Good character education can help students develop values that they can use over their whole lives, building valuable traits like responsibility, honest and respect for peers. USA TODAY and the YMCA have collaborated to develop lessons that teach character education alongside health and wellness. The lessons listed below are ideal for teaching these two important disciplines in a fun, engaging manner.
Health & Wellness
Introduction: Consider how your physical health affects your mental health. For example, how do you feel mentally shortly after you have played a sport or worked out? In contrast, how do you feel mentally after spending several hours watching TV or surfing the Internet? Your answers probably show that physical activity has the more positive effect on your outlook.
Now, think about how your mental health affects your physical health. When you’re mentally strong, you want that “I can conquer the world” feeling that exercise provides. However,when you’re sedentary, under stress or depressed it’s difficult to get motivated to exercise. And there’s the conundrum: Exercise— one of the best ways to feel better — is also one of the hardest things to do when you’re stressed, down or out of shape.
So how can you make exercise a habit — something you do no matter how you feel? Identify one goal, stick with it and have a friend or family member hold you to it. Then, when you achieve your goal, reward yourself. (After awhile, exercise becomes its own reward because it makes you feel so good.) Even though it won’t be easy exercising when you’re not feeling your best, having a plan and support will make you more likely to do it.
Instructions: Write down one exercise goal (e.g., to run a mile without stopping) and list three reasons you want to achieve it. Choose a goal that is challenging for you. Don’t worry about what other people’s goals are. Next, list the steps you need to take to achieve your goal (you can have as few as three or as many as 10). Start very small. For example, if you want to run a mile without stopping, your first goal might be to walk a half a mile. Then, you could advance to walking a mile, then to running a quarter mile, etc. Identify the date by which you want to achieve each step. Be realistic. If your goal is to run a marathon, you need to give yourself some time!Finally, under “call date,” write another date, sometime prior to the date you plan to accomplish that step. This will be the date on which a friend or family member will talk to you about how that step is going. Now, all that’s left to do is copy this sheet, give it to your trusted friend or family member and get to work. Oh, and don’t forget to give yourself a reward when you have accomplished your goal!
Introduction: People, businesses and nations have conflicting ideas and interests; that’s a simple fact. How parties in conflict resolve their issues is more complex. But generally,it boils down to boundaries and choices.
Boundaries are powerful. Your personal boundaries establish what you will and will not put up with; they show that you have self respect and all the courage and dignity that comes along with it. When a peer consistently puts you down, it feels wrong because he or she has crossed a boundary. Luckily, you have another power — choice. You can think about and choose the best way to handle the situation. You are not helpless. Setting boundaries shows the world you’re strong; making thoughtful choices shows you’re wise.
Like people, businesses and nations set boundaries and make choices. If an enemy country crosses a physical or political boundary, a nation can choose to negotiate, decide to send in troops or start a full-fledged war. When considering these options, policy makers think about the strength and purpose of the boundary and the seriousness of the offense.
Look through the newspaper and identify one local, one national and one international conflict. Also think of one conflict occurring in your personal life. Briefly summarize each dispute and the players involved. Next, list three possible solutions for each conflict and circle the one you think is the best choice. Finally, under the heading “Boundary issue,” write a comment about each conflict that describes a boundary that has been crossed or one that needs to be set.
Health & Wellness
Excellence in sports isn’t measured only by athletic skill. Sportsmanship, honesty and consideration are just as important. Instructions: With a partner, look through USA TODAY’s Sports section and identify two sports that interest both of you. Write down three basic rules for each. Then, come up with a new game, designed for six people, combining elements of the sports you identified. Use at least two of the rules you wrote down (add others as needed). Organize a game of your new sport with four of your classmates.