Students learn about positive character through discussion, reading, writing and performing skits.
Character, positive, traits, behaviors, development, education
Begin by selecting one or more character traits for class discussion. If desired, teachers can devote an entire class session to each trait over the course of the school year. Suggestions include:
|1. Trustworthiness||6. Caring|
|2. Fairness||7. Empathy|
|3. Citizenship||8. Courage|
|4. Responsibility||9. Integrity|
|5. Respect||10. Perseverance/determination|
NOTE: The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics (CharacterCounts! Program) refers to the first six traits as the "Six Pillars of Character."
Helpful EducationWorld resources on character education include:
As a class, discuss and define what each character trait means. The teacher can write the class lists/comments on a board or large paper. (Large paper has the ability to be posted on classroom walls or in school hallways for later reflection or reading by others.) Here are some sample discussion questions:
Reinforce learning by using some of EducationWorld's character-development writing templates.
Do a class read-aloud of a book that illustrates the trait. (With younger students, the teacher can read the book to the class.) Click on the links below for titles related to that particular trait:
Discuss how the book’s character(s) exemplify the trait. Talk about whether it was easy for the character(s) to act according to the trait. What choices did s/he have? Is it always easy to do the right thing? Is it always clear what “the right thing” is?
Have each student choose a trait and write a short description of a time when s/he or someone s/he knows exhibited the trait. Teachers may wish to model first by sharing a personal story. After screening the writing, teachers may choose to have students read their work aloud. Or, have students trade papers with a partner who chose a different trait, and then ask each student to orally summarize what his/her partner wrote.
EducationWorld's character-development writing templates may be helpful.
In small groups, have students write brief dialogue for a five-minute skit about a situation where someone exhibited a particular character trait. Each skit should include dialogue for a narrator and at least two characters. Seeking ideas for situations to be addressed in skits? See the EducationWorld article Teaching Good Citizenship’s Five Themes. Teachers may wish to model first by handing out a pre-written script and asking student volunteers to play the roles by reading the dialogue aloud.
Ask students to perform their skits for the class. Expand the experience by bringing in younger students as an audience, and/or making video recordings of the skits to share with other students. (Video can also be made available to parents via a secure Web site.) If students have learned about multiple character traits, ask them to avoid mentioning the character trait by name in the skit, and ask the class/audience to guess the character trait being illustrated.
Re-activate learning and reinforce positive behavior by publicly acknowledging (and encouraging classmates to acknowledge) when students display desired traits throughout the school year. Calling or writing a note or email to parents is also a great way to reinforce desired student behaviors. Also, try EducationWorld's Caught You Being Good template, a reward certificate for positive behavior.
Lesson Plan Source
Celine Provini, EducationWorld Editor
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