A Collaborative Curriculum: The Strengths of PBL

by Pam Mitchell Beginning the Journey Mockingbird Elementary embarked on a Project Based Learning (PBL) journey seven years ago after observing PBL in action at  New Tech High @ Coppell, another school in our district. We had already been focusing on Rigor, Relevance, and Relationship (Dr. Bill Daggett) as a district, and we had also been … Continue reading “A Collaborative Curriculum: The Strengths of PBL”

Connecting Character and Content

by Gary Smit Finding time for building character in schools and in students within the context of the academic curriculum can be a challenge. Since school is the first social structure the child encounters, the setting provides an excellent opportunity for character building. However, this must be more than a poster on the wall, a … Continue reading “Connecting Character and Content”

Time for Character Education

Third in a series by student teacher Rebecca Bauer. She graduated from a National School of Character and wants to make sure that as a teacher she includes character education, but she is finding it challenging. Even at an elementary school as great as the one that I was working at, I still felt the … Continue reading “Time for Character Education”

A Virtues-Based Community: More than just a Dream

By Dr. Raquel Castrodad “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward The quote from what is a brilliant ad slogan, “Just Do it!,” should be the guiding light and starting point of this voyage towards achieving a virtues-based community. It … Continue reading “A Virtues-Based Community: More than just a Dream”

Literature as a Path to Good Character and Better Decisions

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 … Continue reading “Literature as a Path to Good Character and Better Decisions”

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

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 … Continue reading “The OCHO Project: Read for a Need–Teaching Children to Help Others”

Character Is Our Super Power

 by Barbara Gruener Is anyone out there as excited about the upcoming CEP National Forum as I am? One of my very favorite things about October is the chance to connect with other character educators from around the US and beyond its borders. It’s been an annual booster shot for me since I first attended … Continue reading “Character Is Our Super Power”

Powerful Analogies From Nature that Build Character

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 … Continue reading “Powerful Analogies From Nature that Build Character”

Using Assessment for Sustainability and Impact in Character Education

By Matt Davidson I have been an advocate for and practitioner of assessment in the field of character education for nearly 20 years. Much has changed in education over that time period. In particular, the importance of using data to guide practice has grown significantly. In the field of character education much of the early … Continue reading “Using Assessment for Sustainability and Impact in Character Education”

Promising Practices Spotlight: Bonneville Elementary School

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. … Continue reading “Promising Practices Spotlight: Bonneville Elementary School”

Promising Practices Spotlight: Bayless Elementary School

Bayless Elementary School – St. Louis, MO Program: Character Camp Bayless Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri, created a year-end celebration called Character Camp. This Promising Practice empowers students, teachers, and parents to research and create various stations that emphasize the character traits. Here’s an example of how it worked one year. First, the teachers … Continue reading “Promising Practices Spotlight: Bayless Elementary School”

Should We Require Teaching Digital Citizenship? Yes.

Digital citizenship should not only be required, it should also become the primary lens through which we ask our children and ourselves to view the world. Our prosperity, humanity, and indeed even our survival, may well depend on it.

What Does It Mean to be a Character Role Model?

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 … Continue reading “What Does It Mean to be a Character Role Model?”

Why do these National Schools of Character do character education?

This afternoon the National Forum on Character Education was celebrated the 20 public schools, 3 private schools, 1 charter school, and 1 school district who became National Schools of Character this year. In a May press release, Lara Maupin stated that “These schools have built strong communities that bring people together around shared goals. Nobody … Continue reading “Why do these National Schools of Character do character education?”

Day 1 Recap

We just wrapped up an outstanding first day at the 2012 the National Forum on Character Education – #cep2012. The day was filled with lots of excitement and energy.

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

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. … Continue reading “Where the Spirit of Learning Soars & Character Grows: a Good-to-Great Story”

Words into Action: Service Learning as a Teaching Strategy

What is Service Learning? Simply put, service learning occurs in classrooms as students connect academics—skills and content—with authenticated community needs. Students grow a garden in science class that provides produce for a food bank or orphanage. While studying about World War II, students interview veterans of a past or current war to gain a deeper … Continue reading “Words into Action: Service Learning as a Teaching Strategy”

Connecting Service Learning to Character and Academic Growth

David Wangaard, Ed.D., is the Director of the School for Ethical Education and author of this post. In working or visiting with teachers, I often find they think service learning is just adult-led community service. Service learning is, however, quite distinct from community service. See the eight quality standards for service learning that The National Youth Leadership … Continue reading “Connecting Service Learning to Character and Academic Growth”

Solutionary Education Reform

Education is in the news these days, with feature-length documentaries such as “Waiting for Superman” and “Bully” at theaters alongside “Toy Story III” and “The Avengers.” Tom Friedman at The New York Timescalls the education beat the most exciting one of our time for journalists. Never in my lifetime has education been such a hot topic. … Continue reading “Solutionary Education Reform”

Earth Day Service-Learning Ideas

Many educators believe that when a student has a personal connection to the subject that they are studying, student retention is higher and true learning takes place. Connecting emotion to academics gives students and teachers a way to learn together, while still embracing the new core standards. Service and project-based learning is a perfect way to infuse the curriculum … Continue reading “Earth Day Service-Learning Ideas”


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