The Life Line of Wisdom
This concept was birthed when I was hired to teach career awareness and career
choices to Middle School students in our community. I concluded that many students needed
the quality of character, integrity and work ethic that would allow them to maintain a job.
There are many students that give me great hope for the future, but there are also many that
give me cause for concern. This process addresses both the immediate needs and provides
ongoing benefits for our students. Character development, literary skills, analytical thinking
skills and global awareness are vital to the success of our students in the 21st century.
What Does It Do?
Engages students on arrival
Daily practices literacy skills
Uses application, analysis and evaluation thinking skills
Integrates (real time) with other classrooms
Promotes global awareness
Daily incorporates character building and life choice awareness
Promotes students to consider positive change
ALL OF THIS IN ABOUT FIVE MINUTES!!!
What Is In It For Me?
The meaningful elements of the “Life Line of Wisdom” are as follows:
It incorporates higher order thinking skills. (Application and analysis, Bloom’s Taxonomy)
It incorporates Integration of subject matter. (A key concept with “Common Core”
It incorporates Explanatory Text. (A key literacy skill used in the new Measurements of
It incorporates many of our RTT initiatives. (preparing students for the 21st century)
It incorporates World Awareness. (The Culture, people, history and geography of other
It incorporates real life examples of the benefits and application of good character and
integrity. (Who could deny this is a critical need today)
It respects the constraint of classroom time (Immediate engagement of students upon
It is a daily BCR (Brief Constructed Response)
How Does It Work?
This method works as follows: Students come in the room, get their individual folder. In
this folder they write a pre-selected person’s quote that deals with character and the wisdom
of life. The author or subject of the quote is selected because it relates specifically to a topic
currently being taught in other subjects. We then look at the author’s country of origin, subject
of expertise and life history as it relates to the common core. Students then analyze the phrase
and write in their own words what it means to them individually and how the meaning could be
applied to their life. We briefly consider some of the possible meanings and literary techniques used by
the author. Then we transition into our lesson for the day.
The “Life Line of Wisdom” started five years ago. Feedback from students, teachers and
administrators indicates that the teaching on character development and integrity has had a positive
impact. Subject matter across the common core has not only been integrated, but students have
improved their soft skills and become better citizens in the process. This method of daily initial
engagement of students in the classroom has been praised by our Middle School principal, County
Middle Schools Director, and our Career Technical Education Director. Several administrators from
other counties, who have visited the classroom, have also had positive reactions.
Are Their “Three Easy Steps” to implementation?
First Step: Collaboration with colleagues to brainstorm ways to implement the concepts and
procedures for the “Life Line of Wisdom”
Second Step: There should be an established method of real time cross curricular integration of
content. If not, call a variety of teachers and ask them what they are teaching for the week. Additional
subjects for quotes could be holidays and current events.
Third step: Create a folder for each student. Staple some notebook paper in a file folder.
Fourth Step: Enjoy the activity as you develop positive relationships. Watch your students grow
and learn. Really get to know your student’s values and how they think.
This system of instruction is appropriate for Middle School students because they are deciding
who they are and what they want to stand for in this 21st century age of change. Honestly, many of our
students are not getting these incorporated messages from the media or in their homes. To build a
good work force, you need a good work ethic. To build a good work ethic, you need integrity and good
character. To build good character and integrity you need repeated examples of what that means in the
lives of successful people. This system for classroom startup reinforces some essential skills and traits
not generally taught, but hopefully modeled in schools.
Our Students are as varied as these self-portrayals
This underlying “Life Line” diagram applies to all of our students
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.