What's Happening in Character?

Five Things You Can Do That Will Make You a Better Educator Right Now

Posted by Phil Brown on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 @ 09:08 AM



By Philip Brown

A recent article (July 20) in the Washington Post by parenting consultant Meghan Leahy entitled Five things you can do that will make you a better parent right now captured my attention because each of her five points are also sound recommendations for educators. I’ve reworked her five points – see if you agree that school culture and teachers lives would be much saner if we kept these in mind and took them to heart:


1. Cultivate a value system in your classroom and school. Of course core ethical and performance values are core aspects of the 11 Principles of Charcter Education, and Character.org has emphasized the importance of including stakeholders in the process of creating core values. Beyond establishing core values as the bedrock for your school culture, the important word here is ‘cultivate.’ As Leahy points out, “Americans don’t have a common parenting culture that has been passed down to us. Our wonderful mix of religions, ethnicities, worldviews and customs means that we are able to create our own parenting and family mores.” This means as well, that, if we are lucky, children bring those diverse values into the school house, and we must send a very clear message in our cultivation that just as families need to have their values to function effectively, so must our classrooms and school. And if there are values conflicts, a discussion with parents early in the school year is important to avoid misunderstandings and support both diversity and the need to adapt to American school culture.

Read More

Topics: school climate, teachers, 11 Principles, Back to School

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: character education, promising practices, Back to School

How Surroundings Affect Students’ Learning

Posted by Kelly Warfield on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 @ 08:08 AM

By Kelly Warfield,  Editorial director of Teacher Products, Carson-Dellosa™ Publishing Group

We can all think back on the school environments of our youth and reflect on the classes we preferred, the topics we found most engaging, and the teachers who blew us away. But what about the classroom surroundings that supported that education? Were there specific activities, environments, or rules that seemed more conducive to learning than others? And what about the classrooms of today?

How can we set up our classrooms to the best of our ability with the physical, structural, and psychological support necessary to provide our students with an idyllic learning environment? Through studies, statistics, and trial and error, we’ve learned some things about classroom environments and how they can affect student performance. 

Cooperation and Relevance

Creating a cooperative learning environment has both a positive social and educational impact on each participating student. Cooperation is a critical skill that has far-reaching effects and can help your students in the classroom, as well as in their day-to-day lives. Cooperation helps students explore and celebrate the diversity among them, overcome their differences, learn by actively listening, work as a team, develop stronger interpersonal skills, relate to their peers, create new friendships, improve their social interactions, gain additional feedback from their peers, and exchange new ideas. All of these benefits contribute to a better, more comprehensive learning environment.

Successful learning environments also require that learning objectives be relevant to your students and their lives outside of the classroom. Without the ability to explore how information applies to daily life, your students are less likely to engage in their lessons and commit that information to memory.

Read More

Topics: Academics,, Back to School

7 Surprising Parenting Solutions That Boost Kids’ School Success

Posted by Michele Borba on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 @ 06:09 AM

by Michele Borba

Academic success impacts our children for the rest of their lives: it influences their self-esteem, college selections, job attainment, financial success, and even their choice of spouse. It’s no wonder we go great lengths to give our kids an academic edge.

But despite our good intentions, we often overlook a few simple strategies that research has proven to impact children’s academic success. Even better, these seven science-backed solutions are things that every parent can do, don’t cost a dime, and they are proven to boost children’s school success.

Here are seven surprising simple solutions that every parent should have in their toolbox for back-to-school.

Read More

Topics: parent involvement, Academics,, Parenting, Back to School

New Year, New Challenges: The Crucial Skill Missing in your Back to School Plans

Posted by Kara Coleman on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 @ 04:09 AM

by Kara Coleman

The days of summer are no longer stretched out before us with long vacations, fewer rules, and flexible bedtimes.  A new school year has started and the pace has changed.  Whether you are a parent, teacher, or both, your plate is probably overflowing.  But isn’t it like that every September?  Isn’t it fascinating how quickly we are able to switch into our old efficiency-driven modes?  Hectic morning routines, carpools, long meetings, extra curricular practices, parent-teacher conferences, and homework battles quickly become the norm and we often don’t look back.

Children, especially those in elementary school, are not as experienced with this jarring switch to systematic chaos.  With the hustle and bustle of fall, it is easy to forget thatstudents may need a "brush up" on social skills to navigate new and unfamiliar settings with peers, teachers, coaches, and school staff.

Building and maintaining healthy relationships with others should be a priority for teachers and their students.  Sure, everyone spends time on rules in those first few days, such as respecting others, but how often are students given the opportunity to practice and refine relationship building skills throughout the school year?

Read More

Topics: Character Development, Back to School