Building Character from the Start
201 Activities to foster creativity, literacy, and play in K – 3
by Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor
Search Institute Press, 2009
$29.95, 150 pp, includes CD-ROM of reproducible pages
This resource for primary school teachers is based on forty developmental assets identified by the Search Institute in Minneapolis, MN as being critical for children’s well-being and success in school. The authors have compiled a great many creative activities that use play, movement, art, crafts and literature to help children grow and learn. Unit One is a set of creative drawing and colouring activities, formatted on reproducible pages with notations to indicate corresponding assets and titles of picture books that work well with the activities. Unit Two is an annotated list of favourite picture books divided into two sections: the first for titles appropriate for use with K – Grade 1 students, and the second for readers in Grades 2 – 3. For each title a brief plot summary is provided, followed by discussion questions and related activities. Unit Three contains more than seventy games, also with notations referencing assets and book titles, and “Let’s Talk” and “Explore More” suggestions for extending each game. This resource is clearly and simply formatted with consistent headings throughout, making it easy to access the content, and the thorough cross-referencing and indexing make it easy to build lesson plans that build on particular assets or themes. I believe that novice teachers will find this book to be a great gift of useable ideas from more senior colleagues, and experienced teachers will appreciate how the authors have pulled together and presented some great tried-and-true activities to help children grow and engage with others in a healthy, self-fulfilling way.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s March 2010 issue.