What's Happening in Character?
We asked four veteran Character.org trainers: What Makes Professional Development Effective?
Here’s what they had to say:
Make learning interactive.
The most meaningful PD I have been a part of is when there is a lot of interaction/participation. We all learn by doing or participating. We silo or compartmentalize so many facets of education these days and don't have the time to "fit" everything in a day, week, month, or even school year. I find PD is effective when teachers can see the connections and have dialogue about implementation.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- How do all of the things we are asked to do fit together?
- Where are the connections between Character Education and The Eleven Principles, Academic Curriculum, Social, Emotional, and Character Development skills/standards, Diversity, Discipline, Global learning, Project-Based Learning, Service Learning, Career Awareness, Integration of Technology, etc.?
- How do we help students and parents see the connections between these areas?
- Tamra Nast
Create a Culture of Ongoing Professional Learning.
During our interviews for our dissertation, one the participant said, "Professional development is something that is done to you. Professional learning is done with you." ORead More
On April 13, we hosted a #SchoolsofCharacter chat that focused on ways educators can connect character education to their Earth Day initiatives. Question 4, “What are your favorite children’s books that promote environmental action?” prompted so many great responses that we wanted to share them with you. These suggestions are elementary level texts. If you have to resources for older students, we’d love to hear them in the comments!Read More
In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re featuring the voices of two young women, Jasmine and Ndasia, current students at Early/Middle College at Bennett, a 2015 National School of Character. Early/Middle College at Bennett is an all female high school located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
by Ndasia Gerald, a student in the Class of 2017 at Middle College at Bennett
At a school where sisterhood is a part of the foundation, it is important to serve as your sister’s keeper. I especially enjoy having the opportunity to get involved in different things at school that give me a chance to get to know my fellow Bennett sisters on more personal levels.Read More
As this month, and with it our focus on technology, draws to a close, I wanted to make sure that I shared a couple of the exciting new ways Character.org is using technology to enhance our resources and our ability to connect with educators across the world.
A Brand New Webstore
We’re now offering even more products, including our first ever digital download available! Browse through our collection of Schools of Character Magazines, White Papers and much more. Now featuring books by character education expert, Hal Urban.Read More
How many times have you looked at your cell phone today? How many times have you checked your email? How about Facebook?
Whether we like it or not, technology is integrated into everything that we do. Because of that, need to think critically and intentionally about how we want to integrate technology into our schools and classrooms.
What is Digital Learning Day?
The Alliance for Excellent Education is hosting Digital Learning Day today, February 17, 2016. Their website explains, “Digital Learning Day is not about technology, it’s about learning. It’s not about laying off teachers for laptops, it’s about enhancing the role of the teacher in America’s classrooms. Digital Learning Day promotes the effective use of modern day tools afforded to every other industry to improve the learning experience in K-12 public schools.”
I really love this idea of technology about not replacing certain teaching practices or classroom routines, but enhancing them. But how does this tie in to character education?Read More
As we get ready to ring in the new year, we’re taking a moment to share some of our favorite blog posts of 2015. This year, Character.org posted nearly 100 new articles. Here are 10 you definitely don’t want to miss!
- Starting Your Character Education Journey by Becky Sipos
Looking to change your school culture but unsure where to begin? Character.org President & CEO, Becky Sipos provides four ways you can jumpstart your school’s character journey now.
- My Son is not My Dog by Marvin Berkowitz
Sit. Speak. Stay. Do you motivate your students or do you issue commands? Marvin Berkowitz shares research on and best practices for motivating students and the perils of extrinsic rewards.Read More
Principle 1, ““The school community promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation for good character,” becomes a little bit more challenging when you apply it to an entire district. How can an entire district create an intentional and unified effort to promote core values?
We turn to 2015 National District of Character, Pennsbury School District for the answer. Pennsbury unites all 15 of its schools with character education and each school manages to bring its own unique flare.
Here is an excerpt from “Roaring and Soaring Pennsbury Sounds Off for Character,” by Eileen Dachnowicz, an article in the 2015 National Schools of Character Magazine.Read More
We’d like you to meet a newly assembled team of loyal Character.org supporters, our Champions of Character. Champions of Character are membership ambassadors for Character.org. They help us stay in tune with the needs and interests of our members as well as being character education experts in their own right. These individuals understand the transformative power of the 11 Principles of Character Education and have been strong advocates for character education in their schools, districts and states. Learn more about them below!Read More
In the 2015 Schools of Character magazine, we featured advice from six principals at National Schools of Character, but we received great insight from a number of other educators from these schools, as well. Here's what they had to say:
How does creating a caring school climate help students improve academically?
"When a school has a caring climate, the ability to reach more students in a positive, impactful way increasing exponentially. Students become more engaged in an environment where they feel connected and cared for. This goes for all of us. When parents are part of a caring school climate they are more inclined to open up and build trusting relationships with those in the school community. Teachers are integral piece to this puzzle as they are on the front lines with students and parents. They are the ones who are building positive, lasting relationships with the families they serve. Education is all about relationships and making connections to learning. Having a warm, caring school climate allows students, parents and staff to feel more comfortable to take risks and engage in courageous conversations built on trust.” - Michael Anselmo, Principal, Selvidge Middle School
“When our freshmen receive those first quarter grades, many encounter earning their first non A/B grades. That fear of failure disappears when they quickly realize that our school provides a safe environment to face the frustrations of new expectations and challenging classes. They grow confident in their own skills because they know the school provides peer tutors, one-on-one time with teachers, and open doors with administrators. These lines of communication encourage students to find ways to succeed, which only makes that accomplishment more rewarding by creating relationships which will help them as they continue through their high school careers. While we celebrate our students achievements, it is the opportunity for intrinsic reward in a caring school climate sets it apart from others. “ - Rachel Montgomery, Assistant Principal, Windsor High School
“The benefits of a caring school climate go beyond a social and emotional level. The academic successes take hold, BECAUSE of the social and emotional skills that are nurtured in a caring school climate. This year our kindergarten students were able to work cooperatively and creatively to complete a PBL (Project Based Learning) project about their community and display it at our annual School Fair. All students felt the pride and success of their month long endeavor. This was all possible as a result of cultivating our caring school community.” - Kim Ramer, Kindergarten Teacher, Bridgeport Elementary School
Andrés Cordero - Research Intern
Andrés is a Swarthmore College international student majoring in anthropology and education. Originally from Costa Rica but growing up in five different countries, he gained an interest in comparative education.
Andrés took active interest in character pedagogy after taking a political theory course in college that highlighted the relevance of ethics in all human endeavors. He believes that character development is the key to personal growth and what transforms educational settings across the globe into thriving communities. After college, he plans to become a teacher and later intends to get a graduate degree in public policy to eventually partake in Costa Rican politics.
Fun Facts about Andres: he is passionate about Latin America, interested in traveling and enjoys soccer.Read More
Are you getting excited for the 2015 National Forum on Character Education? We certainly are! We’re looking forward to many new offerings including a Sports Track, Youth Track, Schools of Character Showcase and all that our new location, Atlanta, Georgia, has to offer.
Read on to hear about what our staff is looking forward to most, and share what you are excited about on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #character2015.
Becky: I'm excited for the 2015 Forum on Character Education for many reasons but one is the reception we're planning at the Georgia Aquarium. I love all the Forum content--keynotes, breakout sessions and more--that we provide at the conference, but I never have enough time to talk to people. By following our welcome reception with a "party" at the Georgia Aquarium, not only will we be able to see one of the top attractions in the state without the usual crowds, but we will have an extended chance to network with other educators and see friends we often see only once a year. What could be better--fish, friends, food, and fun! See you there.
Iris: I'm excited for the 2015 Forum on Character Education because this will be my 13th Forum! I love seeing how eager attendees are to get back to their school and put into use the knowledge and best practices they learned from attending the Forum.Read More
Topics: National Forum