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December 17
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November 02
Character Strong November - RESPECT

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This month we’re talking about the character trait of Respect. The dictionary defines it as the value of admiring another person for who they are and what they do. The definition we are using at school is:

Respect: seeing good in people and things (and treating them with care).

 

We are also talking about Respect in the context of using good manners, not using inappropriate or offensive language, being courteous to one another, resolving conflicts peacefully, and treating one another as we would want to be treated (and how they want to be treated!).

Conversation Starters

·         Talk with your child about what it means to be respectful, to be courteous and to use their manners, to solve conflict peacefully, and what it means to treat others the way they want to be treated.

·         The core value of Respect invites us to celebrate differences, offering us a beautiful opportunity to work with our children to break down stereotypes. Ask what they think of when they think about grandparents, for example. Expect answers like “they’re old, they’re slow, they’re forgetful, they’re nice, they’re understanding, they’re generous.” Let them share without judgement, to get all of their thoughts out. Then have a conversation about how these are stereotypes that may or may not be accurate for all grandparents and why thinking about people as individuals instead of in groups can be an exercise in Respect.

·         If Respect means making others see good in people and making people feel cared for, how do we already show Respect at home? How can we do a better job showing Respect as both kids and adults?

 

Questions You Could Ask

·         What do “good manners” look like in our family? How does using good manners show Respect?

·         How does it feel to be respected? How does it feel to be disrespected? Who are the most respectful people you know?

·         Is it easier or harder to Respect someone who is very different from us? Why?

·         What do I do that makes you feel respected? How else does that make you feel?

 

Books about Respect

·       Hey, Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose
To squish or not to squish? A child has a chance to squish an ant, but before doing so, the ant pleads its case.

·         A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Will Camilla Cream survive loving lima beans even though none of her friends eat them?

·         The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
Take a walk with Lena and her mom to see and discuss the different colors and shades in our skin tone.

·         Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
A touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.

·         Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
This book teaches that all humans are alike, even though we may look and think differently. Students will learn even though someone is different than you, they should still be treated with Respect.

 

Respect Activity for Home

Hang a ruler somewhere in the house or make one out of a piece of paper and call it the “Respect Ruler.” Talk with your child about what each end of the ruler means – on one end is “disrespectful” and on the other is “respectful.” Anytime your child makes a choice that is disrespectful or respectful towards themselves or others, walk them to the “Respect Ruler” and have them self-identify where they think that choice was on the scale and why. Anytime your answer is different than theirs, talk about why!​

May 30
Character Strong June- Creativity

This month we are talking about Creativity! Creativity is more than just making things or creating art – it is about exercising our imagination to help make the world better! This is how we are defining creativity: Using your imagination to create something or solve a problem. One of the best things about being a human being is our ability to imagine! We get this cool part of our brain that allows to not just think about survival, but also about sparkly space pigeons or colorful caterpillars or a cardboard box that is secretly a rocket ship. Kids regularly use their Creativity to entertain themselves (and us!) with all the wacky and wonderful ways they view the world. Let’s make sure they never lose that curiosity! It is that same imagination that makes a sandbox into the moon that can imagine the world’s problems as opportunities for new, bold, innovative solutions. This month, we will be talking about and practicing solving problems, working in teams, and dreaming up new perspectives! The only way we change the negativity in our world is to have the Courage and Creativity to think differently!

Things to talk about as a family

-        Sometimes, when we are being creative, we can get frustrated if things do not go as planned. What strategies can you use if you begin to feel frustrated? How can you help someone else if you notice them getting frustrated?

-        What do you think it means to think “outside of the box?” What’s something you’ve thought about that might be “outside the box?”

 

 

To Do Together

Read the book Not a Box written by Antoinette Portis that you can find at your local library or listen to on YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMCKXaFsmCA Then find a large cardboard box and unleash your inner child as you work together with your family to create something new! What can the box become? Perhaps it will be a spaceship, an ice cream shop, a fairy castle, or a race car. Using craft supplies, work together to use Creativity to turn the box into a new creation.

For Your Reading: Read these articles for parents

10 Secrets to Raising Creative Kids by Jennifer King Lindley
How To Encourage Creativity In Our Children via The Parenting Junkie Blog

 

May 04
Character Strong May- Cooperation

This month we are talking about Cooperation! Cooperation is about making sure we know how to be on a team or work in a group towards a common goal. Here is the definition we are using for cooperation: Working together and helping others. We want young people to know how to work hard on their own. But, just as important, we want them to know what it looks like to be a part of a really supportive, helpful, empowering team. We will be thinking about the skills needed to work together well and how each of us contributes to a group in big and small ways. We will think about our strengths and our areas of growth. We will take part in fun challenges to put our teamwork to the test and grow, together, toward the common goal of a more helpful, kind, cooperative world!

Conversation Starters:

Ø  What are some activities where it’s easy for you to practice Cooperation? Which activities make it difficult? Why do you think that is?

Ø  When we are working with others, it can be tough when a teammate is not cooperating. How do you deal with that frustration? What can you say to the teammate to tell them how you feel?

Ø  Talk about a time when you worked on a really effective team. What were the ingredients? What did you contribute? How did they help you?

 

Here are a few books that you can read or listen to about cooperation:

Frankie by Mary Sullivan
Frankie, the dog, was so excited to be adopted into a new family. When he gets to his new home, he meets Nico. Nico has lived here for a while. See how Nico and Frankie learn to be friends.

Swimmy by Leo Lionni
The tale of a little fish who finds his purpose when he discovers the need to work together

Code 7: Cracking the Code for an Epic Life by Bryan R Johnson
Throughout the book, each character learns an important lesson about themselves when faced with a challenge. At the end of the book, you are left with 7 code words from each character’s story that can help to make a life epic! Working together to accomplish a goal takes teamwork and Cooperation.

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin
In a dusty township in South Africa, Ajani and his friends have earned a brand-new, federation-size soccer ball. They kick. They dribble. They run. They score. These clever boys are football champions! But when a crew of bullies tries to steal their ball, will Ajani and his friends be able to beat them at their own game?

 

SPRING CLEANING COOPERATION CHALLENGE:
As a household, brainstorm a list of chores that help keep the home in order. What are some things that would really make the home feel more peaceful, beautiful, or inspiring? After brainstorming, each person chooses a role to help tidy or decorate the home. Throw on some music that everyone enjoys and get to work beautifying your home. Better yet, make it a game! Have points associated with how quickly (and how quality) each person can clean each thing. Keep track of the score and have a prize waiting for the Clean Up Champion.

Here are some links to articles that you can read about fostering cooperation in your child:

5 Simple Yet Powerful Ways To Get Kids To Cooperate by Erin Leyba

5 Ways To Encourage Cooperation by Susan Brunk​

January 31
Character Strong- Honesty

This month we’re talking about Honesty! definition we are using at school is: living truthfully in your words and actions and thoughts!

Honesty is a lot more than just telling the truth – it is also about thinking and acting in a way that feels consistent, kind, and sincere. What do we do with honest thoughts that aren’t very nice? How do our actions in Honesty help or hurt our relationships. We need to be honest with both our actions and our words. We wil discover new games and techniques to make us more honest competitors and more thoughtful friends. It will be a time of challenging, but rewarding conversations!

Conversation starters:

Ø Sometimes, people cheat or do no not play by the rules when they are playing a game. How do you think they feel if they win the game by cheating? Do you think it is better to cheat and win or be honest and lose?

Ø Share a time when someone was dishonest with you. What happened? How did that impact your relationship with the other person?

Ø How important is it to you that your friends are honest? When your friends are dishonest with you, how does it make you feel? What should you do about it?

 

Ø When is it most difficult for you to tell the truth? Have you ever felt like I’ve lied to you? How did that make you feel?

 

Watch and discuss the classic story THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF, READ ALOUD BY MS. CECE - YouTube of  together as a family. Or, retell the story in your own words! Then, when you feel tempted to not tell the truth, ask yourself, “Am I crying wolf?” and, if so, what’s a more honest choice for me to make right now?

For Your Reading

The Honest Child: How To Teach Honesty by Mary VanClay
12 Tips For Raising Truthful Kids by Charity Ferriera
Turning Lies Into Lemonade: How to Encourage Honesty by Jessica Graham

January 17
Character Strong- Gratitude

This month we are talking about the character trait of Gratitude! 

For the month of January we are focusing on the character trait of Gratitude at FES. The definition we are using is:  

Choosing to notice and appreciate things in our life, things in others and things in the world.

 

We will be sharing with students that Gratitude is: 1) a choice that we get to make over and over again on where we put our focus and 2) doesn’t always have to be about something positive. 

 
We can feel grateful even for tough or challenging things in our life! There is plenty of research that shows a strong connection between Gratitude and reduced anxiety, increased happiness, and better relationships. Over the course of the month, we will talk about amazing people who demonstrate Gratitude in various ways. We will talk about what we are grateful for in ourselves and in others. And we will even find Gratitude in some things we would not expect to be thankful for!

 

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November 01
Character Strong- Respect


For the month of November we are focusing on the character trait of Respect at FES. The definition we are using is: Seeing the good in people and things (and treating them with care). Learning to respect one another often involves learning more about other people and understanding who they are. Respect is also about how we speak and treat one another and ourselves. We will be celebrating Diversity and Respect Week later in November.

CONVERSATION STARTERS:

·         Talk with your child about what it means to be respectful, to be courteous and to use their manners, to solve conflict peacefully, and what it means to treat others the way they want to be treated.

·         Talk about a time you felt disrespected and what you did about it in a way that demonstrated Respect.

·         If Respect means making others see good in people and making people feel cared for, how do we already show Respect at home? How can we do a better job showing Respect as both kids and adults?

·         Respect can look and sound different depending on one’s culture, but it feels consistent across communities. Discuss with your child what it feels like to be respected. How does your community show Respect? Be sure to be specific! You can reinforce respectful behaviors by naming them explicitly such as, “I see your Respect when you wait your turn to speak” or, “I feel respected when you ask me how I’m doing.”

 

Here are a couple of story books that talk about RESPECT that you can check out with your family:

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz (Take a walk with Lena and her mom to see and discuss the different colors and shades in our skin tone) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqBHAzuMJ50

The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper (Learn about all of the different cultures and world religions that have their own version of The Golden Rule.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce_vFBpjsnw

 

QUESTIONS YOU COULD TALK ABOUT AS A FAMILY:

·         What do “good manners” look like in our family? How does using good manners show Respect?

·         How does it feel to be respected? How does it feel to be disrespected? Who are the most respectful people you know?

·         Is it easier or harder to Respect someone who is very different from us? Why?

·         What do I do that makes you feel respected? How else does that make you feel?

 

Respect Challenge: A Recipe for Respect

To show Respect for diversity and to celebrate other cultures and their customs, research a traditional recipe for your family to try from your own culture or from another culture that you know exists in your community. Make that dish and share with your family about its background and its significance.

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