Today I have two very important things to share with you…a fabulous parent-teacher resource AND my Halloweensie Contest entry. (What is Halloweensie you ask? Please scroll to the second part of this post to find out.)
As a parent and educator, I’m always looking for ways to help kids develop a sense of self-worth. Honestly, this is one of the most critical tasks we have. Kids who respect themselves will also respect others. And when every child respects others, bullying in the schoolyards and playgrounds will disappear.
So when I found out that a friend of mine, author and long-time educator Barbara Gruener, had written a book called, “What’s Under Your Cape: Superheroes of the Character Kind” – I knew I had to tell everyone about it.
Right away in the introduction, I found a golden nugget – “Children aren’t born with good character – it develops over time. But they are hard-wired to learn, and their capacity for character is unlimited.”
Wait a minute…you mean we have to TEACH our kids things like respect and empathy and perseverance and unconditional love? You bet your sweet patootie we do. I’ll let you in on a little secret. As a new parent, even though I had been a kindergarten teacher for many years, I don’t think i truly understood that. I knew I needed to be a good role model and set rules and be consistent. But I didn’t realize that we need to teach this stuff…I kind of thought it would come naturally.
Fortunately, I guess I learned pretty quickly – but I sure wish that Barbara’s book had been around then – it would have given me concrete examples of projects to do and tools to use.
Parents have first crack at helping children build character, as well as teachers, daycare providers and other childcare facilitators. According to Barbara, “We must teach the values that we want woven into the DNA of our students’ lives through direct instruction, indirect modeling and daily reinforcement.” And this holds true for parents as well.
And what are those values? Barbara makes it easy to remember – as her book title implies, this is all about the SUPERHEROES our children can become – and her chapters (and the values) follow the letters that make up that word. A few of them are: Service, Unconditional Love, Perseverance, Empathy and Respect.
But when can educators, busy with curriculum requirements, and parents, busy with all of their responsibilities, do this? Barbara suggests that you ‘seize teachable moments throughout the day to infuse character development opportunities into your daily content.”
The book is filled with practical strategies for successfully helping children develop their superhero powers of character, using song and dance and laughter, role playing and journaling and art, school and community and global projects. Here’s an example: a student mentioned that she had taken up knitting and was really enjoying it. This blossomed into a knit-for-service project that the entire school became involved with. To date, the children have knitted and donated over 2000 caps for newborns in need. This project gained the notice of Save the Children who asked Barbara’s group to join the Caps for the Capital campaign. One of the students personally delivered some of the caps to the White House. When children become involved in activities that enable them to reach out and help others, their own characters grow by leaps and bounds!
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to help children build character. What’s under YOUR superhero’s cape?
To find out more about Barbara and her book, please visit her incredible blog, The Corner on Character.
And now, for another treat…it’s time for HALLOWEENSIE!!!!!
Thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill, there will be many superheroes revealed over the next few days…writing superheroes, that is.
Every year, Susanna hosts several holiday writing contests. Halloweensie starts TODAY!
The rules are as follows: Write a children’s story of 100 words or less, include the words ‘broomstick’, ‘pumpkin’ and ‘creak’, post the story on your blog between Monday, October 27th and Friday, October 31st and then link it up OR copy and paste it into Susanna’s Monday, October 27th post. After the contest closes, Susanna and her judges will read all the stories and choose some as finalists. And then the VOTING starts and everyone is encouraged to vote for their favorite.
There are PRIZES GALORE and it is great fun to hop around to the other blogs to read these fantastic stories.
I’ve participated for a couple of years…here is my entry for this year. I hope you enjoy it!
A NIGHT OF FRIENDSHIP FOR MISS WITCH – Word Count: 98
Miss Witch had many things.
Big black hat
But no one to play with.
She stirred her pot.
POOF! A furry spider appeared and scurried off.
She waved her wand.
PLUNK! A coffin materialized. The cover creaked open.
A bony skeleton jumped out and rattled down the road.
She stuck her hand into her hat –
and pulled out a…
Miss Witch zipped over Persnickety’s Pumpkin Patch.
She zoomed through Wildebeest Woods.
She zig-zagged over Cinnabar City.
Down below, she spied little witches and princesses and superheroes Trick-or-Treating.
Here I come, friends!
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY LITTLE STORY – DON’T FORGET TO VISIT SUSANNA’S BLOG AND READ ALL OF THE WONDERFUL HALLOWEENSIE ENTRIES: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-4th-annual-halloweensie-writing.html
DID YOU KNOW THAT PIBOIDMO STARTED…YESTERDAY? IT’S TRUE THAT THE OFFICIAL START DATE IS NOVEMBER 1ST…BUT THERE IS A WHOLE WEEK OF PRE-PIBO POSTS – I KNOW MY WRITERLY FRIENDS DON’T WANT TO MISS ANY. IF YOU ARE ASKING – WHAT IS PIBOIDMO – PLEASE GO TO TARA LAZAR’S BLOG AND GET ALL THE DETAILS. 30+ DAYS OF INCREDIBLY INSPIRING POSTS AND AWESOME PRIZES – ALL FOR FREE! http://taralazar.com/2014/10/25/piboidmo-2014-registration-sign-up-here/