Good Character Counts!

Make a Bulletin Board: Good Character Counts!

Make a Bulletin Board:
Good Character Counts!

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Martin Luther King, Jr. is being celebrated in the US today, but his vision of “judging people by the content of their character” reaches far beyond America’s shores.

Character Education is part of the current K – 5 curricula in many parts of the world. New teachers might think that this is a relatively recent trend, but research tells otherwise.

I found, for example, and still marvel at an old copy of The Grade Teacher, a publication of the Educational Publishing Corporation, Darien, Connecticut (US) in my library.

The dog-eared issue, dated April, 1942, sold for considerably more than its original 30 cents price. Thumbing through this aged “Professional Magazine for Classroom Teachers of All Grades,” I found an article titled, “The City of Refuge” with a subtitle: “Foundations of Character Education“, by Henry Turner Bailey.

This decades old analysis of character education by Bailey connects with Attentionology.

For example, RESPECT, as in listening attentively when someone else is speaking, is a key trait of what is widely perceived as “good character.”

In his article, Bailey makes the case for building foundations of character education by leading the way to the joys of learning.

His writing may sound antiquated to modern ears. He defines “Real Teaching” as methods by which “all school topics should be taught so that, through them, children may catch visions of what is beyond.”

Bailey acknowledged the challenges that teachers in America (and likely elsewhere) faced during the turbulent years of World War II, leading the way “into the land of delights” (his definition of the rewards of solid character education).

The war wasn’t all to overcome in Bailey’s era. He wrote about creating a new vision for education free of the restraints of earlier teaching methods.

He said, “Those who occupied our places in the past did not always serve with gladness, nor lead forth their flock with joy. When they forced children to learn verses by heart, as a punishment for some offense, they placed stumbling blocks in the path and almost closed one of the gates – perhaps the chief and most accessible.”

Bailey characterized teaching as a privilege “to free the spirit” of children. “To be able to give freedom to many is something worth the effort of a lifetime,” he wrote. “What satisfaction may be ours!”

This focus on freedom certainly connects Bailey’s writing about character education to the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Good Judgment, Integrity, Responsibility, Kindness. These and other traits that are part of Character Education can be infused into every lesson offered in school.

What about courage?

Share this poem about courage with your class.

Download and share this poem about courage with your class.

Share this poem with your class. I wrote it as part of a collection titled, Good Character Counts!

I Know Courage

I know courage when I see it

In the face of someone

Who set aside fear.

I saw courage at work

In the firemen featured

In the news last year.

I know courage when I see it

In the raised hands of someone

Who acts on his or her belief.

I heard about courage at work

When my mother told me

Of neighbors stopping a thief.

I will know courage when I feel it

Filling my own heart and mind

With a sense of right and wrong.

Courage will build my character

As I learn that I can help others

By being brave; by being strong.

Martin Luther King, Jr. King had the courage to act on his beliefs.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is a man who exemplifies courage.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is a man who exemplifies courage.

We celebrate King and his legacy today. But, encouraging good character in children, and celebrating the lives of those who exemplify it, is a job that needs many more days than just one Monday in January.

Please send comments about how you teach Character Education.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Stop by on Wednesday for Mid-Week Focus.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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  1. […] Responsibility and Respect – Use quick conversation starters about good manners as part of your character education […]

  2. […] Persistence has paid off for Rebecca throughout her life and careers. […]

  3. […] or make a cornucopia and invite students to help you fill it with good character traits and other creative […]

  4. […] Persistence has paid off for Rebecca throughout her life and careers. […]

  5. […] Encouraging students to become Learning Engineers also connects with Character Education. […]

  6. […] caught up with him, “Coach,” as his players call him, weighed in on winning character traits and […]

  7. […] concept began to take flight after his persistence in approaching shoe manufacturers and shoe company executives finally paid […]

  8. […] key trait in character education seems to be sorely lacking in some […]

  9. […] seems to be missing the tenets of character education, and I have written numerous posts about boosting good character in K – 5 […]

  10. […] as his players call him, some months before the 2016 Olympic Games, Coach K weighed in on winning character traits and teaching, beginning with […]

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students are having trouble writing connecting sentences between the beginning, middle and end of a story.

Solution: Show toy airplanes, pretending to make them "take off" across notebook paper. Explain to the class that stories, like airplanes, require clear "flight paths."

Related Posts: Become the Classroom of the Traveling Story!