For Educators

Virtue Based Classroom Management, create a virtue center

VBCM 2: Create A Virtue Center

 

Welcome to the Virtue Based Classroom Management Series where you will find ideas and free downloads for implementing Education in Virtue in your classroom. This is the second post. For a complete list of posts, topics, and free downloads click here.

CLICK HERE for your free downloads of Create A Virtue Center: An Interactive Space for Teaching & Reflection.

Supplies

  • Central display of the focused virtue – either use the Instructional Posters, Ways to Cultivate Posters, Looks Like & Sounds Like Poster, or Virtue Cards in a pocket chart
  • Download the “Looks Like” and “Sounds Like” sheets and lists of virtues 
  • Pens or pencils
  • Basket to put the “looks like” and “sounds like” sheets when students complete them
  • Sacred space near by – maybe a statue of Jesus or Mary, a Bible, some holy cards, prayer book (Putting the saint cards into a photo album is a great way to make a prayer book about the virtues!) 

Virtue Based Classroom Management, create a virtue center

Having a virtue center in your classroom is a great way to encourage students to practice virtue and recognize virtues being practiced by their classroom. A virtue center is a place where students can sit in their free-time to think, pray and learn about the virtues. It is also a place where they can write down the virtues they have “seen” or “heard” being practiced by their classmates.

Use the free templates in the download to create an interactive bulletin board. Use the definition and examples on the virtue cards to start the discussion with your class. As you teach your lesson about the virtue, come up with concrete ways to practice that virtue by asking the question, “If you saw someone practicing docility, what would you see? What does docility look like?” Or ask “If you heard some practicing docility, what sort of things would you hear? What does docility sound like”?  Brainstorm a list together of ways the students can practice that virtue. 

By the end of the lesson, your bulletin board should include the definition of a virtue and posters or cards of that virtue. There should also be the “looks like” and “sounds like” template. Close the lesson by giving the students a mission: it is their task for the next week (or day, or month) to “catch” others practicing virtue. When they see or hear someone practicing that new virtue, they may come up to the table and fill out the sheet. Point out the “looks like” and “sounds like” sheets and explain how they work. An example would be “I saw Sarah practicing the virtue of docility when she started her math worksheet right away.” Have a spot to collect these – either a basket on the table, or another bulletin board to display them. 

Virtue Based Classroom Management, create a virtue center

Virtue Based Classroom Management, create a virtue center

Try to have a sacred space nearby. Having a sacred space in an area near the virtue center reminds the child that virtue is what brings one closer to Jesus and that we must also ask for his help when we are struggling. Encourage the students to go there for a moment of prayer when things are difficult.

Virtue Based Classroom Management, create a virtue center

Catching others practicing virtue serves a couple purposes. First, it redirects the “tattling” instinct in elementary students. It challenges students to be aware of their peers’ positive behavior, training them to notice the good in each other. It also serves as an assessment. If they are consistently writing notes that someone was practicing docility by being sharing their snack with a friend, maybe you need to reteach generosity. Third, it builds authentic classroom community when, at the end of the day or the end of the week, you read out loud all the virtues your students have been practicing. These are powerful moments of encouragement and community in the room!

At the end of the day, the children gather together to hear what virtues have been “seen” and “heard.” It sounds something like this: “Kevin saw Maria practice the virtue of kindness when she asked Peter to play a game with her,” or “Becky heard Michael practice the virtue of prayerfulness when he was singing with his whole heart at Mass.” Children love hearing that they have been “caught” practicing virtue. It also encourages the other students to try to do better. Before they go home, the students are given the papers that their classmates had written about them. As a result, they can go home and show their parents the virtues others have seem them practice that day. In this way, each child becomes more aware of the significance of being a Christian witness!

CLICK HERE for your free downloads of Create A Virtue Center: An Interactive Space for Teaching & Reflection.