Honesty in Writing

6, 7, 8

Students explore ways to be honest in communication, writing with clear purpose and honest intent.

PrintOne 20-minute class period

The learner will:

  • discuss techniques for writing with clear communication.
  • write a statement about a community issue in clear, honest language.
  • review a peer's statement and give feedback.
  • writing paper or character education journals


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Yesterday we explored making meaning clear using voice and body language. Today we will explore honesty in written communication.

  2. Ask the students how they can mislead or deceive others when they are writing about an event. Encourage them to think about political advertisements or historical accounts.

  3. Discuss tactics such as suggestive comments, omission of information, lack of clarity, sarcasm, and fabrication. (For examples, see Handout One: Honesty in Writing.)

  4. You may give the example that doctors have a reputation for obfuscation, or using unfamiliar vocabulary when talking to families in order to soften the language about a difficult diagnosis.

  5. Tell the students that when they communicate, you expect them to be truthful, sincere, and forthright. Tell them that if their intent is to be truthful, they will most likely communicate honestly.

  6. Give the students a minute to think and then write astatement about an issue related to the common good. The statement should be honest and give clear information. The statement may be about a need in the community (hunger, homelessness, environment, safety, etc.), a political issue, or a school issue.

  7. After 5 minutes, they read their statement to a neighbor.

  8. After they share with a partner, have the partners discuss whether the statement felt sincere and honest. Ask for volunteers to share statements with the whole class.

Cross Curriculum 

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to generationon.org.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.