Sunday, April 14, 2013

Building Character in Elementary School

Character Building in Elementary School

photo of: Buckets and Character Development RoundUP at RAinbowsWithinReach

Welcome to my little corner under the rainbow. 

Today I've gathered up some delightful photo-vignettes to share on the topic of character development. These first images are from my school visit in Friendswood, TX. I make author-illustrator presentations around the country. This day came to fruition due to my blogging friendship with +Barbara Gruener, author of "The Corner on Character."  

Barbara is the school guidance counselor and sets the bar pretty high -- when it comes to incredible insight and excellence. You can literally see her 'fingerprints' throughout the building. What a difference-maker! I know I can appreciate excellence-in-education when I see it. I know that you are inspired as well! 

photo of: Bulletin Board for Character Development via RainbowsWithinReach
There are so many pressing 'needs' in the elementary years. There is now the ever increasing pressure from all corners to be able to 'test' and quantify what is being learned. I think the very best 'skill-set' that we can help children develop early, are those that fall under the rather broad category of character education and emotional development.  

photo of: Character Traits from "Character Counts" via RainbowsWithinReach

What a delight to spend time in a building where 'character' is the foundation of everyone's focus. I know that you'll enjoy seeing these bulletin boards and other displays that help direct students toward a life of emotional stability.

photo of: Character Traits from "Character Counts" via RainbowsWithinReach

This series of posters immediately above was framed and on display on the walls of their cafeteria. I did a quick search and found them available here at the website of "Character Counts!"  They had the 'extra-large' set -- which seriously made my heart SING! The artwork is so bright, clever and inviting, the message so significant. 

Let's take a look around the building and see some of their 'original' work. 

photo of: Diversity Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach

Here's a close-up of a few of the student's self-portraits and their bio poem writings that are attached. As an old elementary Art teacher, I LUV to see when children are allowed to express themselves creatively. The combination of the drawings and the poems? PRICELESS!

I was there at the end of January and this incredible bulletin board honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was on display. What a great way to learn of his legacy.

photo of: Bulletin Board for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: School Expectations Check List

Now, for some of the 'bucket filling' ideas that make kindness a quantifiable skill, one that can be recognized and measured. You're going to be inspired by these ways to make this concept meaningful. 

photo of: Bucket Filling Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach
"Buckets of Bug Hugs" 

As I was running around the building, capturing these images to share with you here, I found this next little gem. Unfortunately I didn't have time to look inside the notebook. You'll have to use your imagination. What I gather is that there is a 'ticket-system' and this is the catalog for redeeming the accumulating total. Cool beans! 

photo of: Bucket Filling Tickets and Catalog via RainbowsWithinReach

Down the hall I saw these individually decorated buckets in another room. They were hanging inside the classroom on their bulletin board. You're going to LUV the "I Can" caption on the student work. 

photo of: Decorated Bucket-Filling Projects via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: "I Can.... Be a Bucket Filler" Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach
"I Can Be a Bucket Filler" 

I shared this bulletin board in a recent bulletin board wrangle. Certainly bears repeating here in context.

photo of: "Character is our Super Power" Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: "Have you Filled a Bucket Today?" Buckets in shoe organizer! Classroom decor and organization at RainbowsWithinReach

Here's a picture of the two of us..... with over-lapping "dreams" in sign language! 
Barbara, in cast after having been hit head-on by a drunk driver while making her way home from school in the middle of the afternoon. 
Her recovery was miraculously underway sufficiently so that she could make her first appearance back to school for a few minutes to welcome me. 

Barbara Gruener + Debbie Clement Leading "You're Wonderful" in Sign Language
Before we leave this building, let me share one more 'bulletin board caption' idea that's just too clever not to include here. Just because! 

photo of: "Who's just flew into 2nd grade" bulletin board via RainbowsWithinReach

I had an earlier 'kindness' RoundUP here with gazoodles of ideas: including early writing, kindness counters and a kindness wreath, that grows as kindness is observed. It's well worth the trip back in time.

photo of: Kindness Inspiration, Filling Buckets + Emotional Intelligence RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach
Kindness RoundUP
I'm going to transport a few of my favorite bucket-filling images to this article to help make your life a little easier and keep them all together in one place. Here's an incredible system from a classroom I visited in Southern Door County, WI. School was just getting underway at the time, but the buckets were hanging in readiness.

photo of: Bucket Filling Station in First Grade via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Teacher's Lounge Door Decoration for Teacher Appreciation Week
Decorated Door of the Teacher's Lounge for Teacher Appreciation Week 

photo of: Bulletin Board for Being a Bucket Filler
Bucket Filler Bulletin Board in Ohio Elementary

photo of: Children's Art for Bucket Filling Project
Tampa Kindergarten Buckets on the Classroom Door 

photo of: Bucket Filling in Kindergarten: Positive Behavior (Kindness RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach)
Kindergarten Kindness Bucket System in FL 
Here's another incredible system that I saw in Littleton, CO. 

photo of: Bucket Filling Emotional Intelligence via RainbowsWithinReach

This "Kindness Pledge" was on display in a FL Kindergarten classroom that I visited last month in West Palm Beach and it fits right here with all the rest of this character development. 

photo of: "The Kindness Pledge" Anchor Chart in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

FULL DISCLOSURE: My latest adventure is to bring my blog into a 'monetized' state. I am now an Amazon affiliate. When you click there from here, your purchases add a smidge to my 'retirement account' and I am oh-so-grateful. So I will be doing some window shopping on your behalf and finding you some applicable resources for my articles moving forward. 

Here's to all of us working hard, while the window of opportunity is open, to help contribute to laying a foundation for emotional intelligence and character development. I hope these ideas inspire you to go a little deeper in this direction. 
"It takes a village." 

As always I'm grateful to you for your pins and other favorite network share! Thank YOU!!

-- Debbie -- 

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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