Education isn’t only about learning subjects such as math, English, and science. A more detailed definition of education addresses passions, individuality, and nature as well. Parents today are looking for schools that help their kids become healthy, balanced, and civic-minded adults. This is why character education is so important.
Character education activities
Don’t Be Salty – Give students a salt packet and have them toss it out on a napkin. Tell them to put the crystals back into the pack. This is the same as our words — they are difficult to take back.
The door of Integrity – Remind students on the door that integrity means showing good character wherever we go outside the classroom.
Helpful vs. Hurtful – Have students look at magazines or social media posts and talk about which words can inspire and which words can be hurtful.
Big Kid Show and Tell – Have students bring in items that convey their individuality or unique experiences and talk about empathy and diversity.
The audience of One – Middle schoolers can struggle with peer pressure and who is watching them. Help students stay true to themselves with activities that emphasize their individuality (and help them to express it positively).
Citizen of _ (School Name or Teacher’s Name) – Integrate lessons of global citizenship with how “citizens” of a school or classroom have responsibilities and a moral code.
Judging Someone By His Cover – This is especially effective during election seasons. You can talk about how the character of politicians (or celebrities) are judged and manipulated.
Paying It Forward/Golden Rule – Discuss how students can be grateful for the help they have received and “pay it forward” by doing kind acts for others.
Strength Finders – Help students identify their strengths and identify how those qualities can help them become “mentors”‘ in the classroom who can help others.
Benefits of character education
Respectful interactions. When we focus on living by the Golden Rule, on treating one another like we want to be treated, our interactions with others are more respectful, understanding, courteous, and mannerly. We work to resolve conflicts peacefully and we celebrate diversity and differences.
We are considerate of each other’s feelings and deal peacefully with anger and disagreements. When respect goes up, bullying interactions go down.
Self-regulation and self-esteem. When core values are in place and we know who we are and what we stand for, we’re more adept at self-regulating so our self-esteem naturally goes up. Our ability to respond (response-ability) becomes something we master well; we manage our emotions with relative ease. The more confidence we feel, the more confident we’ll become.