• Krista Gypton
  • ·
  • November 20, 2019

Who's Your Charlie?

Charlie was the kid I watched for every day as I waited to welcome my students into the room. It was my third year teaching and I knew that I had to keep my eye on him. Not in the, “I’m expecting you to...

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  • Tom Dreiling
  • ·
  • October 23, 2019

Getting Back to What is Supposed to Be

When did education become so complex? When did words such as standards, report cards, grades, discipline, and testing start to supersede experience, fun, laughter, passion, creativity, and caring? I served...

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  • Krista Gypton
  • ·
  • October 9, 2019

Classroom Management R&R

R&R is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about classroom management,...

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  • Trish Brown
  • ·
  • September 17, 2019

Mindfulness at Any Age

As a Counselor, I am often concerned about mental health-related trends. For example, diagnostic...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • September 11, 2019

The Law of the Lid

I have always been hugely influenced by the work of John Maxwell. His leadership books, speeches,...

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  • Kristin Couture
  • ·
  • August 27, 2019

"What I Wish my Teacher Knew..."

I just entered my 8th year of teaching and it has always been important for me to start the year by really understanding who my students are and the stories they come to my classroom with.  So, from the...

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  • Kathy Lohse
  • ·
  • August 21, 2019

Building Relationships

I spent 37 years pouring my heart into my pre-K - 5th grade classrooms. Every single year I worked...

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  • Erin Jones
  • ·
  • August 14, 2019

CharacterStrong & Equity

CharacterStrong believes in providing the best foundational supports so that educators everywhere...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • August 6, 2019

A Different Question to Start the School Year

As another school year nears, educators are preparing to welcome their students back from summer break with the excitement and anticipation of the wonderful possibilities that lie ahead. While students are...

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  • Eric Davis
  • ·
  • July 23, 2019

5 Ways to Ignite Your Athletic Program

Most athletic competitions end with a winner and a loser.  So, how is success measured in school-based athletics?  Is it the final result of a competition?  How did each team or athlete grow...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • July 2, 2019

What is Missing?

At CharacterStrong, we have weekly meetings with our team where we turn off all distractions and...

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  • David Volke
  • ·
  • June 11, 2019

Students Feel Invisible

When I was a kid, I would often imagine what it would be like to be invisible. I envisioned having...

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  • Barbara Gruener
  • ·
  • June 4, 2019

If Every Day Were Shoesday

Picture this: You've just enjoyed an invigorating, productive morning on an out-of-state trip to plant CharacterStrong seeds of inspiration, but when it comes time for you to leave, you're told that there’s...

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  • Kay Dodge
  • ·
  • Brent Grothe
  • ·
  • May 28, 2019

C’mon! Tell Me the Truth! Do You Like Me? Am I OK?

Many of us in our search for meaning and significance in our lives, whether we realize it or not, tend to view our worthiness in terms of a math problem: <em>My performance + others’ opinions of me = my...

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  • Jared Smith
  • ·
  • May 21, 2019

The Danger of Ego

In 7th grade, I got my first ASB position. I was the treasurer at my middle school and to be completely honest with you, I thought I was pretty dang cool because of it. My mindset quickly flipped from wanting...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • April 30, 2019

Our New K-5 Elementary Toolkit

On April 1st, we launched our CharacterStrong Podcast and have been humbled by the response with nearly 1,000 subscribers. Today, May 1st, we are officially launching for pre-sale our much-anticipated Elementary...

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  • Bryan Slater
  • ·
  • April 2, 2019

The Classroom Temperature Check

&nbsp; Second period on October 31st, 2017 was just like any other ordinary second period on All Hallows Eve in my classroom full of 12th graders; a few students were in their Halloween costumes and...

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  • Barbara Gruener
  • ·
  • March 12, 2019

Empathy to the Rescue

After 34 years in the classroom, I retired from school in May. And while there’s a lot of stuff...

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  • David Guerin
  • ·
  • March 5, 2019

What Does It Take To Be Prepared For The Future

&nbsp; What does it take to be prepared for the future? In the 20th Century world there were mostly predictable patterns of going to college or learning a trade and then getting a job and working in...

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  • Bryan Slater
  • ·
  • February 12, 2019

Maslow's Hammer Time

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails.” -Abraham Maslow I...

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  • Lauren Ambeau
  • ·
  • February 5, 2019

Overcoming Adversity - Together We Rise

&nbsp; On August 27, 2017, in the dark hours of the morning, I turned on the TV and the images shown there will never leave me. I saw a neighborhood I knew well, a neighborhood which over a third of...

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  • Kay Dodge
  • ·
  • Brent Grothe
  • ·
  • December 11, 2018

A Better Way

Humility is a tough lesson. As humans, we think we know what to do based upon the fairly arrogant...

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  • John Gaines
  • ·
  • December 4, 2018

Push Past Obstacles

&nbsp; I remember it like it was yesterday; I was in the process of planning my wedding, remodeling a house that I needed to have ready by my wedding day of September 23, 2017, I was speaking at assemblies...

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  • Sally Rusk
  • ·
  • November 27, 2018

Dear New Advisor

Mrs. Markov stepped on the conductor box and her students immediately lifted their instruments with...

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  • Lauren Ambeau
  • ·
  • November 4, 2018

It Starts with Me...

“It’s all about relationships!” I heard myself saying to more than a few teachers last week. As a campus principal at an intermediate school, I truly believe this with all of my being. I firmly believe...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • September 11, 2018

4 Ways to Improve Staff Morale at School

In a typical school year, you will pass by all of your staff at one point or another. Some staff you talk with regularly, whereas some colleagues you only see at staff meetings. It’s possible for an entire...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • August 28, 2018

Make Patience Normal

At CharacterStrong we focus on teaching what we call the 8 Essentials. These are eight different...

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  • Amy Stapleton
  • ·
  • August 7, 2018

Creating Ubuntu

In the summer of 2017, I had the privilege to travel with a group of educators to study the culture, history and meet the people of South Africa. We, a group of mostly white educators from all across the...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • July 3, 2018

Freedom to Choose

As July approaches each year, the thought of freedom comes to the forefront of my mind. Yes, one...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • April 10, 2018

5 Things Educators Should Seek Out Every Day

As testing season for many schools sets in, it is very easy to get stuck focusing on the constant pressures of performance, test scores, and end of the year data. Most of this is a reality for schools and is...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • January 23, 2018

Quantifiable Feedback

One of the hallmark skills of great educators is the ability to give and receive feedback. At CharacterStrong, we think of feedback as the breakfast of champions — it demonstrates humility and courage and...

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  • Jeff Sowards
  • ·
  • January 9, 2018

The Power of Introverts

I was terrified. &nbsp;For some reason I had said yes to something I had, as an adult, avoided for...

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  • Brent Grothe
  • ·
  • January 3, 2018

Scarcely Happy

“There’s just not enough to go around,” is a common statement from people afflicted with a...

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  • Lindsay Norlin
  • ·
  • December 28, 2017

3 Things Your Students Need Coming Back From Break

Coming back to the classroom after two weeks off is often times not only difficult for students, but teachers as well. It's important that we all take a day to ease back into the swing of things and also gauge...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • December 12, 2017

Ask Better Questions

In a time when we are connected digitally, we are also more isolated than ever.&nbsp;We must continue...

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  • Bryan Slater
  • ·
  • November 14, 2017

The Duty of First...

Everyone knows you must give respect in order to get respect. This raises a very important, and...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • October 31, 2017

A Relationship Tool for Any Classroom

Clock Partners is a simple and effective tool that any classroom teacher can use to immediately create four different partner pairings as well as a vehicle to promote interactions between students that you...

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  • John Norlin
  • ·
  • September 13, 2017

Character Day 2017

Today is a day we are excited to celebrate as people all over the globe will be participating in #CharacterDay2017 created by&nbsp;Let it Ripple. The goal of Character Day is to spend time within your classroom,...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • May 7, 2017

The Journal

At Arapahoe High School in Colorado, they refuse to be defined by a tragedy. In 2013, a school shooting...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • May 1, 2017

The Apology

It’s pretty common, especially in a larger school, that there will be someone in the audience at an assembly that doesn’t want to pay attention. Usually, a dramatic pause or a carefully placed moment of...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • February 15, 2017

Targeted Impact - Mini Lesson

Have you ever been frustrated with your brainstorming process? Have you felt like your projects have been disconnected from the people they are serving? Do your Kindness Weeks feel too generic? Check out this...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • February 14, 2017

Safe vs. Supported

I was at a school recently that had just gotten their results back from a school climate and student...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • December 16, 2016

The Family

I met a boy last week at a middle school who is in the transgender process. Born a female, but identifies as a male. The teacher introduced me to him specifically saying that he embodied so much of what I talked...

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  • Houston Kraft
  • ·
  • December 14, 2016

Fingerprints of Kindness

I worked at Mattson Middle School in Kent, WA and one of the district employees pulled me aside...

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  • Character Strong
  • ·
  • December 1, 2016

I Don't Know Why... [Scholarship Essay - 2nd Place]

It was the second to last day of school and our leadership group had just come back in from helping to clean up from a school wide activity. Once we were back in my room, I looked around and noticed that everyone...

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