Ethics discussion guide


Literature connections

The following books can be read in tandem with this website as they illustrate characteristics discussed in the various sections and activities:

Title   Author   Character trait
Be Good to Eddie Lee Virginia Fleming   compassion
Big Al    Andrew Clements    respect
Miss Nelson is Missing     Harry Allard      cooperation
A Chair for My Mother  Vera B. Williams cooperation
The Pinballs  Betsy Byars   respect, responsibility, caring
Lily’s Crossing  Patricia Reilly Giff   integrity, honesty
The Indian in the Cupboard Lynne Reid Banks  respect, dignity, tolerance
The Winter Room  Gary Paulsen          personal identity, integrity
The Giver  Lois Lowry        leadership, fairness
On My Honor Marion Dane Bauer   peer pressures, responsibility
The Arm of the Starfish   Madeleine L’Engle      integrity, innovation
Anne of Green Gables   L.M. Montgomery       perseverance, responsibility
The Sacrifice  Katherine Benner Duble honesty
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible,
No Good, Very Bad Day
Judith Viorst  perseverance
Annie Bananie and the People’s Court Leah Komaiko   honesty, fairness

Social studies connections

To bring character education into the social studies classroom, begin by defining citizenship and discussing the differences between an ordinary citizen and a model citizen. Use the character traits provided in the Ethics in Action crossword puzzle to describe the latter. Provide examples of both citizens and model citizens. (A citizen would be simply an ordinary person looking out for themselves, who doesn’t go out of their way to practice honesty, generosity, cooperation, or tolerance when it is inconvenient for them. A model citizen would do these things, however, and might in addition volunteer for a non-profit service organization such as one that helps homeless, elderly, disabled, or sick people; one that helps animals, the schools, or the environment; or one that promotes the rights of a specific  group. A model citizen might lead or participate on the board of one of these organizations. He/she would be publicly admired and known for his/her good work on behalf of others.)

Exercise: Journal writing

Ask students to journal about prominent individuals in history whom they think would have been model citizens. Have them make two entries, focusing on the character traits provided on Page 1 of the lesson materials:

1. Students compare/contrast one of the individuals in the chart with another famous individual.
2. Students compare/contrast one of the individuals in the chart below with themselves.

The following names are provided as an example; the list can be expanded or changed to include individuals in history whom you have covered in your students’ social studies lessons.

Prominent individuals in history

Abner Doubleday

Abraham Lincoln

Cesar Chavez

Eddie Rickenbacker

Frederick Douglas

Harriet Tubman

John Audubon

Juliette Low

Lizzie Stanton

Martin Luther King Jr.

Paul Revere

Sam Adams