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Building Positive Behavior Traits

Found In: back to school, building trust & community, character, crafts & cooking

Near the beginning of the school year, I introduce the concepts of trust, community and character. I explain that starting a new year is like building a house:

  • the “foundation” is the student;
  • the “frame” is our relationships with each other and others in our school community; and,
  • the “interior” is the classroom, the furniture, equipment & supplies, etc.

I reinforce these concepts with an activity, and after reading another teacher’s take on this idea (Constructing a New School Year), I think I’ll start wearing a hardhat! For the foundation I have the students make a concrete building block (grey construction paper shaped like a block with drawn in “holes”) with their name in one hole and an acrostic poem of their name in the other hole. They are instructed to use the letters of their name to write positive character traits. For example, John: Jumps at the chance to help others, Only works quietly, Honest, Nice to others. You get the picture.

I use these to help students get to know each other and to “build” a foundation wall on a bulletin board that I use throughout the year to discuss positive character traits during morning meetings. This helps children to internalize their behaviors, understand how their behaviors affect others, and how to be responsible for changing their own behaviors.


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