Overcoming Obstacles

Standards Addressed

  • Students will learn to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Students will understand the importance of responsibility, dependability, and integrity.
  • Students will understand consequences of decisions and choices.
  • Students will interact with others to explore ideas and concepts, communicate meaning, and develop logical interpretations through collaborative conversations; students will also build upon the ideas of others to clearly express one's own views while respecting diverse perspectives.
  • Students will write informative texts that develop the topic with facts, definitions, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.


  • Students will define the word integrity and explain why it is an important life skill.

  • Students will identify ways in which they can show integrity in school, at home, in the workplace, and in the community.

  • Students will discuss the benefits of showing integrity.


  • “Sample Quotes about Integrity” activity sheet (“Starter”)

  • Two pieces of chart paper, one labeled as “CHOICE 1” and the other as “CHOICE 2,” markers, and the "Integrity Challenge Scenarios” activity sheet (“We Do”)

Starter (20 minutes)

Ask students what they think the word integrity means, and write student responses on chart paper. Then, place students into small groups and assign each group a famous quote about integrity. (See “Sample Quotes about Integrity” activity sheet.) Direct students to discuss what they think the quote means.

Have each group share their quote with the class and discuss their thoughts as to the meaning of each quote. As a class, define integrity by drawing on all quotes shared with the class. Write the class-made definition on a chart. (The definition should be something similar to “total honesty, always doing the right thing, being fair, respectful, and trustworthy.”)

Teacher Presented Knowledge/I Do (10 minutes)

With the students’ help, generate a list of behaviors of someone who demonstrates integrity in a classroom, in a job, in a family, in sports, and in the community. Record student responses on either an anchor chart or board.

Guided Student Practice/We Do (20 minutes)

Place two pieces of chart paper (one labeled “CHOICE 1” and one labeled “CHOICE 2”) on opposite sides of the room. Tell students, “You are going to participate in an ‘integrity challenge.’ To play this game, you need to listen carefully to what I’m about to read to you. After each scenario that I read, you will make a decision about which choice you would make if you were in the scenario. If you think you would do the first choice, then walk to the ‘CHOICE 1’ side of the room. If you think you would do the second choice, then walk to the ‘CHOICE 2’ side of the room.” Direct students to quietly stand in the middle of the room to begin the activity.

Read the examples from “The Integrity Challenge Scenarios” activity sheet. After each is read and the students have made their choices, analyze, with the class, which choice shows the most integrity. Ask one student from each side why they made that choice. Then, ask students to think about which choice enables them to be the most honest with themselves and others, and is the most fair and responsible choice. Guide students to realize which choice shows the most integrity and why. (An alternative way to implement this activity is to have students divide a blank sheet of paper in half and to label one side “CHOICE 1” and the other “CHOICE 2.” You can call out the scenarios and have students check which choice they would choose on their own papers. This way, students will not be influenced to make a choice based on a classmate’s decision or be embarrassed by a choice they make.)

Student Independent Practice/You Do (20 minutes)

Have students choose a quote from the “Starter” activity that they particularly liked. Then, have students think of a person from their own lives, pop culture, or history who is the essence of a person with integrity. Direct students to independently write a paragraph explaining how their chosen person displays integrity in their life and the character traits this person possesses that reveal integrity. (You may want to provide students with a copy of the “Sample Quotes about Integrity” activity sheet so they can see all the quotes.)

Closure (10 minutes)

End the lesson by allowing students to share parts of their paragraphs. Finally, remind students that integrity means total honesty. It is doing the right thing when no one is looking. Integrity is the foundation of good leaders. It is composed of many other powerful life skills, including honesty, patience, responsibility, and accountability.

Student Assessment

  1. How would you define integrity?
  2. How can you keep your integrity?
  3. Who is a person you know who displays integrity? How does he/she display integrity?
  4. How can you display integrity in the classroom or at home?

Extensions for Lesson 5: Integrity

Art Extension

Have students bring in pictures of people they feel lead lives of integrity, quotes about integrity, news articles about integrity, etc. and make an “Integrity Collage.”

Drama Extension

Have students role-play situations involving a decision that tests their integrity.

ELA Extension

Have students write about a time they demonstrated integrity or a time someone they know demonstrated integrity. Have volunteers share their work with the class.

Literature Extension

Read A Day’s Work, by Eve Bunting, to your class and direct students to listen for examples of characters showing integrity and characters who are dishonest. After the reading, ask students to share examples of integrity and dishonesty from the story. Then, as a class, discuss the consequences, both positive and negative, that each character faced. (To spark discussion, ask questions such as: Why did Francisco tell Ben that Abuelo is a gardener? What happens to Abuelo and Francisco’s work? What does Francisco have to give up as the “price of lying”? Why does Ben respect Abuelo at the end? How does Abuelo show integrity?) Ask students what they think was the moral or lesson of the story.

Social Studies Extension

Students can choose a famous historical figure who lived a life of integrity and research their life. They can write a biography about their chosen person and/or create a presentation that explains the person’s historical significance and how the person lived a life of integrity.

Technology Extension

Download the “Interactive Marble Jar” for a smart board. Each time a student reports another student displaying integrity, add a marble to the jar. When the jar is full, give the class a reward.

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