Teaching Courage in the Classroom
Teaching courage in the classroom is a huge need today. In school, it is part of building a healthy learning environment. Far beyond overcoming fear, showing courage means taking heart in the midst of struggles. If you’ve been looking for ways to teach courage in your classroom, this post is filled with lessons, activities, and ideas to help you teach courage and promote a healthy learning environment. To see how I kick-off character education in my own classroom, check out this post.
My courage resource shown below contains an assortment of materials that will help you teach courage to your students. Check out all the activities below!
Courage Pacing Guide
Use this pacing guide to map out your whole month of lessons on courage. This will help you set aside enough time to complete as many or as few of the activities as you’d like with students.
Courage Bulletin Board
As I begin teaching a new character education trait, I like to create a bulletin board. It’s a fantastic way to introduce and define a new topic and start class discussions. In my courage resource, I include everything you’ll need to introduce courage to your students with a beautiful bulletin display. Keep this display in your classroom for the entire month that you are teaching students about courage.
With my courage resource, you can customize your display to best fit your class. You can add a quote of the week, respect scenarios to discuss as a class, writing prompts for the day or week, and courage posters.
Courage Read Alouds
Read alouds are always a great starting point for class discussions. Some of the best conversations in our classroom follow reading a great book together. If you are looking to teach courage, I put together a great collection of books to read. These will help expose your students to different kinds of courage and help show what it looks like.
In my Character Education: Courage Resource, I include a list of mentor texts. Check them out along with the links to each that you can use to purchase.
A random act of courage calendar is a great way to encourage (and remind) students to do something courageous every day. I created this calendar to help your students put their courage lessons into action. Each day, there is a different act of courage for students to complete. My ultimate goal is to create positive habits. Hopefully, students show courage even after they finish the calendar.
These calendars are editable. You can change the month, customize the acts of courage to fit your students, and make different versions of the calendar. Students will be able to do different acts of courage than their classmates each day.
Each day, I like to take a few minutes to talk about the day’s act of courage with students. Give students examples of ways to complete the act of courage or have students give examples. When students have completed an act of courage, have them color in a square.
Doodle Coloring Reflection Page
A doodle coloring reflection page is a great way to get students to think about courage. You can include reflection questions, examples of courage, run quotes, and doodles for students to color.
Have students think about a courageous superhero to save the day. Students will create a story and draw their superhero. My resource has two versions of planning pages to best fit student needs. There is also an attractive comic page for their final product.
Finding My Courage Activity
Have students write a letter to a friend telling them about something they cannot do, but would like to be able to do. The courage resource includes how to write a letter, a planning page, and paper that can be printed for bulletin or hallway displays.
How Would You Respond Courage Activity
Give students an opportunity to respond to real-life situations where they might need to show courage. Each situation is written into a phone graphic, and students will color in the message bubble that demonstrates courage. Students will then explain their answers.
Courage Quote of the Week
Have your students analyze different quotes on courage for class discussion. For each week you spend teaching courage in the classroom, you can share a new quote with students. In my courage resource, I include five different quotes with three short-answer questions to help students reflect on the quote’s meaning. I selected quotes that will help you have great discussions with students in your class.
Each quote is available in a speech bubble that you can print for use on a bulletin board or for hanging around your classroom. The discussion questions are on a separate page. There is also an option to print the quote and discussion question on a single page.
Courage scenarios or social stories allow your students to place themselves in new situations and think about ways to be courageous. These scenarios are a great way to inspire meaningful conversations in your classroom.
You can display the scenarios on your bulletin board for class discussion or print the scenarios and allow students to work in groups or independently.
Courage Parent Letter
Parent letters are very effective for teaching courage in your classroom. They get parents involved as they can reinforce the character education lessons at home.
The letter included in my courage resource provides parents and families with tools to help them explain, model, and praise courage in the home. Additionally, it includes a list of books and movies that families can enjoy together.
Courage Anchor Chart
I am a huge fan of anchor charts. They are a great reference for students as they respond to questions, work independently, and contribute to discussions during your Character Education lessons throughout the month.
This anchor chart is a great activity to do with your students after introducing your bulletin board on courage. It’s also a great activity to accompany a mentor text or read aloud. Because this anchor chart has a discussion question, I believe students will get the most benefit from doing it together as a class. A printable anchor chart is also included.
Posters are a great way to remind students to show courage.
Four different posters that define courage are included in this resource. Each poster has the same message with different clip art that shows an example of courage. The clip art includes multicultural children to reflect the diverse learners in your classroom.
You can hang the posters on a bulletin board to create a display, display the posters around the classroom or in your hallways, pass the posters out to students to keep at their desks, or use the posters as a cover page in a folder.
Courage Reader’s Theater
These reader’s theater scripts are such a great tool for promoting courage in the classroom. They allow your students to get creative and create a memorable experience based on courage. Additionally, they will help with fluency, comprehension, and speaking all while doing Character Education.
In my courage resource, there are three scripts for students to read and perform:
The Courage to Turn Back: In this story, students will play a group of explorers in Antarctica attempting to reach the South Pole. During this play, they’ll learn about making tough decisions and having the courage to do what’s right, even if it means not reaching your goals.
History Bowl: In this story, students will be playing either a judge or a contestant in the History Bowl. By the end of this play, students will learn about people from history who showed courage in different ways.
Belling the Cat: In this story, students will play the role of Tiger the cat and the mice who live on the farm. The mice concoct a great plan to deal with their cat problem but find out that no one has the courage to put the plan into action. This play will help your students understand the lesson that courage sometimes requires action that’s scary or difficult.
Courage Writing Prompts + Publishing Pages
Writing prompts encourage them to write about courage in a thoughtful and creative way. They are also a great tool to help students reflect on ways to be courageous.
In my resource, there are five writing prompts that encourage students to reflect and write about courage. They include writing about a time your someone you know showed courage, imaging courage in a bottle, reflecting on what job requires the most courage, writing a short story about Braelin the Brave, and a short story about a character named Sir Timid.
I’ve also included writing paper and clip art to turn this into a published piece of writing to display in your room or hallway. I also have included a printable bulletin board heading if you choose to display the writing pages in your own classroom.
The courage resource shown above is a small part of my Character Education or Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum that you can use for the entire year.
The individual pillars (kindness, respect, responsibility, courage, cooperation, empathy, generosity, perseverance, friendship, and integrity) each covers an entire month. Each pillar of my Character Education or SEL Curriculum is filled with meaningful lessons, materials, hands-on activities, anchor charts, bulletin board materials, parent letters, and more that will set you up for the entire year.
Build a positive culture in your classroom and empower students to be their best selves! This courage resource equips you with an entire toolbox of materials to help your students develop and practice positive character traits.