May 2010

Revolution on a Plate

At several points in “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” it seemed the acclaimed British chef faced a challenge bigger than he could overcome. The man whose “Naked Chef” show made him a Food Network star and who had worked to reshape food policy in England had come up against a seemingly impossible client—school children in Huntington, Va.

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The Virtue in Action Program

Virtue in Action provides monthly lessons for grades 6-12 that are easily incorporated into existing English and Social Studies curricula, as well as homeroom periods.

Lessons focus on a current event, issue, or entertainment personality that illuminate a virtue. By focusing on events and personalities relevant to students' lives, lessons inspire students to live out the virtues and to participate in civic life.

Program Outline

Lessons are presented via written text delivered via website, email and mail each month throughout the school year. Lessons are "turn key", making it easy for teachers to implement in class.

Each lesson contains:

  • Stories of current events, issues and famous personalities that illuminate a virtue
  • Discussion Questions
  • Writing Exercises
  • Extended Learning Activities including:
  • Community service projects on the local, national and global levels
  1. Team research and presentation projects
  2. Links to elected officials
  3. Other opportunities for participating in civic life
  4. Vocabulary Enrichment
  5. Lessons reinforce content standards in both the English and Social Studies curricula:
  • Reading comprehension
  • Critical thinking
  • Writing skills
  • Vocabulary
  • Listening and debating skills
  • Research and presentation skills
  • Current events and issues
  • Geography
  • Service learning in students' local, national, and global communities


Click cover to download sample lesson

"The best index to a person's character is (a) how he treats people who can't do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can't fight back."

- Abigail Van Buren
"Edison Schools has incorporated Civics in Action/Virtue in Action over the past 5 years to teach character education in grades 6 - 12. The program has been used successfully in over 100 schools as a tool for generating real world discussions around character and ethics. One of our teachers was recently cited for her use of the program with high schools students in a research summary completed by Dr. Thomas Lickona. She repeatedly commented on the use of the program as the key driver in helping to generate the discussions that have proven so essential to both academic and emotional success of her students.

"This program has also been incorporated in our work to improve listening and speaking skills essential in our middle grade language arts programming.

"Due to the design of the lessons and its real world content, cross curricular connections are easily made and allow for teachers to generate more solid understandings for students. I highly endorse the use of this product in schools, as it has certainly been an essential tool in our efforts to develop citizenship and leadership and emphasize universal value systems."Ý

-Patrick Flynn, Edison Schools

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