Character Education

  • Youth Engaged in Service

    This episode of NJEA's Classroom Close-up highlights the Youth Engaged in Service program at Hillside Intermediate School. The school integrates service learning across the curriculum. In science, students learn how to protect local environments. In language arts, students write and illustrate books for children. The school participates in projects that improve the lives of people and animals, as well as projects that promote environmental stewardship. Students have many opportunities to work directly with the people in the community that they are helping. Technology is used to document the service learning projects.

    Grades: 13+
  • The Music of Character

    In this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up, fifth graders at William Woodruff Elementary School discuss and build character. The students select a word of the week, write essays and present a speech to the class about their word. Their production skills come into play when they select songs and create videos that highlight words. Building character contributes to a warm classroom environment where each student feels welcome. In addition, character education helps prepare children for challenges they will face during adolescence.

    Grades: 13+
  • Reflection

    Volunteer programs at different schools are showcased in this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up. Educators are preparing today’s children to be tomorrow’s leaders through innovative and creative programs. Some schools have implemented community service initiatives to help meet the needs of their local community. Other schools are helping improve the lives of people far from home by raising awareness and donating to important causes. Students and teachers share what they are learning about compassion, humanity, and kindness.


    Grades: 13+
  • Positive Behavior Support in Schools

    Teachers at Daniel R. Ryan School No. 19 discuss the benefits of the Positive Behavior Support in Schools (PBSIS) Initiative in this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up. PBSIS is a partnership between the NJDOE and the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in which teachers are trained to reinforce positive behavior of elementary students and to not respond to negative behaviors.Community members are invited to a school-wide Positive Behavior Day to celebrate success and to encourage the students.


    Grades: 13+
  • Sing for Change

    In this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up, students at Blackwood Loring Flemming Elementary School use their voices to educate people about bullying, respect, and self-acceptance. With knowledge of bullying’s enormous negative impact among even very young children, music teacher and choir director, Erica Guillama, decided to integrate themes of character education and bullying awareness into her music class. Her fourth grade students perform a concert for the community, singing songs with positive social messages and wearing shirts with positive descriptive words about themselves. Students also engage in bullying awareness exercises, such as crumbling up and stomping on paper to model the permanent negative effects of bullying.

    Grades: 13+
  • Helping Drew

    In this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up, pre-K and kindergarten students at Teaneck‘s Bryant Elementary School get an early anti-bullying lesson from a teacher-produced puppet show called "Helping Drew". Elementary school educator, Alex Ishkanian, combines his passion for the performing arts and his education background to create engaging, dramatic programs for elementary-school-aged students. 

    Grades: 13+
  • Classroom Close Up NJ | Cafe Kids

    Visit Tulsa Trail Elementary School's student-run cafe. Through their job responsibilities at the cafe, the students learn life skills alongside math, language arts, speech, and art.

    Grades: 3, 13+
  • Classroom Close Up NJ | B-Social

    In this episode of NJEA's Classroom Close-up, we visit the B-Social Lounge at Stillwater Township Elementary School. The lounge is a space for at-risk students that provides emotional and social skill-building opportunities.

    Grades: 2-5, 13+
  • Empowering Girls | Classroom Close-Up, NJ

    Each year, students from Clearview Regional School in Mullica Hill, NJ research, design and develop a Women’s History Museum at their school. Students learn about the life of New Jersey native and suffragette Alice Paul and other positive role models for girls, such as Amelia Earhart and Malala Yousafzai. As a culminating project, the students bring the achievements of these inspiring women to life through art projects and performances.

    Grades: 13+
  • Block the Bullying

    Glen Ridge, New Jersey’s Ridgewood Avenue School emphasizes the importance of anti-bullying education by having all the students simultaneously participate in the school-wide Block the Bullying program. The theme-based curriculum is collaboratively developed by the school’s Character Education Committee, which consists of volunteers from the school’s faculty. The Character Education Committee meets regularly to plan the curriculum and to discuss bullying.

    Grades: 13+
  • Project Team

    Students from elementary through high school in Stafford, NJ participate in anti-bullying programs designed to increase self-esteem and promote compassion. At Southern Regional High School, students in the Student Team-Building Youth Leadership Experience (S.T.Y.L.E.) program teach students at Ocean Acres Elementary School about helping others, positive behavior, problem solving, resiliency, and leadership. One second grade teacher said that in the two years the initiatives have been in place, he has seen his students become less ego-centric and more compassionate.

    Grades: 13+
  • K6 Buddies

    Sixth graders at Ft. Lee’s School No. 4 in New Jersey buddy with kindergartners for activities once a month. The kindergarten and sixth grade teachers collaborate to determine what projects the buddies will work on together. Each month, the sixth grade buddies write about the experience in a journal and the kindergarteners illustrate the entry. The K6 Buddies program was started six years ago by a school counselor who wanted to increase student engagement at School No. 4.

    Grades: 13+
  • Classroom Close Up NJ | Building Kids Program

    Special education students at Haleyville-Mauricetown Elementary School build and race canoes to improve their teamwork skills while applying classroom learning to a real world project.

    Grades: 3-5, 13+
  • Teaching the Tough Subjects

    Watch how educators present difficult topics involving human suffering in this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up. Teachers and community groups have created curricula on topics such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and school shootings. Middle school students made a website to raise awareness about modern day slavery. High school students wrote and presented a play exploring the complicated issue of bullying. While some topics may be difficult to discuss, they can be meaningful experiences for students if they are approached carefully.

    Grades: 13+
  • Films in Elizabeth

    In this video, budding young filmmakers from Dr. Antonio Pantoja School No. 27 in Elizabeth, NJ create short films that simplify complex science and social studies topics. Students use computers and iPads to shoot and edit the videos, which help them learn and serve as teaching tools for other students. Vice Principal and filmmaker Antonio Di Fonzo collaborates with science teacher Connie Sanchez and social studies teacher John McGuire on this initiative. Di Fonzo explains that the filmmaking encourages creativity, builds self-esteem, and helps prepare the students for 21st century careers.

    Grades: 13+
  • The R Word

    The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities visits Sandman Consolidated Elementary School to promote the elimination of the “R Word.” Students learn why the "R Word" is hurtful to people with intellectual disabilities, discuss "bullying language," and pledge to eliminate the word from their everyday speech. After the presentation, student ambassadors speak to other students about the R-word campaign and ask them to sign the pledge.

    Grades: 13+