Westwood8During 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:

  1. Teachers provide all students with opportunities to interact with academic content in engaging, hands-on ways.

  2. Teachers understand and respond to students’ learning needs and cultural differences.

  3. Teachers promote thinking habits like curiosity and critical thinking.

Increasing Student Engagement & Hands-on Learning

  • Children are naturally, active and curious. Hands-on learning allows teachers to harvest that energy and enthusiasm rather than trying to control it through discipline. Read more on the topic in “The Importance of Hands-On Learning” by Temple Grandin.

  • Imagine your classroom at 2 o’clock on a Friday afternoon. Sometimes getting your students excited about learning can be a challenge. With his creative suggestions, like “Lightning Rounds,” Richard Curwin’s “5 Ways to Make Class Discussions More Exciting” is a helpful read.

Understanding and responding to Learning Needs & Cultural Differences

  • When it comes to differentiating instruction, we can’t forget about our youngest learners. Even before starting school, children have developed skills and strengths and have discovered areas in which they struggle. It’s essential that we treat them as individuals. In “Addressing Different Learning Styles: Helping All Students Succeed in the Kindergarten Classroom,” Jeremy Brunaccioni offers ideas for keeping all learners in mind when setting up your classrooms and developing lessons.

  • Even in a school with a homogeneous population, teachers should never assume that their students’ lives and cultures are all the same. In “Culture in the Classroom,” an article from Teaching Tolerance, you’ll find a wide variety of materials to help you address these topics in the classroom, including a video, essays, a reading list and more.

Promoting Critical Thinking & Curiosity

  • Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it seems to be the key to keeping learners engaged and intellectually agile in the classroom,” says Catherine Rubin, in “The Curious Classroom.” Read on to discover ways to engage your students in deeper conversation and how to ask questions that will get students thinking.


Do you have more resources that will help teachers engage their students in meaningful and challenging activities? Let us know in the comments.