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Arbor Day: Planting for the Future * — Arbor Day began out of one man's vision for planting trees on a Nebraska prairie and the tradition is continued over 140 years later across our country. Students will consider the importance of continuing the Arbor Day tradition and recognizing the positive impact that just one caring and responsible person can have in our world.
Key Ideas: Planting trees for the future - Conservation - Arbor Day
Character Traits: Responsibility - Citizenship

Earth Day: Let Nature Be Your Teacher * — Earth Day can provide us with an opportunity to let nature be a teacher. Students consider the wisdom that can be gained from observation of our natural world. They also examine the values we need if we are going to successfully protect our environment.
Key Ideas: Learning from nature - Reduce, reuse and recycle - Respecting the earth
Character Traits: Caring - Respect - Responsibility - Patience - Citizenship

Earth Day: Respecting the Land * — Part of the Native American culture is a deep respect for the land, air, and water. What we do today to the environment will affect future generations. Students will explore some of the heritage and culture of the Native American people and how we can draw upon their wisdom to help protect our environment.
Key Ideas: Respecting the earth - Reducing, reusing, recycling
Character Traits: Respect - Responsibility - Cooperation
Note: This message and lesson plan work well for Native American History Month.

Global and National Youth Services Day: Helpful and Happy * — What would the world look like if people were concerned only with themselves? Volunteer work gets us out of ourselves and into the needs of others. Students consider the cost of self-absorption and of expecting the outside world to make them happy, and then explore the benefits of serving others.
Key Ideas: Volunteering - Service projects - Unselfishness
Character Traits: Charity - Generosity - Responsibility - Caring

Library Week: The Library: A Treasure Chest — What makes us truly wealthy isn't the money in our pockets, but the knowledge we possess. Information and knowledge are available to all of us regardless of how much money our family has or doesn't have. Students explore all the resources available to them at the library, including computers, videos, books, and a place to retreat from the hectic world.
Key Idea: The library as a treasure chest of stories, characters and faraway places
Character Traits: Respect - Responsibility - Love of learning - Courtesy
Note: This message and lesson plan work well for National Library Week. Check the Internet for exact dates.

National Humor Month: Lighten Up! * — Wouldn't it be great if we all learned to lighten up and develop a more playful and humorous attitude toward life. If we did, we would learn to be more spontaneous, to look for the humor in challenging situations, and to not take life too seriously. Respectful humor and laughter builds connections between people and helps us live healthier and happier lives.
Key Idea: Humor and laughter can help us live healthier, happier lives.
Character Traits: Positive attitude - Lightheartedness - Respect

Thomas Jefferson's Birthday: Honest Success * — Thomas Jefferson once wrote that "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." Our students deserve all the benefits that come from living an honest life and from making wise choices. It's essential that they learn to understand the importance of being honest with themselves and with others. Choosing to live an honest life will help them achieve true success.
Key Idea: True success in life requires honesty with self and others.
Character Traits: Honesty - Integrity - Citizenship - Trustworthiness

Young People's Poetry Week: Strumming Heartstrings — When our emotions and thoughts are condensed into words chosen for their sound, rhyme, or rhythm, the result is poetry. Reading, writing, and sharing poetry can help us gain self-awareness, as well as increase our awareness of how others think and feel. Through this process, we can discover amazing things about ourselves, our purpose, and our character.
Key Idea: Poetry as a means of gaining a better understanding of ourselves and others.
Character Traits: Respect - Empathy - Understanding - Self-awareness

* These same materials can also be found under a Life Skills/Pressing Issues category.

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