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

Principles of Integrity
Lesson 1
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


This lesson introduces students to the "Be true to yourself" portion of the defintion of integrity.


One 20-minute lesson


The learner will:

  • analyze three phrases about three people.
  • compare the phrases to the defintion of integrity, "Be true to yourself."
  • identify both an example and a principle from his or her own life demonstrating being true to self.
  • relate principles and a quote to the meaning of integrity.

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.


The following written in a display area before students arrive in class:

Integrity - Be true to yourself

  • Johnny would never steal from the store. 
  • Marsha would never spread rumors about anyone! 
  • Hector is always on time.

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set: 

Point to and read the definition of integrity that is on the display board: "Integrity - Be true to yourself."  Then ask the learners to read the next three sentences to themselves:

  • Johnny would never steal from the store. 
  • Marsha would never spread rumors about anyone.
  • Hector is always on time.

Teacher:  Take a few minutes to think about how these phrases relate to being true to yourself. What does true mean in this context? What do these statements say about each person? 

  • Ask the students to share their thoughts about Johnny; what do they know about him from this sentence? (Two or three students repond, while the teacher encapsulates each of the students' responses in a short sentence on the board.) Ask the students to share their thoughts about Marsha and Hector with the same procedure.
  • Teacher: Given these examples, what does it mean to be true to yourself? (Discuss and write three or four responses on the board.)
  • Teacher:  In your notebook or on paper, write a short example in your experience when you were true to yourself. Write about what value or principle you believe you were showing with that example.  Allow 5 minutes for journaling.
  • Ask for four or five volunteers to write on the board the principles they were upholding in their personal examples. Allow 2 minutes.
  • With a different color of marker, underline the important words of the students' statements (specific principles).
  • Teacher:  It's obvious from your thinking that you have experience with integrity (being true to yourself). Don Galen described integrity as "what we do, what we say, and what we say we do." Discuss how this quote relates to "being true to yourself." Discuss how the students' examples and principles are related to integrity.
  • Teacher: The next time we meet, we'll examine how we are true to both ourselves and others.
  • Save the work from today on a flip chart or board for Lesson Two. You may want to organize the notes by labeling the parts as follows:  1) definition  2) student meaning  3) principles/examples

Lesson Developed By:

Jan Dalman
Curriculum Consultant
Learning to Give


Philanthropy Framework:

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