New Beginnings

Twelve Ideas for Starting the Year with Character Education


1. Choose character traits as goals for students: respect, responsibility, courtesy, friendship.


2. Define policies and procedures clearly. Show how they demonstrate character.


3. Create an assessment tool so students can measure themselves.


Character Assessment

JKL            Respect

            ˙            listen attentively

            ˙            wait turn to talk

JKL            Responsibility

            ˙          have supplies ready

            ˙          turn in assignments

            ˙          be prompt: follow due dates

            ˙          do quality work


4. Find a motto or poster about character to use as a room decoration. (“Teach and Learn” in Hooksett has character education posters for $1.75.)


5. Choose a theme song, phrase or chant for promoting character. (Legacy Music, 14232 Marsh Lane #330, Dallas Texas 75234 972-418-7884)


6. Contact your students and their parents before the first day of school (a letter, telephone call, post card or home visit), and welcome them to your class. If you are unable to obtain names and addresses ahead of time, prepare a letter for the first day of school. Scan in a picture if you can!


7. Have name tags or name cards ready so you can learn student names quickly. Use marker so you can see the names from a distance.


8. Take photographs on the first day and make a book so everyone can learn each other’s name.


9. Prepare a display about yourself (photos, artifacts, video) so students can get to know you better as a person. Let’s personalize and humanize our class­rooms and education!


10. Make a list of class chores for which students can take responsibility.


11. Design a routine for starting and ending the day or class period. Include a message or exhortation. This message may be in the form of a story or poem.


12. Plan exercises where students choose a class name, logo, colors and motto, all based on character traits.

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