Curriculum Overview

Our 23-week curriculum includes a 20-minute lesson on Day One introducing the Heart Attributes emphasized that week. Days Two–Five are 5-10 minute engaging activities reinforcing the weekly principles and incorporating original songs, stories, puppets, journal prompts, full-color animation, games, crafts, and role-play. All lessons at every grade level have their own interactive whiteboard activity. All lesson content is accessible through the My Manners intranet portal.

Set in the imaginary town of Merryville, the curriculum is based on original stories which ignite the imagination and reveal a world of possibilities. The host of colorful characters welcomes all young visitors as they enter a world filled with Respect, Kindness, Acceptance and Hope.

You can teach children to do math. You can teach children to read. Without Manners of the Heart, you cannot instill the desire to succeed.

Rick Hamilton
Music Teacher, Shenandoah Elementary,
Baton Rouge, LA

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Teach The Lessons?

Though Manners of the Heart is a flexible curriculum that can be taught by classroom teachers, counselors, or volunteers, we have seen the best results when the classroom teacher teaches the lessons as part of the classroom curriculum. Here are some key points for Manners of the Heart teachers to keep in mind to produce the best results:

  • Be consistent throughout the School Year:  We recommend scheduling your core lessons to be taught on the same day at the same time by the same person, with one lesson per week.
  • Set a Time: Work with your administration to create time for Manners of the Heart. It works best integrating Manners of the Heart into a core subject area, such as social studies or language arts.
  • Engage in the Weekly Lessons: even if you are not the one preparing or teaching the core lessons, make sure to still remain in the classroom to participate in the content with students. You will need to be keenly aware of the content that students are learning in order to reinforce key objectives throughout the week, thus sustaining a general culture of respectfulness within your classroom.
  • Teach Lessons in Students’ Normal Classroom: Location is important because students are more often reminded of the prosocial attitudes and behaviors when Manners of the Heart is taught in the same environment where they are learning throughout the day.
  • Model Respectful Behavior: Children respect those who respect them. They are also far more likely to internalize what they see rather than what they hear. At Manners of the Heart, we ask teachers to sign a pledge that they will practice the same respectful behavior students are learning through the curriculum. None of us can be perfect, but we can do our best to be a good example for our students. We can humbly respond with an apology when we mess up and lose our cool.
  • Prepare Yourself for each Lesson: The introductions are meant to inspire the person preparing to teach the lesson. Rather than giving detailed instructions, they are filled with illustrations of the principles being taught to aid in the presentation. 
When Should Lessons Be Taught?

We recommend instituting “Manners on Monday” by teaching the core lesson on Monday, followed by daily journal writing Monday through Friday. This schedule kicks off a new idea, or “Heart Attribute”, on manners and respectfulness that can become your classroom initiative for the week. 

How Should Lessons Be Reinforced?

Reinforcement of the core lesson is a critical component in the success of Manners of the Heart to ensure students fully understand the qualities presented in each lesson. We offer several opportunities teachers can utilize each week to reinforce the core lesson:

  • Daily Journal Prompts: Each lesson includes five writing prompts for your students to complete in their journals. We encourage you to implement the journal writing at a designated time during each day, such as at the opening or close of the school day or as part of a language arts block of instruction.
  • Wilbur’s Words of Wisdom: You can also integrate Wilbur’s Words of Wisdom throughout the week by writing them on a central board in your school, reciting them with students after morning announcements, or writing them on a board in your classroom.
  • MyManners: The Intranet portion of the Manners of the Heart website (mannersoftheheart.org), MyManners (MyManners button on at the top of the homepage), includes additional resources to enhance lessons. For example, Morning Announcements offer an additional opportunity to reinforce the core teaching of the weekly lessons. Many schools include these in internal memos and/or in newsletters for community-wide distribution. Interactive flipcharts can be used in a computer center for students to review Manners of the Heart lessons and concepts. Merryville character graphics can be utilized for story starters, math problems, etc. 
Can I Involve Parents?

Each curriculum lesson includes a Home Connection letter for parents or guardians, educating them on the content their child is learning and offering practical suggestions for reinforcement at home. Monday is also a good day to send the Home Connection letter home.

What About Table Manners?

In addition to the 22 lessons on character, Manners of the Heart offers a social skills curriculum on table manners called Manners of the Heart At The Table. Table manners lessons can be implemented in much the same way as your character lessons; however, each lesson is divided into a 10-15 minute lesson for the classroom and a 5-10 minute lesson or reinforcement for the cafeteria. Our recommendation is to make the 22 character lessons your main priority during the school year. However, if cafeteria courtesy is a concern in your school, as it is in most, we recommend implementing Manners of the Heart At The Table at the end of the year following your conclusion of character lessons. Table manners lessons will provide great reinforcement of the general attitudes of courtesy and kindness that students learn through the character curriculum. The Manners of the Heart At The Table manual includes 10 lessons on table manners appropriate for elementary students in grades K-5. The manual is available through the Manners of the Heart online store.

How Can I Assess The Curriculum's Impact In My School?

If the Manners of the Heart program has been implemented school-wide, you should analyze some of the cultural trends in your school. A great measure to assess changes in school culture is the Respect & Responsibility School Culture Survey (2012). Best given annually, this 29-question survey developed by the Center for the 4th and 5th Rs assesses the extent to which everyone at school acts with respect and responsibility toward others. Please note that such cultural shifts often take longer to notice than do changes in individual student prosocial behavior. 

As of today, our discipline referrals are down 57% from last year. Our students love the results of students internalizing the character traits. As the principal, I love the positive impact that MOH has brought to our school.

J. Affentranger
Principal, Shawnee, OK

The Impact

A 2017-2018 End of Year Educator Survey shows:

95

Say they see a definite improvement in the attitudes and behaviors of their students since implementing Manners of the Heart.

93

Say they look forward to teaching Manners of the Heart Lessons each week.

95

Say their students love the Manners of the Heart lessons and look forward to them.

2013-2014 University Research Study

Dr. Monique LeBlanc, a Professor of Psychology at Southeastern Louisiana University, conducted a research study on the academic impact of Manners of the Heart® in schools.

30

Decrease in Disciplinary Referrals

15

Increase in SPS

34%

Increase in reading proficiency

94%

Increase in positive behavior

30%-58%

Decrease in disciplinary referrals

For school or district implementation, please contact Angelle High, School Services Director at 225.383.3235 or ahigh@mannersoftheheart.org