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This Month's Best Practice

Each Month the Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University (MCCE@SU) picks one of the Best Practices from a Character Education award winning school to share with you.


This month's Best Practices is from an award winning school from 2015-2016.




School: Warren Elementary School

Address: 900 Bosley Avenue, Cockeysville, MD 21030
Principal: Jason Barnett
E-Mail: jbarnett@bcps.org

Phone: 410-887-7665


Character Ed. Contact: Laura Sherline

E-Mail: lsherline2@bcps.org


Title of Best Practice: ‘Kid Conversation’ Lesson Plans and 7 Habits of Healthy Kids, ‘Leader in Me’


Primary Principles Emphasized: 1, 2, 4, and 5,



Students will have an understanding of the principals of good leadership decisions and character values to guide them in their relationships and choices.


Principle 1: Promotes core ethical values as the basis of good character: The School Counselor provides character education lessons using the ’Kid Conversation’ Puppet shows on the following character traits: Acceptance, Compassion, Courtesy, Fairness, Forgiveness, Honesty, Respect, Perseverance, Self-Discipline, and Respect. These lessons are delivered to all grades throughout the year. Parents are encouraged to support the value of the month, through newsletter articles and school-wide events, such as ‘Make a New Friend Day,’ during which students are encouraged to sit next to different person to get to know them and understand them better, to support the value of ‘Acceptance’ and Anti-Bully Week.


Principle 2: Uses a comprehensive, intentional, proactive, and effective approach to character development: Then entire school teaches the 7 Habits of Healthy kids and promotes those habits whenever there is an argument or issue in the classroom. The 7 Habits of good leadership are in the language and culture of the school. Classroom meetings and behavior ladders incorporate these habits. Administrators and support staff use this language and promote leadership values in helping students with daily choices. The School counselors’ lessons have a leadership component. We have a school-wide extended behavior ladder that goes from Red to Pink. The pink section says, “You found the leader in you today!” All teachers conduct classroom meetings to promote these same habits, asking how students demonstrated each habit that week. The counselor and administrators reference and incorporate the 7 Habits in their interactions with students to promote positive behavior choices and social/emotional issues.


7 Habits: 1. Be proactive. 2. Begin with the end in mind. 3. Put first things first. 4. Think win-win. 5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. 6. Synergize. 7. Sharpen the saw. (source- “The Leader in Me” by Stephen Covey)


Principle 4: Creates a caring school community. An assembly promoting the 7 Habits begins the school year at Warren Elementary. In it students from our school are seen performing skits explaining and demonstrating the habits. The character traits of the month support the students and staff in whatever the focus is at that time of year. For example the value of the month for September is ‘Responsibility,’ just when students are getting used to the routines and establish their habits for having their materials and doing homework. In October the value is ‘Cooperation’, and it is ‘Acceptance’ in November, just when anti-bullying lessons are done throughout the grades and the Anti-Bully Month (October) and Red Ribbon Week/ Good Decision-making week (late October) are in full swing.


Peer Mediators help to promote these initiatives through announcements and Anti-Bully banners are placed in every hallway and throughout the school, so that kids can write positive messages to each other. The teachers and all staff promote these values and make an effort to be good role models for students in every way. Our staff is incredibly supportive of these initiatives and one another. If there is a concern or behavior issue, all support staff, administrators and the grade level team of teachers work together to help the student and to support each other.


Principle 5 - Provides students with opportunities for moral action.Our school has Anti-Bully and Random Acts of Kindness banners in every hallway with statements students wrote to encourage each other and to promote kind acts and standing up for each other. Teachers, administrators and support staff reference the values of Perseverance, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Acceptance and Honesty, lessons about which are taught by the School Counselor, when they discuss behavior with students. Similarly all staff members are committed to the 7 Habits as measures for behavior and vehicles for discussion when encouraging students to get along with others and to make healthy, daily decisions in discussions and weekly classroom meetings. The habits are posted all over the halls and in every classroom. At the end of the year Peer Mediator meeting this year, the Peer mediators (30 4th and 5th grade students) all reported enjoying being mediators and helping others solve problems. Their only disappointment was in not having more mediations, but they said how pleased they were that there were not too many conflicts at school. Additionally several students are involved in mentoring younger students to help them with social skills and appropriate behavior. Without exception, the mentors involved are very excited and motivated to have the opportunity to work with younger students and to help others. It is apparent from the friendly climate that all teachers and staff members support each other and uphold the core values we promote by the way people come together when there is an issue and the way everyone wants to help others.


Best Practice:‘Fairness Fuels the Fun’ Primary Lesson Plan

Learning Objective: Today we will learn why it is important to show Fairness, so that we can get along with others.


Leadership Goal # 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

- Lead a discussion in which students talk about how it feels when situations are unfair, as opposed to how they feel when situations are fair to them and everyone involved.
- As students to give examples of fair and unfair situations. (Record.)
- Model changing each situation from unfair to fair.
- Have students brainstorm ways to make the following given situations fair. Situations: 1. Sherry always plays with Tara at recess, and Shanae is left out. 2. Your friend always has a snack at lunchtime, and you do not. 3. The teacher calls on Collin more than anyone else. 4. At recess Lidia and Taylor always have to play what Lidia chooses.
- Have students work in groups to solve one of these given situations.
- Share answers and role-play if possible.
- Show ‘Kid Conversation’ puppet show on ‘Fairness.’

Assessment: Students will be given the following situation: At playtime, Jackson, Brandon, and De’Shawn play together every day, but they won’t let Javon play. The students will be asked to write a sentence and draw a picture showing how they would solve this problem. Students will be encouraged to use speech bubbles and could use Wixie or Phrase It for this assessment.


The Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University
School of Education, 1525 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153

E-Mail: MCCEcharacter@aol.com