On April 1st, we launched our CharacterStrong Podcast and have been humbled by the response with nearly 1,000 subscribers. Today, May 1st, we are officially launching for pre-sale our much-anticipated Elementary Toolkit! It’s been a busy month!
CharacterStrong started at the secondary level knowing full well how hard it is to create relevant and engaging materials for students Grades 6-12. We knew there were some strong offerings at the Elementary level and not nearly enough curricula for middle and high school, so we went to work building the most easy-to-use and captivating content we could for Advisory and Leadership. A few years later, after a lot of requests for younger material, we realized there is still a need for quality, low-burden content for our K-5 friends, too!
Introducing, PurposeFull People!
PurposeFull People is CharacterStrong’s K-5 Toolkit. It is intentionally designed to support any work you are already doing around Character Education and Social-Emotional Learning - and is a robust option on its own.
Designed by veteran teachers, school counselors, play therapists, and lots of other incredible voices, PurposeFull People is packed with tons of practical and easy-to-use tools that focus on developing character and social-emotional skills in students, staff, and families. To start, we are focusing on these 10 traits:
The toolkit, like everything we do at CharacterStrong, was built with a holistic approach. School culture is not just shaped by mission statements and what we teach in the classroom. Every behavior - whether it is a student’s, a teacher’s, or a parent’s - shapes how we experience school. For that reason, PurposeFull People focuses on resources for the CLASS, for the STAFF, for FAMILIES, and for the PLAYGROUND.
In the CLASSROOM toolkit, you will find resources that are sorted into our signature S.E.R.V.E. model:
START INTENTIONALLY: Thoughtful ways to begin your month, your week, and your day related to the month’s character trait!
ENGAGE RELATIONALLY: Activities that get students connecting, playing, and engaging with a focus on the monthly character trait!
RESPOND WITH EMPATHY: Tools to get students re-focused or re-energized thoughtfully to best meet their social, emotional, and physical needs throughout a day.
VALUES PRACTICED CONSISTENTLY: Experiential learning designed to put abstract values into practical action to help students see what this month’s character trait looks like, sounds like, and feels like.
EXIT INTENTIONALLY: Effective ways to end your month, your week, and your day related to this month’s character trait and to create a safe, positive, consistent classroom routine
The STAFF component involves a weekly character challenge related to that month’s trait so that the adults in the building are role-modeling what character development looks like in action. We know that, particularly in education, personal development IS professional development!
The FAMILY component includes a letter home that has conversation starters, simple activities, and Family character challenges (“PurposeFull Pursuits”) related to the monthly trait. We know that this bridge is one of the most important ones to build! Speaking a common language between school and home and equipping families with the tools to engage in these meaningful (and sometimes tough!) conversation is critical for sustainable change.
The PLAYGROUND portion offers some practical games and tools for focused, character-trait based play and/or experiences. Recess offers a lot of behavioral challenges for many schools, so providing resources in this area was important to us for full-school impact.
Why “PurposeFull People?” We know that the number one indicator of success today isn’t GPA or IQ - it is grit and resilience. Angela Duckworth, who is the leading expert on the subject, says that grit is a byproduct of clear purpose in people’s lives. From a young age, we need to help our students live life with purpose! And we know that purpose is infused by living lives that are FULL of kindness, empathy, courage - FULL of meaningful relationships and the tools to be in community with one another.
We’ve intentionally branded it entirely different from CharacterStrong knowing that, if it looks or sounds or smells the same between Primary and Secondary content, students (and staff!) will naturally respond with, “We’ve already done this!” and quickly disengage. We’ve made the two worlds entirely distinct, but intentionally aligned, so that a district can focus on character, SEL, and relationship building K-12 in a thoughtful, consistent approach.
- Day 1, An Image of Courage: How does this image inspire Courage? Do you relate to the mouse? This big canvas is a big, courageous project to take on. What is a big project that would be courageous for you to attempt?
- Day 2, Vocabulary: Endure: survive, persevere, continue
- Day 3, Biography: Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter and activist. After being gravely injured in a bus crash, Frida used art to own her power, express herself and advocate for freedom and justice. She was courageously herself - a disabled feminist - in a time and place when all of those things were looked down upon.
- Day 4, Reflection: How have you already practiced Courage in your life?
Day 5, Action: What challenges have you overcome? How did these challenges teach or change you? What helps you persevere even when things are hard or scary?
We are so thrilled to be bringing our work to the K-5 space. Click the button below to download a FULL sample of our month of Courage, focusing on the K-2 age group.
Houston Kraft is the co-founder of CharacterStrong. He is a professional speaker and kindness advocate who has spoken at over 600 events internationally. Student Body President in High School, Class President at Bowdoin College, Leadership Camp Staff for 14 years in Washington - he is a lifelong learner of character, culture, kindness, and leadership. He was featured in 2019 on BBQ Lays Potato Chips and his mom's lasting life lesson is "Hug like you mean it."