THINKing Before We Speak {Respect Lesson}

The second aspect of respect that we touched upon in class was THINKING before you speak.  Using the letter S from Digital Divide and Conquer's awesome Respect Posters, I gathered my students on the rug to discuss the idea of THINKing before we speak.

You know those signs that are all over Pinterest using the acronym THINK?  Here are a few examples of them.  Anyway, I used that acronym to design my lesson.  The purpose was to force the students to think about the words that were coming out of their mouths and how they were perceived by other people.

First, I wrote THINK on the chart paper, leaving a bit of space between them.  I went through, letter by letter, telling the students what it meant, then giving examples of times when they probably went against that trait, but also examples of how they could exemplify it.  For example, T = True.  Is what you are saying actually true, or are you just giving your opinion?  When you call someone ugly, is that true?  If you ask that person's mom it sure isn't!  So what you are actually saying is an opinion.  And if your opinion is designed to hurt someone's feelings (ie:  calling someone ugly or fat or stupid) then you should just keep it to yourself.  It serves no purpose in this world. 

After we went over each of the letters in the THINK acronym, I gave each student 5 index cards.  I then asked them to write a few sentences describing how they themselves would exemplify the traits of T = True, H = Helpful, I = Inspiring, and N = Necessary.  What would they personally do to make sure that the words coming out of their mouths fell into these categories. 

Now comes the fun part.  I previously had taken a picture of each child.  I used my Ellison die cut machine to cut the picture into a jigsaw puzzle.  (if you don't have the die cut machine in your workroom -- though odds are you do -- you can just cut the picture into a square shape and cut it into fourths)  One piece corresponded to each fourth of the picture. 

The kids then traded pieces and index cards to create a "new" person.  So, Tommy and Johnny each traded their T piece and writing with each other.  Then Tommy traded his I piece with Sara.  Tommy then traded his H piece with Carol.  Tommy chose to keep his N piece (though he could have traded it away to have 4 completely new pieces.)

Once the new "person" was created, the student had to read each of the index cards.  Using the information and evidence in those cards, the kids had to infer how this new person would be kind with his words.  (ahhh, there is the CCSS correlation ;)) They couldn't write how they personally would use kind words when speaking, but how the combined person would do it.  This wasn't easy, but it really helped them to think outside of their own head and use inferences and text evidence. 

The students were so into this project.  They loved trading the picture pieces and they really seemed to thoughtfully consider each of the ways that they should THINK before they spoke.  That day, on the yard, I even noticed that the students were a bit more respectful to each other!  I think these lessons are working :)

Miss the other lessons?  Click the link below to go to the lesson we used for

R -- Heart Mending not Heart Wrinkling

{I will be adding the rest of the lessons as I blog about them}


  1. Great Lesson!!! Love that they had to "create" a new person!!! What did you do for the E (empathy) after the R in respect?

    1. I actually am doing it next week. I sort of went out of order ;)

  2. Im in LOVE with this lesson. Wow! So many amazing things going on. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love these lessons! Thanks for sharing all the details.

  4. Thank you Krista and Dianne! I hope you are able to use the ideas in your classroom :)

  5. Stephanie! These are awesome lessons! I'm in love with them. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. I LOVE how you used the Ellison puzzle die-cut (you know I've been trying to figure out what to do with that!) What a fantastic & meaningful lesson!! Thanks for inspiring!

  7. PECT? Did you ever complete the RESPECT?

  8. I, too, would like to know if you completed the other lessons.... My class is having a hard time with respecting each other right now, and I want to do these lessons after March Break... Can you send me an email with what you did for PECT lessons? Thanks!

  9. Hi Stephanie,
    I just found your website via "Runde's Room"..I really like your RESPECT lessons and was also wondering if you complected the PECT lessons?
    thanks so much!

  10. YES! Please post the rest of your lessons! Love these ideas!

  11. Just wondering if you have more of the RESPECT lessons or just the three (RES). Would love to see what you did if you are willing to share. Thanks in advance, you do GREAT work.

  12. Me too! If you ever completed the PECT I would LOVE to have those lessons.

  13. I would love to see the rest of the lessons. The first three were awesome!
    Thank you so much.

  14. Hello,

    I too have loved your lessons! My 4th graders are responding to them so well. Would you mind sharing what you did with the other 4 letters? I would greatly appreciate it!!

  15. Looking for your set of respect lessons you used with the posters. I teach a classroom of self contained emotional- behaviorally challenged middle school students. These look like just what we need for our group time and I cn easily incorporate ELA and Reading into them

  16. Hey Stephanie,

    Did you ever blog about the rest of this lesson? Just curious. Also, did you make them write about the new person speaking or did you just have them paste the new picture with what they already wrote?


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