On an early morning school climate team meeting, a group of ten educators crowd around a conference table sipping coffee and crafting a plan. They are discussing a kick-off event for their new character education initiative with the theme “kindness counts.” A buzz of excited chatter ensues as staff discuss various ideas for recognizing students for kind behavior. Then, a teacher raises a concern, “Will students like the idea of being recognized during morning announcements? Perhaps they would prefer to receive a certificate and applause at our monthly assembly?” Another teacher chimes in, “Shy kids might not like that kind of attention. What about giving out kindness wristbands?” The discussion around recognition continues another 10 minutes until the meeting adjourns. As a next step, the Principal requests that team members do some online research about kindness campaigns.Read More
What's Happening in Character?
I still have the handmade pillow I sewed with a friend in fourth grade. We wrote “best friends forever” in puffy paint across the surface. I also have the "slam book" my friends and I created at a sixth grade sleepover. In it, we listed each other’s flaws, then discussed our findings. It amazes me that we considered that a good idea. At 12, peer approval was everything, and those comments stuck. It was 30 years before I cut bangs again. We alternately loved and tested one another, and it wasn’t always pretty.Read More