Sunday, August 3, 2014

Using Raffles to Teach Character Education

In my district, Character Education has become as important as teaching literacy.  Each month we have a Character Education assembly to recognize students who have demonstrated specific character traits in an exemplary way.  We focus on one of the following character traits:  1. Caring 2. Cooperative 3. Honest 4. Inclusive 5. Respectful and 6. Responsible 

Although there are definitely many more character traits one could add to this list, these six attributes were selected through consultation with students, staff, community members and faith groups in order to form a manageable number of traits that everyone felt were most important.

In my class, I use raffles as a way to positively reinforce my students - doing this really helps with my classroom management. You can read more about how I use raffles to manage my class {here}, but for now, I'll be focusing on how I integrate character education and vocabulary building into my raffle system.

Last year, it occurred to me that I should start handing out raffles that were geared towards the 6 character traits our school focuses on.

I spiced up my system even further by adding synonyms for each character trait onto character education/raffle posters!

I love using these posters because it reminds me to be very specific when handing out raffles. The synonyms for each character trait are also a great visual for my students and exposes them to a wide range of vocabulary. What a great gift to give our students - these words of positive affirmation! This is SO powerful because when we use these words to describe our students... THEY start to use these words to describe themselves. This in turn shapes and molds their thoughts and opinions about themselves.. which then inspires and develops into positive self-talk and increased self-esteem! When faced with a challenge, a child might think to himself: "Yes, I can do this! I am a determined person".  They start to use this vocabulary to deal with challenging moments that rely on CHARACTER!

So many WINS here! Can you see why I'm so excited about this!

An added bonus: Students can also refer to these posters during story writing when they might want to think of adjectives to describe the characters in their story.  Boy do I have a ton of ideas on how to use these posters for writing - another blog post, another day - promise.

My raffle system used to be very low key. I'd cut (sometimes even just tear) sheets of scrap paper, put them in a basket and my students would grab one of these wonky shaped rectangles to put their names on.

The old way:

This worked fine. I mean it did the trick in terms of being an amazing classroom management strategy!  BUT, I found that when I did my draw and asked my raffle winners what they won the raffle for, (I wanted them to reflect and recall what they did to deserve it), it would take them a while to recall why the raffle was given to them. I would then remind them by saying something like, "You were so cooperative during group work today...remember?"... to which they would reply, "Oh yeah!".  NOW, I don't have to worry about reminding them. The character trait on the raffle is that reminder!

PLUS, they can take the raffles home and show parents/guardians how awesome they were in school that day.  What a great way to keep on-going communication with parents!

Students can also keep track of the number of raffles they win by using this graph. 

Although "Perseverance" is not on our school's list, I created this as my 7th set because this one is an important one to me. I really want my students to know that it's not about being the best reader or strongest mathematician. Perseverance is way more important.  I try to reinforce this character trait as often as possible!

The 8th set I created is blank because sometimes there are other traits I'd like to recognize when I see it! Having a blank one gives me the freedom to still reward students for demonstrating these other traits.

My Awards:

Note: I realize that some of these pictures could be better. Looks like I'll need to schedule a picture re-take day! 

As I mentioned at the start of this post, our school has an awards assembly where students are recognized for demonstrating character.  I just thought it would be so cute to hand out awards in the shape of a raffle as well. Plus, during the awards assembly, we usually select 1 or 2 award winners, but often times I just want to give it to each and every kid in my class... and now I can!! Once you start reinforcing positive behaviors, you start seeing MORE of it ... to the point that it becomes very difficult to select just one or two winners!

I can't stress how much I love my system. It is so much more than just a classroom management tool. It's a tool for: character education, writing storiesbuilding self esteembuilding a positive classroom climate, and developing positive self-talk in children... all while building vocabulary too! That's pretty darn spectacular!

To purchase this Classroom Management Raffle System, click {here}



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  4. Nice blog. Thank you for sharing this information. I will keep visiting this blog very often. Character Education has become as important as teaching literacy. To make your life happy and peaceful character education is an essential thing so don't forget to change your attitude.

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