Playing by the Rules

6, 7, 8

Students explore the meaning of honesty as it relates to playing by the rules and making choices that support the common good. Students discuss and illustrate how people could respond honestly and dishonestly to the same situation. They learn vocabulary related to honesty.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • brainstorm school experiences where students have the choice to act with honesty and playing by the rules.
  • incorporate vocabulary into conversation applicable to philanthropy and the trait of honesty.
  • illustrate and describe in writing actions relating to honest communication about rules and personal responsibility.
Teacher Preparation 

Before class, enlist the help of two students to role-play with the teacher the following behaviors: not showing respect for personal property, interrupting, pushing, ignoring a request for help, and other familiar student actions.


Learning to Give Lesson: "I Feel Angry or Sad When ..." /units/different-diverse-dynamic-3-5/i-feel-angry-or-sad-when%E2%80%A6-3-5


  1. Anticipatory Set

    With the help of a group of students display a role-play of inappropriate classroom behaviors in front of the rest of the class. After the role-play, have class members identify the negative behaviors and possible consequences, as well as the positive alternative behaviors and their consequences. Discuss the effect of these behaviors on the common good. Develop (in writing) a definition of common good [for the benefit of all] related to school rules and classroom climate.

  2. Students and teacher meet in a circle. Each student verbally completes in turn the following statement: “When someone breaks a rule or cheats ...” They may tell about a consequence, how they feel, how it affects the common good, or what they wish would happen.

  3. Discuss how choosing appropriate behaviors are examples of honesty. Honesty in behavior includes playing by the rules and not cheating. Honesty also includes accepting responsibility for one's choices. Discuss ways people honestly accept responsibility for their actions (apologize, admit mistakes, fix the problem, etc.). Discuss ways people act when they don't accept responsibility for actions (blame, remain silent, get angry).

  4. Back at their seats, the students draw a line down the middle of a paper. They each choose one of the ideas discussed in the circle. On one side of the line, they write a sentence and illustrate the behavior and its effects when practiced inappropriately. On the other half, they write and illustrate the appropriate practice of the behavior and its effects.

  5. Display the completed papers on a bulletin board or set on table tops for students to walk by and read.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify civil society organizations that protect and speak for minority viewpoints.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.