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October 21, 2010 Character Education With Coach John Wooden By Nancy Jang
Grades 1–2

    Happy 100th birthday to Coach John Wooden, who would have been 100 on October 14, 2010. Coach Wooden was best known for his amazing coaching career with the UCLA basketball team, but his most lasting contribution to our school's everyday culture was his philosophy and his lessons about life. Read on to learn about how John Wooden's children's book Inch and Miles is cultivating a culture of success at our school.

    Image courtesy of



    Who is John Wooden? Even if you have never followed college basketball or heard of UCLA, you may have heard of John Wooden. Watch this short video tribute to his life to learn more.

    Video clip courtesy of YouTube.

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    How does our school incorporate Inch and Miles into the school day?

    • Murals of the characters featured in Inch and Miles decorate the front of our school and our halls.
    • We give "success awards" for students caught doing good and "success reminders" for things students are working on.
    • Every trimester, we give Principal's Awards based on the blocks from the pyramid of success.
    • The "Success Song," written by Susan Shaw, one of our very own 1st grade teachers at Woodland, is performed at every Flag Deck, twice a month.
    • Second grade musical performances use songs that center around building blocks on the pyramid of success.
    • Students write in their "success journals" every week in the classrooms.
    • Everyday discussions often refer back to themes introduced in Inch and Miles, with questions such as "What characteristics does this character show? What do they need to work on?"  
    • We do class projects inspired by the book, such as building the pyramid from shoe boxes.DSC00161







    Sponsored by McDonald's, is an excellent interactive resource that gives great background information about John Wooden's life and career, as well as a description of his philosophy about teaching and living life.

    Check out these books by John Wooden to get started in your classroom:


    What do you like to use for character education, and how do you integrate it into your day?

    Join me next week when I post a booklist, some fun activities, and wonderful Thanksgiving resources!

    Happy teaching,


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