Knowing What's Right

6, 7, 8

Lesson one defines the character trait integrity through examining where students learn their "do rights."

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • examine a list of advice statements to determine their source.
  • consider the impact of friends' advice.
  • record thinking about what's "right" for the student, personally.
  • Flip chart or board
  • One copy of Handout One: Advice Statements to be printed off for teacher use


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Say the following familiar phrases to the students: "Do right!" "Do the Right Thing!" "Think . . . you know what you're expected to do!" "You know better than that!" Ask the students to raise their hands if they have ever had a parent, grandparent or teacher say any of those statements to them.

  2. Write the definition of integrity on the board as you say it (knowing and doing what's right).

  3. Teacher: In this unit, we're going to look at the character trait integrity. The definition we'll be using is "knowing and doing what's right!" So, my first question to you is How do you know what's right? Where does that information come from? Any ideas? (Take one or two responses if offered.)

  4. Make three columns on the flip chart or board.Write "Home" on the first column, "School/Teachers" on the second column, and "Faith/Spirituality" on the third (Adjust this header as your culture/community would identify the category.)

  5. Teacher: Let's try some advice and see where it comes from. I'll make a statement and you tell me in which column it should be placed.

  6. Read each advice statement from the list provided in the handout section. Go through the list noting placement in the columns that students suggest. Make a checkmark in the column that students identify as the proper category. If disagreements on placement occur, ask each variant-view student to explain his/her answer by using the question, "What makes you say that?" Many of the advice statements can go into multiple columns, however, students are encouraged to explain their reasoning to build understanding.

  7. Teacher: Are there any more common advice sayings that you've heard that you'd add to the list? (Students may offer other ideas. Ask in which column the idea should be placed.)

  8. Teacher: As we look at our checkmarks, where does most of what we learn about "knowing what's right" come from? (Allow for student response and discussion.)

  9. Teacher: We are taught by words and examples in all three of these settings, and we absorb "knowing what's right" sometimes without even realizing it. One group that hasn't been mentioned as we talk about the sources of "knowing what's right" is from our friends and peers. What might be some examples of ideas from friends? (Student responses might include how to dress, appropriate places to go, how to act in group situations.) Ask: Are these examples of "words to live by" or advice about acceptable styles? What's the difference?

  10. Teacher: Today, we've examined sources of "knowing what's right." In your character education journal,please spend 3-4 minutes jotting down what you believe is "right." Said another way, what are those values or principles [code of conduct] that you live by, and from where do you think these values or principles originated?

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. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Describe how different needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society, and family.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Examine several examples of philanthropic traditions practiced in diverse cultures.