Lindsay Brazell

Music Educator and Creative Professional

4 Ways To Implement Character Education In Your Ensemble Classroom

If you are just stumbling upon this article, be sure to read the previous articles about this month’s topic for some background information! 

Now that we have looked at some theories behind character education, I thought I would give you 4 ways to incorporate character education into your ensemble classroom. These are all tried and true ways that I felt were affective in my own classroom, so feel free to ask questions if a certain aspect doesn’t quite apply with your classroom! I’m sure others will have similar questions. Be sure to use the hashtag #CareChoir to keep the conversation going!

4 Ways to Incorporate Character

Create a Zero Tolerance Policy: The creation of this document was a huge game changer for my discipline plan. It establishes what your ensemble stands for, what behavior is not acceptable, and what happens when students violate this policy. Here’s my blog post about it for reference.

For me, if a student was in violation of our policy, they were put on “Choir Probation,” which meant that they had to get a form signed by their parents that stated the conditions of their offense, and that if any further violates took place this year they would not be able to perform in our closest Winter/Spring concert event. If a student was placed on Choir Probation twice, they would be excused from the program the following semester.

If you subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post, you’ll receive a free Zero Tolerance Policy Template that you can use and modify to your liking! (Don’t worry, it only comes out once a week, and you can unsubscribe if you really want to!)

Create Monthly Themes: This was one of my favorite ideas, because it kept each month focused on a particular skill or character trait. Initially when I planned it, it was only going to include musical skills, but once we hit November I changed my tune! With these themes, you can guide instruction, or have a class/organization activity for the month. Here’s my post about monthly themes! You’ll be able to see my first few months and how they worked!

Create class/ensemble hashtags/start a social media movement: This idea came about from our November theme which was “THANKS!” where we practiced gratitude! We decided to use a designated hashtag to post a picture of something or someone we were thankful for each day on instagram, or any social media platform. Not only was it fun to see everyone’s thankful posts, but parents and community members could follow along too! Of course, it’s important to set social media boundaries and rules before starting this, and you want to follow your school’s policies as well! THIS WAS A HUGE HIT! When I asked former students their favorite character activities, this was by far everyone’s favorite.

Model Character Yourself!! This is something we talked about in the last post, as Modeling is a concept of care, but it’s probably the easiest thing to implement! If you need a starting place, choose the qualities that you want your students to leave your classroom with when they graduate. For example, I always wanted guests/strangers in our classroom to feel welcome, no matter why they were there…to observe me, to help with an event, to fix our outlets because maybe the teacher blew a fuse one time…etc. Saying “hello” and “thank you” goes a long way!

These are just some ideas, but I’m sure there are other creative ways to bring out the best character in our students! Please continue the conversation with the hashtag #CareChoir! What ideas will you try? Have you done something we should all know about? What questions do you have? Let’s chat!

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About Lindsay

I’m Lindsay, a choral music educator by day, a singer-songwriter by evening, and a writer when time allows. You can find my latest album, The Room I Found – Lindsay Morelli on iTunes.

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