Take a page out of our social skills book- Integrity

I'm nuts over social skills. Funny- because I'm definitely not the best at my own set of social skills, but maybe that's why I like teaching about them so much... it helps remind myself I'm a work in progress and there's always room to grow and become a better person than I was yesterday. I really try to integrate social skills into our academics and our classroom climate multiple times a day. Along with social skills, I try to emphasize certain character traits that I think are important. One of the major character traits I teach my students is integrity. We talk about it at the beginning of the year, but that's about it. I bring it up when I notice students are or aren't showing integrity in situations at school. Now that testing is winding down and we are down into the teens on days left in school, I was finding myself having to give a lot of reminders on doing what is right, because we KNOW it's the right thing to do.

My lil' talks weren't working.

I'm pretty sure as soon as I stepped on my soap box, kids thought, "Oh here she goes again..."

I had to change something.

So I went to what I know best (but sometimes forget about): scenario cards and letting the students do the talking. I whipped up some scenario cards and with some extra time in our schedule now, we made some time to review what it means to show integrity, why we choose to be a person of integrity, and all the times in the day when we have the opportunity to have integrity.

Thanks to A Sketchy Guy's awesome clip art to help protect my kiddo's identities :) And to Educlips for the speech bubbles!

I just quickly gave them a brief description of the activity and we did one together. We talked about our 3 questions before making a choice: Is it the right choice? Will it make me proud? Does it show honesty and responsibility? If we can say yes to these, we are on the path to integrity (saying it in a loud, superhero like voice of course). If we say no to any of them, then WRONG WAY! We picked a card and wrote down choices we could make. If we could answer yes to that choice, we put it on one side; if we could answer no, we put it on the other side. It showed us that we know the choices we could make in a situation... ok, now off you go kiddies!

We took out our white boards and spaced them around the room. We walked around and read the card at each set of boards. We brainstormed choices and put them on the board that was either the 'wrong way' or the 'path to integrity.' I let them walk around with a partner to bounce ideas off. They were very serious and focused during the 10 minutes while they explored the different scenarios. 

They stopped and read other classmates ideas (well... most of them) before adding their own.

I laid out extra mini-posters with the 3 questions and to help remind them what board is what.

Now it was time to reflect and take a look at all the choices we could make in one situation. Here are some of their responses.

Scenario: The teacher is working with a small group during reading time and you're doing independent reading at your desk.

Scenario: A substitute teachers is in your classroom.

Scenario: A friend is calling someone mean names at recess on the playground.

Scenario: A friend wants to copy your work and answers.

Scenario: Your family asks if you have homework tonight... and you do.
We had a lot of other scenarios too that applied to things outside of school, as well as inside of school such as finding money that doesn't belong to us or being in the classroom when the teacher is talking to someone out in the hallway. A lot of these things can be considered other traits as well such as honesty and responsibility, but we defined integrity as doing the right thing even if no one is watching... it's more about knowing the choices and choosing what is right.

Now that they had a lot of ideas in their head, we were going to have a discussion. 

"Can we do a grand conversation with talking chips?" one little one asked.

"Why- I think that's a great idea!"

They gathered in the circle, got their talking chips and we talked about these questions:

  • What does it mean to have integrity?
  • Why should we choose to show integrity?
  • What are the effects of showing or not showing integrity?

They held their own discussion while I took some notes at my desk about what they talked about, how they shared their ideas, and who was sharing. What I loved about this whole thing- I gave some structures and they created their own learning. I love times like that. Makes my job easy and makes their learning stick.

Throughout the week, I tried to give them more extreme opportunities to show they've learned something. I purposely will go into the classroom next door when we transition from the hall to the learning time and watch what they choose to do through our curtain (some kids have caught onto my little trick though and see me right away). Other times, I stay in the back of the line and just watch how they choose to conduct themselves when I'm at the other end of the line. We stop often at transitions where they have more independence and reflect on their choices.

Hopefully this will save my sanity with these last couple of weeks, while also teaching them a valuable life lesson.


1 comment

  1. What a great lesson! I agree- this is probably the best time of the year to do it. I love your scenario cards!


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