What's Happening in Character Education?

Creating a Culture of Kindness

Posted by Christa Tinari on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 @ 11:01 AM


"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." ~Aesop

Kindness is a wonderful thing! A quick look in the dictionary reveals that to be kind means to be: thoughtful, friendly, considerate, warm, helpful and caring towards others. Who among us wouldn’t wish for a bit more of that?

Join the Kindness Revolution

Most educators highly value kindness in themselves and in their students. Being kind feels good, creates more positive bonds between students (and educators), and boosts learning. It may even have beneficial health effects like better sleep and reduced stress levels. This is why programs like Random Acts of Kindness have taken off like wildfire! In the forthcoming book, Create a Culture of Kindness in Middle School, my co-author and I describe the story of a teacher named Kiren Chanda. Her 8th grade students came up with the idea of a Random Acts of Kindness campaign in their classroom. The campaign quickly spread to other classrooms, and eventually, the entire school. The students’ simple acts of kindness, such as holding doors open for one another, giving each other compliments, writing thank-you notes, offering to assist with tasks like cleaning up, and simply offering smiles, created a ripple effect that made a positive and lasting impact on the school climate.

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Topics: Kindness,, Random Acts of Kindness, Caring Community

Six Ways Students Can Spread Kindness in Your School

Posted by Michele Borba on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 @ 09:08 AM

Practicing kindness is what helps children tune into other people’s feelings and needs, trust more, step out of their own skins to understand others, and become UnSelfies (“more we, less me” oriented). Each kind act nudges kids to notice others (“I see how you feel”). Care (“I’m concerned about you”), empathize (“I feel with you”) and help and comfort (“Let me ease your pain”). And helping students practice kindness also activates empathy. That’s why I named “Practicing Kindness” as the sixth essential habit of empathy.

 Over the last years, I’ve observed countless classrooms around the world as I was researching ways to nurture children’s empathy. Here are a few favorite ways educators help students practice kindness and acquire empathy from my book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. (I’ve included over 300 practical ways based on the latest science, and none cost a dime and are simple to implement).


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Topics: Borba Michele, empathy, Kindness,, Michele Borba

Choosing Love

Posted by Scarlett Lewis on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 @ 06:04 AM

By Scarlett Lewis, Founder of Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement

Following the murder of my 6 year old son in his first grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I asked myself the same two questions that everyone was asking: how could something like this happen, and what can I do to make sure this never happens again?

I knew that anyone who could have brutally murdered 20 first graders and 6 educators in his former elementary school, must have been in a tremendous amount of pain. This pain fueled unrelenting anger. I realized, this whole tragedy began with an angry thought that was precipitated by pain. And an angry thought can be changed.

Pain is a catalyst for anger. Instilling character values such as gratitude, forgiveness and love helps us choose the right thoughts and provides us with tools to understand and overcome our pain and thus deconstruct anger. Character values give us basic tools that are the foundation of essential 21st century life skills.

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Topics: empathy, Caring Classrooms,, Kindness,, Caring Community

Increasing Empathy & Disability Awareness through Project HEART

Posted by Kim Dailey on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 @ 07:03 AM

by Kim Dailey, Special School District Educator, Lindbergh Schools

Thirty-one years of classroom teaching has taken me from my home in the Midwest, to the East Coast, to the West Coast, and home again. Today I’m very fortunate to live in one caring community and work in yet another.  I see evidence of this care in my school every day. Though I am employed by Special School District of St. Louis County, I provide special education services at Lindbergh High School and have been actively involved in the district’s character education initiatives for many years. As a special education teacher and the parent of an adult son with autism, my heart is in developing opportunities for disability awareness.  I have seen firsthand the value of a caring community in the life of my son, Zachary, and in the lives of my students.

Several years ago, an assistant principal at my school approached me about organizing a disability awareness event sponsored by former NFL player, Kurt Warner and his wife Brenda’s First Things First Foundation.  I had no experience in organizing such an event but couldn’t resist the opportunity.

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Topics: empathy, Caring Classrooms,, Kindness,, Caring Community

Resource Roundup: Getting Started with Core Values!

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Tue, Dec 1, 2015 @ 08:12 AM

While there’s no particular order you need to address each of the 11 Principles, naturally, many schools start with principle 1, “The school promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundations of core values.”

When it comes to principle 1, the most valuable resources you have at your disposal are your stakeholders: administrators, teachers, support staff, students, parents, community leaders…

However, there are some resources that can help you jumpstart the process, as well!

Getting Started

If you want to make the most of your most valuable resource, your stakeholders, first you need them to buy in. Need help convincing your staff, parents and larger community that character education isn’t just nice to have but absolutely necessary?

Show them “A Question of Character,” a short documentary from the Jubilee Center of Character & Virtues that demonstrates the need for character education and the impact it can make.

Looking to brainstorm core values before beginning your selection process? Take a look at the words Core Essential Values has chosen to highlight in their 2015-2016 Values Calendar. The Virtues Project is a great resource as well. Be sure to check out the comprehensive list of values complete with definitions.

There are so many core values to choose from, we couldn’t possibly name them all, but here are a few examples and some resources that can help you approach the topic.

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Topics: integrity, core values, empathy, Kindness,, Resource Roundup, Character Resource Roundup

Placemats for Kindness

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 @ 15:02 PM

After seeing so many schools enthusiastically participating in Random Acts of Kindness week, I continue to think about the important role that kindness plays in any school environment. National School of Character, John Poole Middle School (Poolesville, Maryland) is dedicated to encouraging kindness and the community has found creative and engaging ways to integrate this value into their daily lives. From shout-outs to appreciate their teachers to their active participation in the Great Kindness Challenge, students at John Poole are not simply learning about kindness for a special week in the year, they are practicing it on an ongoing basis. Even more impressive than these acts of kindness, is the school’s dedication to making kindness a part of everything that they do.

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Topics: character, Kindness,

Get Ready for Random Acts of Kindness Week!

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 11:02 AM

RAK Logo

 

 

Did you know that Random Acts of Kindness week is less than two weeks away? In order to provide you with the best resources, I turned to an expert. Marilyn Decalo, the Education Director at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation explains how Random Acts of Kindness can transform your classroom, improve school climate and make the world a better place. She offers a variety of resources, including lesson plans, project ideas, videos,posters and graphics for you to use in your school.

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Topics: Kindness,

Character Resource Roundup: Creating Caring & Kind Classrooms

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 15:02 PM

We want every classroom to be a caring and kind one. Unfortunately, with the emphasis on literacy and math, encouraging good character isn’t always seen as a priority. We want to re-energize you in your pursuit to help every child develop empathy and consideration for others. We’ve listed some of the best resources for creating a caring classroom environment. If you have more ideas, please share them with us in the comments.

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Topics: Caring Classrooms,, Kindness,