Find Yourself Fridays: Character Education in the Classroom

Find Yourself FridaysThis year I’ve incorporated what I call Find Yourself Fridays. I’m giving my students something inspirational to read or watch. Sometimes it’s something quick, sometimes it takes up a good chunk of the period. But that’s ok. I have to remember I’m hear not just to teach students about literature but also to help them become better people.

Below is the list of what I did for Find Yourself Fridays in the order in which I did them. If you have anything to add let me know! I’m always looking for ideas for this.

Find Yourself Fridays

1. Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

We are big on this in the district, and this was the best video I’ve found that explains it.

2. Six Lessons From the Sea: This brief article is from a surfer who applies lessons he’s learned while surfing to our lives. Who doesn’t love a good extended metaphor? Preview the content first – I used it with seniors and it was fine, but you might have to edit one part.

3. Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

This is a fifteen minute TED talk on procrastinating. Kids loved it.

4. Why You Should Make Your Bed Every Morning

I followed this one up with a bed making challenge – students had to make their bed for a week straight. The class that made the bed most consistently got donuts.

5. Four Places to Stop Looking For Happiness

I’ve used this for the past few years and I’ve always felt that someone in one of my classes needed to hear it on that day.

6. 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Stress About College Admissions

We are in the midst of the whole college process and they needed this one.

7. Where the Hell Is Matt?

There’s a series of videos, but this is the one I like best. This guy travels around the world dancing with people.

8. TED Talk: Everyday Leadership

A short TED Talk about the small things we do that can make large differences in people’s lives.

9. The Many, Many Problems With Follow Your Passion

In this article the author says people should consider what they can become good at, not what their passions are.

10. People Can’t Stop Talking About How Sarah Silverman Handled An Internet Troll

Really cool story. Some language may not be appropriate, but you can block that out.

11. Life is a Game. This is Your Strategy Guide.

A Cool extended analogy about how you can treat your life like a video game you can win.

12. The Physics of Productivity

Another cool analogy that uses the principles of physics to the task of getting things done.

13. 30 Practical Things Students Need To Know Before Going to College

Covers practical skills like doing laundry and not academic matters.

14. How Addicted to Your Smartphone Are You?

The kids enjoyed this quiz. It turns out a lot of them are addicted. Go figure.

15. If You’re Not Spending 5 Hours Per Week Learning, You’re Being Irresponsible.

Why all the great leaders spend a great part of their time reading. I may kick off the year with this.

16. Mighty Sweet Art 

Natalie Sideserf was a fine arts major at the Ohio State University who turned her passion into a successful business creating unbelievable looking cakes. It’s a great example of how a passion can take you places you never expected to go, especially when you ignore the naysayers.

17. What Straight A Students Get Wrong

If you teach honors kids (especially in high school) this will definitely ruffle a few feathers.

18. The Easiest Way to Start a New Habit.

Perfect for the New Year!

19. Bill Long’s Season on the Brink

Bill Long was the starting quarterback for Ohio State and saved his team’s season. However, he lost his starting position the following year. A great article about dealing with disappointment and setbacks.

20. Stop Trying To Be Perfect

A great video about why trying to be perfect is a foolish task.


Looking for more Language Arts assignments? Check out the posts below.

The Hat Project: A Great Project for the End of a Short Story Unit

Alternatives to the Essay: Infographics

Impostor Poems

Learning Stations in the Secondary ELA Classroom

David Rickert is a high school English teacher in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. He has been teaching for over 20 years and has taught virtually every grade and every subject. David is passionate about developing lessons that make difficult language arts subjects fun and engaging. He is also an author on Teachers Pay Teachers

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