Character education reinforces what parents do at home and creates a learning environment that allows teachers to teach and students to learn. Due to No Child Left Behind, standardized testing is essential. Kids who are prepared for school are prepared to learn.
Below are tips on how to integrate character into key areas of the curriculum. All the lessons in our lesson plan bank are aligned with standards from the McREL Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education so you can meet standards, too. If you need more help, consider one of our in-service trainings where our faculty will give you qualified help customized to your needs at your own school. They will work with your staff to mine your curriculum for character-education applications. For details on how to book a customized training call us at 800-711-2670.
English Language and Literature
Literature and literacy classes lend themselves easily to character education. Consider how the characters in classic novels relate (or not) to the values of the Six Pillars of Character. What themes in novels address ethics? What decisions do characters make that are good and bad ones? Use books to illustrate qualities of ethical decisions and age- and developmentally-appropriate reflection and writing prompts to improve literacy skills. Hold class discussions on how characters demonstrate good character. Almost every activity you would normally use to teach language and literacy can be adapted with minimum effort to address character concepts.
Number Skills and Science
Climate-assessment surveys can be interpreted in math classes by having students design questionnaires to collect data on behaviors they would like to see more of and less of in school. Analyze the data and present the findings in a number of formats to integrate character education and math. What are the ethics of research? What research is ethical? These questions can be part of higher level science classes. For younger ages, the vocabulary of fairness, trustworthiness, and responsibility can be applied to both math and science by talking about whole numbers and reliable results. Many teachers use service-learning projects to enhance math and science skills. Service-learning can involve gathering data about the community, calculating the number of services required or provided, and graphing results.
History and Geography
You can use history to teach lessons on the Six Pillar value of citizenship. Looking at historical dates and preceding events provides strong lessons in decision-making and encourages students to reflect on the consequences of historical decisions through the lens of hindsight. In civics education, students can analyze the meaning of the Six Pillars of Character. Geography can be used to demonstrate fairness through examining natural-resource distribution or our roles as global citizens.
Integrating character into the curriculum is not hard and needn’t take much time. Here are some products to help your curricular integration go smoothly: