Building character brick by brick

Posted by Mary Jones - 21 May, 2012

Building Blocks of Character: Our 2012 K-4 Division Collaborative Art Project

We come to Randolph with a common purpose, to learn. Guided by our mission—Seeking Truth, Building Character, Nurturing All—we learn about math, science, reading, history, about the earth and its people, language arts, foreign language, music, physical health, art, and technology. But the most important things we learn are about ourselves and how we can build our character through the choices we make and lessons learned through triumph and failure. We seek to know the truth about ourselves, decide who we are, who we will become, and how we will be remembered.

An idea began to form, a desire to represent, through a collaborative K-4 art project, this critical part of our learning here, a visual statement of awareness that would serve to guide, inspire and remind us of the characteristics that help form a person of character, a good citizen, at school, at home and in the world.

The Upper School art students were working on a brick project, inspiring some thoughts as to what we could do. The words “ Building Character” keep ringing in my head.

One day I went outside and examined our physical buildings. I looked closely at our “building blocks.” Bricks, 2 ½ inches by 7 ½ inches, compose all of our buildings!

Thoughts came quickly: one brick is okay, BUT when many bricks are stacked together, held together by strong mortar, they form protective walls, giving each other strength, providing shelter. Each brick is slightly different, beautiful really; unified in purpose, they become something special.

So there it was: each child could create an individual artwork the same size of our Randolph bricks. But how, with what? Again the thoughts came: memories of our K-4 collage last year, of papers that had been saved from a 2007 origami calendar, a child’s holiday gift.

Guided by inspirational stories and books provided by Lower School Librarian Kim Simpson, students began to identify with the characters who demonstrated good character. They discussed attributes to describe them: honest, courageous, caring, grateful, kind, trustworthy, reliable, thoughtful, open-minded, compassionate, giving, loving, and so many more.


Students wrote the characteristics that they felt were important to building character and then included them as a focal point in their collage.

Fourth graders worked together to prepare the board for mounting our bricks.

What will be our mortar? What holds us together as a community of learners?
Our mission, of course! So copies of our mission statement covered the board and would become our layer beneath, our mortar in between each brick.

Fourth graders began to add the bricks, some even coming after school to help.

Each brick was carefully placed, from the invented spelling, "LUV PPL" of a Kindergartner to the more sophisticated “perseverance” of a 4th grader.

Together, they formed our “Building Blocks of Character.”



Topics: 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, art, Arts, character, community, creativity, education, Kindergarten, Lower School, teachers, traditions

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