Character Memories Guest Post

Today I'm excited to welcome one of my newest cyberspace collaborators from Canada; please welcome Shelley whose school works to intentionally infuse character values into its daily routines.


Hi everyone,

I am Shelley and I have a passion for teaching literacy (especially writing). But my teaching would not be nearly as successful if I didn't incorporate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into my practice. What a better way to end the school year than to have students reflect on their growth in terms of their minds, their body and their heart - just what we strive to balance in our adulthood. Thank you so much to Barbara for asking me to guest blog today! I feel very honored and blessed.

The more I teach (and I have taught over 23 years) and work with children, the more I see the benefits of teaching children about self regulation, self awareness and building their own character. Once students are in tune with their own being, they are better able to perform in class both in the academic and social aspects. I have a poster where they can see it each day. The concepts are the basis for their Mindful Journal.

I use Mindful learning strategies and brain based learning in my classroom and I can't believe how much these types of lessons and teaching methods help students to focus better and put more of their heart into their writing. They become more academic and social risk takers.

I have discovered that the more students are aware of themselves in terms of understanding their own energy and moods, the more able they are to empathize with others. When people can show compassion, they are more likely to participate in acts of service towards others. Doing so builds character and inner strength and warms their heart and the hearts of others.

As the school year is winding down, I got to thinking about how I want my students to remember 2nd grade. Is it important that their memory book is cutesy? Well... yes it is because they are only 7!

But, what would I like them to reflect on more than anything? Is it that they learned how to add just like it says in the curriculum books or is it more important to reflect on the amount of growth they made academically given that everyone is at different starting points? Education policy makers want teachers to focus on 21st Century learning but they often don't acknowledge that to be a 21st century learner, you need to start where the student is at. More importantly, it is important that the STUDENT knows where they are at so that they can also see, experience and appreciate their own growth. When I talk about growth, I am not only talking about academic growth but also of growth of character. I want students to ask "how have I grown in my friendships, in things I do for others and my emotions." Yes, even 7 year olds can do this! I created a Memory Book that students can use to show how much they've grown in all areas this year. If you are looking for a nice little way for students to sum up their year in a nice booklet while capturing character memories, you may like this.

Click {here} to purchase from TpT. 

It's so heart warming to see students being kind to each other, helping each other and feeling good doing it. We can all benefit from a little kindness! I wish everyone a wonderful end to the school year.

Author bio: Shelley Rolston currently teaches second grade in a suburb just outside of beautiful Vancouver, BC. She loves to teach literacy and incorporate character education where ever she can.  You can find Shelley at her blog The Write Stuff Teaching, and on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you, Shelley, for sharing your time and talents with us. What a treat for you to drop by; keep up the heart work!

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I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!