Little White Lies

ruthieSmall lies, often referred to as “little white lies,” are those deemed to not be hurtful. Ask your students about Little White Lies. Is it possible that there exists a lie which isn’t going to hurt anyone? Follow that discussion by reading Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin. In this clever tale, a little fox named Ruthie, who LOVES teeny, tiny things finds a camera and claims that it is hers. After all, finders keepers, losers weepers, right? When she’s confronted by Martin, who says he got that camera for his birthday, Ruthie lies so that she can keep the little treasure. But when Ruthie’s little white lie catches up with her, will she do the right thing and tell the truth? Ruthie imagines a lot of different consequences for her actions. Ask students if they think the teacher should have punished Ruthie for taking the camera? How about for lying about it? After a riveting discussion about the roles of Ruthie and Martin, the teacher and Ruthie’s parents, reinforce the lesson by having your students recite this little poem: If you mess up, you gotta fess up. To add some fun, try saying it in Ruthie’s teeny tiny voice, and then in the voices of the other characters in the book. Enjoy this rich read-aloud and its valuable lesson.

Trouble Talk

troubletalkTrouble Talk, by Trudy Ludwig, a newcomer to the children’s literature market, negates the old addage: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me. In this poignant story about a girls’ yearning to fit in and belong, Bailey uses strategies like exaggerating, lying, and gossiping to connect and make friends. Bailey’s words hurt Maya, and, after a visit with the school counselor, Maya refuses to be a part of Bailey’s negative and unhealthy trouble talk. Watch as Bailey learns an important lesson about friendship, reputation, and trust. This book’s gift is not only its realistic scenario from everyday life, but also the Author’s Notes about ending relational aggression, turning trouble talk into healthy talk, and empowering bystanders. There are also some thought-provoking discussion questions and additional resources in the back of the book. This beautifully-illustrated read-aloud will undoubtedly become a valuable tool in my counseling arsenal; it’s also destined to help parents and teachers alike as their girls (and boys!) learn to develop trustworthy friendships.

Our Friendship Rules

friendshipWe know the Trustworthiness Pillar, blue in color to represent “true blue,” as the Friendship Pillar because it encompasses loyalty, honesty, integrity, and promise keeping. Beautifully illustrating that PIllar, Our Friendship Rules, by Peggy Moss and Dee Dee Tardif, tells a tale of friendship and forgiveness, of hurt and healing. It’s also a guidebook for relationships. I’ve used the book when mediating those triangle friendships that involve three girls, but two pair off and one is left out. There’s a built-in activity because, after reading all about Jenny and Alexandra, students can get with a friend or classmate and make up their own list of friendship rules. As a follow-up exercise, ask students to write an essay in response to these words of wisdom: “To have a friend, you’ve got to be a friend.”



All That I Can Be

althouseDesigned to help build character and integrity in your young singers, All That I Can Be is a vibrant collection of 15 unison songs by the well-known writing team of Sally K. Albrecht and Jay Althouse. The words reinforce such concepts as teamwork, punctuality, friendship, respect, and telling the truth. Set in a wide variety of musical styles, the songs may be sung separately or together as a 30-minute program. These songs will teach how important it is to be All That I Can Be! The Teachers’ Handbook is available through Alfred Publishing. At Westwood, we especially enjoy the songs Keep My Promises, Watch My Watch, Respect, and You Gotta Be Good.



Water’ You Covering Up?
waterThis interactive lesson (adapted from an idea in Activities That Teach by Tom Jackson) about honesty will visually show students the ripple effect that a lie can have. It requires a bucket or bowl of water, a quarter, and a roll of pennies. Let students gather around your bucket of water. Tell the students that the quarter represent a LIE and give an example of a lie students their age might tell. Drop the quarter into the water and ask students to make observations about what happened: it sank, it’s heavy, it splashed me, it made ripples, it might rust down there. Compare what they saw happen to the quarter with what happens when someone lies. Discuss how sometimes people try to cover up their lies. Make a T chart with the advantages and disadvantages of telling a lie to cover up another lie. Discuss the lists before the second part of your lesson.
Tell students that the pennies represent lies that people tell to try to cover up their original lie. From above the bucket, without touching the water, students can take turns dropping the “cover-up lies” into the water to try to cover the quarter. Stress how difficult it is to completely cover up that lie. Ask for a prediction about how many more lies it might require just to cover up the first lie. If a penny partially covers the quarter, say, “but you can still see the lie.” Once every student has had a turn and you can still see the lie, ask students if it’s even possible to completely cover up a iie. This will also be a great science lesson on water displacement while it generates some interesting dialogue about honesty. If you want your students to take home something tangible to remember the lesson by, why not give them each a penny, which features the profile of Honest Abe himself!
To enrich the lesson, challenge students to write a paragraph comparing honesty and trustworthiness. Can you have one without the other? How many times does a person have to lie before you consider them a liar? If someone has lied to you, how might he or she earn your trust back?