Title of Best Practice: Character Counts at Oakville Elementary
Primary Principles Emphasized: 2, 3, and 4
To establish a strong foundation of character education where students
will be able to identify with the six pillars of character.
Principle 2: Defines "character"
comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.
Principle 3: Uses a comprehensive, intentional,
proactive, and effective approach to character development.
Principle 4: Creates a caring school
The school counseling program at Oakville Elementary
consists of classroom guidance lessons that are designed to implement
character education (Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Fairness, Trustworthiness
and Citizenship) in the areas of personal and academic growth, social
skills and decision making, and career development. Group and individual
counseling are also provided, where those character traits are typically
used in helping students address their concerns.
Character education is taught monthly through classroom guidance lessons
and school-wide activities. Teaching these traits each month allows for
the school counselor to use a comprehensive, intentional, proactive, and
effective approach to character development. Students are able to define
“character” comprehensively to include the way they think,
feel, and complete tasks. The school-wide activities allow for students
to show their commitment to character education by promoting a caring
Each month the “Character Trait of the Month” was announced
during morning announcements, classroom guidance lessons, and printed
on the school counselor’s newsletter.
Character Counts at Oakville Elementary (School Counselor
1. Students (3-5) were introduced to “Steps to Respect” (Bullying
2. Students (k-2) were introduced to “Second Step” (Social
Skills and Academic Awareness Program)
3. Students completed activities that allowed for them to define respect
and to show what it looks like.
4. September is “National Good Manners Month”-students identified
the relationship between Respect and Good Manners.
1. Students (3-5) continued lessons from “Steps to Respect”
2. Students (k-2) continued lessons from “Second Step”
3. October is “National Bullying Prevention Month”-The school
participated in Unity Day: Everyone wore Orange to show that we are united
together against bullying
4. Students took a pledge to stand-up against bullying by tracing their
hands and posting their cut-outs on the bullying prevention board
5. Students participated in Red Ribbon Week: “Respect Yourself,
Be Drug Free” and created a poster to show that Oakville Elementary
Respects ourselves and pledge to be drug free
6. Students showed their respect for bus drivers with “Thank You”
favors and a large banner of appreciation during Bus Driver Appreciation
1. Students (3-5) completed the “Steps to Respect” program
2. Students (k-2) completed “Second Step” activities
3. November is “I am so Thankful Month”-students selected
a leaf or acorn to write what they were thankful for and what they cared
about most. Those leaves and acorns were added to our Oakville Caring
tree that students would pass in the hallway.
4. Students participated in a food drive for the local food pantry
5. Students participated in the “Green Light a Vet” initiative
by coloring paper light bulbs to hang around the school, emphasizing their
support and care for Veterans.
1. December is “Read a New Book Month”-students listened to
a story during classroom guidance lessons and had to put themselves in
the character’s shoes (understanding of empathy)
2. Students completed several activities that addressed empathy to help
them have a better understanding of how words and actions can hurt
3. Students identified different ways they could address situations through
1. In small groups students in grades 3-5 provided examples of responsibility
and listed them on posters to be displayed in the hallway
2. Students in k-2 completed responsibility worksheets that allowed them
to identify tasks that they are responsible for at both school and home
3. Students assisted in organizing a “Penny War” fundraiser
for “Pennies for Patients”
4. January is “National Thank You Month”-students completed
thank you notes to deliver to those people that have helped them with
1. During classroom guidance lessons students compared what was fair vs.
what was not fair-Students were able to identify that being held responsible
for their actions is fair, but getting away with things is not fair
2. During classroom guidance lessons students would identify what was
fair within the school environment: everyone gets lunch, everyone has
access to bus transportation, everyone has the right to learn
3. Students participated is Black History Month activities that addressed
Fairness: In groups they decorated a bus displaying the behavior of Rosa
Parks and why the way she was treated was not fair, students also decorated
individual people displaying motivational words that Martin Luther King
Jr. wished every individual would feel about themselves in efforts to
1. During classroom guidance lessons, students would identify trustworthiness
as someone dependable and would share those individuals that they could
2. Students completed activities in groups that would allow them to build
trust with their peers-Individuals in the group were given topics to discuss
with the class, every group member needed to understand their topic and
group members needed to trust that each member could complete the task.
1. During classroom guidance lessons, students were provided with examples
of good citizenship within the school environment and would be informed
of opportunities to give back to the community as well as understand career
opportunities that promote good citizenship
2. Throughout the school year student of the month and citizen of month
have been selected by teachers-Names have been displayed in the hallway
3. April is “Keep America Beautiful Month”-students participated
in an Earth Day project, cleaning around the school and fixing up the
4. Students participated in “Purple Up Day”-showing appreciation
and respect towards those military kids and family members by wearing
the color purple.
May: Six Character Traits Reviewed
1. Students completed several activities that raised awareness of the
six character traits
2. Students displayed acts of random kindness throughout the month: Recognizing
their teachers, complementing their peers, and giving back to the community
3. Students participated in Teacher Appreciation week and delivered kind
words each day that aligned with the daily themes
4. Students helped organize and participated in a second fundraiser for
the American Cancer Society, “In Your Face Cancer”-And the
students wanted to make sure that all staff members participated (It’s
5. Students participated in career day activities and displayed their
good character traits during the speakers presentations.
The Maryland Center for Character
Educationat Stevenson University
School of Education, 1525 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153