By Barbara Gruener
Olympic fever has been so contagious at our place that I couldn’t wait to get back to school to create a games-inspired bulletin board. Here’s what I came up with:
The character kids who’ve won gold medals on this board represent our school’s six values (www.charactercounts.org); the inquires that make the visual display interactive include:
This bulletin board hangs in our cafeteria so it’ll act as a conversation starter for our own kids with character as they wait in line for their breakfast and lunch.
The Olympic games, and sporting events in general, are the perfect springboard for a character chat. Talk about diligence, determination, and dedication, passion, perseverance, and purpose. Show that commercial where the athletes say things like, “You know that best selling novel that everyone’s talking about? I haven’t read it.” Find out what your students think about the rigorous road that Olympic athletes journey in preparation for these competitive games. Share Pistorius’ story, the South African athlete who’s also a double amputee. What must it take to overcome such overpowering obstacles? And what must that experience be like? Reflect on teenaged-gymnast Makayla Maroney failing to stick her dismount and, for the first time ever on that particular vault, falling down on the landing. What did the media mean by “settling for the silver?” Is bringing home a silver medal from the Olympics really considered losing?
What other examples will you use? There’s so much gourmet food for thought in these seventeen days of athletes around the world, center stage, doing what they do best and giving it their all. And when they pursue the gold with integrity and honor, they’ve earned a spot not only on the character platform, but also in our hearts.
Barbara Gruener is the school counselor and character coach at Westwood Elementary in Friendswood, Texas, a National School of Character. Barb is a seasoned presenter, offering dynamic sessions on how to improve your school’s character climate. Find her here, at ncyi.org, and contact us to engage her for your next counselor training event!
For more character-infused activity ideas, book reviews, and reflections, visit Barbara’s blog at www.corneroncharacter.blogspot.com