What's Happening in Character?

Starting Your Character Education Journey

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 11:01 AM

 

By Becky Sipos

For me, the New Year always brings an attitude of fresh start along with a reflection on accomplishments or disappointments of the past year. Pick up any magazine and you can see the imperatives: Lose 10 pounds in two weeks, plan more nutritious meals, get fit in only 15-minutes a day and so on.  

For schools, the imperatives usually revolve around better classroom management, helping low-achieving students to be more successful, getting all faculty onboard with positive school goals, or meeting state and federal testing requirements.

The trouble with most New Year’s resolutions is that the adopters are often looking for a quick fix. Unfortunately, neither losing weight nor transforming school culture is a quick fix, but both are worthy goals.

For educators looking to change their school culture, Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education offers guidelines for an effective program. But teachers sometimes think they are designed to be a step-by-step recipe beginning with #1 and progressing through step #11. But really, you can start with any principle. If you are looking to jump start your character education journey this year, here are four suggestions for ways to get started now.

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Topics: character education, school climate, leadership, what works in education, teacher development

Literature as a Path to Good Character and Better Decisions

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Thu, Oct 10, 2013 @ 04:10 AM

By Stephen Ellenwood

Good literature can help us understand both a range of nuances regarding key virtues such as kindness, persistence, or honesty and the complexities of how to answer questions that require, for example, both kindness and honesty. This approach is based in part on Jessamyn West’s wise counsel, “Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”

Good stories with believable characters and situations help students understand the fine points of both language and character. These stories also focus on how students create and become a member of a caring community. 

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Topics: character education, character education in curriculum, what works in education, Character Ed Infused in Curriculum, social responsibility

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

Taking Your School from Good to Great

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 @ 09:09 AM

Character education is often misunderstood. It is more than a word of the month or an assembly to honor students with good character. It exceeds catching students being good and helping those who are less fortunate. Character education is not a program, but a philosophy about how we ought to treat one another and why. 

The fundamental lessons in relationship building and character development need to begin with the staff, not the students. Once relationships among the staff are nourished, trust evolves and true understanding and implementation of character education can begin. 

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Topics: character, character education, National School of Character, teachers, what works in education, CEPForum13, community of character

Education as the Key to Equality: Where Does the Department of Education Stand?

Posted by Lara Maupin on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 @ 11:03 AM

I was privileged to attend the Washington Post’s summit on families and children earlier this month. What did I learn? That education remains the key ingredient for success for all American children, especially those living in poverty. While experts and politicians continue to debate the role of government in helping families, children, and communities, all agree that education continues to be a path to opportunity.

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Topics: parent involvement, teachers, what works in education

Model Good Character with Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts

Posted by Katie Hood on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 @ 11:12 AM

Unless your pantry closely resembles the Back to School department at your local Walmart, buying new school supplies each year is something every parent can count on. Not only does it cost money, but supplying students with paper and other school-related items can put a damper on the environment and the world's resources.

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Topics: role models, character, moral character, what works in education

What Does It Mean to be a Character Role Model?

Posted by Bradley Warner on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 @ 09:11 AM

In my last blog I challenged myself, and probably meant to challenge you as well, by asking, “What am I going to do about my character development that will have a positive impact on my students?” In this blog I will explain one example of how I have attempted to answer this question in my classroom.

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Topics: role models, character, character education in curriculum, what works in education

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

Where the Spirit of Learning Soars & Character Grows: a Good-to-Great Story

Posted by Scott Taylor on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

Eight years ago, Crestwood Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri, became truly engaged in character education. We were already a pretty good school and doing some character education, but a district decision directed all schools to do more character education following the Caring School Community (CSC) program with its emphasis on autonomy, belonging, and competence. A leadership team of four staff and one parent became excited about the possibilities that an increased focus on character education could bring to our school. Now, eight years later Crestwood has just finished a remarkable year when we were named not only a National School of Character, but a National Blue Ribbon School as well —the only school in the nation to receive both of these prestigious national awards.

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Topics: Forum Speakers, character education in curriculum, leadership, National School of Character, what works in education

When Is It Okay to Reward Children for Doing the Right Thing?

Posted by Lara Maupin on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 @ 09:10 AM

CEP asked the experts when it would be appropriate to reward children in our latest National Schools of Character publication.

Here's what David Hulac, Marvin Berkowitz, and Russ Sojourner had to say:

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Topics: character education, moral character, core values, what works in education