corevalues.pngWhile 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.

Caring, Empathy & Kindness

Mary Gordon, the Founder & President of Roots of Empathy offers great ideas for cultivating empathy in young children. She has books and resources for your classroom and a book you can read on your own, Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child.

Not sure where to start? Watch the keynote she delivered at the 2014 National Forum on Character Education, “Empathic Children Today Build Civil Societies tomorrow.”

Richard Weissbourd, director of the Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has launched the #StartWithKindness campaign. Learn how you and your school can get involved here and be sure to take a look around the website for other helpful resources!

Our friends at the Random Acts of Kindness foundation also have lesson plans and a wide variety of other resources to help your promote kindness in your classroom.


Marilyn Price-Mitchell offers advice in her Edutopia piece, “Creating a Culture of Integrity in the Classroom.”

In “Teaching Children to Have Integrity” a post on, author Mary Donahue’s 3 tips come from a parent’s perspective but can certainly help educators, as well. Educational Advisory Council (EAC) member, David Wangaard also offers great resources on integrity with an emphasis on academic integrity.

Respect & Responsibility

Parenting Expert & EAC Member, Michele Borba provides concrete ideas for teaching respect in, “35 Activities Your Students Can Do to Learn Respect”.

Barbara Gruener’s lesson plan “Brush Up on Respect” is featured on the Teaching Tolerance website. Aimed at students in grades 3-5, it is sure to be a conversation starter!

Who knows more about teaching than teachers? Scholastic has compiled a great list of “Teacher Made Activities for Teaching Responsibilities” that can help you get started.

The What I Have Learned blog features “Teaching Responsibility in the Elementary School Classroom,” a post that offers more great tips. It also includes another helpful teacher made resource, a responsibility anchor chart.


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