's refreshing to see diverse animated characters and to encounter thoughtful, no-nonsense takes on how to navigate healthy relationships in high school. The pacing is a little frustrating: All the text is on the screen, but you can't advance the story until the narrator has finished reading it aloud, and you have to restart a module if you happen to navigate away from the page. Also, your mileage may vary with the resources; some are more text-heavy and less engaging, while others have such high production values that they might appeal to kids whether their teachers asked them to do this work or not.

Still, the core of what's here is great: There's thoughtful content about interpreting media, navigating school drama, and more. Though the pace can be plodding, the tone is right on and doesn't talk down to students. Character Playbook could be a solid addition to your existing middle and high school social and emotional learning curriculum: It would work especially well as a component of larger classroom discussions about developing healthy relationships and friendships.

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See how teachers are using Character Playbook