GoodCharacter.com Monthly Newsletter
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Volume 4, Issue 6: January 2011

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Theme of the Month: Manners and Respect

An important part of being a respectful person is to have good manners. Of course it is never polite to call people names. January 24 - 28 is “No Name Calling Week”. The website has several lesson plans and art lessons to use with your students, including a pledge that they will not call others names. In conjunction with “No Name Calling Week” take the time with your students to go over proper etiquette, including digital etiquette or “netiquette” and help them understand that by having manners, being polite, and being respectful, we make this world just a little better to live in.

“A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Daily Dilemma

David has just joined a Facebook group and he discovers that somebody has posted an offensive and malicious photo of a girl from his class. David feels very uncomfortable about it.

What should David do? Here's a hypothetical dilemma to discuss with your class.

Watch the Popcorn Park Puppets sing about caring - click here!
"Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude."
- Maurice Baring

Lesson Plans and Activities

Elementary School

In this lesson plan, students have an open discussion about the types of words that you use to show you’re being polite. Students are then given situations to role play out in order to understand how to use these polite words.

This lesson plan, which can be used throughout the course of the year, helps students learn how to treat each other with politeness and respect as well as conflict resolution.

Use this teaching guide to start a discussion with your students on the topic of respect. The guide also includes activities and homework assignment.

Manners, also known as showing courtesy is paired up with the game Bingo in this lesson plan. Students first have a discussion about manners and courtesy, and then learn about new manners through the game of Bingo. Students are encouraged to use this lesson for the rest of the week by saying Bingo when they see a fellow peer showing good manners. (PDF)

Do your students know what the Golden Rule is? This lesson plan has students think critically about the Golden Rule, how it applies to themselves and others, and incorporates an art project to help them remember the Golden Rule in the future.

Middle School

This lesson plan has students examine a list of rules from George Washington’s America and has them discuss and analyze which manners are still appropriate for today and which ones are things of the past. (PDF)

Many students may think they know how to respond to messages politely, but this lesson plan has students look at some common message replies via e-mail, forums, instant messaging and chat rooms and has students learn how to use proper manners when replying to various forms of communication.

Along with recipes, students are introduced to three countries in Africa and taught how table manners and food are different in each. Students can use what they know of other countries' etiquette, as well as American table manners to compare and contrast with the African nations.

This lesson plan has students look at past world events to learn how humiliation has been the cause of conflicts. Students are then asked to see how respect can stop conflicts in its tracks.

High School

Many students are taught that to be polite you must smile. But this lesson plan on cultural differences show that what might be polite or proper in one country may be offensive in another. A great way to start showing students etiquette around the world, this lesson plan is from the National Geographic Society.

This article from the New York Times presents a way your students can learn how to respond politely to social invitations. That is something even adults might need help with.

Use this teaching guide from GoodCharacter.com to start a discussion with your students on the topic of respect. The guide also includes activities and homework assignment.

Manners and respect come into play when students learn to create peace agreements in this multicultural lesson plan. Students are asked to research and role play an ethnic nationality and to create a peace agreement with a student of a warring nationality.

"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength."
- Eric Hoffer
In the News

A teen won’t turn off his iPhone while a plane is landing, so an older man punches the teen on the shoulder. Use this article to inspire a discussion in your class. Who was being disrespectful, the teen for not following the rules or the man for punching the teen?

While learning how to dance, students are also taught manners. Use this article to start a discussion with students on where they have learned their manners, or if they think their manners need work. Encourage students that they could have their own dance, or a “formal” lunch one week where they can show off their good manners.

Due to patience and good manners, a Philippine man won $17 million in the Philippine National lottery. Ask your students if there’s ever been a time when patience or “being good” got them a great reward.

"Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are."
- Author Unknown

Tips and Resources

This e-mail tip sheet has some great information on how to compose an e-mail. Although it is for writers of business emails, it still has plenty of information that all students should know, and is especially good information for high school students.(PDF)

MTV’s website is loaded with information about “Digital Disrespect” where students can take quizzes and learn about proper net etiquette and how it integrates with their lives off the web. It also helps to remind students, if you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face, why say it to them online?

This site has a few tips on showing and encouraing students to use good manners.

Not all students, including older ones, understand the definition of respect. This article explains how to give the definition of respect to your students and then make sure that they start to show respect.

“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”
- Fred Astaire

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