Part 1 – Building the Foundation

You may have some HW tonight.

The Vocabulary List (and then some)


OUR WARM UP: What would it be like to live in a world without rules? Answer the question however you like: list, paragraph, draw, write a song. There’s one rule, though – Don’t look at your neighbor’s work.

SUPPLIES: Blocker Folders, arts n’ crafts supplies, pencils, erasers,


IN CLASS – Today we will discuss the notion of rules in society and in classrooms:

  • Who needs ’em?
  • Why have ’em?
  • Who decides on ’em?
  • What’re they based on?

WARM UP . . . . Then,

Split the class in half – Team A      &      Team B (each in alpha-order in the groups)

PART I (may not seem like it, but this should last about 10 minutes): Through class/group discussion conclusions are drawn.

  1. There should be two (2) note-takers in each group (4 for the whole class, you see).
    1. Note-takers list names in alpha-order, and what each individual contributes in answer to each of the following questions:
      1. Who needs rules?
      2. Why have rules at all?
      3. Who decides on the rules? What are they based on?
      4. (4) & (5) are closure questions – please see below.

WHO NEEDS RULES? There are people among us who feel there needn’t be rules at all. Those people usually end up in one of three places or states of existence: jails & institutions, dead, homeless. What I have found is that we all need rules: moms, dads, brothers, sisters, the elderly; cops need ’em, judges need ’em, presidents need ’em; teachers need ’em; students need ’em; parents need ’em; EVERYONE needs ’em.

WHY HAVE RULES AT ALL? A world without rules would be one in which little happiness would exist for most people; many people would starve; it would be dangerous to live in; there would be murder and mayhem everywhere; it would be easy to die in; chaotic, unpredictable.

WHO DECIDES ON THE RULES? WHAT ARE THEY BASED ON? What has been shown to be true through history is that true leaders do not determine the rules people live by. People create the rules people live by based on what they need and want.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?  It means that you, the students, must create the rules you live, work, grow, and prosper by. It means that through your own action or inaction you ARE ALWAYS creating the rules. It means that I must not be one to impose rule over you. In fact, I couldn’t even think of it. You must own the classroom, and you can do that by creating your own set of classroom rules.

HOW CAN STUDENTS CREATE RULES OF THEIR OWN? Well, that’s what the rest of this project is about.

PART II (45 minutes): We briefly talk about the Core of our Lives, the principles we live by; character traits, values, spiritual principles. Although the list of principles may vary from faith to faith, culture to culture, society to society – they all boil down to one thing….happiness. We all want to be happy. In terms of a classroom, a happy classroom is  a learning, growing classroom.

The first vocabulary list I assign is the list of trait words for this project. Any list of trait words that can be used in a public school setting and remain open to all is welcome.

How did I come up with my master list?

Since this started within the context of my teaching career, I’d have to say that the list of traits began with the the Broward County Core Character Traits list: cooperation, responsibility, citizenship, respect, kindness, honesty, tolerance, self-control. I found my way to a set of principles to live by and, soon after, added a few more traits: open-mindedness, diligence, and vigilance. When I moved to Charlotte in June of 2008 I found, through Charlotte Mecklenberg Schools, a few more traits I hadn’t incorporated yet: caring, justice, fairness, courage, perseverance, and hope. Ultimately, for good and good measure, I added what might be the most essential trait of all, compassion.

  1. Cooperation: Working with others to accomplish a common goal. Cooperation at Brainy Quote.
  2. Responsibility: Meeting obligations by being reliable, accountable, and dependable to self and others. Responsibility at Brainy Quote.
  3. Citizenship: Knowing, understanding, and displaying a high regard for rules, government, heritage, and for those who have served and sacrificed for community and country. Citizenship at Brainy Quote.
  4. Respect: Showing consideration, understanding, and regard for people, places and things. Respect at Brainy Quote.
  5. Kindness: Being helpful, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and considerate. Kindness at Brainy Quote.
  6. Honesty: Being truthful, trustworthy, and sincere. Honesty at Brainy Quote.
  7. Tolerance: Recognizing and respecting the differences, values, and beliefs of other people. Tolerance at Brainy Quote.
  8. Self-Control: Having discipline over one’s behavior and actions. Self-Control at Brainy Quote.
  9. Caring: Showing understanding of others by treating them with kindness, compassion, generosity and a forgiving spirit. Quotes on CARING at
  10. Fairness: Practicing justice, equity and equality. Cooperating with one another. Recognizing the uniqueness and value of each individual within our diverse society. Brainy Quotes on Fairness.
  11. Courage: Doing the right thing in face of difficulty and following your conscience instead of the crowd. Courage according to Inspire My Kids.
  12. Perseverance: Pursuing worthy objectives with determination and patience while exhibiting fortitude when confronted with failure. Perseverance quotations at Brainy Quotes
  13. Open-Mindedness: Receptive to new and different ideas or the opinions of others. Open-mindedness on the web at Brainy Quotes.
  14. Diligence: constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind. Here are some Google Images with quotations.
  15. Vigilance: The condition of being alert. Are you watching for quotes on this?
  16. Hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. His Holliness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama can tell you about this.
  17. Compassion: Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. His Holliness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama can tell you about this, uh, too.

Terms 1-8 are defined by Broward County Schools. Terms 9–12 are defined by Terms 13, 15 and 17 are defined by Terms 14, 16 are defined by


During class, I assign the traits; basically one or two to a student. We begin creating word webs (see a sample) for the character traits. In addition to other work detailed below, the word webs must be completed.

  • For extra-credit you can create word webs for each of the extra terms (5 extra webs = 5 extra points [ta daaaaa]). Your webs must have at least four things included on them:

Word Webs must have the following as a minimum included for full credit:

  1. The Word (eh?) prominently displayed.
  2. The denotative definition (what’s denotative mean? . .  . Here’s a clue: Look it up.)
  3. A quote related to or incorporating the word with who said it (if known).
  4. One or more of the following:
    • synonyms – a term with an extremely similar meaning
    • antonyms – a term with an shockingly opposite meaning
    • the word in another language (that you are enrolled in or are fluent in)
    • examples from your own lives
    • activities that could teach the trait to others
    • how you see it demonstrated in others

YOUR WORD WEBS ARE DUE DAY 3. You want extra credit? Do more trait webs than you were assigned, for other words, ask about other ways to get extra points.


Further work that MUST be done . . . . .

  1. Finish the word web for the trait, and
  2. Explore and work with a Student Code of Conduct Book. You can find some useful stuff at this CMS page – CLICK HERE !!

With a Student Code of Conduct Book your task is two-fold:

  1. The hard part: Find a passage/phrase that addresses the trait you’ve been assigned. The phrase or passage must grab you. It should be powerful to you.
  2. The easy part: On a sheet of paper or on your website:
    1. Copy the phrase/passage word for word. That means the entire thing; the whole sentence, passage, paragraph, whatever is necessary for us to get the whole message.
    2. Rewrite it/Sum it up in your own words.
    3. Explain how it is related to your trait. Get help from someone at home. You do not have to do this by yourself.
    4. Explain how your phrase also relates to other traits if it does.
    5. Explain why you agree or disagree with the passage/phrase.

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