Character Traits

On this page: Alabama’s 25 character traits, focusing on traits advanced in two national movements led in Alabama (Veterans Day and Civil Rights)–Patriotism, Courage, Perseverance, Trust, and Leadership–and resources to use teaching students meaning and implementation of key character traits.

The State of Alabama legislative call for character traits education started in 1995, Act(s) 1975 Code of Alabama, Section 16-6B-2(h); 1995 Accountability Law, Act 95-313:

The State Board of Education and all local boards shall develop and implement a comprehensive character education program for all grades to consist of not less than ten minutes instruction per day focusing upon the students’ development of the following character traits:

Courage, patriotism, citizenship, honesty, fairness, respect for others, kindness, cooperation, self-respect, self-control, courtesy, compassion, tolerance, diligence, generosity, punctuality, cleanliness, cheerfulness, school pride, respect for the environment, patience, creativity, sportsmanship, loyalty, and perseverance. Each plan of instruction shall include the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.

Character Traits education has impact! Part of this video includes Dr. Dyson telling the Civitan Club of Birmingham how a Citizenship Speech Competition when he was in Jr. High School challenged him to research and write about the meaning of “Freedom.”

Civitan sponsored the competition at Gresham Junior High School.
Video by Civitan Club president Terry Schrimscher.
The talk also includes key distinctions for national movements led in Alabama
that should be branded before the World Games come to Birmingham.

The top 5 traits from the list emphasized in the history of national movements led in Alabama for Veterans Day and Civil Rights, which set the stage for a movement for students to write plans for college-career-character to improve preparation for citizenship:

Patriotism, Courage, Perseverance, Loyalty, Citizenship

5 character traits not yet on the list we recommend get taught, especially because of the Alabama story leading on freedom movements related to Veterans Day, Civil Rights, and Plan for School and Life:

Freedom, Peace, Trust, Honor, Leadership

In the PDF shown and linked below, we provide short lessons on 10 character traits we listed that teachers can use in less than 10 minutes, taken from the book, Patriotism in Action, a patriotic guide that tells the story of how America’s National Veterans Day started in Alabama in 1947.

Patriotism in Action: The Founding of National Veterans Day Character Traits Class Handout

Lesson: Learn how a Birmingham student, who grew up and served in WW II, led the movement for America to create a National Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars and perpetuate peace. Learn this history through the lens of character traits legislated to teach in Alabama schools.

Action: the handout provides space for students to fill in answers to make sure they remember the history and, on page 2, they can write a vision sentence describing fulfillment of each important character trait selected by them or the teacher.

Character Education excerpt (PDF) from Patriotism in Action book. This handout includes a list of the 25 character traits mandated to teach in Alabama, plus 10 pages with lessons for five key character traits identified by the legislature plus five more identified by Life Leaders that are key to the national movements of Veterans Day and Civil Rights.

Patriotism in Action book: we believe this is the only book that tells how Veterans Day started in Alabama. It also includes short lessons on 10 character traits. Plus, get a patriotic guide.

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