If there is beauty in character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. – Chinese Proverb
With all the academic testing that is currently an integral part of elementary school, character education is often not as much of a focus as it once was. Since most teachers would agree that learning how to be good people and citizens is at least as important as academics, here are some ideas for working character education into your day.
These ideas all involve using a set of character words, which you can download for free at the end of this post.
- Start a “Word of the Week Program.” Each week, choose a different word to display on a special bulletin board. Have students complete a worksheet (two versions for different grade levels are included in the download), or have them write about the word in their journals. Use the word for class discussions and role playing activities. Encourage students try to demonstrate the trait as much as possible during the week.
- Pick out a few character words that you particularly want to emphasize and display around the classroom.
- Distribute words randomly as a writing prompt. Each child can write about a time when they demonstrated the trait they were given. Or, they could write about how the trait could be demonstrated in the future.
- Divide students into small groups or pairs and give each group a word to role play. A fun way to do this is to have them do two scenes, first without the word and then with it.
- At a center students can work alone or in pairs with 6-12 words, putting the words in order by importance.
- For class discussion randomly pick two words. Ask the students to vote on which is the more important trait. Discuss.
- Choose three traits. Discuss what a person who embodies these three traits would be like. How would he/she behave? What kinds of things would he/she enjoy doing?