Following the pattern set by our Amazon best seller, Whole Brain Teaching: Fast Track: Seven Steps to Teaching Heaven, Step 3 is Character Education.
The highest goal for teachers is not academic instruction but raising our students to be virtuous young adults. In Whole Brain Teaching, we do not believe Character Education can be taught as a unit, a subject among other subjects, but must be infused into daily life. If assemblies and mottos perfected students' moral skills, we would have no rude kids. Children bully each other under anti-bullying posters.
Character Education is the golden thread woven throughout WBT.
How do I teach manners?
The simplest way to weave Character Education into every lesson is to teach students the appropriate use of simple manners.
Use the please/okay, thank you/you're welcome, and praise/thank to model manners with your class.
Alpha Hawk: How do I inspire students to make smart choices?
Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, your Beloved Grandmother were AlphaHawks, blessed souls who lived for others. AlphaHawks are virtuous role models, life guides. Start every Monday by talking about your AlphaHawk.* Tell stories about how your AlphaHawk guided you through troubled times. Conclude your tales by saying, "I'm going to teach this week in a way that would make my AlphaHawk proud!" Bringing the AlphaHawk's spirit into your classroom creates a loving, generous, learning community.
Invite students to bring in pictures of their AlphaHawk, or make drawings of them, and hang them on your AphaHawk wall.
Reference the wall when discussing smart choices with your pupils. Say, "What advice would your AlphaHawk give you right now?" or "What do you think your AlphaHawk would do?"
AlphaHawks provide kids the moral compass they need to guide them along life's thorny paths. You can have more than one!
Virtue Calendar: How can I weave character education into every lesson, everyday?
Each day, discuss the daily virtue with your students. Talk about ways you can exemplify that virtue. Reward improvement in that virtue with a star on their Super Improver Card. Include the daily virtue in math story problems, writing prompts, and when analyzing characters in a story. Help students to identify these virtues in concrete specific ways - not just during a 20 minute character lesson once a week, but everyday, in every lesson.
Get your own copy of the Virtue Calendar here.
Peace Circle: How can I strengthen student to student bonds?
In only a few minutes every morning, dramatically increase the strength of student-student bonds.
A large foam dice, a stopwatch, a Day Friend cup of sticks with each student’s name.
A Step by Step guide to Getting Started with Peace Circle:
(Move to the next step as soon as students have mastered the current step.)
- Have students practice getting in a circle QUICKLY!
- Show students a large dice, and set expectations that whoever holds the die is the ONLY one who gets to talk. Show them how to hold it correctly.
- Introduce the simple sentence frame “I feel…” Tell students that they will simply pass the dice and practice filling in the sentence frame.
- On a Kindness Monday, introduce how to give a compliment. Role play and give examples for your age group. Discuss deep and shallow compliments. Model it by connecting it with the five virtues and using sentence frames (You were kind when ___. You showed courage when ___.) Point out that each day you may need to really notice what people do around you. When we focus on ourselves we miss others. This is also a great time to teach and reinforce Thank you, You’re Welcome! Kids need to learn and practice how to respond to compliments!
When your students are ready, continue to build student-student relationships with "Day Friends".
- Introduce your students to the Day Friend concept. Students will get a stick with another student’s name on it when they arrive each morning. This is their Day Friend.
- Throughout the day, students should work to watch their day friend, looking for improvements or things that they can use in Peace Circle to give a compliment.
- When it's time for Peace Circle, students will complete a sentence frame just as they practiced earlier, then roll a die. If the die lands on 1,2, or 3 the student will give a compliment to their Day Friend. If it lands on a 4 or 5 the student says "We’ve got grit, we don't quit!" and passes the die to their Day Friend. If a 6 is rolled, it's a re-roll. The next student repeats the process.
Play Peace Circle for 2-5 minutes. Set a timer. When time's up, do anything else but no more dice rolling ... to powerfully fuel classroom engagement, always conclude WBT games when kids wish they could keep playing. Start the next day's Peace Circle with whomever has the dice when the timer rings.