Teaching Guide:
FAIRNESS / JUSTICE
for grades 4-8

This material is from the teaching guide for the video
"The Fairness Connection" in the series "The Character Chronicles"
produced in association with CHARACTER COUNTS!
®

Are You a Fair Person?
(Take this self-evaluation and decide for yourself.)

True False  
I treat people the way I want to be treated.
     
I treat people impartially and without prejudice.
     
I consider the feelings of all people who will be affected by my actions.
     
I am open-minded and reasonable.
     
I play by the rules.
     
I never take advantage of others.
     
I think I am/am not a fair person because: ___________________

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"The Fairness Connection"
The Video

In this video, Chloe, a thirteen-year-old blogger, guides us through her classroom video blog on the topic of fairness. Through a mix of hypothetical situations, documentaries, and group discussions, Chloe shows us how teens are defining fairness, practicing fairness, and dealing with the obstacles that come up around fairness.  more . . .

 

Click play for a sampling of
"The Character Chronicles"


"The Character Chronicles"
The Series
This award-winning six-part video series brings character education alive for upper elementary and middle school students. Presented from the point of view of a middle school video blogger, this series explores the Six Pillars of Character through the thoughts and personal experiences of young people throughout the U.S.
more . . .

For more information about individual videos in this series, click on the title below.

If your school or organization does not have these videos, you can purchase them from Live Wire Media, or request them from your local library.

 

 

 

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

If you are using the video, ask questions 1-4 before viewing.

  1. What is "fairness?"

  2. How do you know when something is unfair?

  3. Does being fair mean you always treat people equally? Explain your answer.

  4. How many people here think the world is unfair and there's nothing you can do about it?

  5. In the video one boy said kids were too young to really understand fairness. Do you think it's true that you don't really understand what "fair" is because you are too young?

  6. Do you think there is a definition of fairness everyone could agree on? If so, what might that definition be?

  7. Do you think it is fair for Jennifer to lose her scholarship because she cheated? What do you think the school should do?

  8. One kid said that another definition of fairness is "getting what you deserve." Another kid said that Jennifer might be poor but "besides that, she is like every other person and should be treated that way." Do you agree?

  9. Should gender or class be disregarded when someone is being punished?

  10. One kid says we need to ignore everything but the deed and the rule broken. How do you feel about that?

  11. Can you think of an example where it might be fair to give someone an extra advantage?

  12. What do you think of the statement that whether you think of consequences or not, they're still there?

  13. What makes a person fair?

  14. What does being fair have to do with one's character?

  15. Do you agree that it's necessary to walk in someone's shoes before you decide what is fair?

  16. What do you think about the statement that one boy makes, "It's easy for us to define what's fair when it's not about us?"

  17. After talking about Jennifer's situation, have any of you changed your mind about what the school should do about her?

  18. Have you ever been punished in a way you felt was unfair? What was unfair about it?

  19. Do you think the teen court at Goshen Middle School was fair in its decision to keep Felicia from going on the Washington DC trip? If not, should it have been more or less strict?

  20. If you had a chance to serve on a teen court, do you think you would be able to make fair decisions? What if the person you were reviewing was a friend of yours?

  21. How do you hold onto strict principles of fairness? Is it possible?

  22. What are "assumptions?" How do assumptions play a role in fairness?

  23. What responsibility do we have when we see someone being treated unfairly? What does our response to unfairness to others have to do with our character?

  24. Is there nothing we can do when something is unfair?

  25. In the video, Michael Pesci said, "Come up with an idea, get people to help you out, anything is possible." Do you agree?

  26. Michael used a passion of his to make a difference. What role do you think passion plays in making changes in the world that create more fairness?

  27. What is your own personal passion that you can express by making a difference in this world?

  28. What are some little things you can do to make life more fair?

  29. What do you think Mahatma Gandhi meant when he said, "be the change you want to see?"

  30. What do you think about Chloe's statement that some people say if we want life to be fair, that means each of us needs to be fair. Do you agree?

  31. Did the video present any ideas you disagreed with?

  32. In what way did the video inspire you to be more fair in your dealings with friends and family?

(If you wish to copy or use any material from this website, please click here for Terms of Use.)

To find teaching guides on Fairness and related topics for other grade levels
click here.

WRITING ASSIGNMENTS

  1. One girl said that she thinks an example of being unfair is when people judge her without knowing her or the whole situation. Write about a time when that happened to you. How do you feel the person should have acted? Have you ever treated someone unfairly because you judged him or her without knowing the whole story?

  2. Research and write about how the legal system works in a democracy. How does this system attempt to administer justice or fairness? What elements of the system work to achieve that fairness?

  3. One girl said she wished she could learn how to walk up to someone and tell him or her she thought they were being unfair. Write about a time when you saw someone being unfair to you or to someone else and you wish you had been more assertive.

  4. Michael Pesci tapped into his passion for baseball to make a difference in making the world more fair. What passion do you have that you might turn into making a difference in someone's life simply by making things fairer?

  5. What do you think Gandhi meant when he said "Be the change you wish to see?" Do you know someone in your life you feel is doing that? What character traits do they hold that cause you to respect him or her? Do you share any of those traits?

  6. Describe something you see in your community that you think is unfair. What do you think should be done about it? What role could you play in making that change?

  7. Research the term "Affirmative Action." Do you think it is fair?


(If you wish to copy or use any material from this website, please click here for Terms of Use.)

Other teaching guides in this series:

  •  Trustworthiness
•  Respect
•  Responsibility

•  Fairness
•  Caring
•  Citizenship

 

STUDENT ACTIVITIES

  1. Find opportunities to become involved in activities and issues relating to fairness and justice at our Opportunities for Action and Service Learning pages. Have each member of a group choose a non-profit listed and research what the mission statement is of that organization. How does that mission try to make things more fair or just?

  2. Choose a service-learning project from this site and work on it as a group. Present a reflection that addresses how your actions worked toward making the world more fair.

  3. Invite a judge to talk to your class or group about how he or she makes a fair decision in the courtroom.

  4. As a group, brainstorm the following three lists: a list of things you feel are unfair at your school, a list of things we sometimes do in our own lives that are unfair, and a list of things we do in society that are unfair. What could be done to cross at least one thing off each list? What could you do to contribute to making that happen?

  5. Choose a real life case study from Teens Take it to Court: Young People Who Challenged the Law and Changed your Life by Judge Tom Jacobs. As a group, decide what the fairest verdict would be.

  6. The principles that Goshen Middle School's Teen Court uses as its guideline are: 1) Listen carefully and get all the information. 2) Be open minded - don't prejudge. 3) Consider all sides of the story. 4) Think about everyone who is affected. 5) Make sure the punishment fits the crime. Apply these five principles to a fictional or real discipline case that might happen in your school or community.

  7. Have each student think of a recent incident where he or she felt treated unfairly. Then have each student find a partner. Now, each pair must act out what happened, but the student whose situation it is must argue the other person's point of view. As a group, discuss what this process felt like. Did anyone discover some points that didn't seem fair in the beginning but might be fair now?

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