Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Defining Trustworthiness
Lesson 3
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Students read the metaphors of their classmates and copy strong words and phrases that help define trustworthiness. They identify traits of people they know and themselves, and write a definition of trustworthy.


One 20-minute lesson


The learner will:

  • act as a respectful audience for the creative work of their peers.
  • identify and write words and phrases that define trustworthiness.
  • write a definition of trustworthiness.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

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 www.generationon.org.


  • labeled drawings (metaphors) from the previous lesson
  • student copies of Attachment One: What Is Trustworthy?
Handout 1
What Is Trustworthy?

Instructional Procedure(s):

Teacher Note: Display the group metaphors from the previous lesson on the walls or desktops so students can move around the room, read the papers, and take notes.

Anticipatory Set

Teacher: Raise your hand if you know someone that you really trust. What is your relationship to that person? (Let a few people name parent, neighbor, friend, or teacher without giving a name or telling the story of why.) Today, please keep in mind someone you trust as we look at the metaphors we created in the previous lesson.

  • Give each student a copy of Attachment One: What Is Trustworthy? They will need this paper and a pencil as they walk around the room and read all of the papers made in small groups in the previous lesson.
  • Tell the students to read through all of the directions and questions on the handout. Then give them eight to ten minutes to read the displayed papers and take notes.
  • As they finish, students move back to their seats and write a personal definition for trustworthiness. (Not every student will have time to do this.)
  • As a whole group, create a definition of trustworthiness. Start by asking for a volunteer to share his or her written definition. Have other students suggest changes or additions. Work toward consensus on a definition.
  • Have students write the final definition on their paper. Collect the papers.

Lesson Developed By:

Betsy Flikkema
Associate Director
Learning to Give


Handout 1Print Handout 1

What Is Trustworthy?

Read the labels on all of the papers displayed. As you walk around, take notes on this paper. Write words and phrases in the three categories below.

  1. Write strong or effective words here: 

  2. Write a phrase from a labeled drawing that describes you as a trustworthy person.

  3. Write a phrase from a labeled drawing that describes someone you trust (such as a parent, friend, or mentor).

  4. Back at your seat, use some of these words and phrases to write a definition of trustworthiness.

  5. Write the class definition of trustworthiness.


Philanthropy Framework:

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