Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Values Series- #1 (HARD WORK)

Character Education...
These can be dangerous words in today's educational realm. Questions arise about "whose values" and "where does the school responsibility stop" are often brought up.

These are tough questions, and I don't pretend to know the answers. Instead of avoiding it however, I am being proactive in my classroom. I have found that using the quotes, posters, and the mini-billboards from www.values.com has made my approach much more enjoyable and a lot less worrisome. Why? Because I have not had a SINGLE PARENT complain that I am using posters that they see posted everywhere they go. Yes, it's true. I have had to make up and design all the activities that support the posters that I use, but it has been worth it and I plan to use and refine them each year.

With this in mind, I wanted to begin a short series of posts that will discuss the "values" that I have selected, explain why, and share the activity that goes with it.

The first one I want to share is Hard Work.

I use this poster in November. (Aug/Sept. poster ideas coming soon!). Remember, though, the order of the posters is entirely up to you.

Value: Hard Work

Why I Chose It:
I think this is pretty obvious. I have found that more and more of my students think of "hard work" as something that makes you sweat- you know- being out in the hot sun digging, or working in construction, something that they don't feel they can connect too. I have to remind them over and over that hard work doesn't just mean physical labor. It can mean "intellectual sweating" as well.

How I Use It:
-Because of copyright laws, I will not link you to the pages that I created using the Values.com materials. Rather, I will link you to the correct page of the values site, and then explain how I use each piece of the FREE materials they offer as well as the one(s) I have had to create/develop on my own.


  • You will need to print this: Hard Work Billboard Back Story. I print this on heavy cardstock and have the students cut around it and glue it into their "think pad" journal. (I use a think pad journal for  non-subject writing, notes, thoughts, etc. Each month the students glue the next value activity into their Think Pad Journal. What do I use for these you ask? The 50 cent hard cover composition books from the cheap store that starts with a "W"). 
  • You will also need to print this page: Hard Work Student Response Sheet. These are the sheets that I made up to go with the lesson. The students complete them and then they are hung around the large (or small if you don't have the large) poster and left up for the month.
  • If possible, you will need the large "Hard Work" poster that is sent out by the Values.com site. You cannot request it, nor buy it. You can only request a set of free posters and HOPE you get it! Go HERE to request a set of posters. Don't think they forgot you when your posters still haven't come and it has been 8 weeks. It took many, many, many weeks (really, it does) to get my posters. If you don't have/want to deal with requesting, then you can simply print this poster: Hard Work and hang it in the middle of your bulletin board. 
  • Before I start my lesson, I have the poster hanging on my bulletin board. I cover the trait on the poster with paper until AFTER our lesson. The kids like seeing the picture and trying to guess what the value is.
Teaching the Lesson:
-I try to get these value lessons in on the first day of each month. This allows me the opportunity to point out examples, share stories, and acknowledge students that are showing the current value of focus.

-I start by having the students turn in their Think Pads to the next clean page. I then have them write "HARD WORK" in all capitals across the top of the page.

-Next, the students write their own personal definition of what hard work is, or what they think it is. I usually give them 2-3 minutes to think and write it out.

-Partner share is next. The students turn to their partner and take turns sharing what they wrote. I then ask for a few volunteers to share with the class.

-I hold a class discussion around what is shared, focusing on the key parts of hard work that are brought out. You will find many students share examples rather than a "true" definition. I ALWAYS accept these because it shows me how the student is connecting to the idea.

-Next, I hand out the card stock copy of the back story. I start the reading and then use this for a shared reading opportunity. Sometimes I have it on the SMART board, sometimes I just read from my own copy. Which ever works best for you. But I like to mix it up.

-After we have discussed Whoopie Goldberg and how hard work was required to overcome her challenges, I have the students glue the billboard and back story page in their Think Pads.

-Next, I hand out the Student Response Sheets. I have to remind them they need to write in dark thick lines so others can read what they write. My son (who was in my class last year) did this one. Crazy kid...
Did everyone write earthshaking wisdom? Ummm... not so much. However, a few really started grasping what it was I was hoping to get across. Make sure they write their name (and number, etc.) on the "Brought to You By" line.

-After all the students finish, I collect their sheets and create this:

It made an awesome billboard display, one that the students enjoyed looking at all month long. At the end of the month, when I took it down, I kept their assignments sheets to give back at the end of the school year. They loved seeing and remembering what we had covered and what they wrote during that last week.

I hope this has helped get you inspired to try it out. If you need help or have questions- please ask! You can leave a comment here, a question on my TpT Store by clicking HERE, or on the Created By MrHughes Facebook page by clicking HERE. I will do my best to help you out.

If you do choose to use my student activity sheets, please let me know that you took them. I love to know who is out there reading my blog! Thanks!



  1. I love this idea...
    (But then you already know that...lol)
    Thanks for sharing it with the rest of the world... :-)

  2. This is lovely! Thank you for sharing!

  3. This is awesome!! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. mybellie and Candy-
    Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate your stopping by. I hope you will come again soon.


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