Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Format

The Character Development & Leadership Curriculum utilizes a consistent set of 10 lesson plans to teach each of the 18 character trait modules. This is both the simplicity and the beauty of this curriculum. It’s what the teachers love and the students come to rely on. Once the students understand the 10 lesson plans, they know what to expect, which provides consistency. At the same time, one ethical dilemma (for example) doesn’t look like the next, so each lesson plan is unique and fresh.

Below you will find the format. Each lesson plan is aligned with the common core standards for English and ties into a specific learning style.

Note: This was originally taught as a class so the 10 lesson plans fit neatly into the days of the week, as listed below. Many schools do not teach this curriculum as a stand-alone course so those days of the week do not matter to them. The important thing to understand is that there are 180 lesson plans available in the curriculum (10 lesson plans x 18 character trait modules).

(1) Definition/Quote Exercise

This is a nice way to introduce the trait and get students thinking and reflecting. Students are given quotes that pertain to the trait from people throughout history and asked to personalize and provide context.

(2) Ethical Dilemma

Students are confronted with real-life scenarios that force them to use critical thinking skills, recognize potential options, understand the consequences of their choices and to ultimately make better decisions. Students initially write their answers down on paper, but the hallmark of an effective classroom is getting students up and moving around, forming debates and looking at the issues from diverse perspectives.

(3) Topic Lecture

It is essential to provide students with relevant and research-based information related to the topic of the week. This information helps students move forward by knowing the facts. In addition to the lecture notes, visuals and handouts are provided in the curriculum.

(4) Character Movies

To immerse students in the character trait of the week, 18 movies are provided that exemplify each of the 18 traits covered in the curriculum. All of the movies are rated PG or PG-13 and come with the curriculum. Specific scenes are identified that allow students to focus on the character trait without requiring them to view the entire movie. Thought provoking questions for each movie are provided to facilitate meaningful class discussions. As you might expect, students routinely rate the videos as their favorite part.

(5) Core Readings from the role models textbook

The author wrote a textbook to accompany this curriculum – Role Models: Examples of Character and Leadership. The main purpose of the book is to provide students with positive role models to look up to and emulate. The textbook for this course, highlights 17 individuals who exemplify the various character traits covered in the curriculum. This book is 100% expository writing and is aligned with the common core standards for English. It has a healthy mix of males and females, a diversity of ethnic backgrounds and a combination of historical figures who have stood the test of time and contemporary figures who are worthy of our admiration. Quizzes and vocabulary for each chapter can be found in the curriculum.

(6) Local Community Leaders

Each and every week, individuals from the local community are invited into the classroom to serve as a role models. It became one of the favorite parts of the class. I hope every teacher does this. There is a handout for these guest speakers to follow, but essentially they are to provide their life lessons to the next generation, “If I die tomorrow, what are the life lessons I will leave behind for the next generation.” Everyone can do this if given time to prepare and rehearse.

(7) Basic Skills

In order to effectively teach character, kids must be be challenged intellectually, emotionally and behaviorally. Basic skills emphasize the behavioral aspect of the class. These basic skills provide a skill set that they can utilize on a daily basis, which will ultimately create small & huge differences in their lives.

(8) Leadership Principle

We believe that leadership without character is a failure of leadership. We also believe that it is also possible to have tremendous character and still be a less-than-average leader. Therefore, 17 leadership principles are presented and studied in this curriculum. These principles are delivered in the form of virtual lectures on our website by Dr. Hoedel and other leaders. Discussion questions are social media questions are provided to initiate classroom discussion.

(9) On-Line Blog featuring Current Events

On the website, there is a link to the blog. On this blog, Dr. Hoedel provides weekly posts to spur discussions about current events related to character and leadership. Each post generally contains a link, the author’s perspective and social media questions. Students and teachers can provide comments to posed questions, allowing interaction with students across the country from all kinds of backgrounds.

10) Expository Writing Assignment

Each of the 18 modules culminates in an expository writing assignment and formal oral presentation. All final projects examine core beliefs and positive character-related issues. This is expository writing, requiring students to put what’s in their hearts and their heads on paper. These formal written and oral language outputs meet the new Common Core ELA and ELD demands and support the academic language skills tested on high school exit, college readiness, military and work placement exams.

The 10 lesson plans that are integrated into the weekly format listed above get repeated over and over about a different character trait that is paired with a different topic, as seen below.

18 Character Traits/Weekly Topics Chart

Weekly TopicsCharacter TraitsRole Models
Orientation & ExpectationsAttitudeMattie Stepanek
Developing Goals & PrioritiesPreparationChelsey "Sully" Sullenberger
The Importance of EducationPerseveranceBooker T. Washington
Showing Respect to OthersRespectDwight Eisenhower
Building a Positive ReputationHonestySherron Watkins
Developing Personal ValuesIntegritySonia Sotomayor
Handling Peer PressureCourageAmelia Earhart
The Importance of Role ModelsAppreciationChristopher Reeve
Managing Anger & AggressionComposureMartin Luther King, Jr.
Positive Communication SkillsEmpathyHelen Keller
Expressing Gratitude to ParentsGratitudeBob Hope
Cultural CompetenceToleranceArthur Ashe
Citizenship in the CommunitySacrificePat Tillman
Sustaining Long-term RelationshipsLoyaltyNancy Reagan
Employability & Workplace SkillsResponsibilityCal Ripken, Jr.
Addressing Bullying at Your SchoolCompassionOprah Winfrey
Becoming a Strong LeaderLeadershipMike Krzyzewski
Being a Strong Role ModelCharacterSummary Chapter

Students and teachers rely on this format since it provides consistent and stable learning.

To learn more about potential methods of implementation, click one of the buttons below.

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To provide a deeper understanding, we are providing an entire module — a “week’s” worth of lesson plans. This is the Week 15 Module on Responsibility, which is paired with the topic of Employability and Workplace Skills.

Week 15 Module

What separates this curriculum from other “soft skills” curricula is an emphasis on reading and writing. Each week, students write a two-page essay and read a chapter from the Role Models text book. The literature is clear that all curricula needs to be rigorous and academically challenging. There are high expectations placed on each child – students can’t just show up and get an A in this course.

We also designed the weekly topics to be relevant and meaningful to a child’s life. It is very important that every student understands how each lesson plan will impact their future. Detailed lesson plans, an online blog, virtual lectures on leadership, overheads, PowerPoint presentations, quizzes, final exams, syllabi, grading scales and everything necessary to teach this course is included with this curriculum.