Bulletin Board Add-Ons to Build Students’ Character

Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!

Back in January of this year (doesn’t that seem like ions ago!)  I promised to offer more tools and tricks to help students focus on good character.

Last week I encouraged readers to take the time to stop, look and listen to kids to get a measure of their moodiness. What’s the character connection?

See if this connects with you…time stops for no one, but I believe that we have to stop for a time to check on how well we model good character as we help students focus more on developing desirable character traits. 

Think about it…character traits – ones that are widely considered to be desirable – require time. In my post on 01/16/12 the featured character traits included respect, self-discipline, responsibility and good judgment.

Today’s post features four more traits that serve students and teachers well.  I’ve “defined” the traits in a language that is appropriate for students in grades 3 – 5. Check out the connection between each character trait and time.

  1. Perseverance: sticking with a task to get it done, to reach a goal, to do one’s best.
  2. Kindness: taking the time to show care for others.
  3. Courage: demonstrating strength in difficult circumstances; staying on task based on a commitment, not reacting by “running,” when faced with adversity.
  4. Integrity: behaving with honesty and remaining true to a code of conduct that harms no one, even when peers behave otherwise.

Use the connection between traits and time as a discussion tool with your students. The theme: Life is a journey, not a destination. Pack wisely! (01/16/12 blog.)

Open your character trait discussion by introducing the theme and use this same theme as the header on your character trait bulletin board. (Below are four new character trait poems I’ve written for you to post inside suitcase shaped cut-outs on the board.)

Students do research for writing about people noted for good character.

As I suggested in my 01/16/12 blog, you can invite students to do some research for writing a poem about famous individuals worldwide that are remembered in some way for their strong character.

Another option is to challenge kids to write about someone they know personally who demonstrates perseverance, kindness, courage or integrity.

You may even copy students’ finished writing on standard copy paper with a decorative border and compile the poems in personal bulletin board kits,

Pack easy-to-copy Poetry with Character Kits for kids to take home.

like the one in my blog pic below, that students can use at home.

Picture this: up on a bedroom wall next to a poster of a favorite sports star hang good character trait poems on star-bordered paper!

You can even invite parents to a Good Character Poem Presentation in your classroom to conclude this study “unit.”  Hand out the modest but powerful bulletin board kits at the conclusion of your presentation. It’s a no-brainer that parents are children’s first and foremost models of behavior.

The featured character traits of perseverance, kindness, courage and integrity lend themselves to a discussion related to paying attention to (and on the part of) children with special needs. This opens up opportunities to discuss how showing good character traits helps prevent bullying in school. The time it takes to demonstrate good character also connects with teaching students with attention-deficit disorders.

The best attention-ology tools are fun and multi-functional! Poems top my list.  Short poems tap into writing skills, creative and critical thinking. You can choose the focus of the poems to reach specific educational goals.

This blog focuses on poetry to help kids master the meaning of desirable character traits, and hopefully take ownership of those traits.

Perseverance

Every time a team player jumps back in the game

after the referee calls interference,

he or she is trying to score again,

he or she is showing perseverance.

Kindness

If we are shown kindness

in our early years, 

we will likely be kind to others,

including our peers.

Courage

When we see someone we trust

act with courage in the face of fear

we learn that

courage can overcome fear.

Integrity

It is best to be honest

in what we say and do.

That’s integrity at work.

Don’t be false; be true.

No question, teachers that model desirable character traits help kids “pack” good character for their journey into adulthood. We know that good character develops by spending time with people who show it. Think of the hours of impact teachers control. Creating a simple but attention-getting Poetry with Character Bulletin Board is time well-spent!

You may even want to involve other grade level teachers and/or your school’s

Kindness is in a teacher’s helping hand.

Media Specialist in the project.

Projecting character trait poems with a document camera, like Renee Bailey’s doing in my blog pic here, is an effective attention-ology trick. Get kids’ eyes on big ideas with a big screen.

Look at the warm smile on Renee’s face. The face, and the voice, and the actions of a teacher that shows good character all make a powerful impression on kids.

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

Talk with you next Monday – Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers.

Look for Mid-Week Focus on Wednesday.

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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