Elementary School Lessons

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28 Lessons Found

Introducing the Character Development Program

20 minutes
Students will:
Learn about the Medal of Honor Character Development Program and the core values of courage, commitment, sacrifice, citizenship, integrity and patriotism
Collaborate to build a core value word
Materials Needed:
Six pieces of 18” x 4” construction paper
Six envelopes
Core value word letters template (cut up and put in envelopes) DO NOT LABEL
Character Club Introduction video
Introductory Activity:
Explain that there is a special medal awarded to members of the military who have done deeds that put others before themselves. It is the highest military award a person can received, and it is awarded by the President. The people who receive this award are called Medal of Honor Recipients or Recipients, and they have shown some important values.
Whole Group Activity:
Watch the Character Club Introduction video.
Small Group Activity:
Divide the class into six groups. Give each group an envelope and a piece of construction paper. Explain that the envelope contains letters that will spell out one of the core value words. Have students work together to figure out which word they have and then glue the letters in order onto the construction paper. Post the words in the classroom.
Concluding Activity:
Discuss how each group worked as a team. What helped them? Were there any problems?
Group participation

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Introducing the Medal of Honor

45 minutes
Students will:
Use background knowledge to create a classroom graphic organizer (KWL Chart)
Collaborate and communicate their prior knowledge to help organize their thoughts about the Medal of Honor
Materials Needed:
Flip chart paper
Notebook paper
Post-it notes
KWL chart
“Medal of Honor: In Their Own Words” video
Introductory Activity:
Create a KWL chart (the letter K stands for “what you know”; the letter W stands for “what you want to know”; the letter L stands for “what you learned”) on classroom flip chart paper. Have students use their own notebook paper to create the same chart.
Ask the students what they already know about the Medal of Honor and what they want to know. Have students fill in the first two sections of the chart, leaving the last section to fill in at the end of the lesson. Encourage them to write down anything they think they know about the Medal, even if they are not sure it is correct. They will find out more about the Medal of Honor during the lesson, and they can see if their ideas are correct.

Small Group Activity:
Have students form groups of two to three and discuss the “K” section of the chart and the “W” section of the chart. They will communicate their prior knowledge and as a team collaborate on one answer to add to the “K” and “W” sections of the classroom KWL chart. A scribe from each team will write the team’s answers on post- it notes and add them to the classroom KWL chart.
Whole Group Activity:
Watch the video “Medal of Honor: In Their Own Words.”
Small Group Activity:
After viewing the video, have students review the “K” and “W” sections of their charts and discuss with their small groups.
Concluding Activity:
Come back to the chart that is displayed in the classroom and lead a discussion about what facts students knew at the beginning of class and which of their “want to know” questions were answered by the video.
Identify any questions students posed which were not answered and provide answers or look for answers together.
Have students complete the last section of the chart by answering the question, “What did you learn?” Their answers can either be a short sentence or a one-page essay, depending on the time available.
Encourage students to continue to let you know what else they want to learn about the Medal of Honor. Answer questions or research the answers as a class.
Participation, individual KWL charts

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Exploring the Six Core Values

45 minutes
Students will:
Research, define, and interpret the six core values
Use these definitions and interpretations in an informational essay
Materials Needed:
Core Values Word Map worksheet
Video of Citizen Honors awardee Myles Eckert*
Introductory Activity (Optional):
Write or project the six core values of the program on the classroom board: courage, integrity, patriotism, citizenship, commitment, and sacrifice. Instruct students to write a journal entry about what they feel these words have in common and why they have been placed on the board.
Whole Group Activity (Optional):
Discuss journal entry responses and the purpose of the values.
Small Group Activity:
Divide students into groups of two to four. Assign each group one of the six core values. Give students copies of the word map or poster paper and these instructions for students to complete:
TASK 1: Write the core value that your group has been assigned in the center box.
TASK 2: As a group, define the core value in your own words.
TASK 3: Identify a minimum of three synonyms for your group’s core value.
TASK 4: Identify a minimum of three antonyms for your group’s core value.
TASK 5: Leave the “Examples” box on the word map blank.
Check for understanding of vocabulary before moving on to the next activity.
Whole Group Activity:
As a class, watch the video about Citizen Honors awardee Myles Eckert. Have the students look for examples of their group’s core value as they watch.
Small Group Activity:
After the video ends, reconvene the groups and have students write examples of their core value from the video in the final space on the word map. Additionally, they can go back and update their definition, synonyms, and antonyms, noting any edits with an asterisk.
Whole Group Activity:
Have individual groups present their core value definition, synonyms, antonyms, and examples to the class. Ask class members to compare and contrast the words and identify what they have in common. Discuss how the values are related to one another.
Concluding Activity:
Lead a discussion on the values and how they relate to the students’ lives. Have students write an essay about someone who displays one of the values and how he or she displays that value. In their conclusion or as a separate assignment, have students write about how they can incorporate these values into their daily lives.
Discussion, poster, essay, presentations and connections to real-life examples
* This video originally aired on February 28th, 2014 on CBS's Evening News - On the Road with Steve Hartman.

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Honoring Citizen Heroes

45 minutes
Students will:
Work collaboratively to analyze Citizen Service Before Self Honors (also called Citizen Honors) nominations, debate who should be awarded, and defend their selection with reasoning and evidence
Reflect on ways they can contribute to their own communities
Materials Needed:
Preselected Citizen Honors nomination cards
Slides with pictures and additional information on the Citizen Honors nominees (Click here to download the PowerPoint file and here to download the PDF version.)
Introductory Activity:
Review the history and purpose of the Citizen Service Before Self Honors award.
Small Group Activity:
Divide students into groups of four to six, and give each group an envelope that contains the six preselected nominations for the Citizen Service Before Self Honors award. Provide the directions below and set time limits (“You should now have eliminated one option”…. “two options”….etc.) to keep the groups on task.
Group Directions:
Each person will silently read one or two of the nominations and then summarize what they have read to their group.
Once each person has shared, the group will begin to deliberate which nomination will earn their recommendation for the Citizen Honors award.
The group will listen to the time limits given to them by the teacher and will eliminate options until they are left with only one nomination.
When the group has made their final nominee, they will review the reasons that they chose that nomination.
A group leader will need to be chosen to share their reasoning.
Whole Group Activity:
Lead a discussion in which each group will share their chosen nomination and the reasons why their group chose that nominee. Keep track of responses and reasonings as the students share out. It works well to list the nominees on the board and tally during the discussion.
Small Group Activity:
Direct each group to discuss the results of the selection activity and the reasoning behind those results.
Whole Group Activity:
Show the class pictures of the actual Citizen Honors awardees and provide more detail on each of them. Direct a conversation on whether learning more about the awardees including their full story--gender, age, etc.--would have changed their selections.
Concluding Activity:
Ask students to write a reflection on the difficulty of having to choose only one awardee when so many people are deserving of the recognition. Students can elaborate on how learning about various Citizen Honors awardees has changed or enhanced their understanding of what they can do to help within their communities
Discussion, reflection
Extended Activities:
Research local heroes and submit a nomination for Citizen Service Before Self Honors award on the Medal of Honor Foundation website.
Work together to create a classroom or school citizen award. Students can choose the criteria for the award, write nomination guidelines, establish selection guidelines, and then carry out the process from announcement through award. This assignment also works with pre-existing school or classroom student recognition awards such as Student of the Month.

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Elementary Videos - Character Club








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



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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.

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