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.
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!
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.
How do I build student to student relationships?
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.
Every morning, use your Rascal X skills to greet kids at the doorway. As students enter the room, they pull a stick from the Day Friend cup (decorate it!). Then, they take their place in a circle and practice compliments, talking about their Day Friend with a neighbor. This provides much needed praise practice and solves the problem of kids never getting compliments. You sit in the circle; set the stopwatch for two minutes.
Start with a cheery greeting and then say, “I feel ____.” Give a short upbeat description of your feelings. Don’t talk about the morning’s traffic!
Next, roll the dice. If 1, 2, 3 appear, give someone a compliment. If 4, 5, appear ... no compliment. On a six, re-roll. Then, hand the dice to a student (to make the game edge-of-the-seat, you always decide who gets the dice next). The speaker follows your pattern, says “I feel ... “ and then rolls the dice. If 1, 2, or 3 appear, they compliment their Day Friend.
If they draw a blank, they extend their arms and exclaim, “Help me!” Kids chime in with sample compliments. (If a student has said something like “I’m sad” or “I feel angry” check with them after Peace Circle.)
If you’ve never employed dice rolling or a timer, you’ve missed powerful motivators ... it’s as if kids have never seen dice or a stop watch before! Students are disappointed they didn’t get a chance to roll the dice and compliment a classmate. You’ve entered Teaching Heaven when your students are eager for tomorrow’s praise practice.
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.