As well as guiding children through the English language, teachers can also help them to flourish personally. We want our young learners to get to know themselves and others, recognize and acknowledge values, feelings and emotions, and learn about rewarding actions and reactions.
Through stories, activities and games, and our own behavior towards them, we can help children with their social development and encourage positive communication.
In My Disney Stars and Friends by Jeanne Perrett, Mary Roulston and Kathryn Harper, each unit of the book focuses on a specific key value. In this blog we are going to share with you 10 free worksheets which you can use to teach key values inspired by Disney along with some quotes you may recognize from your favorite movies.
How can I teach values with the help of Disney characters?
Each value presented below comes with associated activities for our youngest learners ages 3–5, as well as older children 6–8 and 9–12.
You can talk about a value displayed in a Disney movie as an introduction. Students will be delighted to see their favorite characters demonstrate these values.
For very young learners this means recognizing when we should thank someone and learning how to do that. For older children, they can begin to assess what it means to be thankful and find ways to express gratitude thoughtfully.
Fun ideas could include playing a gift-giving game, making a thank you mailbox to send notes to each other or completing a gratitude chart.
[Joy, Inside Out]. “Think positive!”
Fostering an atmosphere of encouragement in the classroom makes each child feel empowered and helps the whole class to feel comfortable trying new ways of doing or saying things in a non-judgemental environment.
Show young students that they can admire each other’s work by having an art show and encourage older students to help each other with a memory game.
3. Making a difference
[Zootopia] “Ready to make the world a better place?”
Feeling a sense of social, civic and global responsibility can start with something as small as cleaning up their own things in the classroom. As students grow older, they can consider their school, home or town environment and what they could do to help it stay nice or become better.
They’ll see that their own attitudes and actions can have an effect on their surroundings and that they can make a difference. As a class activity, make action plans and assess what changes students can make with a small amount of effort.
Goals can be something as simple as remembering to take the right books to school and handing homework in on time, or they may mean mastering a new skill.
Introduce the concept of carefully and adventurously reaching a goal by playing a walk along the line game with younger learners. For older children, encourage combining mental and physical activities by playing a thought and action game with tasks and questions.
5. Finding and drawing on inspiration
[Rapunzel, Tangled] “Let your powers shine!”
Help students develop their lateral thinking to see new possibilities in the materials and ideas they have around and within them.
A fun game could be taking imaginary items from a magic box and interacting with them to encourage creative play for young learners. Older students can use unusual prompts to turn short sentences into simple stories.
6. Self awareness
[Mufasa, The Lion King] “Remember who you are.”
Self awareness starts with knowing how to say your name and age and talking about who is in your family. This grows to being able to describe yourself physically and then develops into an awareness of how and why you feel different emotions, what you like and dislike and why.
Young learners can make a This is Me book with drawings and simple labels, while older ones can enjoy interviewing each other in a chat show.
7. Recognizing our own worth and skills
It’s good to be modest and humble, but it’s also good to think of what we do well and to feel proud of ourselves.
Do activities to promote students’ self-confidence, such as applauding each other for activities performed in class, making an Amazing Me poster or writing acrostic poems with a positive statement for each letter in their name.
8. Persistence and inner strength
[Dory, Finding Nemo] “When life gets you down, you know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming.”
Any task which we do requires a certain amount of persistence to complete it. Help students develop their concentration and focus by setting them small, manageable goals with time limits. This way, they see that even spending five minutes on a task can be productive.
Younger students can build towers from blocks and start again if their tower topples. Older students can apply themselves to learning the months of the year in order, identifying which letters are vowels or naming the colors of the rainbow. Make charts to help the students organize their own learning and to work towards goals step by step.
Generosity can be sharing toys or other personal items, and it can also be sharing ideas, thoughts and friends.
Help students become open hearted by having snack parties in the class, discussing generous and kind actions they can do, or teaching them how to give and graciously receive compliments.
10. Being a good friend
Being a good friend might mean helping someone physically or empathetically, encouraging them in new endeavors or simply laughing at their jokes and spending time with them.
Younger students can play games where they help each other up when someone has fallen over. Older students can discover things they have in common by playing the Me Too game, or they could discuss and explore friendly actions in difficult situations through role play.
Show your students that their intentions and actions towards themselves and others can make their lives and environment a better place.
Through the eyes and actions of their favorite Disney characters, children will learn to be good citizens and contribute positively to society. They can be a Star, by being a Friend!
Looking for more ideas to teach values with Disney? Check out our blog about teaching core values through reading.