Journal pages promote positive student behavior

Conelway Elementary School third-graders, from left, Isaac Keeler, Hunter Tasker, Deanna Huffman and Jessica Rick, look for specific words in a recent copy of the Journal. From now until the end of the year, anytime the Conelway students find the words respect, honesty, love, loyalty, justice, hope or courage, they will cut them out and deposit the clipping into a jar. The activity is part of the Corry Area School District’s character education program, the Heartwood Approach. Kindergarten through sixth-grade students from Spartansburg Elementary School will also be participating in the activity. Journal photo by Erin Passinger

A group of elementary students in the Corry Area School District will be learning about seven important character traits with a little help from the Journal.

From now until April, students from Conelway and Spartansburg elementaries will scan the pages of the newspaper in a daily attempt to find these key words: respect, honesty, love, loyalty, justice, hope or courage.

Those seven character traits help make up the district’s character education program called the Heartwood Approach.

By reinforcing these attributes through various activities and programs, the district is hoping to teach children the importance of positive behavior.

Kindergarten through sixth-grade students from Conelway and Spartansburg will participate in this newest activity.

“This challenges students to look through the paper for the specific character traits, cut it out and put it into a jar,” said Holly Trauner, elementary counselor at Conelway and Spartansburg, who researched and selected the Heartwood Program for the district. “It also encourages them to read about local things that are happening in the community.”

The district has been focusing on one new word each month. In September, students learned about respect, and now, in October, the new word is honesty.

For now, students will only be searching for these two words until Nov. 1, when the word love will be introduced.

Because of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday vacations, students will keep focusing on love into December.

January will begin with loyalty, February will introduce justice, March will start with hope and April will finish out with courage.

Each word has its own jar and Trauner is hoping the jars will be filled with these seven words by the end of the activity.

“It’s not a competition between grades,” Trauner said. “We just want to see how full we can get the jars and see which word was used the most.”

The Heartwood Approach was created by teachers more than a decade ago, and today about 2,000 schools in 40 states are practicing the program, according to the nonprofit organization’s Web site, www.heartwoodethics.org.

Each school, including Corry and Columbus elementaries, can choose how to incorporate the program into their own building.

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