6 effective character education tools for the classroom

There are many traits that are the building blocks of good character, such as honesty, respect, and resilience. Not everyone is born with these natural tendencies, but the good news is they can be developed — and your classroom is the perfect place to learn them.  

If you’re looking for ways to add character education lessons to your school day, don’t miss the top tools below.   

What Do You Stand For? Character Building Card Game, Gr. 1–6  

Students experience new situations every day in which they must decide how to behave and act. And as they are learning and growing, they will inevitably make mistakes. This set of 60 cards provides scenarios and questions that help students practice making choices and understanding consequences so they’re ready for the real world.  

Each card focuses on one of 10 character traits: caring, citizenship, cooperation, fairness, forgiveness, honesty, relationships, respect, responsibility, and safety. Use the cards as a competitive game by having students collect one card for each trait or read the scenarios to spark small-group or whole-class discussion. 

Resilience: A Nasco SEL Journal and Passport Kit, Gr. 2–5 

This kit for 30 students takes children on a journey of self-reflection and skill-building. By the time they fill up their resilience passport, they’ll be well on their way to mastering this valuable skill. 

The unit walks students through six exercises that align with CASEL’s core competencies. Each exercise centers around an example from the world of insects that illustrates that resilient behaviors are not just in your classroom, they are everywhere in nature! 

You can adapt the lessons from one week to six weeks with the included teacher guide, which features discussion prompts, vocabulary, and extension ideas.  

Leadership: A Nasco SEL Journal and Passport Kit, Gr. 2–5 

What does it mean to be a leader? Does it mean you have to be the loudest person? The smartest?   

As your students go through the six exercises in this passport that align with CASEL’s core competencies, they’ll meet some animal friends and learn that being a leader has many facets.  

The kit includes materials for 30 students. The exercises can take place over a week or be delivered over six weeks using the included teacher guide with discussion prompts, vocabulary, and extension ideas. 

Social Emotional Learning Book Set, Gr. K–1 

Do you ever think, “I wish there was a book to teach that topic?” Well, with this 31-book set, you’re bound to find what you need.  

The SEL books in this set have been hand-selected to introduce CASEL’s five key components of SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. You’ll find stories about friendship, managing emotions, the environment, and more. Use them as jumping-off points for discussion and writing assignments.  

5-Minute Leadership Activities, Gr. 6+ 

Fitting character education into the school day isn’t always easy, especially once students hit middle school. This set of quick, easy, and effective activities was designed with the busy school day in mind, as each activity only takes 5 to 10 minutes. Use them to break the ice, fill extra minutes of class time, and get students excited to learn! You’ll cover topics such as leadership, setting goals, motivation, and more. 

Leadership: A Nasco SEL Journal and Passport Kit, Gr. 6–12 

By the time teens fill up their leadership passports, they’ll be well on their way to becoming strong leaders. 

The six exercises in the passport align with CASEL’s core competencies and each explores a different aspect of leadership. As they work through the exercises, students will gain practice and practical advice they can use in their day-to-day lives. The kit includes materials for 30 students and a teacher’s guide that provides instruction and extension ideas for adapting the unit to fit your time frame. 

More to explore  

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6 effective character education tools for the classroom

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