Character Counts Essay Prompts Examples

If you are using the video, ask questions 1-4 before viewing.

  • What is "fairness?"

  • How do you know when something is unfair?

  • Does being fair mean you always treat people equally? Explain your answer.

  • How many people here think the world is unfair and there's nothing you can do about it?

  • In the video one boy said kids were too young to really understand fairness. Do you think it's true that you don't really understand what "fair" is because you are too young?

  • Do you think there is a definition of fairness everyone could agree on? If so, what might that definition be?

  • Do you think it is fair for Jennifer to lose her scholarship because she cheated? What do you think the school should do?

  • One kid said that another definition of fairness is "getting what you deserve." Another kid said that Jennifer might be poor but "besides that, she is like every other person and should be treated that way." Do you agree?

  • Should gender or class be disregarded when someone is being punished?

  • One kid says we need to ignore everything but the deed and the rule broken. How do you feel about that?

  • Can you think of an example where it might be fair to give someone an extra advantage?

  • What do you think of the statement that whether you think of consequences or not, they're still there?

  • What makes a person fair?

  • What does being fair have to do with one's character?

  • Do you agree that it's necessary to walk in someone's shoes before you decide what is fair?

  • What do you think about the statement that one boy makes, "It's easy for us to define what's fair when it's not about us?"

  • After talking about Jennifer's situation, have any of you changed your mind about what the school should do about her?

  • Have you ever been punished in a way you felt was unfair? What was unfair about it?

  • Do you think the teen court at Goshen Middle School was fair in its decision to keep Felicia from going on the Washington DC trip? If not, should it have been more or less strict?

  • If you had a chance to serve on a teen court, do you think you would be able to make fair decisions? What if the person you were reviewing was a friend of yours?

  • How do you hold onto strict principles of fairness? Is it possible?

  • What are "assumptions?" How do assumptions play a role in fairness?

  • What responsibility do we have when we see someone being treated unfairly? What does our response to unfairness to others have to do with our character?

  • Is there nothing we can do when something is unfair?

  • In the video, Michael Pesci said, "Come up with an idea, get people to help you out, anything is possible." Do you agree?

  • Michael used a passion of his to make a difference. What role do you think passion plays in making changes in the world that create more fairness?

  • What is your own personal passion that you can express by making a difference in this world?

  • What are some little things you can do to make life more fair?

  • What do you think Mahatma Gandhi meant when he said, "be the change you want to see?"

  • What do you think about Chloe's statement that some people say if we want life to be fair, that means each of us needs to be fair. Do you agree?

  • Did the video present any ideas you disagreed with?

  • In what way did the video inspire you to be more fair in your dealings with friends and family?

  • Character Education Writing Prompts

    Using character education writing prompts throughout humane, environmental, and moral education lessons can help kids develop empathy toward people, animals, and the earth. Writing activities coupled with experiential learning delivers a powerful "one-two" punch within a character education education curriculum.

    In an effort to answer the question,"Why are some people especially compassionate, more so than others?", research has studied empathetic responses and the role that education figures into the equation. A widely held belief among the general public is that empathy is broad-based: you're either an empathetic person or you're not. You respond with equal compassion to people, animals, and the environment, or you don't.

    However, studies conducted through Stanford Univerity(USA), the University of New South Wales(Australia), and the University of Edinburgh(UK) discovered the link between experiential learning and the development of compassionate character. Empathy for people develops from our experiences with people. Empathy for animals develops from our experiences with animals. Empathy for nature develops from our experiences with the natural world.

    In other words, if you want kids to be kind to people, teach them to be kind to people. If you want kids to be kind to animals and the earth, teach them to be kind to animals and the earth.

    A high quality character education program provides hands-on learning activities followed by creative writing ideas that encourage deeper reflection upon what it means to be a compassionate human being. Carefully designed character education writing prompts take active experiences into the realm of contemplation. Kids get to "think it all out" on paper in a way that makes sense to them.

    The most effective way to design character education writing prompts is to make use of the RAFTS technique, outlined step-by-step on this page. Use the following character education writing prompts as examples to guide your planning. When you're ready to create your own character education writing prompts, return to this page for guidelines on how to get started.

    Character Education Writing Prompts: Trustworthiness

    What Does It Mean?
    • Role: you
    • Audience: your documents
    • Format: essay
    • Topic: trustworthiness
    • Strong Verb: explain
    You and your classmates are discussing what it means to be trustworthy. What do you think? Write an essay explaining your thoughts.

    Open for Business
    • Role: you
    • Audience: potential customers
    • Format: advertising brochure
    • Topic: trustworthiness and the best business choice
    • Strong Verb: design
    You are opening a pet sitting service. Design an advertising brochure which explains why you can be trusted to provide the very best pet care in the area.

    Character Education Writing Prompts: Respect

    Showing Respect Rules!
    • Role: you
    • Audience: your classmates
    • Format: classroom rules
    • Topic: establishing respect in the classroom
    • Strong Verb: write
    It's the beginning of a new school year. Your teacher has asked your classmates to participate in designing rules to help the class function smoothly throughout the year. Write a list of rules that help establish respect for other people in and out of the classroom.

    Something in Common
    • Role: you
    • Audience: your teacher
    • Format: short story
    • Topic: respect in friendship
    • Strong Verb: imagine and write
    You have just received your weekly creative writing assignment: write a fictional short story in which the main characters learn to respect each others' differences, overcome misconceptions, and build a strong friendship. Write that story.

    Character Education Writing Prompts: Responsibility

    Going Shopping
    • Role: you as a future pet owner
    • Audience: your parents
    • Format: a budget
    • Topic: financial responsibility for a pet
    • Strong Verb: research and persuade
    You want to get a new pet. You must prove to your parents that you can financially support the animal of your choice. Remember that a pet is for life! Research the costs of responsible pet ownership, from the initial adopting of the animal through its elderly years. Present your findings to your parents, persuading them that you can handle the financial responsibility and explain how you will do so.

    Call Me Responsible
    • Role: you
    • Audience: your classmates
    • Format: essay
    • Topic: explain
    You and your classmates are discussing waht it means to be responsible. What do you think? Write an essay explaining your thoughts. Use specific examples.

    Character Education Writing Prompts: Fairness

    Friends Find a Way
    • Role: playground supervisor
    • Audience: younger children
    • Format: problem-solving talk
    • Topic: fairness in a game among friends
    • Strong Verb: imagine and write
    You are a playground supervisor. As sometimes happens with younger children, a squabble has broken out over the issue of fairness in a game. Imagine what you would say to the children involved, as you help them understand that friends find a way to treat each other fairly. Write down your thoughts.

    Family Chores
    • Role: you
    • Audience: your parents
    • Format: a weekly schedule and persuasive letter
    • Topic: the fair assignment of household chores
    • Strong Verb: design and persuade
    You want to help your family get more work done around the house, so that you might have more family fun time together. Design a weekly schedule of responsibilities for each family member. Consider everyone's school hours or workday, and assign chores based on a fair distribution of time and abilities. Write a persuasive letter to your parents, explaining why your schedule is a fair one and how it can help your family ultimately have more enjoyable times together.

    Character Education Writing Prompts: Caring

    Caring Marks the Spot
    • Role: you
    • Audience: your family and friends
    • Format: personalized bookmarks
    • Topic: caring and kindness
    • Strong Verb: create
    You are creating personalized bookmarks as gifts for family members and friends. Write a unique message on each bookmark expressing your appreciation of each person's kindness and caring.

    Kind Words
    • Role: you
    • Audience: yourself
    • Format: descriptive essay
    • Topic: the kindest words ever said to you
    • Strong Verb: describe
    Speaking kindly to each other is one of the most important things we can do. Describe in detail one of the kindest things ever said to you. Remember to include who, what, where, when, why, and how.

    Character Education Writing Prompts: Citizenship

    Neighborly Ways
    • Role: you
    • Audience: yourself
    • Format: list
    • Topic: being neighborly
    • Strong Verb: write
    You are concerned that certain people or families in your neighborhood may need an extra hand. Make a list of chores to be done and how you can assist your neighbors.

    • Role: you
    • Audience: your classmates
    • Format: essay
    • Topic: most pressing environmental challenge
    • Strong Verb: research and write
    Good citizenship involves solving environmental challenges. What do you think is the most important environmental issue we face today? Research that issue and write about ways that ordinary citizens can alleviate that problem.

    Character Education Writing Prompts: Humane Heroes

    Challenge your students to examine the lives of these influential men and women. What moral qualities shaped their lives, as they in turn shaped our world into a better place for people, animals, and the environment:
    • Susan Brownwell Anthony
    • Lucretia Mott
    • Rosa Parks
    • Dian Fossey
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • Mohandas Gandhi
    • Frederick Douglass
    • Henry Spira
    • Giovanni Francesco Bernardone (St. Francis of Assisi)
    • Henry Bergh
    • Rachel Carson
    • Albert Schweitzer
    • John Muir
    For added punch, try creative informational reports and out-of-the-box biography presentations as you study these and other humane heroes.

    Remember that the factors that shape kids' moral well-being include looking outward to the world around them and learning to relate to others, from adults to peers to animals and nature. Character education writing prompts make that happen!

    Return from Character Education Writing prompts to Creative Writing Ideas

    Return from Character Education Writing Prompts to Creative Writing Ideas and Activities

    Helping You Write Across the Curriculum!

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