4 ways to teach students to be honest
Teaching honesty in the classroom is an important part of social-emotional learning and character education. Do you have a problem with students being dishonest? I know, it’s a common issue, and we reallllly hate to admit that it’s happening with OUR students..🥴
These 4 steps can help you address dishonesty head-on, and teach honesty in ways that will connect with your students and be easy for them to understand.
- Teach and Model Honesty
- Use Resources
- Read Books
- Recognize Honesty
I often cover being honest in my lessons, I use this Character Education: Honesty resource that includes everything you need for teaching honesty in your classroom. Looking for more ideas on how to teach Honesty in the classroom? Check out this blog post on Children’s books that teach Honesty.
Teach and Model Honesty
Before you dive right into modeling this social emotional skill in your classroom, you need to teach it. Honesty is more than just “not lying”. True honesty includes being truthful, responsible, fair, acting with integrity, and owning up to your mistakes.
Demonstrate these attributes clearly for your students throughout the daily routine. Occasionally stop to highlight these attributes of honesty out loud about yourself from time to time.
Make sure your students know it’s okay to mess up, and explain how to take the next responsible step. When you make a mistake, use it as a learning opportunity for your students.
#2 Use Resources
Physical and digital resources are great ways to reinforce social emotional learning and help students make connections (aka better carryover!)
Honesty Character Education Set: This resource is designed to teach students what it means to be honest to others and themselves. It includes a print version and digital learning option for Google Classroom Digital Learning. This 90 page resource includes a parent letter, writing prompts, reward tags, bookmarks, and more to keep learning fun and engaging!
Honesty BOOM cards: This set includes 7 interactive cards to help students understand what honesty looks, sounds, and feels like. It also includes opportunities to practice honesty in different settings and 30 “what would you do?” situations.
#3 Read Books
Students love stories! Books are a great way to incorporate teaching honesty in the classroom in a fun, relatable way. Need more book ideas? Check out this blog post about Children’s books that teach Honesty. Here are a few highlights of my favorites:
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Poppy doesn’t tell the truth, and she likes to blame others for her actions. Everyone is upset at her for this, and Poppy really feels bad. Poppy and her friends all learn that everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and telling the truth is always the best choice.
Ping works hard all year to grow a flower from a seed. He is frustrated with his failing efforts because he is passionate about growing other flowers and trees. When it is time for Ping to present his flower to the Emperor, he finds himself with only an empty pot. Ping is honest with the Emperor, and to everyone’s surprise, he is rewarded and not punished.
Pig the Fibber is about a pug named Pig. Pig tells huge lies. Pig does so many bad things: ripping clothes, stealing food, making messes. Pig blames everything on his friend, Trevor. After telling so many lies about his friend, the lies catch up with Pig, and he is forced to tell the truth. Pig learns that there are always consequences when telling lies.
#4 Recognize honesty
As a large group or in pairs, have students compare and contrast how they feel when being dishonest vs choosing positive character traits like integrity and fairness. Venn diagrams or tables are helpful to add visual support to this activity.
Helping students understand WHY they should choose honest behaviors will help them be more intrinsically motivated and make these choices on their own.
Keep intrinsic motivation the goal but don’t shy away from bragging on your students when you see them modeling honesty (& other positive character traits!). Rewards tags are a fun option to use in your classroom!
Check out these in my Honesty resource.
Don’t forget to reward the times when students own up to their mistakes or are being responsible too–honesty is so much more than just using truthful words!
Remember– honesty is hard for kiddos to learn. They may not initially understand what the *right* choice is or know how to respond after making a mistake.
Don’t expect perfection, reward attempts, and encourage your students in the process! I promise you’ll see changes in this character trait along the way.🥳
Find more character education topics in my BUNDLE here.