Story-based lesson plan for grades Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th grades.
Character traits themes: honesty, trustworthiness, listening to conscience, forgiveness and growing from mistakes
Students will understand the following:
- Honesty is about being truthful in what you say and in what you do.
- Honesty is more than "not lying”. Honesty includes not hiding the truth (deceiving).
- Your conscience helps you know right from wrong and helps you make good choices.
Grades: Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Supports learning standards in social studies and health.
- Students understand the individual responsibilities of citizenship and promoting a civil society.
- Students demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health and to create positive personal relationships.
Honesty- Only doing or saying things that are truthful and morally right. Honesty includes
- telling the truth (not lying)
- acting in a way that is truthful and doesn’t hide the truth (not deceiving)
- only doing things that are morally right (not stealing or cheating)
Conscience- The voice in your head and feeling in your heart that tells you if something is right or wrong.
Also see "What is Honesty" definition with examples.
Use the story in Be Proud, Talking with Trees Book 1, to teach children how to listen to their hearts and minds (conscience) to guide honest choices.
Read the paper book to the group or project the iPad/iPod ebook on a whiteboard.
Discuss what was dishonest about the boy’s actions.
Children often equate honesty with "not lying”. But if the boy doesn’t get caught, and doesn’t speak of it (he didn’t lie), he’s still being dishonest. Honesty includes saying and acting truthfully. Hiding the truth because you know it is a wrong action is a form of dishonesty.
On each page, focus on the boy’s facial expressions and body language.
How is he feeling? Help the children see how they can pay attention to the clues their hearts and minds give them about the choices they are making. This is their conscience helping them to feel whether something is right or wrong. Having this inner sense is essential to children being able to make honest choices when no one is watching.
Help children see the lasting good feeling the boy had after making the right choice.
Good choices feel good. Wrong choices feel wrong. When you make a wrong choice you might feel pleasure for a short time, but then you know in your heart that it was wrong and feel guilt or shame. Help the children equate good choices with feeling good, which helps them overcome the temporary appeal of the wrong choice.
Teach it is ok to make mistakes and that we use these opportunities to grow.
Use the story about the boy’s father to help children see that everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of growing up. By making the situation right and learning not to make the same choice next time, we are growing to be more responsible adults. Learning to forgive yourself for mistakes is important to building self-respect. Focus on learning and growing, and releasing the guilt/shame. Teach children to enjoy the feeling they get after doing the right thing.
Show how to switch to making a good choice.
Show children how simple it was to switch from making a wrong choice to a right choice. When they are in a situation, children may not know how to get themselves out of it. As the tree says,"Right now is a great time to make a good choice.” Teach them to recognize the feeling in their mind and body that tells them the choice doesn’t feel right, and how easy it is to change their course and start making a good choice. (Print a classroom poster about conscience and making good choices.)
Options for Grades 2-4: students can work in smaller groups to create answers to the discussion guide questions. Assign each group one question and have them present their answer to the class (Verbally or using PowerPoint, a poster, etc.). This will help children with different levels of empathy and different perspectives understand better how others may see these challenging situations.
More Resources to Extend the Lesson