What's Happening in Character?

Empowering Students Through Self-Assessment

Posted by Svetlana Nikic on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 @ 08:04 AM

By Svetlana Nikic, Academic Instruction Coordinator & Algebra Teacher, Busch Middle School of Character

In these times of great technological change and computer apps, teachers are inundated with data and therefore often puzzled how to revise their approaches to assessment that often fails to inform about direct learning, teaching and the whole child. To resolve this dilemma in my Algebra 150 class, I developed a scorecard for daily lessons, skills, activities and homework.

Students grade themselves using a point system for every activity based on modeled exemplary answers. I found this assessment tool to be a best fit for my students because it aligns with our school’s core values and mission statement in terms of commitment to inspire our students to value academic and personal growth through character education.

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Topics: testing, student voice, assessment, assessment and character education, student engagement

Resource Roundup: Tools for Motivating Your Students

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Mon, Nov 2, 2015 @ 08:11 AM

When do you feel most motivated?

It’s unlikely your answer is, when I’m studying for an arbitrary standardized test or completing activities that require rote memorization. Perhaps you feel most motivated when you’ve set clear goals for yourself that are meaningful to you or when you’re working on a project that draws on a passion of yours.

This month’s resource roundup focuses on how you can truly engage students in meaningful ways so that students will eager and motivated leaders and learners.

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Topics: intrinsic motivation, Resource Roundup, Character Resource Roundup, student engagement

Student Leadership for All

Posted by Lisa Stutts on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 @ 09:08 AM

By Lisa Stutts, Special Education Teacher at 2015 National School of Character: Northern Parkway School

Can all students be leaders? How do we empower leadership in our school?

All students can be leaders.

We as educators may need to shift our mindset to believe it. We all can fall into the trap of having our “go to” students; it’s routine and easy for us and we do it without thinking.  Some students may appear as natural leaders, while others need much more training. It is those students we need to make sure we give several opportunities to develop their leadership skills, and as a parallel develop their character. Just as we scaffold and modify classroom work, we can do the same with leadership. We need to trust and empower our students to be leaders at their individual pace.

Teachers need to find creative ways to provide leadership opportunities to all students.

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Topics: leadership, student engagement, Shared Leadership

How Almost Losing My Job Led to More Inspired Teaching

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 @ 12:04 PM

By Becky Sipos

The principal came to my classroom door with the bad news, “Because enrollment has declined for next year, we have to make some cuts, and since you were the last hired, that means we have to let you go.”

Devastating news, but I had heard this story before. In the early days of my teaching career, I had to change schools every two years because of moves thanks to my husband’s military career. I was always the last hired and the first to go when reductions hit. This time, though, there was a catch. The principal added, “But if you agree to sponsor the school newspaper, we can keep you because that is a protected position.”

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Topics: Academics,, student engagement

Teaching Character within a Rigorous Curriculum

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 @ 19:04 PM

Creating opportunities for character education within a rigorous curriculum sounds great, but teachers are overwhelmed by constantly changing requirements, high stakes testing and large class sizes. Finding time for character education in an already busy schedule can feel impossible.

“I don’t have time for character education. My focus must be on teaching academics.” Do these worries sound familiar?

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Topics: critical thinking, Academics,, student engagement

Resources for a Meaningful & Challenging Curriculum

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 @ 06:04 AM


During the month of April, the Character.org blog will focus on Principle 6, creating a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners. The 11 Principles framework provides a variety of indicators that demonstrate a school has excelled at this task. Our Character Resource Roundup focuses in on three important indicators:

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Topics: Character Resource Roundup, learning needs, critical thinking, student engagement