What's Happening in Character Education?

The OCHO Project: Read for a Need--Teaching Children to Help Others

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Sun, Sep 29, 2013 @ 19:09 PM

By Marilyn Perlyn

The OCHO Project: Read for a Need(Opportunities for Children to Help Others) exposes children to the joys of reading while teaching them that they can help others less fortunate than themselves. It is an elementary school program in which students embark on a 6-8 week literacy journey that is infused with eighteen character traits and service learning.

Children are asked several months later if they would like to share a book with another child in a different part of the world. Each year, donated books are brought to a different country by Marilyn Perlyn, founder of the OCHO Project. Books have already been donated to kids in need in Tanzania, India, Vietnam, Laos, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, and Namibia. In 2014 we will visit China!

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Topics: key lessons, character education, Service learning, character education in curriculum, National Forum, what works in education, international education, CEPForum13, Perlyn Maryilyn

Powerful Analogies From Nature that Build Character

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 @ 14:09 PM

by Barbara A. Lewis

Do you want to know something so strong that it survived the atomic explosion on Hiroshima? Might you guess a 400-pound gorilla that can hoist up 10 times its body weight?

Or how about Iron Man or the Hulk (not fair—they’re not real)?  Or what about the annoying cockroach?  Well, you would be right about the cockroach (which gives you a clue as to why they’re so hard to expel from your house). 

But you might not have considered bamboo. Surprise! Bamboo has more tensile strength than steel.  Knowing this, you might choose to build your next home with bamboo, because it could withstand 9.0 magnitude earthquake and last for hundreds of years. (You might want a new house before then though.)

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Topics: key lessons, character, character education, character education in curriculum, National Forum, CEPForum13, Character Ed Infused in Curriculum, empathy

Heroes On and Off the Screen

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, May 17, 2013 @ 10:05 AM

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Topics: key lessons, leadership, integrity

The Power of Perseverance: Character, Health and Fitness

Posted by Joe Mazzola on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 @ 09:03 AM


This blog was written from my perspective as a Personal Fitness Trainer and a lifelong exerciser.  It provides very helpful and easy-to-understand tips on losing weight and getting into better shape.  My goal is to help those who struggle in one or both areas.  All of the information comes from a longer paper on the same subject which you can access through a link at the end of this posting.  So, with this brief backdrop, I am pleased and honored to share the following information that I believe will help you achieve your health and fitness goals.  More importantly, it will help improve your quality of life in countless ways.  I’ll start with Diet and then shift to Exercise.  Okay, the warm-up is over—let’s roll.

Diet—Tipping the Scales for Success

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Topics: key lessons, discipline, core values

‘Our journey is not complete’, either

Posted by Rob McManamy on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

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Topics: key lessons, leadership, integrity, moral character, school safety

A New Kind of No Child Left Behind

Posted by Lara Maupin on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 @ 09:12 AM

As we all continue to struggle with the impact of the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, we find ourselves as a nation at a crossroads about what we can do to better protect our children, especially at school. We are suddenly more willing than we have been in recent times to tackle complex and controversial issues such as gun control, mental health services, and violence in video games and the media. But those of us who are parents and teachers and school leaders can’t wait for these issues to be addressed through the political process – although I, for one, commend any American with the passion and expertise required to work on these issues for doing so. At CEP our mission is to create engaged and ethical citizens so we certainly applaud and support civic engagement and civil public discourse. However, those we serve need support and concrete strategies NOW, TODAY. Thankfully, our National Schools of Character can serve as models for what a safe school can be and our 11 Principles can serve as a roadmap for any school that would like to get there.

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Topics: key lessons, school safety, National School of Character, no child left behind

Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude in Kids

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 @ 09:11 AM

There’s something about the Thanksgiving season that tunes up my “reflective switch” and makes me think a bit more about our children. I worry that over the years we’ve removed ourselves a bit as a society from the real meaning of this glorious holiday. We’re seeing an upsurge–even in a recession–of kids who are a bit too spoiled, a bit too unappreciative, and a bit more ungrateful for all the good things life has to offer.

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Topics: key lessons, family, Borba Michele, teachable moments, Michele Borba

How can we create more just and democratic schools?

Posted by Adam Williams on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 17:11 PM

In Marvin Berkowitz’s Hot Topic discussion this afternoon, he didn’t hesitate to cut right to the point. “We need to make schools less like prisons,” he said. “When you think about it, it’s disconcerting how much the analogy fits. How can we create more enlightened and just schools?” Marvin’s talk focused on utilizing empowerment and democracy to accomplish this. 

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Topics: CEPLeaders, key lessons, character, character education, CEP2012, cheating, student voice, core values, what works in education, CEPForum10, character education in high school, Character Ed Infused in Curriculum

The Powerful Effect of Parenting

Posted by Adam Williams on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 00:11 AM

When keynote presenter Paul Tough became a dad, he never thought he would be using parenting techniques he learned from rats. Tough delivered a compelling keynote address today during our afternoon session at the National Forum on Character Education. "Parents and other caregivers who are able to form close, nurturing relationships with their children can foster resilience in them that protects them from many of the worst effects of a harsh early environment."  Amazingly, we see strong evidence of this in the behavior of lab rats. The effect of good parenting is not just emotional or physiological. Neuroscientists say it is biochemical.

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Topics: key lessons, character, Forum Speakers, CEP2012

Remembering Sandy McDonnell's Commitment to Character Education

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Oct 8, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

The world lost a great leader when CEP's co-founder and Chairman Emeritus Sanford N. McDonnell passed away in March. The overwhelming outpour of emotions from those who knew him and whose lives he had touched inspired CEP to archive the sentiments and prepare a book of memories for the McDonnell family. Our Vice President, Joe Mazzola, shared his thoughts in a blog post shortly after Sandy's passing.

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Character Education News, key lessons, role models