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Character Education: An Introduction. How Children Succeed. Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character Why do some children succeed while others fail?

In How Children Succeed Paul Tough uses a wide variety of research and case studies to explore the way children develop, the ways children’s backgrounds affect their abilities to cope and excel, and the ways in which school programs contribute to students’ successes and failures. Ultimately, the picture Tough paints is a hopeful one – one in which even children from the most difficult backgrounds can still reach their highest potential, and one in which teachers can truly make a difference for a child in spite of that child’s unique circumstances. Studying students in an extreme variety of communities, households, and age brackets, Tough provides well-rounded insight into why some students seem to succeed in spite of every difficulty while others seem to struggle or fail for no obvious reason at all. “Tough makes the convincing case that it’s not test scores or even raw intelligence that predict who will triumph: It’s grit, curiosity, and persistence, all life skills that can be taught. An eye-opener.” --People Magazine (Top 10 Books of 2012) – kandace_stephenson

The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs.

How Children Succeed

But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. Multiplication Is for White People - Rethinking Schools Online. Become a subscriber or online account holder to read this article and hundreds more.

While Lisa Delpit’s “Multiplication is for White People” is not, as a whole, a text about character education or development, the author emphasizes repeatedly the importance of recognizing that the needs of students in varying communities, academic or otherwise, are widely varying as well. For instance, the necessity for teachers to realize that students in urban communities need a different teaching style and set of expectations than those in more affluent communities is not only a key to better teaching, it is essential to effective teaching altogether. The discussions in Chapter 4 (Warm Demanders: The Importance of Teachers in the Lives of Children of Poverty) and Chapter 7 (Picking up the Broom: Demanding Critical Thinking) are of particular interest to educators exploring the concept character development in low income communities. – kandace_stephenson

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Multiplication Is for White People - Rethinking Schools Online

Already a subscriber or account holder? Log in here. “Multiplication Is for White People” How to Deal with Bullying: Becoming a Better Bystander by Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones. Opening Minds. "Introducing a spelling test to a student by saying, 'Let's see how many words you know,' is different from saying, 'Let's see how many words you know already.' It is only one word, but the already suggests that any words the child knows are ahead of expectation and, most important, that there is nothing permanent about what is known and not known.

Peter H. Johnston, famous for his book “Choice Words,” delves deeper into the concept that what teachers say (or perhaps, do not say) can greatly affect children. Johnston asserts that the language teachers use with students not only impacts children’s academic outcomes, but their emotional and social development as well. This brief text uses research to go beyond a discussion of how language can affect children’s self-value and emotional development to include concrete suggestions of ways in which actively changing the use of language in the classroom can positively affect the social, emotional, and moral development of children. – kandace_stephenson

"— Peter Johnston Sometimes a single word changes everything.

Opening Minds

In his groundbreaking book Choice Words, Peter Johnston demonstrated how the things teachers say (and don't say) have surprising consequences for the literate lives of students. Learned Optimism.pdf.

“Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” is a book by Martin Seligman, the so-called “father of positive thinking.” This link leads to an ebook copy of the text. Martin Seligman and his theories on the power of optimism played a large role in the development of the character education programs enacted in both the KIPP schools and Riverdale Community School, both featured in Paul Tough’s “How Children Succeed.” Lesson plans related to Seligman’s theories can be found in the lesson plans section of this Pearltrees collection. – kandace_stephenson

The Whole Brain Child - 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind -

This book approaches child development from a scientific standpoint, using what scientists know about how the brain matures to evaluate ways in which teachers and parents can foster healthy brain development, which ultimately leads to happier and more emotionally balanced children. The Washington Post said the following about this book: “Strategies for getting a youngster to chill out [with] compassion.” This book provides enlightening strategies for helping students to cope with adversity in healthy and effective ways. – kandace_stephenson


This book, made available in ebook format for free by the author, provides an interesting look into various assumptions made about teenagers in our current cultural climate. Danah Boyd discusses the prevalent idea that teenagers live “virtually,” the ways in which many teenagers feel that technology allows them to lead separate lives on and offline, as well as the extent to which technology is not truly as socially divisive as older generations are often inclined to believe. The entire text does not provide insight into character development or the role of character education in the lives of adolescents, several chapters involve teenagers’ inability to reconcile their online personas with their everyday social lives, and some chapters target the growing trend of cyberbullying. These chapters, supported by research and several case studies, are relevant to teachers that work with adolescents and allow a greater understanding of the ways in which character education must change with this age group in order to incorporate norms for virtual socialization as well as organic, face to face interactions. – kandace_stephenson

The Science of Character (a new 8 min "Cloud Film")

The Science of Character is an 8-minute short film by Tiffany Shlain of The letitripple team has recently been involved in something called “Cloud Filmmaking,” a project in which many people from all over the world make films collaboratively. The team then offers free customized versions of the films to schools and nonprofit organizations to help further their missions and research. More about the letitripple project can be found at – kandace_stephenson

Kid President's 20 Things We Should Say More Often.

A fun video in which Kid President, delightful youtube motivator, reminds us of 20 things we should say more often that contribute to the exhibition of positive character traits. Great for use in the classroom with students, with teachers for professional development, or just as a quick positive reminder after a long day. – kandace_stephenson

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? Photo Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster.

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Widening the Lens to Teach Character Education Alongside Standards Curriculum.pdf.

WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL- Character Education for America's Future.pdf. Don't "Dumb Down" Character Education.pdf. Character Education-A Joint Responsibility.pdf.

This article explores the concept that parents are students’ first and most important teachers. The article provides many teaching strategies for teachers and tips for school-wide character education endeavors. Finally, the article discusses helpful ideas for getting families involved, which the author believes makes character education most effective. Many of the ideas in this article are presented in a list format, making this a concise tool for teachers and administrators. – kandace_stephenson

A Missing Piece of the Contemporary Character Education Puzzle- The Individualisation of Moral Character.pdf. Character Education Seen as Student.docx. Implementing an Authentic Character Education Curriculum.pdf. Digital Citizenship Means Character Education for the Digital Age.pdf. IT'S UNANIMOUS- Effective Character Education Is Not Quick or Superficial, And it Begins With Caring Relationships.pdf. Character Education- Better Students Better People.pdf. Countering the Vices- On the Neglected Side of Character Education.pdf.

College Access Student Success and the New Character Education.pdf. WHAT DO YOU HOPE KIDS ARE DOING 20 YEARS AFTER GRADUATION? Observations on Goals, Purpose, and the Journal of Character Education's Inaugural Issue.pdf. Towards a new era of character education in theory and in practice.pdf. TEACHING TO STRENGTHS Character Education for Urban Middle School Students.pdf.

Especially valuable for teachers and administrators working with middle or high school students, this article explores the concept that most educational efforts aim to remediate based upon weaknesses rather than identify and build upon strengths. A study of 70 urban middle school students assigned to either an intervention group (in which students identified and built upon character strengths) or a comparison group (in which this identification did not occur) sheds light upon the value of building upon students’ natural-born character traits rather than aiming to cultivate those that are not exhibited naturally. Practical implications for implementation in schools are discussed as well. – kandace_stephenson

Using “Exceptional” Children’s Literature to Promote Character Education in Elementary Social Studies Classrooms.pdf. 20112001. Best Children's Books for Character Education. Great character education books (books about values) are a great way to teach kids many important values, like honesty, compassion, gratitude, and more.

Best Children's Books for Character Education

As teachers and parents will attest, lectures are much less effective than powerful stories and examples that show the merits and consequences of the value or trait. Each of these character education books can help launch a meaningful discussion with kids! We think these books work best as subtle discussion starters (rather than direct 'lecturing' on these values). To make the value system stick, kids need to come to the conclusion themselves! So be sure to follow-up a read-aloud with some open ended questions. To find a book on a given character education or values topic, simply click on the category in the list below. All Lesson Plans. Exploring Our Cultural Customs Students will inform classmates about their cultural customs and family traditions through research and formal presentations., a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., is the leading resource for organizations and schools incorporating character education into their teaching efforts. Rather than being organized by character traits, the framework is based on 11 principles of character education, which are: The school community promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation of good character. The school defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing. The school uses a comprehensive, intentional, and proactive approach to character development. The school creates a caring community. The school provides students with opportunities for moral action. The school offers a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed. The school fosters students’ self-motivation. The school staff is an ethical learning community that shares responsibility for character education and adheres to the same core values that guide the students. The school fosters shared leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative. The school engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort. The school regularly assesses its culture and climate, the functioning of its staff as character educators, and the extent to which its students manifest good character. provides lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students, with associated evidence based assessment tools for both students and teachers. – kandace_stephenson

Grade Level: Grade 5 The Hundred Dresses Students will be able to analyze the words and actions of fictional characters in order to determine if the individual (s) showed good character.

All Lesson Plans

Grade Level: 3-5 Ethical Entrepreneurs. Helping millions of young people develop life skills and character.

A character education program based upon the "Six Pillars of Character": trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. This website includes free ideas for teachers and administrators that include schoolwide activities, classroom activities, and activities to improve school climate altogether. – kandace_stephenson

Random Acts of Kindness. Children’s books that build character. Teaching Guides for Character Education - Learning for Life - Exploring Core Values. Character First Education. CharacterEd.Net - Home.

A character education resource organized by the following eleven character traits: responsibility, caring, perseverance, self-discipline, citizenship, honesty, courage, fairness, respect, integrity, and patriotism. Defining character education as "the deliberate effort to develop virtues that are good for the self and good for society," this organization is an affiliate of The National Center for Youth Issues based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The lessons available through CharacterEd.Net are generally around 15 minutes in length, intended to be easily incorporated into the classroom curriculum. An especially interest aspect of the lessons provided through this organization is the inclusion of a "soundtrack" or song for most lessons to accommodate young students or students who experience difficulty reading. – kandace_stephenson

Scholastic. Happiness is understandable, obtainable, and teachable. Socrates on Happiness Subject: Philosophy, History, Western Civilization This lesson asks participants to approach the subject of happiness using the Socratic Method.

Happiness is understandable, obtainable, and teachable

Character Ed. - Improve Student Performance - Teachers - International_children_s_trade.PDF.