Toothpaste and word choices offer important character education lesson opportunity

students with toothpasteWords are powerful because they can make a person feel amazing or make someone feel hurt.

So what better opportunity to talk about the power of words in everyday language than in ELA class?

Sixth-grade teacher Lauren Pullen recently took the concept of the importance of word choice and incorporated it into a lesson using toothpaste and additional resources. The intent was to show students what they say can have positive or negative consequences. Once said, it can be very difficult to take back those words, particularly if they are hurtful.

students with toothpasteHer lesson was another example of the ingenuity used by Minisink Valley faculty to incorporate character education into classwork.

The toothpaste component was simple and fairly obvious. Students were tasked with removing toothpaste from the tube, and then attempting to reinsert all that was removed.

Reinserting the toothpaste into its tube was nearly impossible, despite their efforts.

students writing on boardShe took the idea of attempting to restuff a tube of toothpaste and drew the analogy that the taking back negative language is also nearly impossible.

“By the end of the activity, students had conversations and made connections to themselves,” said Ms. Pullen. “They learned how easy it is for unkind words to be said versus how challenging it is to take back those words.”

student sitting in chair Stressing to students about the critical importance to always being kind, Ms. Pullen expanded the lesson and introduced “The Compliment Challenge” to the class.

“Once a week, a few students will sit in the ‘hot seat’ while their peers write specific compliments about that student,” she added. “The hope is that students will see just how far kindness and honest compliments will go.”

See more photos on the district’s Facebook page.