Lesson 1: Character Introduction


  • Students will know the definition of character is who you are, built on the thousands of choices you make daily.
  • Students will know the difference between character (who you are, built on choices) and personality (a gift set by approximately age 6).


  1. Intro Activity: “Zen Counting”- Class is sitting in their desks or standing in a circle around the fringe of the classroom.
  2. Say, “Without any discussion, your job is to count to 20 without creating an order or without simply going around the circle.”
  3. Say, “One person cannot say two numbers in a row and if two or more people start to say a number at the same time, then the group must start over with “one”.
  4. It is easiest if the teacher starts the counting each time by saying “one” and then let the class take over. When two or more students start to say a number at the same time, then the teacher simply says “one” again to start them over. Note: This can be a continuous group challenge throughout the year and an easy break to gain attention in the middle of class.
  5. After students have reached 20 or after attempting task for 10 minutes, move them onto the next part of the lesson.
  6. Say, “Today we are going to learn the difference between character and personality. It is important to know that people misuse these two words all the time.”
  7. Access students’ schema by asking about their personal definition of both character and personality.
  8. Show students the Character Vs Personality document on the screen and tell students the following:
    1. “We do not have control over our dominant personality type(s). They are a gift that is given to us by approximately age six. Some of us are more introverted and some of us are more extroverted. One is not better than another - they are all gifts. Some people are naturally more gifted at speaking in front of others and some are more naturally gifted at listening.”
    2. “Now it is also important to know that you can work on personality traits that do not come as natural to you and this would be because of your character. For example, an introvert could work on being more social and speaking in front of others through practice and an extrovert could work on becoming more focused on the details if that didn’t come as natural to them through practice.”
    3. “Character is who we are. We are responsible for our character. We either build or destroy our character everyday by the thousands of choices that we make or don’t make.”
    4. “Some people will say, ‘That’s just my personality’ while being short and rude toward someone when really they should say, ‘That’s my character’ because it was a choice to use their gift of being an extrovert in a way that is disrespectful.”
    5. “During our time together you will be given daily Character Dares, that encourage you to focus on the importance of building your character muscle, the same way you would build up your physical strength, improve upon playing a musical instrument or mastering the skateboard.”
  9. Discussion: Ask students, “What choices do you make on a daily basis that you think are most important to your character development? Why?”
  10. If time remains, give students another opportunity to attempt Zen Counting to 20 or higher if they already accomplished it.