This post is part of our Walk This Way series, designed to share The Walking Classroom experiences of teachers and students across the United States. This post provides a glimpse into Kari Lawson’s class.
Click here to read all of Kari’s articles.
Whether taught formally or informally, character education is such an important part of classroom life. I place as much emphasis on guiding my students to be good citizens as I do teaching my academic curriculum.
Connecting Character Values
While many students have positive examples of good character traits outside of school, many others do not. I feel that I have a responsibility to my students to provide them with plenty of opportunities to learn from our mistakes and to be positive and uplifting with one another.
Throughout the year, we spend a lot of time talking about the traits of characters in class novels and the people we study in history. We discuss their hardships, learning situations, and triumphs. In this way, we make connections to other people we have studied and connect to situations in our personal lives, too.
Discussions Lead to Great Dialogues
While not the central focus of The Walking Classroom’s podcasts, the character traits are integrated seamlessly into the content. Our after-walk discussions often lead to great dialogues about those character traits.
Sometimes, I make sure to guide the discussion to the particular trait to reinforce those positive ideas with students. Other times, the discussion leads that direction naturally. Either way, I love the way students get excited when they compare people from history and connect their challenges to other historical figures or to themselves!
Supporting Our School’s Focus
Our school focuses on monthly character traits. We recognize a student from each classroom every month that exhibits that particular trait (responsibility, citizenship, caring, honesty, courage, etc.). The character traits in the podcasts fit seamlessly into discussions about those positive character traits!
While I don’t typically plan a special lesson around a specific character trait for the podcast, my students and I definitely make connections to prior learning after we’ve completed our walk. Hearing about the struggles and successes in the biographical podcasts really helps students to appreciate the powerful character traits they had to succeed and inspires them to strive to work hard themselves.
Fourth Grade Teacher
Follow Mrs. Lawson and her fourth grade students as they walk, listen, and learn through the school year. Look for her posts the second Friday of every month!
And, be sure to check out how the program is being implemented by three other teachers on subsequent Fridays!