Choosing to Be Nice Just Got a Little Easier

Here’s how some educators are integrating Choose To Be Nice into their schools. Plus, NAESP members get 25 percent off merchandise through April 30.

Here’s how some educators are integrating Choose To Be Nice into their schools. Plus, NAESP members get 25 percent off merchandise through April 30.
March 2019, Volume 42, Issue 7

The colorful paper chains that stretched across classrooms at Grandview Elementary School in El Dorado, Kansas, grew longer each day as students competed to see who could build the longest one. While they were playing a game, they were also learning about personal interactions.

The students earned links by doing good. Every time they did a kind act, they wrote it down on a piece of paper that was added to the chain. This activity was part of the Choose To Be Nice Social and Emotional Learning (CTBN SEL) Program that teaches students about the choices they have in how they interact with people and encourages them to apply the lessons creating a lasting culture of kindness in their schools, homes and communities.

Nine Nice Mice (and Kids!)

Through the program, students are introduced to nine core values: respect, kindness, acceptance, teamwork, honesty, responsibility, friendship, patience, and courage. The classroom curriculum includes activities and a list of books related to each value. Lessons for younger elementary school students feature the Nine Nice Mice and lessons for older elementary students feature Nine Nice Kids. The middle school program uses project-based learning to reinforce the values.

“What drew me to the program was the simplicity of the message,” said principal Susan Holthaus of Grandview Elementary School in El Dorado, Kansas. “It’s not hard to implement. It’s direct and to the point. And it’s a message that everyone needs.”

The CTBN SEL Program has been integrated with the school’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. It also blends with the school’s Gator ABCs: Act Responsibly, Be Respectful, Care for Self and Others.

The school launched the program with a pep rally. Students and staff made the Choose To Be Nice Promise and signed a banner to be hung in the hallway. Parents were invited to also sign the banner. The students repeat the promise daily as part of their morning program. Teachers implement the lessons in their classrooms.

“This is a tool that really helps us teach the children about what it means to have a choice and how to respond positively,” Holthaus said.

How to Participate

The CTBN SEL Program provides guides and materials for a full range of activities including a kick-off pep rally, age-appropriate curriculum for the entire school year, CTBN Clubs, the 101 Ways To Choose To Be Nice Challenge, fundraisers, and a year-end CTBN Week celebration.

Schools get wristbands and can order lanyards for students and staff to wear as a visible reminder of the CTBN Promise. T-shirts and sweatshirts are also available and can be customized.

Are you looking for a lasting and impactful change? Enroll now to become a CTBN school for the 2019-2020 school year.

NAESP Member Discount on Merchandise

NAESP has partnered with CTBN to promote this initiative to elementary and middle-level schools. As a thank-you, CTBN is offering NAESP members a 25-percent discount on CTBN merchandise through April 30. Visit the shop for t-shirts and sweatshirts, hats, mugs, pencils, cards, bags, and more. Use coupon code naesp25 (discount not valid for school program).

This article has been sponsored by Choose To Be Nice.

Copyright © 2019. National Association of Elementary School Principals. No part of the articles in NAESP magazines, newsletters, or website may be reproduced in any medium without the permission of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. For more information, view NAESP’s reprint policy.