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Introduction to Project Heart, Head, Hands (H 3 ). Veray Wickham H 3 Hub Coordinator San Joaquin County Office of Education 209-468-9021 Project Heart, Head, Hands. Shaping Capable, Caring, Socially Responsible Youth through Character Education and Service-Learning.

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Introduction to Project Heart, Head, Hands (H3)

Veray Wickham

H3 Hub Coordinator

San Joaquin County Office of Education


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Project Heart, Head, Hands

Shaping Capable, Caring, Socially Responsible Youth through Character Education and Service-Learning

  • A federally funded character education project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

  • Between 2003 and 2006 we have served 31 schools, over 1,000 teachers and 15,000 students in three districts in the East Bay.

  • Between 2006-10, H3 will work with 24 new sites in the Bay Area and Central Valley.

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Program Impact

  • H3 provides staff with common language for working with students to increase self-management skills.

  • H3teachers have more positive perceptions of school professional climate than teachers at control sites.

  • H3 schools show decreased disciplinary action and increased attendance.

  • Academic achievement (reading comprehension, fluency) of H3 students improves.

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More Program Impact

  • H3 positively impacts students’ development of character assets.

  • H3 students demonstrate positive social-emotional growth and improved behavior. Examples include:

    • Increased empathy, tolerance, understanding.

    • Decreased playground fighting and increased respectful behavior.

    • Improved active listening and ability to take the other person’s point of view.

    • Increased sharing and team work.

    • Greater willingness to tell the truth and accept responsibility for their actions.

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Project Heart, Head, Hands: Responding to the Realities of Time and Testing

  • H3 curriculum is integrated with Open Court and Houghton Mifflin language arts materials at each grade level.

  • H3 reinforces reading comprehension and higher order analytic thinking skills.

  • H3 allows teachers to address language arts content standards while developing character.

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H3: An Integrated Approach

  • Fostering development of character traits (e.g., honesty, respect, responsibility)

  • Building social-emotional skills (e.g., effective communication, conflict resolution)

  • Engaging students in service-learning (performing acts of service for their communities)

Social-Emotional Skills

Character Traits


Who we are.

What we value.

Our code of ethics.


What we know.

Ideas, thoughts, concepts that guide us.


What we do.

How we act.


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Focus on Asset Building

  • Project Heart, Head, Hands draws on the work of the Search Institute and its identification of developmental assets that have been shown to benefit youth.

  • These assets represent a set of mediating factors that research has shown to support academic learning, as depicted in the model below:

Positive Values

Social Competencies

Positive Identity

Commitment to Learning



Boundaries & Expectations

Constructive Use of Time

Quality Character Education & Service-Learning



Mediating Factors

Adapted from Furco, Future Directions for Service-Learning Research, 2006

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The Eight Great Traits

H3 is organized around a core set of positive character traits. These are posted in classrooms, used in program activities, and become a common language for teachers and students.





Respect for Others


Planning & Decision Making

Problem Solving

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Language Arts Integration

  • H3 materials are built into Open Court and Houghton Mifflin Reading units at each grade level.

  • H3 materials incorporate content standards in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, as teachers use selections to highlight the Eight Great Traits.

  • H3 homework activities provide opportunities for parents and students to communicate about positive character, social-emotional skills, and service-learning.

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Grade 4, Theme: Heroes

Sample Language Arts Materials — Houghton Mifflin, G4, Th. 5

Theme Overview

  • Quotations to Use with This Theme

  • Integrity

    • Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.

  • Sophocles

  • Responsibility

    • You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

  • Abraham Lincoln

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    Selection 1:Happy Birthday, Dr. KingKey Trait: Integrity

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    Social-Emotional Skill Lessons

    • Five “Getting Started” Lessons

      • Getting acquainted, put-ups, vision, class agreements

    • 12 additional lessons

      • Listening, Perspective-Taking

      • Assertion, I-Statements

      • Conflict, Win-Win Conflict Resolution

      • Cooperation

      • Diversity, Appreciation, Prejudice/Bias

      • Peacemaking

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    Service-Learning Component

    • Schools/grade levels identify and complete at least one service-learning project.

    • Many students and teachers consider this a highlight of their experience with the program.

    • Our new Service-Learning/Language Arts materials identify service-learning activities that are aligned with Open Court and Houghton Mifflin units (Grades K-6), based on the reading selections in the unit and the overarching theme.

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    Implementation Model

    • Sites elect to participate in the program at the whole-school level (K-6).

    • Teachers and principals attend a two-day Summer Institute to prepare them to use the program.

    • H3 staff and consultants conduct monthly site-based meetings to support teachers during year 1 of implementation.

    • H3 staff provide coaching to site support teams (3-6 teachers each) during years 2 & 3 of implementation to develop site capacity for continued effective program use.

    • Sites submit data concerning program usage and administer teacher and student pre-post surveys.