How stories can transform a classroom. When students conduct StoryCorps interviews, teachers say it can “reorganize the ions of a class.” Photo: David Andrako, courtesy of StoryCorps Caitlyn, a quiet seventh grader, was bullied by the other kids in her class at Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, California. She wore the same cowboy boots every day. “The other kids were awful about it,” said English teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki, remembering this student who has stayed lodged in her memory for 10 years now. “Even the best kids can be horrible sometimes. It’s a jungle in middle school.” The law of the jungle, however, can change. When Caitlyn was in her class a decade ago, Mieliwocki introduced StoryCorps to her students.
Caitlyn had interviewed her mom. “None of us knew any of this about her,” said Mieliwocki. The teasing stopped. “Telling our stories brought all of our lived realities into the classroom,” said Mieliwocki. StoryCorpsU launched in 2009 to echo that emotional transformation. Introducing Academic Integrity (Grades 6-8) Introducing Academic Integrity Berlin Community School Overview This lesson helps students understand what academic integrity is and why it is important. Students work together to develop a definition and then they create examples of academic integrity in action resulting in a wall display. Lesson Objectives Students will be able to define academic integrity and develop a rationale for its importance.Students will be able to develop examples of academic integrity in action Materials Needed Academic Integrity Quotes handoutSmartBoard slides or paper copiesIntegrity Neutralizers handout and Dinner Dilemma handout (from Creating a Culture of Academic Integrity: A Toolkit for Secondary Schools by Wangaard and StephensConstruction paper and markers Procedures Guiding Question: Why is academic integrity important?
Assessment Assessments include class discussions, written definitions of academic integrity, and written student examples of academic integrity for wall display. Character(s) in History - A Biographical Investigation (Grades 6-8) Character(s) in History – A Biographical Investigation Brentwood Middle School Overview This lesson enhances a common lesson about biographies and autobiographies by infusing it with connections to character education through the key elements of a newspaper. Students will select a famous historical figure (Ben Franklin, George Washington, etc.) or more modern-day figure (Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr.) and research the lives of those individuals.
Students will view teacher-selected samples of both biographical and autobiographical writing, and will identify the traits that accompany each type of writing. Lesson Objectives Materials Needed Teacher-selected biographical and autobiographical works. Procedures Teacher should present the class with an excerpt from a biography. Assessment Each segment of the assignment can be graded individually. Words Hurt! (Grades 6-8) Words Hurt! Brentwood Middle School Overview We noticed an increase in students with hurt feelings because of other students’ comments. Many comments were meant to be “funny,” not necessarily with the intent of hurting someone else.
Students and staff felt that we needed to explore this, to learn how the words we say can negatively impact others. We learned that many of our middle school students were saying hurtful things and they just didn’t know that what they were saying could be hurtful to others who were different than themselves. Lesson Objectives Students will see different people's points of view about hurtful words.
Materials Needed Words Hurt Survey Copies Index cards Folders containing: •Pencil for each student in group •Evaluation survey for each student in each group •1 piece of loose-leaf paper •Index card with hurtful words for each student in group •Direction sheet for group leaders Procedures Break students into groups of 5-7 people. Assessment. Homeless Shelter Project (Grades 6-8) “Honesty is the Best Policy” – George Washington (Grades 6-8) Waves of Life (Grades 6-8) The Giggling Gauntlet (Grades 6-8)
Portraits of Resilience (Grades 6-8) Me and We: A Mix It Up Activity (Grades 6-8) Growing in Character (Grades 6-8) Growing In Character Valley Park Middle School Overview Once a week for thirteen weeks students are handed a copy of ‘Seedfolks’ at the beginning of advisory, homeroom, or another class. Students and teacher read a new chapter about another character who enters the garden and in their own very special way makes it a better place. Thirteen different people from all different walks of life enter the urban garden and share something very special as the summer brings growth and prosperity to the garden.
Lesson Objectives Students and staff will develop an understanding about how people from different cultures can come together to not only exist, but to work together to create something beautiful. Materials Needed Classroom sets of Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman or at least one book per class (depending on the school character education or reading budget). Procedures Set aside 20 minutes one day and 20 minutes the next day each week for 13 weeks. Assessment Extensions and Adaptations Credit. Columbus: Hero or Villain? (Grades 6-8) Columbus: Hero or Villain? Francis Howell Middle School Overview In this lesson, students analyze a variety of sources in order to determine for themselves whether or not Columbus should be considered a hero or a villain. Lesson Objectives Students will:identify facts about Christopher Columbus as well as his opinions and observations of the native peoples he encounteredanalyze information from various sources to determine whether or not Christopher Columbus was a hero or a villain.
Materials Needed Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Procedures Have students create T-charts in their notes titled “Columbus: Hero or Villain?” Assessment Collect student handouts and essays and assess. Credit Angela Canul and Bryan Richards, teachers at Francis Howell Middle School, a 2008 National School of Character, wrote this lesson.
Circles of Strength: What Do You Stand For? (Grades 6-8) Cancer Banner Art Installation (Grades 6-8) Around Your School - Bonding Students to Staff (Grades 6-8) Around Your School—Bonding Students to Staff Ridgewood Middle School Overview Unfortunately in our society not every job holds the same prestige and as a result some occupations do not receive as much respect as they deserve.
This lesson enables students to see that in every job done well there is honor. Lesson Objectives Students will be able to:work cooperatively in a group to generate a list of interesting and appropriate questionsconduct a personal intervieworganize information using an appropriate graphic organizerwrite an interesting essay using standard Englishcreate an appropriate visual aidpresent information to the class Materials Needed PaperPencilPoster Board or Roll Paper for posterMarkersOptional: digital camera with access to printer to take photo of the employee for the poster Procedures Prior to Day 1, ask and secure staff members who are willing to participate, so that they are prepared to be interviewed by the students.
Day 1 Assessment. Advocacy, Recognition and Prevention through Art and Health (Grades 6-8) This lesson is designed to coincide with an Art project using installation art. Students learn about cancer in health class, survey the school community to find out about the impact of cancer, and then educate their peers about what they have learned. Students work with art students to create an art installation. Advocacy is an important goal of health education. By working with students from art on the installation, students are able to help others recognize the amount of people that are affected by cancer.
By doing so, students may be able to voice concerns with family and or help others think about their risk and ways to reduce their risks. Acceptance (Grade 7) To accept anyone or anything, a person must first accept himself or herself. Sometimes people have a hard time recognizing the good in themselves; therefore, they are uncomfortable and do not know how to react to compliments. A compliment is a positive statement given to someone. When someone gives you a compliment, you should accept it by saying, “Thank you.” Students will learn what it means to accept others and themselves. Students will learn the importance of accepting people with different interests and personalities.
Students will learn about accepting change. Students will learn why it's important to accept and obey rules, regulations, and laws. None. Tell students: acceptance means respecting the differences among people. LESSON 1 Review the definition of acceptance.Read: Today, we will be doing a group activity. LESSON 2 Review the definition of acceptance. LESSON 3 Review the definition of acceptance.Read: We as citizens usually have to accept the laws of our country and state.