Welcome to the World of Character Education

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Charlotte's Web by: E.B. White

Charlotte's Web (Paperback)

Fern, an eight year old girl spends her free time with Wilbur the pig whom she loves and the other barn animals who play a large part in the life of Wilbur. Charlotte, the large grey spider, befriends Wilbur and helps him deal with the shocking news that his life will end as bacon on someone’s plate. Charlotte comes up with a fascinating plan that will make Wilber famous, and keep him alive. She has help from a wide cast of characters, including, Templeton the rat (who never does anything unless there is something in it for himself) to help Wilbur escape death. They become great companions who learn exactly what friendship really means. 

Theme: Friendship
Grades 3-7

  • Do you think complete opposites can become good friends? Why or why not?
  • Write about a time when you weren't quite sure about someone who was trying to befriend you. How did it work out?
  • What would you be willing to do for your friends?
  • Weaving Other Words:Charlotte's webs describe Wilbur, but what might she have to say about the other characters? Have students pick a couple characters and select words that would be fitting for their webs.
  • Write an Obituary: Have students write an obituary about Charlotte. What kind of a character was she? What made her a good friend to Wilber? Will she be missed? If so, why? Choose 3 character traits that decsribe Charlotte and use examples from the story to support your obituary.
  • Write a biography: Students will write a biography of a character's life (Charlotte or Wilber). Were these character's good friends? Why or why not? What made them special. What character traits would you use to describe them?
  • Discussion Question: Is Templeton the rat a good friend? Why or why not? Do you have a friend like Templeton?

Do You Want to be My Friend? by: Eric Carl

Theme: Friendship
Grade: Pre-K-1
A little mouse struggles to find friendship among several critters in the forest. Until finally, he meets the perfect friend in an unsuspecting creature. Lucky for him he met his new friend when he did, because a predator was lurking unseen, but in plain sight!

  • Ask students if they have ever tried to become friends with someone new or if someone has ever tried to become their friend.  When? How could they tell? What did they do (smile, ask to play, say kind word, share, sit nearby, do nice things, etc.)?  How did they feel?
  • Discuss the meaning of being a friend and what good qualities are in a friend. 
  • Discuss the mouse's search for the perfect friend. What good qualities were in each friend he found?
  • Make a friendship rainbow to hang over the entrance way to your door. Use the kids hand prints in each color. Talk about what friends the children have made since they have been in school. What is a good quality about that friend? Why do they like that friend and what activities do they do together? After the rainbow dries hang it over your door with the saying - A Rainbow of Friendship Hand in Hand.
  • A bag of Friendship: Tell students that they will be filling a ziplock bag with items that will remind them about good friends and friendship.
rubber band-to remind students of holding something, like giving hugs when they are needed.
tissue- to remind students to help dry someone's tears (or their own).
button- to remind students to button their lips, if they can't say something positive.
key- to remind students to keep the good things in others and in themselves unlocked.
band-aid- to remind students to help heal hurt feelings.
gold thread-to remind students that friendship is a golden thread that holds people together.
candy kiss- to remind students that everyone needs a treat sometimes.
lifesavers- to remind students that if they share their problems with a friend he or she can come to their rescue.

Then, ask students if they can brainstorm any other objects that would fit into the bag that represents friendship.

Pink and Say by: Patricia Polacco

Theme: Friendship and the Civil War
Grades 3-8

During the Civil War,  Sheldon, a 15 year old was an injured union solider who was found wounded in Georgia by Pinkus Aylee, an African American boy.  One white and one black, both boys struggle to survive during the war. Pink took Say back to his mother's house (Moe Moe Bay), and the two of them nursed him back to health.  Sheldon, who once shook Abraham Lincoln's hand, becomes  close friends with Pinkus and the extroadinary friendship begins. Pink, being the educated one, taught say to learn to read and several other lessons about life. Until one day, after the death of Pink's mother, they were captured and separated from one another. Sheldon lived on to tell the brave story of the man who saved and changed his life.

  • Complete a picture walk and discuss the differences between the two boys in the story.
  • Have you ever been friends with someone who was completely different then you? Did you have anything in common?

  • Photo Album: students will choose 5 scenes from the story they feel represent the strongest moments in Pink and Say's Friendship. Students will then illustrate each scene and write a caption and short paragraph about it.
  • Hands of Friendship-Two students will trace their hands (one over the other) so that it looks as if they're shaking hands. Then, on each finger students can write 5 things about their friendship, or 5 things they learned about the friendship of Pink and Say throughout the story.
  • Pink and Say came from two completely different worlds. Brainstorm ways kids can be more tolerant and accepting of each other. Write them on the board. Then have the children work in small groups to create posters about accepting others. Display the posters in the classroom hallway.