Sunday, May 13, 2012

Last Value Board Activity

Traits that help build a responsible and caring citizen.
I know that this is rocky area when it comes to public schools. Parents will begin to question "WHO'S VALUES"? Is it the Catholic's values? The Mormon's values? The atheist? The Jehovah's Witness? Scary that VALUES are being taught.

This line of thought reminds me of a situation my professor shared when I was in my last year of my teacher training. He shared that as a 5th grade teacher he had been teaching the kids about being honest and not stealing. He had a very upset parent come to his classroom and tell him to stop telling his child it was wrong to steal, that their family did it all the time, and it was not the school's place to tell his child that it was wrong.

WOW! I thought to myself, "How can a parent see things this way?"

For me, values are not attached to a religion, but to a belief that all people have the ability to do good. Values simply provide a generic framework for people to follow. I have truly appreciated the amazing posters and values traits that has provided for me to use. They have provided the poster and inspiring story, I have self-created activities and challenges to support those posters.

Over the past year, I have taken a values poster and focused on the highlighted trait. Traits like Rising Above, Compassion, Hard Work (scroll down), Living Your Dreams, and more.

This final month, our value of study is Vision. I choose this value because I truly believe that in order for my class to survive next year in high school (yes, high school. We don't have a jr. high or middle school. My students go to 7th grade in the local high school) they will need to really have Vision.

I have to admit that I felt truly inspired as I pondered an activity that would support this value poster. As I read about Erick Weihenmayer I knew that I wanted to inspire my students to conquer their "Mount Everest". So I designed an activity that required them to share their greatest challenge and then the plan they would use to overcome it.

I have included many examples from my students. I was a little let down that most wanted to put something related to sports or friends. I was truly hoping that my students would take the discussion that we shared previous to the activity and really strive for an academic goal. A precious few did, and they set some amazing goals for themselves. I even copied their papers this month so they could have they as a reminder of the goal they set.

As I go to the school tomorrow to prepare for the week, for family literacy night on Monday, and to "clean up" after the guest teacher I had on Friday, I will hang these student "Everest" papers for all students to read. I hope that by seeing that EVERYONE has a challenge they want desperately to overcome, they too will realize that it takes VISION to see the solution, and working together to achieve the end results.



  1. Another great blog, Mr. H.

    Very true when it comes to values and religion because, I believe, religion helps to reinforce our personal values and helps to keep us on the straight and narrow path to being a good, all around person.

  2. I agree with you that values are very important. And unfortunately, they have been relegated to the sidelines because of political views on religion. We never talk of honor or compassion in any real sense now a days. I think an argument could be made that these are as big a part of ethics as religion. But they have to be concretely defined and adhered to - and too often ethics is reduced to being nice to the students. I love your Mt Everest assignment. I wonder if you should have them reflect in a few weeks on their goals. And maybe have each of them write a pretend letter from their parents or another respected adult on their choice of goal. I always tell me students if they have a difficult decision to make they should make it with their family. I tell them to ask themselves how a respected older family member would advise them in the situation. This can help to realign priorities in the face of peer-pressure. Maybe you could use it for your assignment. (I will be using that assignment in my class. I love it.)

  3. I have a healthy respect for teachers. I cannot even imagine the difficulties you face on a daily basis. I want you to know that I appreciate your efforts. :)

  4. Thank you for all the wonderful feedback and thoughts.

    Nothy- LOVE that suggestion. I will have to see what I can do these last two weeks of school. I did copy their goals for them. I have the originals hanging on the class bulletin board with the full size poster for "Vision". Glad you like the activity.

    Love to Write- Thank you for your kind words. It is nice to feel appreciated. I look forward to reading more of your work!

    Diplo- Thanks. Nice to hear from you again. Hope all is well in your corner of the world!

  5. I still need to get all of these activities from you. I plan on doing this next year and if you've already done most of the work, it would make sense to cash in on your glory, you know?

    Besides, I can pay you in Dr. Pepper.

  6. Can't wait to see you use these again during our "grand experiment" next year.


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