think before you speak

Taking a moment to think before you speak is an important skill to master, and in this activity, your students will consider whether their statements will be helpful, hurtful, not helpful, or kind. And FYI, while this activity shows characters from our middle school game, Hall of Heroes, it can certainly be used with upper-elementary students, too!

Superheroes in training need to be role models, so it’s important for them to understand their impact on others, including the impact of their words.

One of the trickiest nuances of learning to think before you speak is knowing whether a statement is helpful. Even adults have trouble recognizing that just because something is kind or neutral, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to say.

Have you seen that commercial where a bank robbery is underway, and the patrons look at the security guard and say “Do something!”

“Oh, I’m not a security guard, I’m a security monitor. Looks like this bank is being robbed,” says the security guard.

It’s a funny commercial for some identity theft company, but it illustrates this concept well. Saying “looks like the bank is being robbed” wasn’t unkind, but it wasn’t a helpful thing to say in the moment.

In this activity, students will sort situations and responses into four categories: helpful, hurtful, not helpful, and kind.

Being kind means being considerate of others feelings, showing them you care. A hurtful statement is one that is mean or hurts someone’s feelings. A statement that is helpful provides assistance, serves to meet a need, or is useful in achieving a goal. Just because something is kind or not hurtful, doesn’t mean it’s helpful or the right thing to say. And just because something’s not helpful, doesn’t make it hurtful.

Students will cut out the cards on the dotted lines. Then, they’ll read the situation and statement on each card, sorting the cards into four piles based on whether they think that statement is helpful, hurtful, not helpful, or kind for that situation.

Download the printable here.