So we have probably all told a little white lie if not a big whopper. Today I addressed lying with my kindergarten friends. I asked them first if they knew what it meant to have a "monkey on their back". You can probably imagine the responses I heard: "It's when a monkey is hanging on your back because it's your friend!" and even "My sister had a monkey on her head one time when we went to the zoo!" I responded with, "Really? They usually keep the animals in their cages." Her response to this, "Yes, they let her get in the cage with the monkeys." Another friend says, "Well, that would be very dangerous." AND so, the lesson on lying started.
I asked if any of them had ever told a lie, even a little lie. Half the class raised their hands (we know who was telling the truth, don't we?). I told them about Howard B. Wigglebottom having a problem with telling the truth and we listened to the story from We Do Listen website. (All of the Howard B. Wigglebottom stories are there to listen too, including songs, activities and posters!) We had so much fun singing and dancing to the song, "Telling the Truth is Cool" when the story finished---which is a great song to have stuck in your head!
OBJECT LESSON #1:
I have to admit, I think an object lesson really helps lock the message in those little brains! So....I have two of them for lying. Since Howard was carrying around that monkey which grew with each lie, I decided to have the kids put on an empty back pack. I chose one student to wear the one I brought in. I then gave an example of how a lie can get bigger and bigger or how multiple lies feel like we are carrying around some pretty heavy stuff! Each time I added to the lie, I added a book to the back pack. At first it was easy to carry around the back pack. As I added more lies it became much more difficult to do things like sit in their chair or try running. We talked about how easy it is to stretch the truth sometimes, but that it is really telling a lie. The kids really "got this"!
Next week we will read "Lying Up a Storm" by Julia Cook. Great book that is just out that talks about the feelings we get when we lie. This book that helps kids understand there are consequences when telling a lie and also stresses how one lie often leads to another. I love this quote from the book:
"Whenever you tell a lie, your inside sun goes away.
Then a lying cloud forms, and glooms up your day.
Each time you tell a lie, another cloud starts to form,
and before you can stop it from happening, your insides start to storm."
Object Lesson #2:
When I thinking of a storm at this time of year, I think of a snow storm. When we get a snow storm, it's a mess of snow to clean up! So I decided to dig out some Insta-Snow which I found at a teachers supply store in the science section. It's really fun stuff.
With Insta-Snow, you start with a small amount ( a couple of tablespoons) in a cup or bowl. Tell the kids that this represents the lie. Add to it a little bit at a time each time you "add to the lie". When you are ready to tell the final part of the lie, where the truth really comes out, add the water. Just like that it expands and you have A LOT of snow! I like to take it an toss it on the floor to show what a mess a lie can make (don't worry, it cleans up really easy). This is when the discussion really gets going and you can talk about the mess you can get yourself into when you tell a lie. I like to let the kiddos lead the discussion and just throw in a few questions to keep it going.