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 values.com 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.