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Life Skills/Pressing Issues

Elementary


Relationship Skills

Abilities and Disabilities — More than seven billion human beings - all unique - live on this planet. What makes us different from one another is what makes us special, unique, and individual. Students will gain a better awareness of those of us with disabilities and how to focus on abilities rather than disabilities. They'll also look at ways to celebrate what each of us can contribute to our schools, communities, and world.
Key Ideas: Disability awareness - Celebrating differences
Character Traits: Respect - Caring

Advantages of Being Bilingual * — People who speak two languages can be a big help to everyone. They can build a bridge of understanding between people who wouldn't be able to talk to each other otherwise. Fun and thought-provoking activities for all grade levels, some recommended books, and discussion generators that will help your students understand the benefits of being bilingual.
Key Ideas: Understanding other cultures - Building bridges between cultures
Character Traits: Respect - Tolerance - Appreciation
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Hispanic Heritage Month: Sept. 15 - Oct. 15.

The Benefits of Hard Work — Each day honorable people across America get up and go to work. Students will discuss all the many different types of jobs in the community, jobs that make their lives easier. Fun activities are included for all grades on campus. Great book recommendations that deal with jobs, careers, and the benefits of hard work.
Key Ideas: All honest work should be respected. We benefit each day from the work of others.
Character Traits: Respect - Gratitude - Trustworthiness
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Labor Day.

Count Your Blessings * — It's easier to pay more attention to what's wrong in our lives than to what's right. This lesson is about considering the importance of keeping a "gratitude attitude" even in the face of challenges.
Key Ideas: Gratitude - Choices - Appreciation
Character Traits: Respect - Responsibility - Positive attitude
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for the Thanksgiving season.

Family - Sharing Our Lives Together * — Family narratives are important because they are personal and true. They can help bond families together, and help young people better understand themselves and the world around them. As we approach the holiday season, students may be spending more time with family, which is a great opportunity to recall and collect some real family treasures. Key Ideas: Family history - Belonging - Heritage
Character Traits: Respect - Caring
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Family Stories Month which is November.

Force for Good — When you hold onto a grudge, you are unwilling to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean that you forget what happened or deny the other person's responsibility in what happened. Students explore the notion that love and forgiveness can turn anger, bitterness, and resentment into a force for good, for themselves and for others.
Key Ideas: Turning an enemy into a friend - Holding onto grudges
Character Traits: Respect - Love - Forgiveness

The Gift of Encouragement * — When gift-giving becomes a stress and a burden it is time to step back and rethink our intentions. Students explore the notion that some of the most meaningful gifts we ever give or receive cost nothing and mean everything.
Key Ideas: Encouraging or praising others - Meaningful gift giving
Character Traits: Generosity - Caring

I'm Listening! - International Listening Awareness Month (March) * — It's important that we learn to listen to one another in order to build successful relationships at school, at home, and in the community. Active listening is an acquired skill. When we listen deeply to one another, we convey respect and caring and make the world a better place to be.
Key Idea: Being a good listener
Character Traits: Respect - Civility - Caring - Empathy

Johnny the Bagger — This plan introduces students to Johnny the Bagger, a real-life, everyday hero who has inspired millions of people around the world through one simple, but kind choice. It's a great reminder to students that every human encounter this school year is an opportunity to make a difference in someone else's life.
Key Ideas: Making a difference at school - Johnny the Bagger - Power of the heart - People with disabilities
Character Traits: Kindness - Responsibility - Respect

Making Amends — We all make mistakes. Sometimes our mistakes hurt someone else or someone else's property. That's when an apology is required, and many times, that's when it's necessary to make amends as best we can. Students will explore the notion that making amends is not a sign of weakness, but of self-respect and strong character.
Key Ideas: Making amends requires both humility and strength of character.
Character Traits: : Self-respect - Humility - Integrity - Reflection

Manners Matter — The word courtesy has its roots in the Latin word cor, which means of the heart. When we are polite and courteous to others, we are acting from the heart and being respectful of other people's feelings. Respectful, caring behavior is the cornerstone of any civil society.
Key Ideas: Manners - Civility - Courtesy - Empathy
Character Traits: Respect - Caring

Mixing it Up * — For some kids, it's a little scary to talk with others they don't know. Mix It Up at Lunch Day is meant to encourage students to overcome their shyness, "mix it up" in the lunchroom, and sit with schoolmates with whom they might not otherwise spend time. They might even make new friends!
Key Ideas: Being brave enough to sit with someone new at lunch - Making new friends
Character Traits:
Respect - Caring - Appreciation - Cooperation
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Mix It Up at Lunch Day.

No More Whine — It's so easy to whine and grumble when things aren't exactly the way we want them to be or when we are faced with a problem, but whining can make a situation much worse while making us and those around us unhappy.
Key Ideas: Whining and complaining
Character Traits: Gratitude - Positive attitude
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for National Whiners Day, December 26.

One of a Kind — Knowing one's special gifts adds tremendous meaning and success to one's life and helps one become more respectful of the uniqueness of others. Many young people don't like the very thing about themselves that makes them one of a kind. Students consider the idea that they can learn to appreciate their individuality and that of others, as well.
Key Idea: As we grow in our own uniqueness, we learn to respect the uniqueness of others.
Character Traits: Respect - Tolerance - Individuality

Priceless — You can be rich in many ways. One way to have a richer life is to have a good friend. You can't put a price tag on a friendship. It's priceless. Students consider the true value of friendship and what it means to be a good friend.
Key Ideas: True value of friendships - Being a good friend
Character Trait: Respect - Caring - Gratitude

Real Friends - Real Success — Henry David Thoreau once wrote that "A friend is one who always pays us the compliment of expecting from us all the virtues." A real friend can play such an important role in helping us live a truly successful life, a life that is rich in love and caring, which is the kind of success that really matters.
Key Idea: Friendship is more valuable than possessions
Character Traits: Respect - Caring - Love

What's in a Name? — Calling others by their names is an act of courtesy. It's also a skill that can help students make friends and serve as a good example for others to follow. With these materials, students explore the concept of courteous behavior, such as calling one another by name, and how this behavior affirms our individual value.
Key Idea: The importance of remembering and calling others by their names
Character Traits: Respect - Courtesy

Why Be Jealous? — We all feel jealous at some point in our lives. Sometimes it's because we feel left out or we feel that we don't have the advantages that others seem to have. The good news is that it's possible to overcome jealousy by focusing on our own talents and goals. Students consider the personal costs of jealousy and how it can be overcome.
Key Ideas: Understanding and overcoming jealousy - Focusing on talents and goals
Character Traits: Self-respect - Resilience

Wisdom from Our Elders * — One of our nation's greatest resources is the wisdom of those who have walked farther down the path of life, but sadly, we don't always foster relationships between our young people and the elderly. This plan will help students better understand how they can benefit from the wisdom of those who have a link to the past.
Key Ideas: Honoring those who can teach us - Respecting elderly citizens
Character Traits: Respect - Caring
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Grandparents' Day.

* Materials with an asterisk (*) relate to Relationship Skills and are also related to a calendar event. These same materials can also be found under Calendar Events.

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