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Character Education

Compiled By: Mrs. G

Here are some ideas to help you teach Character Ed. in your classroom.

character education quilts
Posted by: jl, fourth grade

I did a classroom quilt using ideas from Character Education and incorporated them into my discipline plan for the year. This was a great way to start the first week of school. After developing and discussing our discipline plan, each student received two quilt pieces. On each piece they needed to write 3-5 sentences and illustrate how they could show respect on one and responsibility on the other. The ideas ranged from respect to one another and other adults to responsibility for taking care of their work, homework, and things in school. When finished we mounted each square onto a colored and slightly larger square of construction paper. Students then lace yarn through prepunched holes on the construction paper squares. From there, we joined our quilt together on a bulletin board with the title "Character Counts!" This was a spur of the moment idea that "popped into my head" the day before school started. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was really a lovely bulletin board display that I kept up until conference time in November! (a great way to refer students back to their Sept. commitments)

Bees- Character education
Posted by: Sharon

Bees are wonderful examples of character building. They do things in order and in community with one another. The worker bees do just that. All of your students can be the worker bees. They work together to provide for the hive. They seek food, return to the hive with it and take care of home. The students could have activites that require that they work together to succeed in it. An example would be building something, I can't think of a real example right now but for instance you want to build a toy car. Students would be divided into groups. Each group would build something different. 20 students, 5 groups etc. One student would bring the wheels, one student would "bee" responsible for the body of the car, another for the interior etc. Working together in community would produce the final result. I like that Idea, mind if I borrow it?

character ed
Posted by: Cathy

Newspaper in Education has great resources for character ed that you can do through out the year. Call your newspaper and see if they have NIE. Its also free resources you can use for other activities. I like to read a poem or information on a specific famous person that has shown one of these attributes. At one school I taught in the children had these booklets that had each pillar. Each week they would write in it like a journal and put a person and how that person showed ones of these characteristics. It could be themselves, a teacher, parent, someone on tV. They turned these in each week. For each pillar they got a colored stone to put in a jar each color represented a pillar. You could use anything, even cotton balls. I think they made something with the stones like a mosaic. You could make a cloud with the cotton balls and make a BB "I have a Dream..." MLK encompasses all the pillars and is a great opportunity to have a mini unit on Great Americans

character ed
Posted by: angie

Character education seems to work best with consistency. If it is used throughout a school,in every classroom, by the guidance counselor when he/she does weekly lessons, by administration, etc. The language I use as a teacher in my classroom, for instance, makes a difference. When someone is honest, I make sure to give specific feedback and praise like "I really appreciate your honesty" (often in front of the class for others to hear). The children (even my second graders) start to use this language after awhile too. I once visited a school that even named their hallways each a different character trait such as responsibility, honesty, respect, etc. Good luck with your research!

Character Education
Posted by: Judy

There is a company that produces a wonderful program called "Standing Tall". It is a 12 volume set of musical programs on 12 tapes. It covers many of the characters we all are trying to teach, and more. It is the BRITE MUSIC company and I think you can find it on the net. The composer is Janeen Brady. The music is fun, the stories are pretty good and can be used well in the classroom setting. Hope this helps.

First Day Book-Big Al
Posted by: Robin

I recommend Big Al by Andrew Clements. I have not used it as a first day book, but I have used it for character education.

Here's the description from

Poor Big Al! He just wants to make friends. And in the whole wide blue sea you can't find a nicer fish. But because Big Al is large and scary-looking, the little fish are afraid to get to know him.
What can he do? He tries everything he can think of -- from disguising himself with seaweed to burrowing under the ocean floor so he'll look smaller. But something always goes wrong, and lonely Big Al wonders if he'll ever have a single friend. Then one frightening day, when a fishing net captures the other fish, Big Al gets the chance to prove what a wonderful friend he can be!

My students have brainstormed ways in which Big Al exhibited each of our character education words.

Posted by: Steph

For one of my observations, I used a hands-on lesson concerning fairness, in association with my Social Studies (character education) core content.

The class had a building contest. Each team was given different building materials. There were six different bags of materials -- (1) marshmallows only; (2) marshmallows and straws; (3) marshmallows, straws, and toothpicks; (4) marshmallows and toothpicks; (5) toothpicks only; and (6) an empty bag. The kids weren't allowed to open their bags until the timer started. Each group had 5 minutes to build the tallest freestanding tower.

Immediately several groups will argue that this isn't fair. After the contest, the class will institute a discussion of fairness. Lead the discussion to real life situations. I even read a book about fairness (incorporating language arts).

The class should then discuss ways to make the contest fair. Distribute equal materials (packaged prior to the lesson) and begin the contest again. Provide prizes for the team that builds the tallest tower. Have consolation prizes for the other teams.

The downside to this is the mess the students will make with the marshmallows. You will need baby wipes for the cleanup. It will also be handy to have plastic grocery bags for each team to dispose of the building materials.

I hope this helps.

char. ed plays
Posted by: luv2tch

In our school we have Character Education, which deals with the 6 pillars of character etc. The book that I have for my second grade class has plays/skits you can put on. Below you will find this info. I hope this helps.
Spotlight on Character: Plays That Show Character Counts!:
by Q.L. Pierce

"Weaving in Kindness"
Posted by: Tamekia

Last year I decided to get my students more involved in helping me with my bulletin boards. So, I decided to tie into our character education for the month which was kindness. I cut out a white heart that was large enough to fit on my bulletin board and cut slits going across. Then I weaved in pink border within the heart. The students participated by making a very "kind face" on a circle that was provided to them. The faces were then taped to cover the heart. My heading was "Weaving in Kindness. The kids loved it and I always reminded them of keeping on their "kind face" throughout the month. Sorry I don't have a picture to send.

Hanging out with Good values
Posted by: lynn

I have seen a bulletin board that says "Hanging out with Good Values" There are different clothes hanging from a clothes line with the different aspects of character education. Maybe you could do something like..."Hanging onto Respect" and have monkeys hanging onto tree limbs that can be labels with different ways to respect someone.

"good character shines through"
Posted by: Dedi

Early Bird,
It's funny that you posted this request, because I thought of you yesterday when I stopped in at our local teacher store. I saw a lighthouse bulletin board set, and was reminded of your initial posting, which I had read a few weeks back. This particular set came with a title banner: "good character shines through!" It had suggestions for using the pieces/title as either a good character motivational display or as a means of rewarding/recognizing the positive i.e. write names and good deeds on rays of light (coming from a large lighthouse) or have character traits on the rays of light with little stars or lighthouses at the ends of the rays. I know the implications of the words "good character" may seem too heavy handed for some school environment, but perhaps it could be softened with "good behavior shines through," "shining lights in room 18," or some other thematic title. Just thought you might be interested...

we have a "character crew"
Posted by: mrssimon2gr

Our school has a character crew. This crew has to write an essay about why he/she wants to be a part. They of course have to demonstrate and model good character (sounds like the target group you're talking about.) This group put on an assembly for the whole school - kind of a skit using character words. They organized a food drive during the holidays, collected pennies for childhood leukemia, they read character books and put on skits for the younger kids....It goes with the character ed. program we've established for our school...I was on the committee but not in charge. I would be happy to give you more information if you're interested, message me.

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Teach them about character
Posted by: Leanne

You could teach the class "The Six Pillars of Character" and offer a reward and consequence system based on their abilty to live up to the pillars. The Pillars are:
Trustworthiness: Be honest • Don’t deceive, cheat or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends and country
Respect: Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements
Responsibility: Do what you are supposed to do • Persevere: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your choices
Fairness: Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to others • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly
Caring: Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Express gratitude • Forgive others • Help people in need
Citizenship: Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment

Character Pledge
Posted by: Tonya

Here is the Character Pledge that we use at the school that I teach at. The entire school recites it at the same time every day of the week.

I promise that each and every day
I'll show my good character at work and at play.

I promise to do what is right and fair
even when nobody else is there.

I'll improve my character, and soon you will see
I've grown up to be the best person I can be.

Character Ed Ideas...
Posted by: Liz

We did two projects that I thought worked very well:

One was "Random Acts of Kindness Month." We had a huge calendar hanging in the foyer along with individual calendars for each room and for the students to take home. The random acts included things like: Writing someone a note telling them how much you appreciate them, offering to share something of yours with someone else... The students all got really into it and it made the school a very happy atmosphere.

Another program we did that was also successful focused on the pillars of good character. Each month, we would choose one pillar to focus on (for example, fairness). The teachers would do fun activities about fairness and students would read quotes about fairness during morning announcements. Teachers would Have slips of paper that one one side said "YOU WERE CAUGHT..." and on the other side said "Being fair!" The teacher would write in what the child was doing and sign it. The student would then get to enter the slip into a school-wide raffle. The kids were very motivated to get these slips of paper.

I hope this is what you were looking for! = )

Character counts: other great read-aloud books and bulletin boards...
Posted by: Schoolbox

My favorites are "The Giving Tree" (Shel Silverstein), "The Rainbow Fish" (Marcus Pfister--sp.) and "Andrew's Angry Words." These books can help serve as springboards for discussions of desirable character traits such as kindness, generosity, and friendship.

Here are suggested learning/bulletin board activities to follow the first two books. The Giving Tree: Create a classroom's "giving tree" with butcher paper and pass out leaves for student to write what they can "give" to the class (tangible and intangible things such as helping friends in need, sharing supplies, being a good friend...). Glue the leaves onto the tree and headline it "The Tree of Friendship." The Rainbow Fish--Perhaps after the children get to know each other a little bit better: Make a large fish out and many colorful "scales" with construction paper. Make enough smaller white scales for each chich. Scales should be large enough to for students to write a sentence. Have students pick out a another student's name randomly from a jar/index cards and then write kind and encouraging words (or best attribute) about that student. Glue student work/white scales on top of the colorful scales. Glue the colorful scales to the fish. Decorate it with some silver/aluminum foil scales and plastic wiggle eye.

Character 'Report Cards'
Posted by: Debbie

Hi Gayle,
I believe the activity you're referring to is to list the book characters across the top of a grid, then list attributes of character going down the grid...ex: honest, fair, faithful, etc. The kids give the characters 'grades' based on what the character did, said and related with the others in the story. It's a good idea to ask the kids to brainstorm the categories themselves. ;-D Have fun!

CHaracter Ed. Book List
Posted by: Jenagain

I created a list of books to be used for teaching Character Ed. These are books I've either used in my own classroom or book titles that I've compiled from the web.

The first page gives ideas for promoting the character traits in the classroom and the other pages are book titles.Thought someone may find this helpful.

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Character Building
Posted by: brownbear

This year I read the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud. The story talks about being a bucket filler or a bucket dipper.
A bucket filler is a person that uses kind words and does good deeds. A bucket dipper is someone that doesn't say kind words and doesn't do good deeds. The children loved the story and now all I have to say is "Are you being a bucket filler or a bucket dipper?" or " I like how you are being a bucket filler!".

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tooth paste
Posted by: hescollin

Have a tube of tooth paste and push out some. That is like bad things we say that make people feel bad. Students try to put the tooth paste back into the tube. And this is the way it is with the words we say we can say sorry, but it you can't take away what we have said.

Have tubes for each student --like you get at motels. Or give each student so many seconds to put the toothpaste you give them back into the tube.

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