Choosing A Good Road

"This book is packed with relevant quotes, interesting 'cool facts', opportunities to write and reflect and an effective incorporation of cartoons, comics and sketches"

— Gaby DiMuro, Humanities Teacher, Girls Middle School, CA


The purpose of the Choosing a Good Road textbook is to give students the tools they need to succeed in high school and be ready for college and career.

The Problem

Graduation rates from high schools in the United States are frustratingly low and schools have major challenges in promoting student effectiveness. Students who do graduate are often not well prepared for college and the workplace. The challenges are enormous and require a fresh approach.

  • Fewer than 70% of students graduate from high school
  • 48% or fewer graduate in the 50 largest school districts
  • The achievement gap for at-risk students: graduation rates well below 50%


The Choosing a Good Road textbook offers middle & high school students:

  • 36 Learning Skills to Improve Learning Outcomes
  • 9 Effectiveness Skills to Increase Student Performance
  • Brain-Based Strategies to Promote Active Learning
  • Life Purpose & Mission Statement Activities
  • A Framework for Setting Life & Learning Goals
  • An Opportunity to Clarify & Apply Personal Values
  • Methods to Shift Negative Beliefs to More Productive Mindsets
  • More Effective Peer Pressure & Positive Assertiveness Skills
  • Systems to Enhance Organization & Efficiency
  • Creative & Critical Thinking Approaches for Better Problem Solving
  • Diversity Awareness & Management Strategies
  • Leadership & Communication Tools
  • Mindfulness Practices & Improved Focus Skills

"Choosing A Good Road is inclusive and lively. I look forward to sharing the techniques with my students."

— Rosetta Saunders, Middle School History Teacher, Menlo School, CA

Textbook Features

Preview Questions

At the beginning of each chapter there are preview questions that get students thinking right away.

9 Effectiveness Skills and Activities

Every chapter includes an explanation of one of the nine effectiveness skills. In order to promote active learning, students are asked to practice these skills in the chapter activities. The effectiveness skills are evidence-based learner and life skills that provide students the foundation they need to succeed in high school.

What's the Point?

Students are frequently asked to reflect on what they've just read in order to sharpen their critical thinking skills (and solidify their learning). This feature offers practice in finding and clarifying main points.

Cool Facts

Students are invited to stay engaged by reading interesting brief facts about the chapter topic.

Road Log

This feature invites students to create a blog or online journal that documents their journey down a good road. Students have the option to write on the textbook pages or to use the Road Log to record their ideas on their computer or online.

36 Learning Skills

Every chapter offers students an opportunity to understand three different effective learning skills. Developed from validated assessments and psychological typing tests, the learning skills are a reflection of the multiplicity of approaches used by learners. Students will review their most effective strategies recorded in these skills, as well as new approaches.

Ideas in Action

Using a problem-based learning format, students are given a chance to explore a "real-life" student challenge, and to suggest solutions based on the skills they have been learning.

"The notion that the brain can be trained and behavior/skills can be enhanced through practice is the most crucial part of the text."

— Dan Seder, Principal, Bay Middle College, MI

Maga and Keya On A Good Road

Maga and Keya are two fictional Lakota Indian superheroes who appear in each chapter. In this graphic novel style drama, Maga and Keya struggle against the forces that try to push them off the good road they are traveling. They practice and promote the skills presented in every chapter.

Ready for College

This feature is based on recent research on the skills, attitudes and competencies required to prepare students for college. Students have a chance to learn, then practice what they need to know (and do) to prepare for college. All students should have an opportunity to be well prepared for college so that they can then make an informed and empowered decision when they reach this critical crossroad in their lives.

Ready for Career

Students also deserve the chance to learn what they need to know to excel in their careers. They'll learn skills they can put to use in their current employment, upon completing high school, while working during college, or after they've acquired a college degree. These skills are based on soft skills competencies promoted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student ( These competencies are in high demand by employers.

What Did You Learn?

At the end of each chapter, students are asked to reflect on their most important learning from the chapter concepts and activities.

Never Give Up!!!

This is perhaps the single most important concept in the entire book. Students learn a series of strategies that will help them persist until they reach their most important academic and life goals.

Assessment for Choosing a Good Road

The assessment offers students a chance to test their skills, learning how effective they are in each of the nine skill areas. They can take the assessment at the start of their class, and retest at any time to see how much progress they have made.

"What a gift it is to students and teachers, providing an interactive opportunity to learn life skills that have immediate application and lasting value."

— Don Fergusson, former President Rust-Oleum Corporation

© 2011-2016 Jonathan Brennan. All Rights Reserved.