Wisdom Thinkers Network

FAQs- Stories to Light Our Way

Welcome to “Stories to Light Our Way,” a simple resource to seamlessly embed character education into your existing classroom routine or school program to create a vibrant classroom and school culture, nurture character, honor diversity, and deter bullying.

This Teacher Edition contains stories from eleven different traditions and cultures around the world, to aid in cross cultural understanding. Each story is keyed to a particular behavior or character trait with age appropriate lesson plans, divided pre-K-2, 3-5 plus 6, so you can seamlessly integrate them into Common Core Standards ELA through the Domains and Modules Matrixes found following the Table of Contents, and cross-curricular references to science, math, social studies, and special needs adaptations which follow each lesson plan.

Here are some common questions that may arise:

How does this benefit my classroom/school?

This is an effective way to create an enriched environment within the classroom and solid students of character throughout the whole building. These stories are also a powerful tool to help with behavior concerns. By covering topics such as self-control, respect for each other’s opinions, forgiveness, etc., the students quickly identify with the characters of the stories, are able to self-reflect and make better choices. This results in a more positive classroom climate, less behavior incidences, and a greater number of motivated learners.

How can this aid in APPR?

Given that our APPR requires an introduction to multi-cultural materials, this resource provides a perfect union of character education and cross-cultural understanding. Many have praised it as an excellent way for elementary schools to implement this requirement.

How do I integrate the stories/lessons into the Common Core?

1. The use of the matrix (following the table of contents) immediately allows you to see which stories connect to which domains/modules.

2. Following each story, you will find grade specific lesson plans that include the common core standards that are covered in each lesson.

3. Each of the lesson plans also includes a Cross-Curricular Connection section.

4. Also included in each lesson plan is an Extensions and Adaptations section for higher and lower leveled learners.

Where do I find time to implement this?

Because of the domain/module connections, these materials can be used as a supplemental resource during ELA. The stories provide perfect material to be used within centers or guided reading to reinforce the topic of the current domain/module. Also, the stories are intentionally short and can be shared in less than 5 minutes. This allows for easy use during teachable moments, e.g. students come in off the bus or in from the playground with their heads hung or all atwitter about something. Rather than lecturing, teachers often simply gather the students and say, “I have a story I’d like you to listen to.” Then play (or read) the appropriate story and watch the students calm down. Wonderful discussions follow (sometimes for days), and the situation is defused.

Ideal for ISS – teachers and even principals have commented on how easily a child can relate to the story, begin to self-reflect and change their “offensive” behavior. Many administrators keep copies of the stories handy to play for children sent to the office.

How do I answer the question about “religion”?

These stories come from a variety of cultures around the world, and are meant to demonstrate how different traditions, both sacred and secular, teach their children similar values. They have been carefully constructed within the framework of our 1st Amendment, and even reviewed and vetted by the leading authority that publisheds the pamphlets on the Establishment Clause distributed by the Department of Education to schools throughout the country.

“Stories to Light Our Way is a wonderful resource for introducing young people to the wisdom and moral lessons found in the world’s religions and cultures. The stories are presented in ways that allow children to learn about the beliefs and values that have shaped human experience for centuries. The Wisdom Thinkers Network’s approach to story-telling is an educationally and constitutionally sound way for public schools to build good character and encourage cross cultural understanding.”

Charles C. Haynes, Senior Scholar

First Amendment Center Director, Religious Freedom Education Project

Do I have to use all the stories?

While some teachers integrate all the stories into their classroom or building-wide programs, you are free to use whichever stories you feel most comfortable with and those which address the particular behavior/character trait you want to address.

Do they have to be used in sequential order?

No, they do not. Once again, you may use whatever stories fit the objectives and character trait needed.

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