Responsible Decision-Making

Family Resources on Honesty

Lesson Topic

Being Honest

Essential Questions

How do we show that we are honest with others?

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Getting Ready for the Conversation

Conversation Starters and Practice at Home Activities

School to Home Resources on Honesty


Previewing Activity:

Tell students that they are going to play “The Honesty Game”. Teacher will give students a scenario and ask students to explain how to be honest in that situation.


  • I accidentally break a picture frame (or another breakable object) on my mom’s table.
  • My grandmother asked who ate the last cookie; I did.
  • I don’t know the answer to a question, but my friend next to me does.
  • Someone took a pen off the teacher’s desk without permission. It wasn’t me, but I found it and now I am worried the teacher will think I took it if I give it back.

Activity 1:

Watch video: Honesty [3 minutes]

Activity 2:

Ask the following discussion questions after watching the video:

  • 1. Azia’s mother says he is almost always an honest, good kid. What do you think made him do something so dishonest?
  • 2. Why do you think it will take time for Azia to earn back his mother’s and teacher’s trust?
  • 3. Why do you think some students cheat or lie or steal?
  • 4. What should be the consequence for a student who steals or cheats at school?
  • 5. Is it ever acceptable to be dishonest? Why or why not?

Activity 3:

Making Honest Decisions


After discussing the video say to students, “We have talked about why it is important to be honest, now we are going to think about how to regain someone’s trust”. In the case with Azia, his teacher might not leave something out where he could be tempted to take it again.

Direct Instruction:

Ask students, “What do you think are some things that Azia would have to do during the next few weeks to help his teacher see that she could start to trust him again?”

Student answers might include:

  • Volunteering to do some nice things.
  • Staying away from the teacher’s personal things.

Explain that sometimes when people agree to do things, they create a “contract” or a written agreement saying what they will (and sometimes will not) do. In this case we could write down some of the suggestions made in our discussion. Write down a few sentences as Azia might, such as:

  • I will not go near the teacher’s space (or desk, or closet)”.
  • I will empty the pencil sharpener every day”.

Place students in groups of two and tell them that you will give them a situation (or scenario) where a student has done something dishonest. Each group will come up with a contract or at least three things that the student in their scenario might do to help earn back the trust of the adult in the situation.

Scenarios are included at the end of the lesson or teacher may create others based on books students might have read in class. Several groups of students will likely have the same scenario which will allow for discussion of differences.

Guided Exploration (We do):

Assign partners and scenarios and allow student pairs to develop contracts for the situations they have been assigned.

Independent practice

Have students share their scenarios and then share their contracts. Ask questions to encourage students to consider the importance of being honest and building trust if a poor choice has been made.


Ask students:

  • Is it always easy to be honest and tell the truth? Why or why not?
  • How do we show honesty at home and at school?

Vocabulary and Definitions

Betray (v.), to hurt someone by not giving or help or doing something wrong.

  • Vanessa felt Ezra had betrayed their friendship when he chose to join the other team even though members of the other team had been mean to him before.

Cheat (v.), to break a rule or law to gain advantage or win something.

  • Siggy claimed his sister cheated when he saw her move her game piece ahead when mom wasn’t looking.

Honesty (n.), the act of telling the truth; the quality of being what you appear to be so that

  • you say what you think, show what fell, etc.; fair conduct. Howard’s honesty led his classmates to elect him class treasurer.

Scenarios for activity

Darion attends a school that serves breakfast, but he eats breakfast at home. His mother puts enough money in his school meal account only to pay for lunches. On the bus he usually sits with his friend Annisa who eats breakfast in the cafeteria and she wants him to come to breakfast with her and keep her company instead of going to his homeroom when they get to school. Since he has eaten in the cafeteria every day, he is out of money in his cafeteria account. What should his contract include?

Klara’s teacher has been out of school for several days and the substitute teacher does not know all of the students’ names. Klara has been assigned to take the morning attendance report from the classroom to the office and the substitute teacher has marked attendance in pencil. As a joke, Klara decides to mark another student, Bronwen as absent. Klara does not know it, but the school secretary calls parents of students who are absent every day. Now Bronwen’s father has been frantic because he did not know where his daughter was and left work looking for her before he found out she was at school after all. What should Klara’s contract include?

Leo’s parents always are encouraging him to get good grades, but he often has to work very hard in math to do well. He has trouble remembering the process for adding mixed numbers and often misses a step. Vanna seems to always do well and Leo sometimes copies her work when no one is looking. One day when the principal was in his classroom, he copied Vanna’s work while the teacher wasn’t looking, but Leo forgot the principal was in the classroom, and she saw Leo cheating. What should Leo’s contract include?

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