These character education activities are from the NIE Institute’s 100 Ways to Use the Newspaper.
1. Make a Hall of Fame, Hall of Shame poster of bulletin board. Clip articles and cartoons of people who are exhibiting good character traits. Place these under the Hall of Fame heading. Place examples of people not using good character traits under the Hall of Shame heading.
2. Go through The newspaper and make a “survival vocabulary list” of words that a person would need to know to be a good responsible citizen in today’s world.
3. Read an article in the newspaper about an individual who is honest. What has the honest act? What were the consequences of the act? Would you have made the same decision?
4. Make a family crest that shows examples of what is good about yourself and your family. Look through today’s paper and cut out words or pictures that remind you of what you like about your family. Paste them on a sheet of paper.
5. Look through the newspaper for an article that shows individuals, groups or nations involved in a conflict. Write down the different sides, and what seems to be the reason or reasons for the conflict. Think of as many different ways as you can that they might resolve this conflict. Write a letter to the editor that explains how the groups or nations can resolve their conflict. Would these groups need courage, kindness, forgiveness, and patience? What other character traits would they need to exhibit to solve their conflict?
Here’s a great resource I found produced by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs. It is called "Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen." It has activities for elementary, middle and high school-aged children.
Click on the following link to download the booklet: legacy.grandforksherald.com/pdfs/ResponsibleCitizen1.pdf
If you are interested, I have reprinted the introduction from the booklet: Just as children must be taught to tie their shoes, read and write, solve math problems, and understand science concepts and events in history, so must they be guided in developing the qualities of character that are valued by their families and by the communities in which they live. It is only through guidance and modeling by caring adults that children learn to be honest and thoughtful, to stand up for their principles, to care about others, to act responsibly and to make sound moral choices. This booklet provides information about the values and skills that make up character and good citizenship and what you can do to help your child develop strong character. It suggests activities that you and your school-aged children can do to put those values to work in your daily lives and tips for working with teachers and schools to ensure that you act together to promote the basic values that you want your child to learn and use. Finally, the booklet provides an extensive list of books and other resources with character-related themes that you can read and discuss with your child to encourage character and citizenship development. Be assured that the qualities of character discussed in this booklet are universally recognized by people of many religions and cultures, and the information contained in the booklet can be used by parents from many different backgrounds and with different beliefs.