The Topic:
Character and Ethics

Easier - Character is the combination of personal qualities that make each person unique. Teachers, parents, and community members help children build positive character qualities. For example, the six pillars of character are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.
 
Ethics is the study of human actions. It deals with issues such as defining "right and wrong" as well as the gray area in between. Ethics seeks answers to questions like what is "good behavior" and what should be valued?
 
Harder - Character deals with how people think and behave related to issues such as right and wrong, justice and equity, and other areas of human conduct.
 
Schools often have character education programs that focus on the qualities of character that are honored by most cultures and traditions. Character education is the development of knowledge, skills, and abilities that encourage children and young adults to make informed and responsible choices.
 
Ethics are a philosophical reflection of moral beliefs and practices. The Greek and Roman philosophers were particularly interested in discussions related to ethics. Religions and faiths each have their own ethical systems to guide their people. Ethical decision making involves the process of making informed decisions when faced with difficult dilemmas with many alternative solutions.
 
Absolutely Whootie: Stories to Grow By
http://www.storiestogrowby.com
This website contains lots of stories and a way to add your own stories and pictures. Whootie Owl presents fairy tales that promote positive values on topics such as cooperation, courage, creative thinking, friendship, generosity, honesty, justice, kindness, learning, love, perseverance, regret and recovery, respect for nature, restraint, self-awareness, and selflessness.
Other Stories Websites:
2) Adventures from the Book of Virtues http://www.pbs.org/adventures/
3) 42explore: Mythology http://eduscapes.com/42explore/myth.htm
4) 42explore: Storytelling http://eduscapes.com/42explore/story.htm
 
Character Counts
http://www.charactercounts.org/
Learn to fortify young people's lives with consensus ethical values called the "Six Pillars of Character." These values, which transcend divisions of race, creed, politics, gender and wealth, are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. This website contains links to schools that are doing projects related to Character Education.
Within the Website:
2) Resources and Guides http://www.charactercounts.org/guides.htm
3) What is Ethics Anyway? http://www.josephsoninstitute.org/MED/medwhatis.htm
4) The Six Pillars of Character http://www.josephsoninstitute.org/MED/med6P.htm
5) The Making of an Ethical Decision http://www.josephsoninstitute.org/MED/medmaking.htm
6) Do's and Don'ts of Character http://www.charactercounts.org/dosdonts.htm
  
Institute for Global Ethics
http://www.globalethics.org/default.html
This website contains a number of interesting projects for students. Each month a new ethnical dilemma is provided for discussion. The past dilemmas are archived and include topics such as business, education, family, medical, philanthropic, personal, and military. The "Picturing Tomorrow's World" project for children combines ethics and art. You can also vote at the moral barometer poll.
Projects Within this Website:
2) Ethical Dilemmas: Right vs. Right http://www.globalethics.org/dilemmas/default.tmpl
3) Picturing Tomorrow's World http://www.globalethics.org/ptw/
 
Welcome to Giraffe Country
http://www.giraffe.org
This website celebrates real-world, everyday heroes who have "stuck their necks out" for others. It also fosters active citizenship in children. The website contains hero stories, as well as ideas for becoming an active citizen.
Other Hero and Action Projects:
2) Any Kid Can Be A Hero Contest http://www.cd-mom.com/comcent/hero.html
3) My Hero.com http://myhero.com/
4) Academy of Achievement http://www.achievement.org/
5) Yahooligans: The Big Picture http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/Yahooligans/Great_Kids
 
Using the websites, complete the following activities:
 
Create a Name Poem. Create a name poem using a word related to ethics and character such as integrity, trust, or courage.
 
Choose a Star. Explore the Become a Brilliant Star activity on role models. Choose a famous person. Do you think they are a good role model? Why or why not? Use the 42eXplore:Biography page for links to more famous people.
 
Keep a Character Journal. Start your journal with a personal mission statement. Write about how you're striving to be a person of good character. Each day write about something you did that reflected one of the six pillars of character.
 
Start with a Quote. Use the Quote Unquote and Character Above All pages to identify an interesting quote. Write a paragraph about what the quote means to you. Share the quote with someone special. Select a quote that reflects how you feel about a friend or hero.
 
Build a Pillar Poster. Choose one of the six pillars of character such as trust, worthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. Create a poster showing why you think this pillar is so important. Read more about the Six Pillars of Character and Pillars 2. Watch the Pillars animation.
 
Read the Pillars. Explore a character book list, character, and character books pages. Read a book that represents at least one of the six pillars of characters. Discuss this book with an epal online.
 
Write a Song. Create and perform a song about the importance of good character. Try to tell a story in your song. Videotape your song and send it to another class.
 
Be a Good Sport. What is sportsmanship? Write a skit about sportsmanship in a particular sport. Use the Sportsmanship Links for ideas.
 
Discuss a Dilemma. Read the article The Making of an Ethical Decision. Go to the Ethical Dilemmas website. Read the current dilemma or search for past dilemmas. Discuss how you would react in the situation. Compare your ideas with others through an online discussion.
 
Ethics Through History. People throughout history have been interested in ethics. Select a person in history and compare their philosophies to others. People include Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Montaigne, Thomas Hobbes, Baruch Spinoza, Thomas Locke, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Bjorn Kant.
 
Build "A Person of Character" Bulletin Board. Go to A Person of Character page. Use these five statements as the beginning of a bulletin board. Everyone can add a card with their favorite character statement or quotation. You could also create a Do's and Don'ts of Character bulletin board.
 
Defend a Rule. Read the Models for Ethical Decision Making. Learn more about The Golden Rule, Kant's Categorical Imperatives, and Consequentialism/Utilitarianism. Choose one to defend.
 
Write about a Giraffe. Read about the heroes at Heroism in Action and The Giraffe Project. Visit the web pages of some of these giraffes. Write about someone you think is a local hero. Use the directions on the nomination page to write up your project.
 
Stop the Rationalizations. Rationalizations can inhibit ethical decision making. Read about Common Rationalizations. Choose a rationalization you've heard before. Write about why a person might use this rationalization and how they might be convinced not to use it.
 
Complete a Ethics and Character WebQuest. Explore one of the webquests below:
1) Character Counts http://www.rvschools.org/lhoffman/CharacterEdWebquest/Character%20Education.htm
2) Create a Heroic Character http://coe.west.asu.edu/students/dsouser/sed.htm
3) Do Aliens Have Ethics? http://education.nmsu.edu/webquest/wq/ethics/
4) Explorations http://www.iwebquest.com/greece/greece.htm
5) Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales http://members.tripod.com/~mbreid/FairyTales.html
6) Making a Difference Starts with You http://www.msdpt.k12.in.us/etspages/webquest/tsgoss/
7) Student Press Law and Ethics http://topcat.bridgew.edu/~kschrock/ED560/cabral/lawquest.htm
8) What is a Hero? http://www.redrival.com/hammink/webquest/hero.htm
 
Websites By Kids For Kids
Character! It Sticks
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/4567/
This fourth grade project focuses on cooperative, determination, honesty, integrity, perseverance, and respect.
 
Crossroad of Character
http://library.thinkquest.org/J001675F/
This student project explores issues related to knowing yourself and what makes a hero.
 
Exploring Human Ethics (1997 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/12160/
Ethics reflect the values of a society and what its members judge to be right or wrong. This site explores what constitutes ethical behavior with a revealing questionnaire, literary examples, material on well-known persons who have influenced the stream of ethics.
 
Heroism in Action
http://library.thinkquest.org/C001515/design/
This project focuses on heroes through history and how people can take action.
 
Values: Making Choices for Life
http://library.thinkquest.org/J001709/
Explore this student project on making good choices. Learn about values and making decisions.
 
What Do We Care About (1997 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/13567/
This site challenges us to analyze our beliefs and values, and to take action to make our world a better place. Visitors can learn about lots of areas in which to volunteer time: the areas of environment and wildlife conservation; helping people with disabilities or depression; educating others about animal rights and vegetarianism; and helping alleviate poverty.
 
Moral Dilemmas
http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/chevychasees/dilemmas.html
This fifth grade project focuses on six moral dilemmas developed by a fifth grade class.
 
More Character and Ethics Sites
Character Above All from PBS Newshour
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/character/
This PBS series focuses on presidential leadership and character. It includes essays, quotes, discussions, and other information.
 
Chicken Soup for the Teenaged Soul
http://www.teenagechickensoup.com/
This website supports discussions and activities to help teens deal with relationships, friendships, and other issues. Based on the book, the website contains contests, stories, poetry, and discussions.
Related Website:
2) Chicken Soup for the Soul http://www.chickensoup.com/
 
Classic Texts in Ethics
http://ethics.acusd.edu/books.html
Read a classic work by someone from the history of ethics.
 
Department of Justice
http://www.usdoj.gov/kidspage/
This website gets students involved with crime prevention.
 
Essays in the Purity of Virtues
http://www.susankramer.com/Virtues.html
Explore the writings of Susan Kramer on the topics of compassion, considerations, contentment, courage, faith and trust, integrity, kindness, love, loyalty, manners, peacefulness, selfish or self-giving, steadfastness, tenderness, transformation, and truth.
 
Ethical Choices
http://www.learnwell.org/eth1.shtml
This website is a free, online course in ethics and making ethical choices.
 
Ethical Glossary
http://ethics.acusd.edu/Glossary.html
This glossary contains terms and definitions related to ethics.
 
Ethics - Encarta
http://encarta.msn.com/find/concise.asp?ti=01028000
This web page contains a definition and links to information about ethics and the history of ethics.
 
Girl Power! (Girls, age 9-14)
http://www.girlpower.gov/girlarea
The website's aim is to reinforce and sustain positive values by targeting health messages to the unique needs, interests, and challenges of girls.
Similar Websites:
2) DoSomething.org http://www.dosomething.org/
3) TeenCentral.com http://www.teencentral.net/
  
Meet Cool People
http://www.hud.gov/kids/people.html
This website for children focuses on volunteering, helping careers, and helping the homeless. 
 
Sticks and Stones
http://funrsc.fairfield.edu/~jfleitas/tease.html
This website focuses on teasing and particular the special concerns of ill children.
 
Teenager's Guide to the Real World
http://www.bygpub.com/books/tg2rw/tg2rwbooktoc.htm
Several chapters of this book are online. It explains the immutable facts of life that every successful adult learns in one way or another.
 
Websites For Teachers
12-Point Comprehensive Approach to Character Education
http://www.cortland.edu/www/c4n5rs/12pnt_iv.htm
There are lessons and guides for each of the twelve areas.
 
100 Ideas for Character Education
http://www.resource2000.org/100ideas.htm
Use this list of 100 ideas to get started with a character education thematic unit.
 
Becoming a Brilliant Star
http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/brilstar.html
This project provides an overview of critical characteristics of a "whole child" and links to resources to promote ten areas of child development.
 
CAEC: Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character
http://www.bu.edu/education/caec/
This website provides resources for parents and teachers on the topic of character education. It provides basic principles, resources, and links.
Specific Pages in Website:
2) 100 Ways to Bring Character Education to Life http://www.bu.edu/education/caec/res100.html
3) The Six E's of Character Ed http://www.bu.edu/education/caec/res6es.html
 
Caring Teachers
http://www.caringteachers.com/
This website was developed by teachers interested in providing a caring, supportive classroom environment. The site includes lots of activities and ideas for building a caring classroom.
 
Character Education Lesson Plans
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/nccep/lp/
This North Carolina Public School project provides lesson plans across grade levels and subject areas.
 
Character Education: Character Counts
http://polk.ga.net/Westside/Charactered.html
This website provide a list of traits and matching children's books and resources.
 
Character Education Partnership
http://www.character.org/
This website recognizes excellent character education programs and resources. It also states 11 principles of character education programs. They give annual awards to schools involved with character education.
Related Websites:
2) Character Education Center http://www.ethicsusa.com/
3) Character Education in California http://www.cde.ca.gov/character/
4) Character Education Homepage http://www.usoe.k12.ut.us/curr/char_ed/
5) Center for Character Development http://www.charactercenter.com/
6) Center for Civil Education http://www.civiced.org/
 
Character Education Resources
http://www.goodcharacter.com/
This is a good starting point for information on character education. It contains sections for each grade level as well as sports and other specialty topics.
 
Character Education: Teaching Kids to Care
http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/SchoolsOnline/charactered.html
This project provides a nice introduction to character education. This site provides a series of activities for teachers at the primary, intermediate, and upper levels.
Specific Pages in Website:
2) Strategies for Empowering Students http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/ce/strat-index.html
 
Good Ideas to Help Young People Develop Good Character
http://www.charactercounts.org/ideas/ideatoc.htm
This website provides sample lessons and ideas for ages 4-6, 6-9, 9-11, 11-13, and teenagers. 
 
Project Self Lesson Plans
http://archon.educ.kent.edu/Midwest/Resc/Kansas/psplans.html
Here you find lesson plans for problem solving, becoming assertive, and presenting a positve attitude for a job interview.
 
Random Acts of Kindess
http://www.actsofkindness.org/
This website provides lots of ideas for joining the "kindness" movement including planning for kindness week.
 
character
trustworthiness
respect
responsibility
fairness
caring
values
citizenship
honesty
courage
diligence
integrity
virtues
ethics
oppression
racism
prejudice
tolerance
peace
justice
moral
rights
altruism
autonomy
help
freedom
protection
suffering
welfare
equality
equity
accountability
truth
obedience
trust
perseverance
compassion
right
wrong
good
evil
kindness
 
  
 
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 3/01.