Encourage Students to "Be a Character!"
Friedman, Gina S., Curriculum Review
A district official describes a comprehensive character-education program.
Gina S. Friedman, Public Information Officer, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District, Fort Worth, Texas:
Students in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD are busy learning reading, math, writing and character. The district's "Be a Character!" program focuses on honesty, caring, integrity, citizenship, dependability and respect. Each month, students concentrate on specific character traits.
By integrating value-related stories, games, discussion and activities with existing curricula, and by actively modeling and reinforcing the six core values--honesty, caring, integrity, dependability, respect and citizenship--the district is substantially contributing to the well-being of the thousands of young people in its care, as well as their families and community.
The program is easily adaptable to different grade levels, and has not required additional funding to implement. As a result, the curriculum has received overwhelming approval by the district's staff. In addition, the district has received positive media attention and several calls from neighboring school districts requesting information about the program.
Here are a few lessons the district uses in teaching good character traits. For activities coveting the program's other four character traits, see this month's What's Working in Education section starting on page 6.
Honesty means being truthful, sincere and straightforward. Don't lie, cheat or steal. Don't intentionally mislead others.
1. How many lies do you get to tell before you are a liar?
2. Do you consider yourself to be an honest person? Why?
3. What would you do if you found $10,000 on the shelf beneath an ATM machine and nobody saw you find it?
1. Keep an "Honesty-Dishonesty" journal for one week. In this journal, document examples of honesty and dishonesty in everyday life. Keep track of all the times you hear or tell "white lies. …