Discovering the Real Me: A Student Textbook
in Character Education
Curriculum List | Book Review
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Character Education Initiative
A one-of-a-kind comprehensive series that helps students apply principles of positive psychology in easy-to-use lessons for character development.
A remarkable curriculum. As a commissioner on the rights to education, I found these books different from any I have read.
This series of books ... has amassed knowledge which speaks to the reality of living in this complex and challenging world.
This series is a joint effort in the field of character education, with the aim to integrate it with peace education and human rights education.
I have found Discovering the Real Me to be an invaluable tool for reaching out to young people.
I introduced [the Character Education Series] to my teachers and parents here in Papua New Guinea and they are very happy about the programme. (More)
Character education is an area of growing interest and popularity. Concerned parents, community leaders, and educators are beginning to realize that conventional education is incomplete when it comes to nurturing the character and personality of students. At the same time, political, social, and religious leaders are also recognizing that to achieve genuine peace in the world,
we must nurture societies full of people with good characters. As a result of the inspiration and thought of these concerned individuals, a movement has sprung up focused on character formation in our children and youth.
There is a wide array of programs and curricula to choose from. Each has certain strengths as well as limitations. In evaluating and assessing these diverse programs, UPF has decided that a prototype program and curriculum that can be utilized around the world is needed--a program where universal values and characteristics are taught in a format that can be adapted to different countries' cultural heritages. It is with that spirit and heart that the UPF Character Education Initiative has been created.
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Discovering the Real Me
The Discovering the Real Me series
represents a unique collaboration of an international
team of educators and writers. The original versions,
appearing under the titles My World and I (Russian)
and My Journey in Life (English), are the foundational
texts for this book, Discovering the Real Me: A Student
Text Book in Character Education.
Founded in 2000 by Dr. and Mrs. Sun
Myung Moon, the Univeral Peace Federation (Interreligious and International Federation
for World Peace) is a global movement, led by a worldwide
network of Ambassadors for Peace from all professional
fields, who, transcending barriers of race, religion,
nationality and culture, pursue lasting peace for all
humanity, through a life of service to others. UPF
sponsors a wide range of programs that include seminars,
service projects, publications, sports activities and
educational projects. The Discovering the Real Me: A
Student Workbook in Character Education, is a central
element of the UPF character education initiative
that is being implemented in many countries around the
The International Educational Foundation
was founded by Dr. and Mrs. Moon in 1990 to promote
moral and ethical values in education. Since that time
it has published many textbooks and other educational
materials in several languages for various age levels,
while conducting countless conferences for scholars
and educators and training workshops for teachers throughout
Character education is most effective
when it is a comprehensive, intentional effort of family,
school and community working together. Character is
affected by and affects all these interwoven levels
of human existence. Good individuals form and are formed
by good families, good families make up vibrant communities,
vibrant communities comprise a healthy nation, and healthy
nations create peace in the world.
Book 1: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook and Teacher’s Manual 1: Learning To Be Good, Ages 6 to 7 Years
The stories in Learning to Be Good are retellings of famous fables, especially Aesop’s, with a character education emphasis. These timeless and illustrative stories have traveled from culture to culture and generation to generation. They appeal to all age groups with their simple but universal lessons about human nature and morality. Since most of the main characters are animals, they have a special appeal to children of this age. Charming illustrations and playful, dynamic activities suggested in the accompanying teacher’s lessons plans, enhance the stories and reinforce the lessons learned in a hands-on way.
Book 2: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook and Teacher’s Manual 2: Wise and Wonderful, Ages 7 to 8 Years
Wise and Wonderful builds on the foundation of Book 1, Learning To Be Good, with more of Aesop’s famous fables. Written for a slightly more mature audience than Book 1, these stories are a bit more sophisticated in theme and are more firmly grounded in the world of relating to others in a sharing and caring way. Designed to be read aloud to the students, with easy-to-show illustrations, Wise and Wonderful contains the teacher’s manual right along with the story. Suggestions for hands-on activities and discussions help the teacher draw out the character education lessons of the stories.
Book 3: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 3: Living Happily Ever After, Ages 8 to 9 Years
“And they lived happily ever after” is not just the promise of fairy tales. It is the major character education lesson of the enduring international folktales retold in this book. The overarching theme of the book is that virtue leads to happiness. The designs of evil people, witches, and sorcerers are defeated in the end; kind people, good fairies, wise rulers, and noble princesses earn their “happily ever afters” through solid virtues of character. This is the first “read alone” book of the series, with a separate student textbook of stories and a teacher’s manual full of thought-provoking discussions, activities, and exercises that draw out of the lessons of these beautiful multi-cultural tales.
Book 4: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 4: The Heart of Goodness, Ages 9 to 10 Years
Lovingly selected, these famous and not-so-famous fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen are retold with a character education emphasis for today. From the perennially moving The Ugly Duckling and The Little Match Girl to the lesser known but delightful It’s Perfectly True and The Water of Life, the book takes teachers and students into a fantasy world that nevertheless contains the deepest truth: a heart of goodness is a treasure for life. The consequences of doing bad things out of a selfish character and the rewards of doing good things out of an unselfish character are vividly depicted. Fanciful illustrations add to the fun and poignancy of this treasure trove of meaningful fantasy adventures.
Book 5: Discovering the Real Me: Student Textbook 5: Family and Friends, Ages 10 to 11 Years
The world of a ten-to-eleven-year-old is an exciting place. They have a newfound ability in perspective-taking, a strong personal sense of right and wrong, a capacity for self-doubt, a growing awareness of the importance of peers, new insights into family relationships, and burgeoning physical abilities. The realistic stories contained in Family and Friends enter that exciting world and help the young person cope with challenges like competition in sports, choosing between right and wrong in front of one’s friends, developing new skills, accepting defeat and victory, learning from mistakes, maintaining relationships in the family, and the difference between courage and foolhardiness. Each story contains a subtle lesson in character and is accompanied by thought-provoking Questions for Reflection and Exercises that bring the lesson to fruition in the young mind.
Book 6: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 6: A World of Choices, Ages 11 to 12 Years
Brian discovers a “voice” within that rebukes him when he makes wrong choices; Tommy shows his friends that choosing to work hard pays off; Melodie chooses to tell her best friend that she won’t help her cheat; Jacinta, the new kid in school, chooses to tell on some boys she saw stealing; Robert chooses to keep losing his temper—and loses everyone’s respect as a result; Maria chooses to have her own way all the time, even at the cost of her best friends; and Naji chooses to overcome his poverty-stricken background and succeed in school and life. These young people and others are faced with trying situations in A World of Choices. Some of them make good choices, and some of them do not. Echoing throughout the book is the theme of responsibility—that a person’s destiny is truly in his or her own hands. Full of stories that reflect real situations children this age might be facing, A World of Choices also offers Questions for Reflection and Exercises at the end of each chapter to draw out and reinforce the lessons of the stories.
Book 7: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 7: Who Will I Be?, Ages 12 to 13 Years
Dawning adolescence is a time when both the inner and outer world of the child are rapidly changing. Childhood friends are not as good a “fit” as they used to be, new interests are sparking new friendships, the desire to belong may mean succumbing to peer pressure to do things one doesn’t believe in, or else to stand up to the crowd with courage and integrity. Then there are those friendships with the opposite sex that suddenly have some new feelings in them. The question of purpose comes up: the old, irresponsible childish ways are no longer enough to cope with the pressures and expectations, yet knowing who and what one will be is a shore dimly seen at this age. Who Will I Be? deals with this challenging time of life through stories of typical situations children this age might be facing. Thought-provoking Questions for Reflection, Exercises, and Reflection Exercises help the students look at the serious questions of who they are and who they are going to be.
Book 8: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 8: Going Through Changes, Ages 13 to 14 Years
The title says it all: firmly entrenched in adolescence, the thirteen to fourteen year old is definitely going through changes! As the characters in the stories of this book find out, the adolescent urge for independence is sometimes at odds with parental concerns about safety and sexuality, childhood friendships change and are subject to scrutiny from other peers; sibling rivalry may reach new heights on the athletic field, and belonging means something more than being part of a group of friends one’s own age. These thought-provoking stories show adolescents in the midst of their family and school lives, triumphs and struggles, as they go through the metamorphosis from childhood to adulthood.
Book 9: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 9: Developing My Character, Age 14 to 15 Years
Sample | Teacher's Sample (PDF)
Developing My Character features direct teachings on such topics as choosing what kind of person to become, what constitutes happiness, masculinity and femininity, the importance of relating well to others, finding purpose, resisting peer pressure, the relationship between freedom and responsibility, the existence of the conscience, and the importance of honesty and self-control. Filled with entertaining stand-outs and sidebars that use famous and historical people as examples of the lessons being taught, the chapters are accompanied by striking graphics and challenging questions and exercises. Filled with wisdom and humor, this book is an invaluable guide to developing good character in the middle adolescent.
Book 10: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 10: Building Successful Relationships, Ages 15 to 16 Years
Sample | Teacher's Sample (PDF)
Building Successful Relationships runs the gamut of relationships from the adolescent’s relationship with him- or herself (through self-respect and a sense of value) to his or her relationships in the family, including preparation for a future family. Topics such as respect for others, true love as opposed to infatuation and lust, getting along with seniors and juniors, communication skills, relationships with parents, conflict resolution, sexual integrity, and coping with broken relationships are all topics covered in this fascinating journey into the psyche of the maturing adolescent. User-friendly illustrations and lay-out, including stories in stand-outs and sidebars about adolescents in relationships, make for easy usage and interesting reading. Questions for Reflection, Exercises, and Reflection Exercises stimulate thoughtful introspection.
Book 11: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 11: Developing Leadership Skills, Ages 16 to 17 Years
Sample | Teacher's Sample (PDF)
As future leaders of their own families and the current leaders of their own lives, students need to develop leadership skills. The book Developing Leadership Skills emphasizes taking responsibility by making good decisions, taking the lead in understanding others and developing relationship skills, being community-minded, being responsible in romantic and sexual relationships, coping with adversity and diversity, handling money, and being responsible for the environment. Examples of leaders, both famous and not-so-famous, as well as examples of leading schools of thought, help students relate to what leadership really is. Entertaining graphics and intriguing sidebars tell illustrative stories that underscore the meaning of the chapters. Questions for Reflection, Exercises, and Reflection Exercises at the end of each chapter helps the student take ownership over the material.
Book 12: Discovering the Real Me, Student Textbook 12: Preparing for Life in Society, Ages 17 to 18 Years
Imagining life after school and preparing for it is the theme of Book 12, Preparing for Life in Society. The book covers such topics as emotions and self-control, self-image and self-esteem, human nature, change, searching for meaning, finding happiness, developing the virtues of commitment and loyalty, understanding group belonging, choosing a moral code by which to live, altruism, the relationship of the individual to the family and society, dealing with adversity, making a difference through service, and fashioning a life one can look back upon proudly are all topics covered in this important book. A serious and helpful stepping-stone into life beyond school, Preparing for Life in Society is filled with helpful illustrations, anecdotes, and reflection-provoking questions and exercises.
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