Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Paws in Jobland

For our last career awareness activity in guidance, my 3rd graders are completing a career interest inventory through the program Paws in Jobland. Paws in Jobland is a free online website created by Bridges Transitions Inc. The career inventory on the website asks students a series of questions about things that they like to do, things that they are good at, or things they are interested in, and then presents the students with a list of jobs that they may enjoy. Students can explore jobs that they may be interested in on the website by clicking on different buildings in "Jobland".

The program is easy for students to use, and it reads the questions out loud for students who are not strong readers. I am using it with my 3rd grade class, but it could be used for younger students too. There are lesson plans to compliment the Paws in Jobland website for grades K-2 and 3-5 that are available from the Bridges Transitions website, and there are more resources available to supplement with this curriculum available on the College Foundation of North Carolina website.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Purple Hands In the News!!

Recently the Purple Hands Program at our elementary school made the news! This March when our students were studying the Purple Hands Pledge, our school was lucky enough to be able to partner with Hy-Vee, a local grocery store, to promote the Purple Hands Pledge throughout our community. Hy-Vee printed the Purple Hands Pledge and symbol on their grocery sacks during the month of March. It was a hit! Students began noticing the symbol on the Hy-Vee sacks, and it was a great reminder to the students that the Purple Hands Pledge is important beyond our school walls. It was a great way for students to share with their parents the pledge as well when they asked what the symbol meant!

I think it is a wonderful thing when we can place reminders in our students homes and in our community that the Purple Hands Pledge is important no matter where you go. Several local business that partner with our school display the Purple Hands Pledge poster in their businesses, and it is great to see the students make that connection when they are out in the community to the pledge that we teach at school. If you would like to see a full link to the article, just click here!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Character and Career Connection

To end out the year in our guidance curriculum this year, our third grade class is learning about how careers and good character are connected. The curriculum that I am using for our third grade careers unit is The Character and Career Connection by Amy R. Murray, M.Ed.

Each lesson in the curriculum is based around a character trait. Each lesson begins with a story about the character trait, includes discussion questions to follow the reading with, and then an activity related to good character. For example for the pillar of Responsibility, students read Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss. After reading and discussing the book, the students play a game where they draw a card with a responsibility listed on the card. The students must guess what job I am describing based on the responsibility.

Good Character is something that we emphasize all year, and this curriculum is a great way to bring both careers and good character together. The character traits are not the Character Counts traits, but most of the traits in the book can be adapted to meet any type of Character Education program. The book has other great ideas too, such as how to start a "Career Day" or "Vehicle Day" at your school, and a really neat idea about how to honor students who have good character. In the back of the book are also tip sheets to send home to parents as each character trait is studied.

Here are some other resources you can pull from to connect careers with good character:

World-Of-Work Map, Career Clusters, and Career Areas

Career Wordsearch

After Hours Inspirational Stories

The Quote Garden

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Character Counts Awards

Last Friday our school had our "It's a Wonderful School" Character Awards ceremony. The Character Awards recognizes students at our school who demonstrate good character. Each classroom is assigned a character pillar, and students in that class can nominate classmates who have demonstrated that pillar at school. They write a short paragraph or two about why that student deserves that pillar, and an example of a time that they have demonstrated that pillar. All students nominated receive a certificate to recognize their nomination, and one student from each class receives a trophy.

To make sure that the Character Awards don't become a popularity contest, there are character awards that teachers can nominate students for as well. We also give an award for Overall Student of Character for each grade level, and this year we gave an award for the whole school. Other awards handed out were awards for serving on student council, and the Purple Hands Award for remaining on the Purple Hands Honor Roll the entire time a student was at Broadway Elementary.

The Character Counts Superheroes came to the assembly to help present the awards. Each character pillar has it's own superhero, and there is also a superhero for the Purple Hands Pledge. The kids love seeing the superheroes, and it was great to have them help out with the awards!

Below are some pictures from the Character Awards.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Earth Day Activities

To highlight the Character Counts pillar of Citizenship at our school this year, our students participated in Earth Day activities during the month of May. Our grade levels K - 5 each chose an activity related to earth day to participate in during the month. Some examples of Earth Day activities our school did were planting flowers, picking up trash, creating posters to encourage people to recycle, and planting trees.

This is also a great time to connect the guidance curriculum to what students are studying in other subject areas. One of our grade levels is learning about plants right now, so organizing an Earth Day activity where the students take home a tree to plant somewhere or planting flowers is a great way to branch science and guidance together! One of our fourth grade classes is learning about marine life in science, and as part of an Earth Day activity they could research endangered species and create posters encouraging others to save them.

Other ideas would be if a grade level is working on letter writing they could write a letter to elected officials encouraging them to protect endangered wildlife in our area if a grade level is working on letter writing, or write a persuasive letter encouraging someone to recycle if a grade level is working on persuasive letters. The art teacher could do an activity where students make art out of recycled materials, or the media teacher could have books out that have to do with preservation or endangered species. There are endless ideas of ways citizenship and earth day activities can be mixed in with the curriculum that the grade level teachers are teaching!

Here are some other great websites with Earth Day activities your school can do. They have songs you can sing about Earth Day, pledges students can take to protect the Earth, and other neat activities

Earth Day Resources:
Kids For Saving Earth
Apples For The Teacher
The Nature Lady

And these resources have grade specific activities: - Seasonal Earth Day - Activity

And here's a website where kids can calculate their carbon footprint:
Zero Foot Print

And here is a blog from the New York Times that has some great ideas too!

NY Times - 10 Ways to Go Green and Mark Earth Day

Between all of these great resources I am sure that there is something for your school to make it a great Earth Day!! Here are some pictures from some Earth Day Activities we did at our school: