Entry 21 – Developing Those Characters

Howdy all 🙂 Here’s this week’s prompt:

How do you work on character development through your content & class?

I remember in 5th grade, I actually spent a couple of days going through Kohlberg’s levels of moral development.  Below is a general outline:

I think it sunk in with some students.  It was kind of ironic though, I’d try to move them towards a higher level by appealing to their stage 3 thinking.  I think just having the understanding that there are different reasons they may or may not do something and having the vocabulary to describe it was really meaningful, even if they found themselves staying in the earlier stages of the development.  I haven’t taught this to middle schoolers but thinking about it now, I kind of want to include it as part of my advisory curriculum.  I found the Prezi I made years ago for my 5th graders.  I can be found HERE.

I was reading another teacher’s reflection on this prompt and I like how she discussed how her attitude and behavior towards students is the biggest way she teaches character.  I liked that.  I set the precedent for the class on what’s acceptable to say or do by how I behave and react to certain situations.  For example, I know if a student is confused about something and I show any sign of frustration towards them, I’m telling other students “it’s OK to show you’re frustrated with someone when they don’t understand something that you do understand.”  If a student treats me in a disrespectful manner and I reciprocate, I’m saying to the other students “it’s OK to disrespect others if they are disrespecting you.”  During our advisory, we have a day where we go around and share how we’re doing.  We have a big discussion in the beginning of the year on ‘what does listening look and sound like’ and talk about how during those sharing days, we will really practice active listening.  I know I have to model this for the students every sharing day we have.

The last thing that comes to mind is the conversation I have with students whenever I hand back a test.  In my early years teaching, students typically responded to tests in a variety of ways.  Those who did very well would sometimes brag about their grades.  Students who did poorly would also sometimes brag about their grades (as a defense mechanism I’m assuming).  I began to have discussions with students on humility.  If they did well, it’s great to be glad about it and know that you understand the material, but perhaps keep it to yourself until you’re with a smaller group of your friends or family.  Additionally, if students did poorly, the goal wasn’t to be indifferent, nor was it to feel ashamed of themselves.  They should take that feedback to see where there may be areas that need some more work; see the assignments truly as an assessment of what they do and do not know.  I also don’t write grades on my assessments anymore.


This is probably the latest reflection I’ve written this year (it’s now Tuesday of the following week).  I’ve had a few more plates in the air than usual.  We are about to get started with Project Week this year and this year I’m developing documents that will help other teachers and students get a lot of the prep work done for their projects.  We also have two mathematics competitions in these next couple weeks and I’ve been inviting students and following up with them.  Finally, trying to figure out how to do this whole math exhibition thing we’ve got going on this year for the first time.  Preliminary steps are done and students have picked their topics but where do we really go from here?  I’M SO BUSY! WOE IS ME!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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