Shared Spaces: How they can be used for Character Education
Have students brainstorm rules and guidelines for behavior on the bus. Include safety. Establish consequences.
Invite a police officer to talk about laws regarding motor vehicles.
Post rules at the front of the bus.
Have a Bus Constitution. Have a Code of Behavior and have parents sign it.
Have a Bus Motto developed by all.
Train bus drivers in character education. Teach them to model virtues. Bus drivers can build community and get to know students. Encourage them to address students by name when entering and exiting the bus.
Have a bulletin board for the Driver of the Month: personalize them with pictures of family, pets, interests.
Have a time when parents and teachers can "Meet the Driver". Have the bus driver talk about his or her job.
Invite bus drivers to assemblies, functions, fairs, etc. Include bus drivers in team meetings.
Announce the "Bus of the Week"
Write thank you notes to bus drivers.
Role play appropriate bus behavior.
Discuss bus problems. Discuss teasing and harassing.
Use video cameras to hold them accountable.
Give awards and rewards for good behavior on the bus. Have a Rider of the Week.
Have younger students vote on older students who were responsible and caring.
The bus is an extension of the classroom.
Have parents or adults monitor bus behavior.
Have trained volunteers to support positive bus behaviors.
Have each parent ride the bus with their children two times a year to model appropriate behavior.
Establish peer monitors: older students being responsible for bus behavior of younger students.
Set up a Buddy System where "bus buddies" serve as role models.
Give Bus Monitors sponge bats, horns and uniforms!
Have Bus Meetings once or twice a year where students discuss how to make their bus a better place.
Have a Principal's Lunch by grade level to discuss the bus.
Make sure the amount of time spent on the bus is reasonable and there is not overcrowding.
Use bus time educationally through taped stories from the Book of Virtues, appropriate music.
Teach Bus Cleanliness: no gum chewing; pick up papers, etc. Have a Litter Patrol or have older students clean the bus once a month.
Teachers model appropriate behavior. Have small group role playing of table manners.
Have clear cut expectations and let students know what they are. For example: speak softly, walk. Post these on walls. Have a constitution for the cafeteria.
Teach procedures where students take care of their own things: stack trays neatly, dispose of leftovers properly. Wait patiently in line. Manners when asking for or refusing food. Good eating habits.
Teach respect for food and cooks. Say "Thank you" and show appreciation toward cafeteria workers. Food should not be wasted. Respect for people with reduced lunch cost.
Teach pride in environment.
Have posters with visual reinforcement and slogans. Have mottos, especially at entrance. Posters about nutrition. Coordinate this with the Art teacher.
Have students make table decorations (centerpieces) around a character theme or multi-cultural theme.
Have a signal such as lights out means seated and silent.
Praise good behavior. Compliment the positive.
Have the students write a list of consequences if the constitution is broken.
Teach students alternative acceptable behaviors to replace misbehavior.
Encourage random acts of kindness (help someone who has spilled).
Have older students working to help out, or helping younger students. They can help serve and clean up.
Use dinner music or appropriate background music to provide ambience and for calming.
Discuss food sharing, especially of unwanted food.
Have a suggestion box for improving the cafeteria.
Eat family style.
Have a character trait for each week and discuss how it can be demonstrated in the cafeteria. Have students present a skit to demonstrate the trait.
Have table competitions for cleanliness and politeness.
Have a Table Monitor.
Teach honesty about lunch money.
Show appreciation for custodians.
Include students in planning nutritious menus. They can brainstorm as a class and send one or two representatives to the menu planner.
A committee of students with a representative from each grade could serve as an advisory group for the cafeteria. They could also serve as the Court for behavior problems in the cafeteria.
Celebrate success by having a "tree" on the wall. Anyone can add "leaves" which describe good behavior in the cafeteria.
Have senior citizen lunches where students sit with an older person.
Have rewards like a Burger King Certificate, or the chance to go out first.
The bathroom is a good place for learning Respect and Responsibility.
Teach students to respect its use, to be quick and quiet, respect the privacy of others. Discuss bathroom etiquette.
Teach cleanliness as a health issue: wash hands, use waste basket for paper towels. Use prudence regarding water and supplies. (Teach estimation skills: how much paper towel do you need? Keep a tally. Teach environmental awareness: conservation of paper, water, waste.) Flush toilets. Use equipment properly. Toilet seat up or down. Use songs which cover these issues.
Have a sign "Don't rush, Please flush!"
Have character posters and banners in bathroom with diagrams showing correct procedures.
Decorate bathroom and give it ambience. Change seasonally.
Deal with graffiti. Teach students to get involved. Put up a mural where they are allowed to write. Have a blackboard for writing Random Acts of Kindness.
Teach students to take responsibility and report incidents like clogged sinks, no paper towels, etc.
Have students write stories which are included in a book on behavior.
Have Potty Grams for good behavior.
Have students monitor bathrooms.
Have students clean the bathrooms.
Have students paint murals depicting personal hygiene practices.
Put up a chart for weekly monitoring of cleanliness.
Have cleanliness contests between building wings.
Have classrooms adopt the care of a section of the bathroom.
Have appropriate music playing in the bathroom.
Ask students, "What kind of bathroom would you like to use?" Talk about gas station rest rooms, pay toilets, public rest rooms. Apply principles to proper behavior in public bathrooms.
Invite the nurse or doctor to explain germs and diseases as they relate to the bathroom. This is Science and Health, as well as teaching responsibility.
Have a bathroom buddy system.
Teach community awareness: custodial respect and introduction to plumbers.
Videotape behavior. Have students watch and identify appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
Encourage students to think about their actions.
Have more teacher presence in the halls. Teachers model appropriate behavior.
Decorate halls with banners, murals, mottos, mobiles and bulletin boards. Have a Display Case for student work.
Play Compliment Games where students notice each other's good behavior in the hall. Find ways to Catch'em being kind. Have a Bulletin Board titled "Caught being good..." where anyone can write the name of someone who behaved well in the hall.
Put up positive message posters.
Put more student work on walls and teach students to respect the artwork and property of others.
Have a Suggestion Box.
Have a system of Hall Passes.
Have hall monitors or Safety Patrol.
Give positive reinforcement for positive behavior.
Role play difficult situations which are common in the hall, and how to handle them. Practice appropriate behavior.
Challenge students: Who here can? I bet...
Teach students how to be Messengers.
Have student Character Monitors.
Have students show visitors around or to classrooms: be guides, hosts and hostesses.
Teach students to walk on the right side of the hall, to allow other students or teachers to pass or go in front, to show respect and friendliness to others; teach behavior toward younger students. Teach them how to give friendly greetings. Teach students to show concern for others, and to pick up litter.
Teach being quiet to show respect for others who are working in classrooms.
Teach turn taking and following the leader for getting drinks and going as a class.
Have Speed Bumps!
Discuss Hall Safety.
Do not accept or allow rude behavior: have consequences.
Involve students, parents, community in playground building, maintenance, adding equipment. Plant flowers, bushes, etc.
Have an Earth Support Group: clean up the area, Adopt-a-Spot, Tree or bulb Planting.
Teach students to respect the outdoors and nature.
Keep it clean. Make this a community project. Promote Clean Up Day. Take time to do this: it shows respect for the environment.
Incorporate outdoors into lesson plans.
Have picnic tables which students build in carpentry shop or have a fundraiser for money.
Have a clear set of rules. Have students involved in establishing rules for safety. Rules should be made available to substitute teachers. Consistency among teachers in enforcing rules is important.
Have boundaries. Children are learning self control as well as respect.
Have students monitoring each other so as to show responsibility and compassion.
Older students show younger ones safe ways to play. Older teach games to younger.
Have a Buddy System.
Rotate peer monitors who look for positive behavior.
Encourage courage and perseverance to try new things.
Role play good reasons to inform teacher of misbehavior, rather than tattling. Show how and when to get help for others.
Reward examples of sharing and including others in play. Show children how to help each other (for example pushing on the swings).
Teach cooperative games.
Teach organized group games.
Play Team Games where students learn rules, team spirit, sportsmanship and accepting others.
Insist on appropriate language even during play.
Teach children how to make friends and be a friend; how to invite others to play and join in, how to play with others, how to deal with bullies. This is an important place for developing social skills.
Teach conflict resolution. Role play mediation by students. Use recess for this rather than class time. Teach students to use "I messages", and to solve their own problems.
Have consequences: Abuse it, you lose it. Hold students accountable for their actions.
Give tokens for extra time and games when they behave well.
Teachers on duty can recognize and reward good citizenship. Catch'em being good.
Have rewards for those who line up quickly and quietly (showing cooperation and self control).
Provide individual activities: jump ropes, hopscotch, marbles...)
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