What's Happening in Character?

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!

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Topics: character education, promising practices, Back to School

Infusing Character Into Everyday Teaching & Learning

Posted by Dave Keller on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 @ 08:01 AM

by Dave Keller

Outstanding educators consistently look for ways to infuse character lessons into everyday teaching and learning. When teachers do this consistently, students are far more likely to view character as an integral part of learning and life --- rather than simply another “topic” to learn alongside reading, science, math and many others.

Character.org designed the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education to be a framework and critical reference guide for educators everywhere. No single script exists for effective character education exists, but the 11 Principles serve as guideposts to use to plan and evaluate their programs. 

Within these 11 Principles, Principle 6 represents the glue that connects outstanding classroom learning and fundamental character concepts. Effective character educators model persistence, responsibility, and caring as they differentiate instruction, employ a variety of active teaching and learning strategies, and look for ways that character is potentially developed in and through everyday teaching and learning. 

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Topics: promising practices, 11 Principles, Academics,

Promising Practices in Service Learning

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 @ 09:10 AM

by Rebecca Bauer

Are you looking to revamp or improve your service learning program? Challenge yourself to go beyond the typical annual food drive or fundraiser. Read about these three schools’ unique and powerful practices and the lessons we can all learn from them. Consider how you can make these ideas work in your own community!

- Use service learning projects as an opportunity for students to hone their research skills.

At Carusi Middle School, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the Community Reading Program, Reading is My Superpower!, offers 6th, 7th and 8th graders the opportunity to inspire a love of reading in their younger peers. While many schools have reading buddies and peer mentoring programs, Carusi Middle School’s program stands out for its intentional approach.

Reading mentors take their jobs seriously and understand the importance of their work. Assistant Principal, Kelly McKenzie, shares that they “prepare for the field experience by researching the history of mentorship, selecting texts to read to their mentees and reading texts aloud to develop fluency through the Language Arts Enrichment course.” She adds, “This practice generally fosters strong leadership, models instructional excellence and promotes a positive school environment.”

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Topics: Service learning, promising practices

What is your school doing for others? Reflecting on Service Learning

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Mon, Jan 12, 2015 @ 16:01 PM

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Though a simple question, it is one we can never ask our students enough. The Corporation for National and Community Service urges us to consider the Martin Luther King Day, “a day on not a day off” and encourages us to use the free time that we have to give back to others. The Day of Service website provides a number of toolkits to help you plan projects for you and your class. You may also find this list of resources from EducationDive helpful as well.

Even with these resources, getting your students excited about service learning can still be challenging. To provide some inspiration, I’d like to share the story of Lafayette Township School’s award winning community service day, Branching Out with the Bulls.

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Topics: character, Service learning, promising practices, compassion

Extra Early Bird Promotion Discount Ends Soon!

Posted by Jesse Marble on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 @ 09:07 AM

 

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Topics: Forum Speakers, school climate, promising practices, school safety, National School of Character, National Forum, international summit

Promising Practices Spotlight: Brennan Woods Elementary School

Posted by Jesse Marble on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

Brennan Woods Elementary School – High Ridge, MO

Program: Grandparents’ Luau

The teachers at Brennan Woods Elementary School in High Ridge, Missouri, developed a Promising Practice event that honors grandparents, called the Grandparents’ Luau. The grandparents of second graders at Brennen Woods are invited to a luau every September. The second-grade teachers plan activities for the children to take part in with their grandparents. The grandparents also have the opportunity to see items their grandchildren have created.

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Topics: promising practices, family

Promising Practices Spotlight: Bonneville Elementary School

Posted by Jesse Marble on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

Bonneville Elementary School – Salt Lake City, UT

Program: Go Green

Bonneville Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah, created a Promising Practice called the “Go Green” Team. Third-graders discovered how to “Go Green” through activities such as the Morning Mile, the “Go Green” Operas, the Recycled Gifts Boutique, and the Recycling Science Fair project.

The Morning Mile improved academic scores, health, and taught children the benefits of walking over driving: less driving decreases air pollution and global warming. The students explored the meaning of reduce, reuse, recycle, as well as how to promote renewable energy sources by producing an original “Go Green” opera to share with the community.

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Topics: Service learning, character education in curriculum, promising practices

Promising Practices Spotlight: Bayless Intermediate

Posted by Jesse Marble on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 @ 09:03 AM

Bayless Intermediate – St. Louis, MO

Program: Random Acts of Kindness

Once a month, student leaders at Bayless Intermediate in St. Louis, Missouri, meet to plan character-related activities. This particular Promising Practice promoted random acts of kindness. The student leaders planned an assembly that included a video news story, skits, and games that showed examples of random acts of kindness. This activity incorporated two principles from CEP’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education: promoting core values and creating a caring community.

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Topics: character education, promising practices

Proud to Present our 2012 Promising Practices for Character Education

Posted by Jesse Marble on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 17:11 PM


A record number of Promising Practices were awarded this afternoon during the 19th annual National Forum on Character Education. Lisa Greeves, Promising Practices program director, presented delegations from many of the 297 Promising Practices winners. The ceremony featured guest speaker Charles Haynes, Chairman of the Board at CEP, and was  Promising Practices put one or more of the 11 Principles into action. Learn more and  Download 11 Principles
The variety of programs included: 
  • Ellisville Elementary School in Ellisville, MO: using character traits in ballroom dancing (CEP VP gave the delegate from Ellisville a quick preview of his ballroom skills)
  • Comsewogue High school in Port Jefferson Station, NY: SUSS (Students United for Safe Schools) students focus interventions on bullying to change the social norm. The Comseqogue delegation included seven current students!
  • Babler Elementary School in Glencoe, MO : Their "A Leader in Me" program helps students identify one of their strengths that they can encourage in others.
  • Cranford High school in Cranford, NJ: Blankets of Love - students band together to make fun, colorful blankets for kids with cancer.
  • Green Pines Elementary School in Greenwood, MO: Gators Earn, Learn, and Give Back - Students raised money via a book drive and garage sale to make money for the local food bank. 
  • Jefferson Elementary Elementary in Greensboro, NC. Delivers character traits via a recurring puppet show program during their daily show. 
CEP awards schools and districts for exemplary practices that encourage the ethical, social and academic growth of K-12 students. Winning practices include creative ways to help students give back to their schools and communities, raise academic expectations and achievement, decrease bullying, increase tolerance and solve conflicts peacefully. 

"Math and reading are so important. And what counts is what KIND of human beings are doing the math and reading the books."
-CEP Chairman of the Board, Charles Haynes
For a full list and more details on all 297 Promising Practices recipients, go to the CEP website.  http://www.character.org/schools-of-character/promising-practices-overview/ 
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Topics: character, CEP2012, promising practices

2012 Promising Practices In Character Education Winners

Posted by Jesse Marble on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 01:11 AM

We love ideas -- new, creative, and powerful ways to effectively integrate character education into the lives of students who need it. This afternoon, we were treated to a peak into the world of this year's amazing crop of Promising Practices recipients! Check out an amazing and passionate group of students from Comsewogue High School in New York involved in a program called Students United for Safe Schools:

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Topics: character education, CEP2012, promising practices, international