While we know it's powerful and that we should teach it, the problem is that there is barely enough time in a day to cover all the curriculum we need to teach, right? How are we supposed to make time for teaching Character and building up classroom community as well?
Having grappled with this same dilemma myself, I have come up with a few tips for integrating Character into my curriculum, that can often be done in 5 minutes! Keep reading to learn more.
When it comes to Character Education, it's not always necessary to teach is as an "add on" (although this is an effective way to go deep on a topic). Sometimes you can find opportunities to teach character in every day activities. For example, if you notice your students always give up when they find tasks hard, you can take that opportunity to drop a positive quote such as "you only fail when you give up" followed by a little pep talk! Just repeating these mantras and offering encouragement throughout the day can still have an impact on your students and can be done in a few minutes.
One of my favourite things to do with students is to encourage them to be someone's "secret angel" for a week. This teaches them the power of acts of kindness, how amazing it feels to be a good person and how they can easily help make the world a better place, all while fostering a positive classroom community.
How it works is simple. Put every student's name on a piece of paper and call them up to pull a name out of a hat at random. They are now a secret angel for that person, and they person they selected must be kept a secret so as not to spoil the excitement.
All students have to do is make an effort to demonstrate acts of kindness for that person without making it too obvious. It could be smiling at them, holding a door open, lending them a pen, leaving notes in their locker etc. they can get as creative as they like with it!
At the end of the week students are to share who they think their secret angel is followed by a conversation about how it made both parties feel as the angel and the recipient! Every time I have done this, it has been on students' mind all week - it's all they talk about, always guessing who is their angel and of course, enjoying being treated so well by a classmate! It is especially powerful if these people don't often talk to each other, as new friendships can even blossom!
Give "secret angels" a go, watch your students be active and kind citizens and see how much joy it will bring to your classroom community each week!
Tip 3: quick morning meetings
Another easy and effective way of teaching Character Education is through short morning meeting activities. Some schools have home room / tutor / form time / advisory class which is a perfect opportunity to do this, but it can equally be the first few minutes of your lesson.
Take 5 minutes to show a quote related to a character trait you want to instil in your students and have some discussions around those quotes.
It can be hard thinking of discussion prompts beyond "what do you think this quote means", so to save you the time and stress, I have created a resource for you that does just that:
The character traits included in these bundles include: resilience, courage, compassion, self-confidence, respect, tolerance, honesty, self-respect, leadership and empathy. There are 200 quotes and 600 prompts, that's enough for every single school day of the year!
If you would like to get a free sample of digital whiteboard and printable journal morning meetings, you can download them here: