Thursday, 16 May 2013

Character Education

Character Education—
People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously.
This is how character is built.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Character education helps kids learn more about basic morals and values and their importance. Character-building is often included in class lessons and in the supporting curricula used in classrooms across our country. Typical character traits that are taught in these lessons are compassion, kindness, honesty, perseverance, justice, acceptance and diversity. Teaching peace is also a major focus of many powerful character education programs.
A school typically has its set of chosen values and incorporates a specific character education curriculum to support them. These are values that they think are the most appropriate to teach and cultivate and what they think their community should practice.  Also, character education is an important subject to many lawmakers and government officials who see the importance of teaching good character to our nation’s youth and of ensuring that future leaders possess essential life-skills such as honesty and integrity.

Methods of Teaching Children Character Education

Literature is an effective tool to demonstrate morals and values to children because story-telling helps them to understand these types of deep concepts. Books with colorful pictures and entertaining stories have been used by teachers for many years to inform and pique children’s interest in a particular subject. Character education books may be used in many different ways with children, but the most effective method is through stories combined with experiential learning activities.
Role playing is a great teaching technique because it places children in a hypothetical situation where they can use the values that they have learned in a story and apply it to a situation. This is experiential education at it’s best!
Furthermore, after reading a story and discussing it, educators may have students perform a variety of activities that help children fully understand the values they have just learned. These activities often encourage students to identify more profoundly with the characters and the dilemma they were facing. Additionally, group discussions and story expansions as well as written exercises are some of the more powerful and effective ways to elicit understanding and comprehension of character education in children.
Our character is what we do
when we think no one is looking.”
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Of course, we think that journaling is a great character teaching tool also.  To get started using character building in  your classroom, see this list of 52 fabulous character building thoughts. There are many great thoughts for kids to ponder and to write about in their personal journal.
You should know also that the Journal Buddies books for girls and for boys teach character traits such as kindness, cooperation, understanding and respect.
Until next time, journal on…

52 Character Building Thoughts for Children

By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

The following quotes may be used in a variety of ways by both teachers and counselors. One idea is for a thought to be posted, read, and discussed at the beginning of each week. It could then be read daily with the students. At the end of the week ask them what they learned or how the thought applied to their lives or activities during the week. Have the children give written or oral examples, or have them draw a picture to illustrate their ideas.
  1. How I look is not as important as how I act.

  2. I treat others the way I want them to treat me.

  3. I am a good sport; I follow the rules, take turns and play fair.

  4. It is okay to laugh at funny things, but not to laugh at others.

  5. I do not gossip; if I cannot say anything helpful, I do not say anything at all.

  6. When I am sad, I help myself feel better by thinking of things that are good in my life.

  7. In order to have friends, I must act in a kind way.

  8. I believe that I am someone who can do important things.

  9. What I say and how I say it tells others the kind of person I am.

  10. I appreciate my family, my teachers, and my school.

  11. I treat everyone with respect.

  12. When I listen, I show others that I care about them.

  13. I am being a good citizen when I volunteer to help others.

  14. I think for myself and make smart choices that are good for me.

  15. Each day offers a new start to do my best.

  16. I try to understand what my friends are feeling.

  17. Everyone makes mistakes, so instead of getting angry with myself, I try to do better.

  18. I do not give up; I keep trying until I can do my work.

  19. Sharing with others makes me feel good and makes them feel good too.

  20. I work out my problems without hurting myself or others.

  21. I am being polite when I wait for my turn and say please and thank you.

  22. When I smile at people, they usually smile back.

  23. I encourage my friends to do their best.

  24. My values guide me to do what is right.

  25. I am honest; I do not cheat or steal.

  26. When I am angry, I use self-control and do not hurt others.

  27. I am being creative when I dance, draw, paint or write a poem or story.

  28. I say, "No!" to things that could hurt my body like tobacco and alcohol.

  29. When I do what I say I will do, I am being responsible.

  30. I am grateful for what I have, so I share with others.

  31. I try to learn something new each day.

  32. When things do not go my way, I stop and think of what I can do to make them better.

  33. I do not make fun of other children because I don't know what their life is like.

  34. I feel successful when I do my best.

  35. Everyone has good and bad feelings.

  36. I take care of myself by eating healthy food, exercising and getting enough rest.

  37. I am being punctual when I am on time and do not keep people waiting.

  38. When I cooperate with others, I get more done.

  39. I follow the rules and try to make my school a better place.

  40. I like to get to know children who are different from me.

  41. Since I tell the truth, my friends trust me.

  42. I look for what is good in others and I say what I like about them.

  43. I buy only what I need and I save my money.

  44. When I use my time wisely, there is usually enough time to do what I want to do.

  45. I think before I act; how I act affects how others treat me.

  46. Using manners helps me keep my friends.

  47. I have courage to stand up for children who are teased.

  48. Before I do something, I ask myself, "Is it safe?"

  49. I am me -- I do not try to be like someone else.

  50. I care about living things on earth so I recycle and do not litter.

  51. When I write down what I think and feel, I learn about myself.

  52. I plan ahead and think about what I want to do when I grow up.

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