What's Happening in Character?

Calvary Diggs

Recent Posts

Encouraging Good Character on the First Day: 3 MORE ways to prepare your classroom for excellence

Posted by Calvary Diggs on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 09:08 AM


Last week, I shared 3 great ways to prepare your classroom for excellence as you head back to school. This week, here are three more ways to improve your room!Tip 4: Developing "eyes in the back of your head"

Tip 4: Developing "eyes in the back of your head"

Have you ever had one of those moments that, with just the sound of your voice, you got a student, on the brink breaking down, back on track? Maybe your back was turned but you felt something or you just knew exactly what to say. For these moments to happen, it takes foresight on your part but also your students must know what they should be doing.

So what does this mean? If we want to encourage good character in our classrooms, everyone has to be on the same page about what that means and looks like.

Set Class Rules: Enlist your class to create rules on the first day of school. It fosters a sense of ownership for those rules. They won’t simply be the teacher’s rules, they become their rules. Some studies suggest that if you give students the proper guidelines for developing class rules, what students come up with is about the same as anything you would have picked, given the same criteria. So what are those guidelines?

Read More

Topics: character, discipline, teachers

Encouraging Good Character on the First Day: 3 ways to prepare your classroom for excellence

Posted by Calvary Diggs on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 09:08 AM

Character education rests on a simple principle: actions matter. In our day-to-day lives, acts of good character can ben
efit the self and others. Agreeing on that should be easy. What’s next is more difficult. How can we, as education professionals, help schools improve as environments that nurture character development?

If you haven’t recently read How Children Succeed, perused any stellar Promising Practices or reflected on your own experiences as a student, here’s a succinct summary: there are many ways to teach good character. And there’s no specific formula to doing it – at least not yet (fingers crossed and wishing on a star here, folks).

Lucky for those of you starting on that old agrarian calendar system, the staff at Character.org and I figured we could give you some useful tips. If you’re familiar with research in classroom management, that’s where the bulk of this originates. Classroom management (i.e., class structure, time allocation, and instructional practices) is an area where teachers often report wanting additional training. Improvements in classroom management practices are associated with positive impacts for student prosocial behavior (character in action) and academic outcomes. So, let’s get started!

Read More

Topics: Back to School, promising practices, character education

How to Overcome Common Challenges & Engage Parents

Posted by Calvary Diggs on Thu, Sep 3, 2015 @ 07:09 AM

This month, our Research Roundups are focusing on Parent and Community Engagement, and this is the second part of a two-part RR. The first RR addressed some common methods and ideas to promote family and community involvement in schools. This article is for those of you who are ready to get parents involved or have already made attempts.

You have ideas, and you’re ready to put the pedal to the metal and send your school on the fast track to parent and community involvement. But if you’re like most teachers, when the gears in your brain are whirling, you come up with a few good ideas and some potential challenges too. The last RR hopefully got your brain thinking, and this one will help address some of the roadblocks. Our list isn’t exhaustive by any means, but here are a few things that might come up and ways to problem solve them.

In General

Here is an article on parent involvement. Although, it’s somewhat dated, it does two things really well. First, it shows that getting parents involved has been a problem for a while – it isn’t specific to you and your school – you’re not alone, so don’t get discouraged!

Second, the article lists a number of “solutions,” or points of advice, for getting parents involved. At their core, these points reflect three core themes present in just about any article you’ll find on involvement: Understanding, Communication, and Outreach. Before we move on, let’s unpack what I mean:

  • Understanding: Schools/teachers must learn the needs of parents/community and establish themselves as a friendly part of existing dynamics.

  • Communication: Schools/teachers find effective ways of contacting parents and the community that are comfortable for both. This can be through home visits, utilizing the PTA/PTO, sending out newsletters, and/or contacting through phone/text/email/home visits.

  • Outreach: Schools/teachers work to meet a need in the community while addressing parent involvement. For example, in communities with English Language Learners, schools could start parent literacy classes.

It’s also important to know what parent-involvement looks like for you or your school, so that when you see it, you know.

Getting parents involved will undoubtedly require some problem-solving, and keeping these themes in mind will certainly help.

Read More

Topics: parent involvement, Character Resource Roundup, English Language Learners

Beyond Fundraising: Parent Involvement in Kids' Character Development

Posted by Calvary Diggs on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 @ 08:09 AM

When it comes to education, and character education in particular, there are many important key players: teachers, parents, and the community at large. Educating youth is a cooperative endeavor. And when schools, parents, and communities deliberately encourage similar values and goals, the opportunities for student success and growth become unlimited.

During the month of September, our blog will focus on Parent and Community Engagement through Principle 10, “The school engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.” This Resource Roundup provides advice, strategies, and resources for strengthening the solidarity between school and community and teachers and parents. These channels of communication are essential and must be utilized for more than ensuring homework gets done on time. Educators and parents need to communicate about what matters, both in terms of the child’s academic and character growth.

Getting Started

The first step in any successful relationship is starting it and “A Dozen Activities to Promote Parent Involvement” is a great place to begin. The most common ice breakers that teachers use are letters and emails at the beginning of the term, which they continue throughout the year. More than merely keeping parents regularly informed concerning classroom happenings, these letters are a great way to communicate your classroom rules, values and norms to your students’ families

Need help getting started? There are plenty of templates available online, or you can easily make one that fits your own unique style.

Read More

Topics: parent involvement, Character Resource Roundup, Community Involvement

‘Big Six’ Leader in Civil Rights Movement to Keynote at National Forum on Character

Posted by Calvary Diggs on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 07:08 AM

by Calvary Diggs

It’s a little over fifty years ago, and the United States exists in less vibrant tones and colors. No diversity. No rainbows. The atmosphere operates only on an absolute of black and white.

For one child, he first began to understand the diff

erence– one that he’d later describe as ‘inequality’ and ‘injustice’ – when he was denied access to a local library. He’s black. The library was for whites only.

Years later, the child – not so young and naïve anymore – finds a comic about a man named, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The child sees the similarities. Empathizes. Wants to help make the world a better place.

Many years later, he’s in college and a young man.

He decides to take part in the freedom rides. At twenty-three, he marches and speaks alongside Dr. King – his hero. The young man learns to understand generations of pain and hate while enduring a growing list of arrests and hate crimes. He has to exercise grit and determination at Selma as he’s violently attacked by police. And he shows courage and integrity to this day as a congressman working with the rights of others in mind.

This man is Congressman John Lewis, and we are honored to have him deliver a keynote address at the National Forum on Character Education.

As education professionals involved in character education, we frequently ask, “What does good character like in action?” To answer this question, we actively seek real-life role models and genuine examples. They provide us with the inspiration, ideas, and stamina necessary to lead our youth to becoming productive citizens with strong ethical principles. No one embodies these qualities better than John Lewis.

Read More

Topics: Forum Speakers, National Forum