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I currently live in Syracuse and teach third grade in the Liverpool School District. I just wrapped up my 7th year of teaching and have experience in both first and third grade and in Integrated Co-taught Classrooms. I taught in a Quaker school in Philadelphia right out of my undergraduate studies, then a charter school in Shreveport, Louisiana while my husband was in the Air Force, and I am now settled in Syracuse.
I completed my undergraduate studies at Syracuse University and I graduated in 2011 with a degree in Inclusive Elementary and Special Education. I am currently in my last semester working on my masters through the CDIT program at the University at Albany. After completion, I will be able to apply for my professional teaching certificate in New York.
Using the Positivity Project for Character Education
The intent of this course is to provide information about ways the Positivity Project helps build character and a sense of community in the classroom.
Topics that will be covered:
- What is the Positivity Project?
- How is the Positivity Project used in the classroom?
- What does a typical lesson look like?
- How has it affected classroom community?
After completing this course, learners will be able to:
- explain what the Positivity Project is based on.
- follow a lesson from the Positivity Project.
- identify ways the Positivity Project builds community.
Character education can be an important part of developing the whole student, and can greatly affect the culture of a classroom and school. Educators have noted that when positive value lessons become part of the culture in addition to character that is implicitly taught each day, they have seen a difference in their students including less discipline referrals, and increased test scores (Adams, 2013). When the right program is identified and implemented consistently, with a high level of commitment, positive impacts have been noted (Shankland & Rosset, 2016).
Finding a program that is right for your classroom and school can be challenge. The Positivity Project is one example of a character education program that is based on positive psychology and 24 character strengths that everyone possess but shows in varying degrees. Positive Psychology studies suggests that using ones existing strengths in a new way is an effective means of enhancing well-being (Shankland & Rosset, 2016). By helping students understand themselves and others better, positive relationships can be built which in turn will create a positive school climate.
In my own experience working with The Positivity Project in addition to research I have done, I have noticed that the program offers an opportunity to for students to explore their own character strengths that they may not have recognized in themselves before. It empowers students to also build positive relationships by giving teachers training, strategies and resources to teach positive psychology’s 24 character strengths (The Positivity Project, 2017). While students can certainly navigate social situations as the come into their lives naturally, having a character education program can help foster confidence in them to become problem solvers and build community.
What is to be learned:
Learners will have the opportunity to explore what the Positivity Project can offer educators and students. I will present the main components of the program and present a sample weekly lesson for the character strengths. They will learn about what the Positivity Project was founded on, and what makes it a good program to help build a sense of community and empathy in students.
Educators who are interested in implementing some sort of character education program in a K-12 setting will benefit from this mini-course. They may be looking for a new program to implement in their own schools, or needs more information about the Positivity Project before moving forward with adopting it at their own schools. Administrators could also benefit from seeing what the Positivity Project can offer their schools and school districts.
Context for instruction:
This course will be taught using an online platform. To access the lessons and materials, you will need a device with sufficient internet connectivity. The resources include PowerPoint presentations and YouTube videos.
Instructional Problem and Solution:
Educators and administration can often feel that adding another responsibility to an already packed school day can be overwhelming and character education can require a high level of commitment on their part as well (Shankland & Rosset, 2016). This mini-course will show that with simple, guided 15 to 20 minute lessons, the benefits can outweigh the costs.
The goal for this mini-course is to provide a comprehensive overview of how the Positivity Project can be used as a character education program and build a sense of community within a school. By the end of the course, learners will be able to decide if the Positivity Project is something they would like to implement in their own school setting, and if it truly will help students understand themselves and others better.
Analysis of the Learner and Context
Learners in this course will be educators or administrators interested in implimenting a character education program in their K-12 schools. Learners will have a variety of experience with character education and see the need for one in their own schools.
Context for Instruction: The instruction will be completed through online units. Learners will need access to a desktop computer or laptop with the ability to use PowerPoint. Learners will be viewing video content, and will need to access a variety on links throughout the units.
Learners will be able to summarize overarching theories behind the Positivity Project in a written paragraph with at least 5 facts.
Learners will take the VIA character survey and identify their top character strength.
Learners will be able to identify at least three character strengths highlighted in the Positivity Project and describe how they could build community in their classroom.
Learners will be able to apply what was learned to design a mock presentation to persuade a board to implement the Positivity Project in their school.
Module 1: Learners will show understanding of the connection between Positive Psychology and the Positivity Project through their discussion posts and responses to their peers.
- Lesson 1 enabling goal: Students will read an article discussing background information on Positive Psychology
- Lesson 2 enabling goal: Students will observe how Positive Psychology plays a role in the Positivity Project
- Read article about Positive Psychology
- Watch video from founder of the Positivity Project
- Explore Positivity Project website to discover how Positive Psychology plays a role in the program
Assessment: Learners will answer questions and take part in discussions about the readings and video.
Module 2: Learners will be able to identify at least three character strengths highlighted in the Positivity Project and describe how they could build community in their classroom.
- Lesson 1 enabling goal: Students will explore the character strengths that make up the Positivity Project lessons
- Lesson 2 enabling goal: Students will identify their top character strength
- Lesson 3 enabling goal: students will read about the ways community is built with Positive Psychology
- Look through samples lessons and view charts highlighting the character strengths
- Take the VIA character survey to find top strengths
- Read article about Positive Psychology building community.
Assessment: Learners will make a list of three character strengths they believe are the most important for building community and explain why.
Module 3: Learners will be able to apply what was learned to design a mock presentation to persuade a board to implement the Positivity Project in their school.
- Lesson 1 enabling goal: learners will gather what they know from previous modules to persuade an audience to use the program in their schools
- Create a presentation using a self-selected platform to pitch the idea of implementing the Positivity Project in your school
Assessment: Learners will create their final presentations for a mock board
References and Resources
Adams, C.J. (2017, February 9). Character Education Seen as Student Achievement Tool. Retrieved October 12, 2018 from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/27/22character.h32.html
Shankland, R, & Rosset, E. (2016). Review of Brief School-Based Positive Psychological Interventions: a Taster for Teachers and Educators. Educational Psychology Review, 29(2), 363-392. doi: 10.1007/s10648-016-9357-3
The Positivity Project. (2017). Retrieved October 13, 2018, from https://posproject.org/impact
- All images were retrieved from Google Images