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 * 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: Understanding the values needed to protect the earth - Lessons learned from nature
Character Traits: Caring - Respect - Responsibility
Earth Day: Respecting the Land
* Amazingly, there are 562 Native American tribes in the United States. This message and corresponding lesson
plan focus on the reverence and respect that Native Americans have for the earth, the concept of a "web of life,"
and making decisions with future generations in mind.
Key Ideas: Environmental protection/Enjoying and respecting nature
Character Traits: Respect - Responsibility
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Native American History Month.
Global and National Youth Services Day: Not from Without
* 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 - Self-absorption
Character Traits: Charity - Generosity - Responsibility - Caring
Library Week: Treasure Hunting
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 Ideas: The public library is a resource for free access to computers, books, CDs and DVDs. What makes us truly wealthy is the knowledge we possess.
Character Traits: Respect - Responsibility
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 learned to lighten up and develop a more playful and humorous
attitude toward life. If we did, we could learn to be more spontaneous, to look for the humor in challenging situations,
and to not take life too seriously at times. Respectful humor and laughter builds connections between people and helps us
live healthier and happier lives.
Key Idea: Humor and laughter could help us live healthier, happier lives.
Character Traits: Positive attitude - Lightheartedness
Youth Violence Prevention Week: It Begins With You
* A Cherokee folktale helps students understand that we all have good and bad qualities inside us, and each of us
can choose which qualities to develop and which qualities to try to overcome. Choosing to "feed" the bad
qualities may lead to a life filled with unhappiness and perhaps even violence. Students explore the notion that violence
prevention begins within each individual.
Key Ideas: Violence prevention begins inside each of us - We each choose whether or not to cultivate or overcome our negative qualities
Character Traits: Respect - Responsibility - Integrity
Thomas Jefferson's Birthday: Honestly
* 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
Young People's Poetry Week: Life Condensed
* 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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