Promises, Promises

6, 7, 8

Students take a stand on several statements about the importance of promises. They work in a group to verbalize a point of view about each statement.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • determine how strongly he or she supports different statements about promises.
  • come to group consensus in support of a statement.
  • Student copies of Handout One: Do You Agree or Disagree?
  • Four paper signs to hang on the classroom walls: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the students to raise their hands if they ever made a promise [a statement of commitment to do or not do something specific]. Have them keep their hands up if they have kept every promise they have ever made. Discuss: What is a promise?

  2. Post signs in the four corners of the room: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.

  3. Give the learners a copy of Handout One: Do You Agree or Disagree? Each student fills it out by circling how strongly he or she personally feels about each statement. (They fill out the second half of the paper later.)

  4. Read the first statement aloud. Students stand by the sign in the corner that represents what they circled for that statement. In that corner, the group discusses the statement from the (circled) point of view. The group comes to consensus and verbalizes a statement of support for that point of view.

  5. After a minute of discussion, have a representative from each corner report a summary of their discussion. (Example: We strongly disagree that it is okay to break a promise because trust is fragile, and breaking a promise will cause friends to lose faith in you.)

  6. Read the remaining statements and repeat the procedure. Students move to different corners as directed by the circled answers on their paper.

  7. Have students move back to their seats and circle how they feel about each statement (bottom half of the paper) after hearing the different points of view. Reflect on the process. Ask the students if the discussions clarified their thinking or changed their point of view.

  8. Ask the learners how promises relate to trustworthiness. Discuss. (Example: Trustworthiness means keeping a promise, or doing what you say you'll do.)

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

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.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.