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Keep It Simple, Make It Real

Keep It Simple, Make It Real
Character Development in Grades 6-12

Edited by:

Foreword by Philip Fitch Vincent

July 2009 | 192 pages | Corwin
This resource provides a comprehensive plan for creating and sustaining a school- and classroom-based character development programme while maintaining a unique and consistent focus on "keeping it simple" and "making it real."

Unlike many existing models for character development, the book's approach addresses the underlying factors that limit students' interest and/or desire to develop positive attitudes and behaviours. These elements include students' perceptions about their physical, emotional, and intellectual environments, and how those environments are influenced by the relationships with their principals, teachers, and each other.

Based on research, best practices, and the author's more than 30 years in education, Keep It Simple, Make It Real: Character Development in Grades 6-12 gives educators a powerful tool for influencing students' attitudes and behaviours.

Foreword by Philip Fitch Vincent
About the Author
1. Living, Learning, and Leading in Harmony: Character Development in Middle and Secondary Schools
Current Perspectives on Character Development


Current Perspectives on Character Development

Academic Achievement and Students' Beliefs, Attitudes, and Behaviors

Keept It Simple, Make It Real

A Character Development Framework for Schools

Some Final Thoughts


2. Safe and Inviting Physical Environment: Physical Environments That Change Behavior
Aspects of the Physical Environment That Impact On Achievement and Character Development

Aspects of the Physical Environment Affecting Health

Aspects of the Environment Affecting Safety

Aspects of the Physical Environment Affecting Physiological Needs

Aspects of the Physical Environment Affecting Morale

Some Final Thoughts


3. Modeling Good Character: The Role of Principals and Teachers

Modeling the Three Es

The First E: The Power of Experience

The Second E: The Power of Exchange

The Third E: The Power of Empowerment

Some Final Thoughts


4. Establishing Rules and Procedures for Civility: Creating a Positive School and Classroom Environment

The Need for Discipline in Establishing a Positive School Climate

Progressive Discipline

Positive Behavioral Interventions, Supports, and Consequences

Some Final Thoughts


5. Making Curricular Connections: Teaching Opportunities That Connect Student Learning to Character Development

Curriculum Priorities in Character Development

The R.I.T.E. of Curriculum Passage

Curricular and Cocurricular Opportunities That Connect Student Learning to Character Development

Some Final Thoughts


6. Assessing Character Development

Monitoring Character Development

Creating the Assessment Tool

Some Final Thoughts


Resource A: Sample Character Development Framework for Schools: Trillium Lakelands District School Board
Resource B: Sample Assessment and Evaluation Tools for the Character Development Framework for Schools
Resource C: Sample Strategic Plan for Schoolwide Character Development
Resource D: Sample Lesson Plans
Resource E: Sample Assessment and Evaluation Poster Embedding Character Development
Resource F: Sample Code of Behavior

“Jan Olsson uses his experience as a teacher and administrator to offer educators and community leaders a must-read, what-works-and-what-doesn’t book on character development in schools. This exceptionally well-organized, practical, and very impressive work should be on every administrator’s and character educator’s desk. Olsson redefines the lens through which educators view the factors that impact school climate, teacher-student relationships, student behavior, and ultimately the character development of young people.”

Edward DeRoche, Director
Character Development Center, University of San Diego

"This is a book that's been needed in the character education movement for a long time, one written by a principal who's been leading the way. Jan Olsson lives up to his title by keeping it simple and by keeping it real while showing us how we can help junior high and high school students develop their character without sacrificing academic standards. It's easy to read, well organized, and, most important, contains hundreds of practical strategies that work."

Hal Urban, Teacher and Speaker
Author, Lessons From The Classroom

"Nuts-and-bolts advice supported by real-life examples makes Jan Olsson’s how-to manual an invaluable tool for school leaders. There are gems of wisdom here you won’t find in other character education guides."

Tom Lickona, Director, Center for the 4th and 5th Rs
Coauthor, Smart & Good High Schools

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412966030