How to Teach Honesty in the Classroom

Let’s be honest. Teaching students how to tell the truth isn’t as easy as it sounds. Honesty is more than just avoiding lying. Honesty also includes integrity and using open communication at home and school. These are definitely skills students need to practice from an early age. Module three of The Encouraging Classroom is all about honesty. Use it to get started and learn how to teach honesty in the classroom.

Let’s be honest. Teaching students how to tell the truth isn’t as easy as it sounds. Honesty is more than just avoiding lying. Honesty also includes integrity and using open communication at home and school. These are definitely skills students need to practice from an early age. #SEL

Read and respond.

First and second graders love hearing stories! Share short passages from The Encouraging Classroom aloud with your students on topics such as “I Learn from Mistakes”, “ I Can Accomplish Anything”, “I Can Do Difficult Tasks”, and “I Like to Celebrate My Own Growth”. These passages celebrate learning honesty when things are tough! Sometimes being honest is recognizing problems and asking for help instead of taking the easy way out. These passages recognize that being honest can be challenging, but your students can do it! The passages give specific “honesty” scenarios that your students can read on their own, in small groups, or with you.

Let’s be honest. Teaching students how to tell the truth isn’t as easy as it sounds. Honesty is more than just avoiding lying. Honesty also includes integrity and using open communication at home and school. These are definitely skills students need to practice from an early age. #SEL

In The Encouraging Classroom, these passages come with opportunities to reflect in discussion and writing. In order to differentiate, there are passages suitable for first and second grade text complexity.

Use essential questions.

In The Encouraging Classroom’s daily honestly lesson plans, there is an essential question to focus on each day throughout the month. From questions like “What does honesty mean?” (Day One) all the way to “How can we apply what we know about honesty?”, your students will explore what they learn about being honest and apply the skills at home and school.

Let’s be honest. Teaching students how to tell the truth isn’t as easy as it sounds. Honesty is more than just avoiding lying. Honesty also includes integrity and using open communication at home and school. These are definitely skills students need to practice from an early age. #SEL

Essential questions are meant to guide your teaching, but I always share them with the students. When they know the question guiding the lesson, they’ll be able to focus their learning.

Sing about honesty!

My husband and I love music! In fact, he wrote songs for each character trait that you can play and sing with your students. The chord charts are even included. The honesty song is one of my favorites. Your students will be singing along (“Honesty you can’t fake it” starts the refrain), and they’ll definitely internalize the meaning. Music is such a powerful way to reinforce character, and I am honored to share these songs through The Encouraging Classroom.

Recognize positive behaviors.

Catch your students being honest! Use brag tags from The Encouraging Classroom to let your students know you’ve seen them showing honesty in the classroom. Sometimes students will make mistakes. Owning up to those mistakes and showing that they are taking responsibility and holding themselves accountable for their behavior is also part of honesty. Even if they’ve made poor choices in the past, you can reward them for their honest responses with these brag tags! 

Honesty is not the easiest character trait to teach. Some students struggle being honest when they’re caught or make a mistake. Sometimes, it’s hard to be honest when they’re not sure what the right choice is. Remember, your young students are learning, and you are here to guide them. The Encouraging Classroom materials on honesty and 11 other character traits will help you throughout the year. Join the community of teachers to help your lucky little learners learn and grow!

We hope you found these ideas helpful! We suggest saving this post to your Pinterest board. You can do that by clicking the button below.

Let’s be honest. Teaching students how to tell the truth isn’t as easy as it sounds. Honesty is more than just avoiding lying. Honesty also includes integrity and using open communication at home and school.  This post explains some practical ways to teach this important skill in your classroom.  #SEL #charactereducation

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Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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