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Teaching Honesty with A Day’s Work

by Eve Bunting

a day's work

Grades: 1-4

CASEL Standard: Self-Management- The ability to manage one’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations.

Character Education Lesson Objective: To understand why honesty is important and how other people respect honesty


Part 1: 

  • Do you think it is important to tell the truth?  Why?
  • When you tell the truth, you are telling what really happened.  You are not making anything up, making anything sound different or changing the story. 
  • Telling the truth is super important because when you do not tell the truth, people do not trust you. 
  • Another reason it is really important to tell the truth is so that you feel good about yourself.  When you lie or are not honest, you don’t fee happy or good about yourself.
  • Sometimes people are not honest about something small, such as whether they brushed their teeth.  Have you ever done something like that?  How did you feel afterwards?
  • I am going to give each of you a worksheet with a few different scenarios.  You are going to read the scenarios and decide if the person was being honest, which means telling the truth, or dishonest, which means they were not telling the truth.
  • After the students have completed the worksheet, go over the answers with them.  Emphasize the situations in which the person told the truth, even when it was hard.

Part 2: 

  • We are going to be reading a book called, A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting.
  • Read the book.
  • What was Francisco’s relationship with his grandfather? 
  • What does Francisco say to Ben to get him to take both of them?  Do you think he made the right choice?
  • What kind of man is Ben?  How do you know?
  • Do you think you would have kept working through the hot afternoon like Francisco and Abuelo did?  Why or why not?
  • Why did Abuelo get so upset with Francisco?
  • Abuelo said, “Tell the gentleman what I said and ask him if the plants will live.”  Why do you think Abuelo called Ben a gentleman?
  • Why did Abuelo not take the money that Ben offered? 
  • What did Ben mean when he said, “The important things your grandfather knows already.  And I can teach him gardening”?
  • What are the important things that Francisco is learning?
  • Francisco starts to learn some important life lessons from Abuelo.  Francisco learns that lying is never acceptable and watches while Abuelo makes this right with Ben.  Do you have anyone who helps you to learn important life lessons?

Part 3: 

  • There are many different ways that you can show someone that you are honest.  Francisco learned that you can show that you are honest when interacting with someone else.  He was not honest when he got the gardening job and because of that, he had to go back and do work on Sunday when he wanted to be watching a basketball game.
  • You are going to be writing a story about someone showing how they are honest.  You will be given a few options to choose from.  Pick one of the story starters and then write about the situation.  You can draw a picture to illustrate your story.
  • When you are done, you will have an opportunity to share what you wrote.
  • After the students write their story, allow them to share their stories.

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View more: Character Education Lesson Plans

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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