Fill a Cornucopia with Good Character Traits and Other Creative Challenges

A harvest of note cards ready for students to use in writing lists of what they most appreciate and why

A harvest of envelopes ready for students to fill with cards noting good character traits

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

Cornucopias are attention-getting icons of Thanksgiving in parts of the world that celebrate this special day in November each year.

Traditional cornucopias are filled with harvest time treasures like apples, grapes and gourds.

Be creative…have some fun…engage your class by presenting a cornucopia to fill…

early this week or AFTER Thanksgiving.

Buy or make a cornucopia and invite students to help you fill it with good character traits and other creative challenges.

Make a Good Character Cornucopia – A Healthy Harvest – Place empty envelopes in your cornucopia.

Distribute cards to the class and ask students to write good character traits on the cards.

Elaborate on this writing activity by challenging kids to write acrostic poems that focus on character traits.

Make this activity an individual writing assignment or a class project.

As a class project, guide students by writing the letters of each character trait down the board.

Call on students to suggest words or phrases that begin with each letter in the character trait.

For example, an acrostic poem for RESPECT might be:

R emember to listen as well as talk

E veryone is entitled to her of his opinion

S how consideration for people who are different

P lease and thank you are respectful words

E ven when we have a bad day, we still need to show respect

C all someone by his or her name when you speak with him or her

T ake time to think about how you can be respectful in school and at home

Stuff more than one character trait card into each envelope…enough for students to pull out of the cornucopia and keep after writing time when you allow them to open the envelopes.

Creative cornucopias, like a Good Character Cornucopia, should be interactive. As such, they make fun and functional teaching tools.

How else can you fill a cornucopia? Make an Extra Credit Apple-Filled Cornucopia – Advise students to be on the lookout for a Cornucopia of Extra Credit Activity Apples coming soon to a bulletin board in your

Make an Apples Bulletin Board that features apples and other healthy foods - Good Foods for Good Thinking!

Invite students to pick apples marked with activities for extra credit from an Apple-Filled Cornucopia.


Creating anticipation is a key to attentionology!

Buy or cut from brown construction paper or cardstock a large cornucopia. (Seasonal illustrations are usually available at teacher supply stores.)

Buy large pre-cut apple shapes or cut large apple shapes from red construction paper or red cardstock.

Write one educational activity on each apple in dark marker.

Sample activity: Create a math problem involving pumpkin pies. Write the problem as a word problem and as a numerical problem on notebook paper. Prepare to present the problem to the class.

Post the cornucopia and activity apples on a classroom bulletin board.

Post the apples with double-sided tape that’s easy to remove. Make and post a sign above the cornucopia that reads, “Cornucopia of Extra Credit Activity Apples.”

Invite students to pick an apple and complete the activity for extra credit.

Optional: Use a variety of fruit shapes and colors instead of all apples.

Optional: Use a basket rather than a cornucopia and fruits and vegetables that are indigenous to your region of the world.

In grades 3 – 5, one of the extra credit activity apples could challenge a student to research holidays that express thanks for native foods in different nations.

Make a Cornucopia of Sincere, Positive Comments – Teachers are always thankful for students who show good character, accept creative challenges and contribute to class activities.

Show appreciation for your students by filling a cornucopia with sincere, positive comment cards about their conduct in class.

Plan time for students to take turns pulling the comment cards from the cornucopia and reading them aloud.

Please send comments to fill Attentionology’s cornucopia of tools and tricks to catch and keep K – 5 students’ attention. Thanks!

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

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers
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 acting sluggish in class.

Solution: Show "The BIG E," for ENERGY, an enlarged letter E (or other first letter for the word energy in your alphabet), available in craft stores. Remind the class that energy is a must-have item to get good work done. Tell the class to show you "The BIG E!"

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