Resources for Teaching Honesty in the Classroom
Explore books and resources for teaching honesty in the classroom, including picture books, short videos, activities and discussion questions.
Teaching Honesty in the Classroom
I am sure you have all had students in your classroom tell a lie to get out of trouble. They may see telling this lie easier, at that moment, than admitting the truth. We can help students understand that telling the truth helps them be viewed as trustworthy by others.
Children also need to understand the consequences of dishonesty. This could include being punished, losing the trust of others and get themselves mixed up in a tangled web of more lies to cover their first one. Honesty also keeps the wrong person from getting blamed for something they didn’t do. Help them listen to their conscious to stop dishonest behaviour before it happens.
We can help by modelling honesty and integrity as children learn about appropriate behaviour from adults they respect. We can also acknowledge that it’s difficult to tell the truth and praise them when they show honesty.
Characteristics of Truthfulness
Using these picture books in your classroom will encourage discussions about honesty. You will see characters who:
- show integrity
- are truthful and trustworthy
- listen to their conscious
- understand the effect of dishonesty on others
- show loyalty and fairness
- stand up for their beliefs
- have healthy relationships
- have a happier mindset
As well as these positive characteristics you will read about characters who lie, cheat and don’t think about the consequences of their actions. However, they see the error of their ways!
Books and Activities About Honesty
In this section, you will find resources to teach honesty. You will find a list of balanced books, short videos, online resources and balanced reading related questions.
Picture Books about Honesty
In this selection of books, you can click on the book cover for a synopsis of the book and related online resources. After the list, there is a list of reading questions to use during a read-aloud session.
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Honesty Questions and Discussion Starters
- How did [character] honesty/dishonesty affect the story and the other characters? What is the evidence?
- How would the story have changed if [character] was honest in the first place?
- What words would you use to describe [character’s] actions?
- Why do you think [character] was dishonest? What is the evidence?
- How do you think [character] felt when they were lied to? How do you feel when someone lies to you?
- Explain if you think it is easier to lie or tell the truth.
- Are some types of lies more serious than others?
- Is there ever a time when it is okay to lie? Why?
- What about keeping quiet rather than telling the truth?
- Is it ever wrong to tell the truth?
- Why do we tell the truth? Why are people dishonest?
Online Resources and Activities About Honesty
- Education World: Classroom Problem Solver: Lying in Class
- Edutopia: What to Do When Students Lie
- Harvard University: Tips for Encouraging Honesty
- Kids’ Health: Telling Lies
- Kids and Values: Truth and Trust Activities
- PBS Parents: Teaching Your Five-Year-Old the Importance of Honesty
- Psychology Today: Teaching Your Kids to Be Honest
- Talking Trees: What is Honesty?
- Education: True or False? The Lying Experiment
- Education Service Australia: A game of honesty and lies
- Polk County Public Schools: Honesty Activities
- Talking with Trees: Character Education lesson Plan- Honesty Worksheet
- Talking with Trees: Character Education Lesson Plan- Honesty young students
- Talking with Trees: Honesty, Conscience Lesson Plan
- Teach Hub: Teaching Strategies to Instill Honesty
- Yes*Safe Choices: Tips to Help Teach Honesty
Short Films about Honesty
These videos can be used as discussion starters for talking about honest and trustworthy behaviour. Watch the video before playing them to your students. Some of them are simple while others are more complex or abstract.
Using picture books to promote an honest attitude will help you start discussions on the consequences of dishonesty. What are your favourite resources or books discuss honesty and integrity?
Remember to check out 23 Picture Books about Honesty and Trust for more picture books about honesty.
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