Common Core Character Education and Career Prep

3 Ways to Add Character Education & Common Core to Career Prep

Common Core Character Education Career Prep Imagine today is Career Day. What do you see?

I get a flash from my own elementary school memories. I can remember gazing up at the impressively dressed firefighter who towered above me and my floor-sitting cronies. I consumed all sorts of descriptive details about his death-defying feats and physically demanding routines. He was my hero, and it was awesome.

That career day presentation was working, right? Well, somewhat. Something about that day was working. This hero-type figure helped me understand that being a firefighter was the ultimate realization of my far-off adulthood. But there was one problem: I was about 3 feet and 10 years short of being a strong applicant for any firefighting school.

I wonder what would happen if we shifted the career day focus away from job descriptions?

What if, instead, the presenters who visit elementary schools talk about the character traits that got them into their chosen careers?

With this new curiosity, I set out on the web to find career day lessons that focused on early life skills and connected those skills to later careers. I was sad to discover very few.

Now, full disclosure. I work for a character education program called The NED Show, whose mission is to promote academic achievement through character development. Over the last three years, our resource team has created tons of free resources that teachers and school counselors download and use from the web.

We’ve especially concentrated on the traits that live within our “N.E.D.” acronym: Never give up, Encourage others, and Do your best. With the support of my organization behind me, I set out to create career resources that infused character lessons. The result: 3 free career day video lessons.

Focusing on concepts like the importance of practice and the rewards of hard work, I identified professionals who achieved their dream jobs because of their character traits. The three videos are now complete, include Common Core aligned lesson plans, and are freely available for anyone to use:

Anna Banana Freeze, Breakdancer (recommended for grades K – 6)

Career focus:

Dancing, teaching dance, hip-hop/breakdancing

Skills & Character Traits:

Doing your personal best. Putting all your effort into something. Practice. Passion. Self-expression.

Molly Moon, Ice Cream Shop Owner (recommended for grades K – 4)

Career focus: Owning a business

Skills & Character Traits:

Original ideas. Never giving up on difficult tasks. Believing in yourself. Giving/receiving encouragement. Achieving small successes. Doing your best.

Colleen & Mark, Game designers at PopCap Games (recommended for grades 3 – 6)

Career focus: Artist, Game animator, Mathematician, Game ‘analyst’

Skills & Character Traits: Positive attitude. Striving for excellence. Patience. Practice. Never giving up. Perseverance. Rewards of hard work.

I encourage you to play a video and use its lesson plan! Perhaps select one that will uniquely appeal to your students.

If you do show a video, I’d love to hear how your students reacted to the ‘character skills’ approach to a career day lesson. Simply comment below, write to, or tweet @thenedshow.

The day will come for students to learn all sorts of details about particular jobs. Yet as long as they sit at miniature desks, I personally think we should explain big picture concepts like life skills. That way, in the future, students will be ready and motivated to chase their dream careers.

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One response to “3 Ways to Add Character Education & Common Core to Career Prep”

  1. Zakia Avatar

    Thank this post. Nice tips for caree planing.

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