I have been getting a lot of requests from teachers, asking for my personal tips on how to effectively incorporate the Right Road self-esteem and character-building program into their classrooms. Thank you all so much for asking. I am super-excited to write this blog post about it! I truly think this is going to be VERY helpful for you. I have developed the Right Road program over the last 23 years, and it REALLY works to uplift kids’ self-esteem, excitement for learning, and ability to travel the Right Road in school and in life. I am going to purposefully be as detailed as possible here, with the aim that by the time you have read this, you will have a clear picture and real tools to start incorporating the Right Road program into your classroom! There are many program aspects and elements, but here is a WONDERFUL place to start!…
Purchase the Right Road DVD. WAIT… DON’T STOP READING! For those of you who know me, even typing the word “purchase” in a sentence that will be read by teachers makes me twitch! But I have also found over the years that the value of so many things in life has THAT much more impact when there is “ownership” of it. The “Right Road For Kids: You Are Special!” DVD is a great starting point to help you put the Right Road program into full swing in your classroom — and it’s only $20. You can get the DVD (including workbook — that you are welcome to copy for your students) alone or as part of the Right Road Super Pack or Right Road Teacher Pack. It’s part of our Right Road product line at the online Right Road shop at www.rightroadkids.org. I can’t say strongly enough that I am not trying to sell you something. 95% of what I have, I give to kids, teachers, and schools. There are certain things that we need to “charge” for in order to cover our basic costs, and the DVD is one of them. It was created by a Right Road team of people who worked tirelessly to make it happen so it could be available to kids, teachers, schools, and families everywhere — and I am SO excited to share it with you!
Some helpful notes: This DVD is the first in the “Right Road For Kids!” series. (Future epsiodes will be in the form of 5-minute-or-less Right Road lessons in the “Right Road Take 5!” series.) Each episode centers on one of the “Cool Right Road Rules” — key life messages including “Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated,” “Believe in Yourself,” “Use Your Talents,” and “Do Your Very Best” to name a few. This DVD focuses on self-esteem and the first Cool Right Road Rule, “Always remember that YOU ARE SPECIAL!” I believe self-esteem (NOT entitlement or nose-in-the-air-better-than-you attitude) is the core of character. If someone, no matter what age, does not feel good about him or herself, I think it is very hard for that person to truly live an authentic, giving-from-their-soul life. If someone is “right” within themselves, they can give of their specialness to the world and help make it a better place. If they are not right within themselves, things can get pretty confusing and off-track. Living on the Right Road starts with self-esteem!
As a helpful reference , the DVD has won quite a few awards including the prestigious Dr. Toy “Top 100 Best Children’s Products” Award (right along with products from companies including Legos, K’nex, and V-Tech), the Dr. Toy “Top 10 Best Children’s Videos,” and the “National Parenting Publications Honors Award”. The corresponding activity/workbook (that comes with it) has pages that directly correlate to each DVD segment. So even if you don’t have all the project resources that I use in the program right at hand in our classroom, your students can actively participate and do the projects, too! The whole thing is very special and based directly on my in-class Right Road sessions with kids.
Watch the DVD yourself (or with a teacher friend or group of teacher friends so you can brainstorm together), before showing it to your students. It’s approximately 40 minutes long, broken down into many segments — each its own Right Road self-esteem lesson. While you’re watching, make note of how the lessons incorporate standards-based learning (with social studies, geography, math, music, art, technology, etc.). I believe that positive self-esteem and character lessons and messages can be built into just about any school or other learning experience without taking up a whole lot of “extra” time. It can all work together… and when it does, the most effective learning takes place because kids are uplifted, having fun, and feeling great!
Pick ONE Right Road self-esteem lesson from the DVD to start with in your classroom. Of course, you can show the entire DVD to your class at once, OR you can show one “segment” at a time if you choose. For in-class viewing, the age-appropriateness of the DVD is generally for 1st-6th grades. With middle school and high school grades, in most cases, I would suggest viewing the program yourself and adapting the lessons to your grade level. The beauty of it is, they can be adapted and are so effective for ANY grade level… ANY AGE, actually. The lessons apply to us as adults, too, and I share them all the time (adapted, of course) at teacher staff meetings, Right Road in-service training sessions, and Right Road parent education nights. Companies are even using the “Cool Right Road Rules” to motivate and uplift their employees! Parents and home schoolers can also share the lessons with their kids. Note that if you decide to “just” use the DVD as a tool to find ideas without actually showing it to your students, that is totally fine. You can take the ideas and lessons, make them your own, and adapt them for your classroom and kids however you would like. So may options! AND, the lessons you share with your students can be 5-minute Right Road “breaks” or 30-minute projects. It’s totally up to you and what works with your classroom schedule and environment.
Make special note of the bulletin board project near the end of the program. I REALLY encourage you and your students to work together to create a Right Road bulletin board or wall in your classroom — whatever the age, pre-school through high school. (Kids can do this in the rooms at home, too!) As part of it, however you decide to create the bulletin board and space, have each student add their own “I’m on the Right Road!” sticker (or other personal writing or mark) to the board — and say it out loud as put it on the board. (We have great sticker options for this at the Right Road Shop, but the kids can also make their own “mark” by using blank computer labels, positive-message “road” signs, Right Road pledges, etc.) By doing this, they are making the commitment in front of everyone and the kids become accountable to each other and to the classroom “family” in a very important, meaningful way.
Here are just a couple recent examples of Right Road bulletin boards teachers have created to kick off the school year on the Right Road! (Thank you to ALL of you who have been sending photos!) Of course, middle and high school boards may look quite a bit different. Again, a big part of it all is about “ownership” — you and your students making it your own.
Depending on what will work best for you, your students, and your available classroom time, you can then add one lesson per week or month and build upon the Right Road lessons, “language,” and theme throughout the year. You can also use the DVD as a springboard to come up with your OWN lessons — AND encourage the kids to come up with lessons themselves, too! With the latter, you’re further passing the “ownership” of the program on to them — and that’s what it’s all about!
Here’s an extra-special surprise!…
I am incredibly touched that so many teachers around the country have been requesting that I visit their classrooms to personally share the Right Road program. While I can’t physically go everywhere each year, technology has created avenues for this to “virtually” happen! As a starting point, EVERY TEACHER to purchase the Right Road DVD (see STEP 1) during the month of September 2015 will receive a FREE Right Road Skype session with me for their class! No coupon code needed. After we receive your DVD order, the Right Road Team and I will follow up with you via e-mail to schedule your Skype session. Easy as pie! To be fair, I’ll schedule on a first-come basis; those who purchase sooner will have first choice of session dates.
From there, you can build one uplifting Right Road element into your classroom at a time. No need to feel time pressure. You can work around your schedule and available time. Even five Right Road minutes can go a long way! In future blog posts, I’ll share more and more Right Road tips, insights, and ideas about how to incorporate other Right Road resources, messages, and lessons into your classroom.
What I have found over the last 23 years of sharing the life-changing Right Road program is that taking even just 5 or 10 minutes at a time to focus on what it means to be on the Right Road in fun, uplifting, positive ways helps classroom productivity, builds the classroom “family” atmosphere, and helps the students zoom to new heights personally and educationally. At the same time, it truly helps to effectively deal with, ease, and often erase issues like bullying and boredom from kids’ classroom/school vocabulary! The simplicity of what I’m writing here may seem a bit “pie-in-the-sky-with-rose-colored-glasses,” but it’s not. I have been sharing the Right Road program with tens of thousands of kids and developing new Right Road lessons, programs, projects, and nuances daily for over 23 years. I have found that from the most in-need schools to the most affluent neighborhoods, the Right Road approach, messages, and lessons WORK. The key is to incorporate them into your classroom and your school from your heart, in a way that works for you, your class, your kids, and your situation. Kids know when adults are opening their hearts and sharing truth. Whatever their background, kids are longing for truth, compassion, love, and the Right Road. The Right Road program brings all of that and more right into your classroom in quick, easy, uplifting, educational, fun, meaningful ways.
On other tip that may be helpful: Many teachers have shared with me that they are putting together Donors Choose projects to fund the Right Road program and materials for their classroom. Approximately $100 can pretty much bring you everything you need for a school year… and that’s not bad for something that can multiply your kids’ esteem, compassion, productivity, and excitement to learn exponentially!
I truly hope this information is helpful to you in incorporating the Right Road program into your classroom and students’ lives. As I shared at the start of this blog post, this is just the beginning. I will follow with many more Right Road tips, ideas, and lessons each month. And as always, I love hearing from you! Feel free to share any comments, questions, or thoughts with me. And above anything else, before you even begin to incorporate the Right Road program into your classroom setting, take a minute each day to remember… YOU ARE SPECIAL AND APPRECIATED! Thank you for ALL you do every day to uplift kids on the Right Road in school and in life. What you do, how you make a daily difference… it’s simply the most important “job” in the world. Right Road Kids, Right Road Productions, and I are truly honored to be of service and support however possible.