Elementary School Lessons

Filter By

  • Value

  • Grade Level

  • Subject Matter

clear all

35 Lessons Found

Elementary "Classroom Medals of Honor" Posters

A number of lessons in this curriculum refer to teaching props called “classroom medals of honor posters.” These posters are created by individual teachers or classes to use as visual reminders about values and for recognition of student behavior that reflects the individual values.
To create these posters, you will need paper to use as a background and a contrasting paper out of which to cut “medals” and “ribbons.” If you wish to reflect Medal of Honor colors, the ribbons should be light blue and the medals gold or yellow. Another option, since these are “classroom medals of honor,” is to create the posters in your school colors.  Also, if your supplies are limited, you can simply use markers to outline the “medals” on the background paper. You will also need to create “clusters” to add to your posters as students earn recognition for practicing the values. These “clusters” may be any small symbol that you will place on the medals throughout the year. Typical shape choices for clusters are hearts or stars as they are easy to draw or to produce as die cuts. If you are sticker-rich, you might want to use the school mascot or some representation of the mascot or the community.
You will need to make six identical posters, one for each value. The size of the posters should be determined by the space you have to display them in your classroom: they might each be on an 8 ½ x 11” piece of computer or construction paper, or they may be on giant sheets of cardboard or art paper. A sample template is provided on the next page, but students may want to be involved in the design. Once you have created the design and assembled the posters, label each with one of the six Medal of Honor Character Values: Courage, Sacrifice, Commitment, Integrity, Citizenship, and Patriotism. 

View Lesson

Elementary Medal of Honor Introductory CDP lesson: What is a hero? Setting the stage for character development with classroom Medals of Honor

Students will:
Develop a basic understanding of the Medal of Honor and 6 Core Values
Define and discuss “What is a hero?”
Apply their understanding of “What is a hero?” by recognizing others for heroism.
Category: Primary
Core Value Focus: Courage, Commitment, Sacrifice, Integrity, Patriotism, and Citizenship
Recipient Focus: N/A
Introductory Activity: Circle time discussion
Suggested Discussion script:
Teacher: What is a hero? (Sit in a circle and allow students to pass a sharing stone or special item
to indicate whose turn to talk, and all others listen without comment. Students may share their idea or pass.)
Teacher: A hero is many things. A hero is someone who honors their core values. A hero is someone who has
and acts out of courage, integrity, patriotism, citizenship, commitment and sacrifice. YOU are a hero. YOU are
all heroes. WE are heroes. In our class, in our school, in our community, and in our world. Our country has a
very special medal called the Medal of Honor to recognize heroes. In our class(es) we will recognize acts
of heroism with classroom medals of honor and learn more about each of these core values throughout the
school year. (As a class decide where to hang each medal.)
If applicable directly teach each of the six Core Value vocabulary words without providing definitions. Explain
that throughout the year the class will develop definitions.
Whole Group Activity:
Video: 2 Wolves: A Cherokee Story of Wisdom
Small Group Activity: Hearts for the Class
Suggested teacher script:
Teacher: In this legend and in our hearts we all have the choice of which wolf to listen to. We don’t have real
wolves in our hearts but we do have real choices to make each and every day. We have the choice to be heroes
and honor our courage (point to medal), integrity, (point to medal), patriotism, (point to medal) citizenship
(point to medal), commitment (point to medal) and sacrifice (point to medal). When you or someone you see
is being a hero by honoring these core values, I want you to share it with the class, and we will earn a heart
on our class medal. These hearts will represent the times when we make the right choice in our hearts to be heroes.
Think pair share:
Teacher: Take a moment to think about when you or someone you know was a hero. Turn to your elbow partners
and discuss.
Concluding Activity:
Teacher: Does anyone have a hero in our class they want to nominate now? Allow students to nominate a hero
and if applicable, put a heart sticker on the appropriate medal. Discuss when the best time to nominate heroes
is, i.e. during morning meeting or closing circle, whenever the opportunity presents itself, or by writing a nomination
and putting it in a box.
Assessment: Discussion and observations
Extended Activities:
During agreed upon times, stop to discuss students or adults who see others displaying one or more of the 6 core
values. Allow students and adults to nominate and discuss when we are being heroes and add hearts to the medals.
Video: “For the heroes: a pep talk from Kid President”
6 Core Value Medal of Honor Posters
Heart stickers for class medal recipients.
Materials Needed:
Talking tool (stone, ball, small stuffed animal, microphone) to be used for whip share.
Quotes on the focus core value:
“Which wolf are you feeding?” 2 Wolves: A Cherokee Story of Wisdom
“Which wolf would a hero feed?” 2 Wolves: A Cherokee Story of Wisdom

View Lesson

Courage: Celebrating Common Interests and Our Diversity

Students will:
Discover courage can be demonstrated in many ways, big or small.
Complete courageous acts by experiencing activities outside of their comfort zone.
Reflect on how these actions have helped them become more courageous.
Category: Junior
Core Value Focus: Courage
Recipient Focus: All Recipients
Essential Question: What does courage mean? How does it feel to be courageous?
Introductory Activity:
The Courageous Egg
Materials: Wide mouthed glass or jar, uncooked rice, egg. Place the egg in the middle of the glass
completely covered by rice. Explain that the egg represents someone who is hanging with the crowd.
One day the group starts making fun of other people, the egg doesn't like it so he tells them to stop
(tap the top of the rim, the egg will rise up from the rice with each tap). Next, the group of friends
starts excluding others from their games (tap the rim) and they start telling lies. Each time the egg
refuses to go along with his friends and stands up for what's right (tap again). Continue until the egg
has completely risen above the rice. Source: (http://schools.cms.k12.nc.us/beverlywoodsES/Documents/Marchcourage.pdf)
Have students turn and talk or conduct a whip share (having each student share individually to the
class) about the question: “What does this have to do with courage?”
Lead students toward the idea that it takes courage to do the right thing when others are not. A
courageous person will rise to the top and stand out from the rest! A courageous person will take
a risk and go out of their comfort zone, even when it’s not the popular thing to do.
Whole Group Activity:
Me and We: We are All Similar and Different
Materials: 10 sheets of paper, numbered 1 to 10, taped to the wall
Divide your class or hallway into 1 to 10 sections (a rating scale) enough area for students to move
around. Then ask students to rate how much they like the topic. Then have students move to the
area based on how they would rate each topic. For example: “if you like something a great deal,
move to the 7 or 8 area. If you love it, move to 10. If you really hate it, move to the 1 or 2 area."
Use topics that your class can relate to like: strawberry ice cream, broccoli, hula hooping, soccer,
pop music, singing a solo, rap/hip hop, action movies, Pokemon Go!
Option two: “What is your comfort zone?”
Discuss the idea of comfort zones and ensure that students know the meaning. Create zones in
your classroom (could be circles, areas) that represent “Inside my Comfort Zone,” “Just Outside
my Comfort Zone,” “REALLY Outside my Comfort zone.” Students move from zone to zone
depending on their feelings on the following subjects.
Topic ideas: Singing a solo, skydiving, talking in front of the class, asking for help in math,
changing a diaper, making tamales, making new friends, going camping
Small Group Activity:
Teacher pairs up students with someone they are not familiar or friends with. A person
outside of their social circle. Assign each partnership a question to discuss so they
can get to know someone they don’t normally converse with. For example:
Students will then share with the large group about what they learned about their partner.
Discuss how this activity represents courage?
Next step: Mix-it Up Lunch Day: Students will be given the challenge of sitting with someone
at lunch that they normally don’t know. Teacher places conversation cards on the lunch table
to encourage them to get to know someone they don’t know. Follow up as a teacher and have
the students be accountable and share what they learned about the person they choose to sit
with at lunch.
Concluding Activity:
Discuss as a whole group ways that students can show courage by going out of your comfort zone
in their lives. “What are some ways you can go out of your comfort zone in school?”
Using the fish graphic, students will decorate their own fish that can be moveable. There are two fish
bowls, one is the comfort zone bowl and one is out of the comfort zone bow. All the fish start out in
the bowl that represents the comfort zone. When a student does something out of their comfort zone
they move their fish to the other bowl.
Fishbowl PDF
Goldfish PDF
Graphic Organizer Reflection:
Student will use word map graphic organizer to define in their own words what courage is, describe
real examples of courage they complete and/or saw other students demonstrate, and draw a visual
to represent their experience.
Journal Prompts for student reflection:
Describe how it felt to go out of your comfort zone and spend time with someone new.
What did you learn from this experience? What would you do differently?
Think about other ways students in our school demonstrate courage.
What is another way you can demonstrate courage in your daily life?
Extended Activities:
Teachers can create a Character Development Wall on which the character traits of sacrifice, commitment
and courage. Students can use a nomination sheets to recognize these character traits in the actions of
their peers. As students fill out these sheets, they can be posted underneath the corresponding trait. Teachers
can choose to recognize individual students by giving awards to the largest acts of sacrifice, commitment
and courage (teachers can choose to give these awards quarterly, by the semester or yearly).
Extension to Mix-it up Day: Buddy Self-Portrait. First, each student draws a portrait of their lunch buddy.
Then they cut the portraits down the middle and each buddy gets one-half of their buddy’s portrait. Next, they
glue together one half of their portrait and their buddy’s half to make a complete portrait. The last step is to
write about how they are the same and different. Maybe end with a friendly compliment.
Kid President's Guide to Making a New Friend
Buddy Bench Video
Kid President Talks to Tom Hanks about Heroes!
I Am Malala. This is my story. by Malala Yousafzai (Also a movie)
Quote on the focus core value:
Jimmy Carter's words: "We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams."

View Lesson

Timeline of Integrity

Students will:
Identify specific acts of integrity demonstrated by famous (or infamous) individuals during the Revolutionary War period.
Create a timeline or Google Slides of individual acts.
Category: Junior
Core Value Focus: Integrity
Materials Needed:
Sentence strips
Biographies/reference materials/internet access for some of the following (some suggestions include):
George Washington
●  Charles Cornwallis - He was one of five peers who voted against the 1765 Stamp Act out of sympathy with the colonists.
●  Thomas Jefferson - he was not a soldier but used his powerful words to fight for independence.
    See Thomas Jefferson - Integrity Quotes and Jefferson and the Beginning of the American Revolution.
●  Benjamin Franklin -In 1776, he was part of the five-member committee that helped draft the Declaration of Independence,
    in which the 13 American colonies declared their freedom from British rule. That same year, Congress sent Franklin
    to France to enlist that nation's help with the Revolutionary War. See Benjamin Franklin - Integrity Quotes.
April 26, 1777 Sybil Ludington - regarded as the “female Paul Revere” Sybil set out on what has become her famous ride
   to alert the militia. Sixteen-year-old Sybil traveled 40 miles from her home, avoiding British soldiers and Loyalists before
   returning home the next day.
1769 - 1779 Deborah Sampson - Sampson became an indentured servant in the household of Jeremiah Thomas in Middleborough.
   For ten years she helped with the housework and worked in the field.
March 23, 1775 Patrick Henry - gives a rallying speech to the Second Virginia Convention being held at St. John’s Church
   in Richmond, Virginia ending with the now famous quote “..give me liberty, or give me death.” His speeches exemplified clear,
   concise cases for the necessity of the revolution.
Paul Revere - Following his midnight ride, Revere remained useful to the rebel cause in several different ways. While he was
   initially denied a military commission, he served as a courier and printer for the Provincial Congress.
September 22, 1776: Nathan Hale - From the diary entry of September 22, 1776, of Lieutenant Frederick MacKenzie, a British
   officer: "He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders
   given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape
   it might appear."
Ethan Allen - Sentenced as a traitor in England and became prisoner of war. Allen’s struggles as a prisoner are documented
   in his own words in a book written some years later
John Adams - Despite his objection to what he thought was unfair taxation by the British, Adams, a principled man,
   represented the British soldiers accused of murder in the Boston Massacre of March 1770.
December 1777 - Martha Custis Washington - As the men were chanting at Valley Forge, “No bread, no soldier”,
   Martha Washington arrived on the scene with supplies from Mount Vernon. Mrs. Washington became indispensable
   as a nurse and comfort to Washington and his men.
June 12, 1780 Esther de Berdt Reed - Reed wrote a broadside entitled “Sentiments of an American Woman,” leading
   to the formation of The Ladies Association of Philadelphia. Although she was born in London, she had begun to support
   the American cause. The organization raised an enormous sum of $300,000 dollars for the troops by going door to door
   asking for donations.
Benedict Arnold - Ambition and business acumen propelled Arnold from merchandising to international trade. He had
   made enough money by 22 to buy back the family homestead sold to pay his father's debts. He resold it at enough
   of a profit to buy a fleet of ships.
Introductory Activity:
Post: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” C.S. Lewis
“What would you do?” activity:
“If you saw someone cheating on a test, what would you do?”
“If you saw a $20 bill on the ground, would you turn in it to the office or keep it?”
“If you could make one rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what rule would you make? Why?"
Extension: Show video clips of “What Would You Do:”
Option 1: Watch Men Harass a Little Person at the Grocery Store - What Would You Do in which a Little Person
is picking up items at the grocery store when two men decide it would be "funny" to harass the man about his size
and stature. What would you do if you saw this behavior? IMPORTANT NOTE: While you may show the clip
from the beginning, we suggest starting at 2:00 - 4:15. DO NOT SHOW PAST 4:15 DUE TO LANGUAGE.
Option 2: Watch the video clip A Dog Is Left in a Hot Car. What would you do if you saw a dog left in a car?
NOTE: You may show the video from the beginning or start from 34 seconds to 2:11.
Whole Group Activity:
Read and discuss specific acts of integrity from the Revolutionary War individuals identified above
Individual Activity:
Students determine which act of integrity is most exemplary of integrity to them personally. Be able
to defend or justify their choice.
Small Group Activity:
Have students move into groups based on their choice. As a group, determine the rational for that
choice. Then, move into mixed groups and discuss/persuade their point of view.
Concluding Activity:
As a group, students use sentence strips to create a timeline of acts of integrity from the Revolutionary War
individuals. On the timeline, students should highlight the person that stood out most to them.
Students create a Google Slide highlighting the person that stood out to them most with supporting images.
Slides could be ordered chronologically with acts of integrity highlighted.
Extended Activities:
Create a class timeline of acts of integrity for a specific period of time that students are able to identify
from their peers/classmates. Or, these could be added to corresponding Google Slides.
ABC News. “Men Harass a Little Person at a Grocery Store | What Would You Do? | WWYD | ABC News.” Online Video Clip. YouTube. 22 Feb. 2011. 17 May 2016.
K-9 Angels Rescue. “What Would You Do? ABC News - Dog Left Inside a Hot Car.” Online Video Clip. 24 June 2013. 17 May 2016.
Lynette, Rachel. "20 Questions to Ask Your Students." 2016 Minds in Bloom, 11 Jan. 2010. Web. 17 May 2016.
"Totally History Facts About Famous Events & Records of the Past." Totally History Facts About Famous Events & Records of the Past. N.p., 2012. Web. 17 May 2016. (Search for "Facts About Famous Events and Records of the Past" at http://totallyhistory.com/.)
Quote relating to the core value:
"Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching." C.S. Lewis

View Lesson

Elementary Videos - Character Club







Share Your Insights

Student and teacher comments are very important to us. We rely on this set of data to help improve the material and to keep the program free for educators. Please help us by providing your feedback. We will use this feedback to refine this teaching resource. The information you provide in this brief survey will be used ONLY by Foundation staff. Your personal information will not be shared.

Educator Survey
For specific questions on program content or to schedule a training in your area, please Contact Us.


Get the entire Medal of Honor curriculum, including Medal of Honor Recipient living history videos, on DVD or flash drive.


Submit Lesson

We appreciate your feedback and encourage you to submit your own original lessons.



Further reading about the values, issues and individuals highlighted in the Character Development Program.



Filter By Category

Why won't the videos play for me?

If you are unable to view the CDP videos, the issue may be with the Internet filters set up by your school in order to comply with the Child Internet Protection Act. The Medal of Honor site uses Vimeo video sharing service to host videos, which like YouTube is often blocked by schools. In order to view the videos, your system administrator can allow viewing of educational videos on Vimeo. Or, your system administrator can “whitelist” the specific videos on Vimeo featured on the Medal of Honor site. This will allow these videos, and only these videos, to play. 

Are there trainings on how to teach the program?

Yes, there are training sessions held all over the country. To find a training coming up in your area, check out our Events Calendar. To speak with someone about scheduling a training in your area, contact Noel Wall (nwall@themedalofhonor.com). Also, you can view a series of free monthly webinars.

Can I begin using the program immediately?

Yes. All the tools you need to use the program are on this website. If you have questions about specific lessons or want some guidance on using the materials, you can contact us at info@themedalofhonor.com or sign up to attend a training.

Can I make a donation to support the Character Development Program?

Yes, and we appreciate your interest in supporting us. If you would like to specify your donation for the Character Development Program, you can do so on the memo line of the check or in a note or email with your online donation. For more information, contact us at info@themedalofhonor.com.

Can I order a Resource Kit?

Yes. You can order the three-disc DVD version or the thumb drive version of the kit for free. This kit will include electronic versions of all of the lesson plans, DVDs of the corresponding Medal of Honor Recipient Living Histories and Citizen Honoree Living Histories, as well as the video tutorials about using the program. To order a kit, contact us at info@themedalofhonor.com.

Can I send student work to a Medal of Honor Recipient?

Yes. We are happy to forward any student work on to any Recipient. Please send all hard copy student work to:

Medal of Honor Foundation
1501 Lee Highway, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22209

Please send all electronic student work to nwall@themedalofhonor.com. Though we are happy to forward your work, we do not give out direct contact information for Medal of Honor Recipients.

Load More