Welcome Parents and Educators!

Timely Tips are designed to be a resource of ideas and suggestions which we hope you will find useful as you interact with kids every day.

So, check back from time to time for new ideas. And, if you have some helpful hints to share with others, feel free to email us and let us know.

Bullying Role Play

Bullying is a pattern of aggressive behavior that has the intention of hurting another person. Schools try to create a safe environment where children are free from this kind of behavior, but that is not always the case. In order for classrooms to be prepared to handle bullying, try to role play the behavior. For example, allow students to play the different roles, i.e. the bully, the victim and a by-stander. Be sure all students can define what bullying is and what they can do to defend themselves or to help someone else. Be sure to define your role as a teacher to help students who might be involved in being bullied or see it occurring.

This role-playing exercise does several things. It allows students to understand what bullying is so they can identify it if it happens. It also allows students to have a solution in advance so they will not be caught off guard not knowing what to do. It also creates a classroom environment where peers know that it is unacceptable to be a bully and to understand the consequences in advance.


by Allyson Willis

Integrity Rules

Make sure you are using the language of integrity. The Integrity Time program offers a creative way of teaching this language. If you speak the language of integrity to your students, they will begin to use the language for themselves. Don’t be afraid to use big words such as “appropriate” or “inappropriate”. They will quickly learn as you ask them to evaluate their behavior. Was that an appropriate response? Was that an inappropriate word to use?


by Allyson Willis

When the Days Get Tough

Your job is one of the most important jobs in our society.


When the days get tough, think back to why you began teaching. You knew you could make a difference in the lives of children.


When the days get tough, think back to the children who left you a note on your desk or told you they wished they could go home and live with you.


When the days get tough, think back to the student who came into your class failing and was promoted successfully to the next grade at the end of the year.


Children need the positive guidance you have to give them.  You have had many victories because of your dedication to love the seemingly unlovable, manage into obedience the out of control, listen to the frustrated parent, find the funding for that special fieldtrip and teach the apparent unteachable. Let the memories of the lives you have helped change drive your desire to continue to gift your students with success!


by Allyson Willis 

Pass the R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect for one another is one of the greatest tools against students mistreating other students. One way to teach respect is to play “Pass the Respect”. Start by defining the word “respect” for your students which is having a high regard for someone else so you say and do things to them that are the right thing. Then write the word RESPECT on an object such as a can, card, block, etc. Have the children sit in a circle on the floor and have each student state a way in which they can show respect to the person sitting next to them. Have the speaking student pass the RESPECT object on to the person sitting next to them and continue the game until the object goes all the way around the circle. You will likely have to guide them in getting started. After the exercise and as you notice students showing respect to others, allow them to have the RESPECT object at their desk or on display with their name attached for the rest of that day.


by Allyson Willis 

Quality Attention

All children want the attention of significant adults in their lives.  As a teacher, you have the opportunity to positively influence your students in many aspects of their lives, not just academically.  The complete health of a child is determined physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally.

Teaching Integrity Time will go a long way in the healthy development of the emotional and social and mental aspects of a child’s life.  But you can also be a role model in the physical health of a child. A great way to promote wellness in your classroom and give your student quality attention is to exercise. This could include something formal such as a regular scheduled exercise activity, or it could be a walk around the classroom in the morning before school, stretching to classical music, or leading the class in a game of Simon Says being sure to include instructions which involve movement. The main thing is to get active with your students and show them that you value your health, as well as theirs. You will find spending this kind of time and attention with your students allows you to get to know them better. It also allows you to be able to laugh and play, two of the things kids know how to do the best and adults seem to forget! Be sure to praise and encourage your students as you see positive qualities growing in them.

 by Allyson Willis and Sara W. Berry


Praising Parents

Parents need praise, too. Yes, it’s true, so start your year off right and keep going strong all year long by sending your children’s parents notes of praise. Anything positive you experience from your students’ parents is appropriate to praise.  Examples are:

  1. “I noticed what healthy lunches you pack your child.”
  2. “Thank you for always calling me back so promptly.”
  3. “You always put so much heart into volunteering.”
  4. “As a dad, you are always there to go on field trips. Thank you.  We really need you!”
  5. “You always take time to listen to the children when you come into the classroom.”

You will be surprised at what a powerful connection you will develop with parents when you take a little time to let them know you notice who they are and what they do. This will also increase the respect children have for their parents when they see you, someone they look up to, praising their parents for doing something good.

by Allyson Willis 

Remember When?

Sometimes it is important to remember. While we cannot live in the past, we can revisit the happy times when we need a little encouragement.


When was the last time you reflected on your first year of teaching or when you thought about the day you finally decided that what you wanted to do with your life was to teach children? Why did you make that decision? What were your motives then? What are your motives now? Do you remember the feeling of walking into YOUR classroom for the first time? Do you remember making bulletin boards, cleaning desks, putting names on sentence strips for each child? Do you remember the nervousness you felt at the first Open House or the excitement the first time you saw the “lightbulb” go off in a student’s head?


I invite you to remember today. Make a list, smile a little, write a note to a former teacher or co-worker. Do something today to celebrate the past and let the past motivate you to press on, even when you are tired and overworked and under-appreciated because what you do matters!


by Allyson Willis

Pass It On

Solid relationships between teachers and administration ultimately help the student. Offer support to your co-workers by starting the day off with a box of name tags and a Sharpie. Have one staff person write a positive quality of another on the name tag such as “Considerate” and tell that person how you saw them being considerate. Then pass on the box of name tags and Sharpie to that staff person for them to name a positive quality of another staff member. The goal is for each staff member to have a name tag at the end of the day. This exercise will not only be morale building for your staff, but also will be powerful for your students when they see teachers and the administration intentionally naming positive qualities in each other.


by Allyson Willis

Build It

A workplace where you feel connected with your co-workers is so enjoyable. Unfortunately, the days fly by so fast and are so packed there is often little time to really get to know each other so be intentional about building community among your peers. Suggest to your principal to do team-building activities at each faculty meeting. These can be short and yet so valuable for bringing people together.


Some team-building ideas:

  1. Ask everyone what is their favorite meal and why.
  2. Put all staff members’ names in a hat and ask each person to draw a name. Share a quality in that person which you admire, appreciate or from which you have learned.
  3. Have each person tell about a meaningful time they served someone else.
  4. Ask each staff person to share about someone who has been a hero in their life.
  5. Have everyone bring a photo of a special family or friend and share something you like to do together.

You can certainly expand this to longer activities or even consider going to a local place on a teacher training day to participate in a ropes course with deeper team-building activities. The main thing is to be the catalyst in intentionally getting to know those with whom you work.


by Allyson Willis

Play I.O. – Immediate Obedience

How many hours of classroom time are wasted having to remind students to do what you have asked them to do? To get students in the habit of responding immediately to your directives, play I.O. – Immediate Obedience.


Start by explaining what immediate obedience means to make sure they understand the terminology. Begin the game by having everyone come to military attention and put their hand to their brow when you say “Attention I.O.” Then instruct them with a task, for example: “Put your books and pencils away”, “Push your chair up to your table”, or “Line up at the door quietly”. Mix up your directives so different groups have to do different things at the same time.


The practice will help to teach the students who are not as familiar with what it means to obey and to do it immediately when they are asked. It will also help students understand this is a classroom expectation you have. Praise students who obey immediately and praise others as they follow suit. When students fall back into their old habits, play the game again. At the end of the week, give I.O. awards to students who are naturally obedient and to those who are improving.

by Allyson Willis

Did It Make a Difference?

You have spent a school year focusing on integrity. Did it make a difference? Maybe you have seen an improvement in behavior, test scores or relationships between students. Maybe you have seen a decrease in cheating, tattling or bullying or maybe you’re not sure it did make a difference. Maybe the students still struggle with behavior, test scores or relationships. Maybe you didn’t see a remarkable difference, but I assure you it made a difference.


One day, Whit came home from school and went straight for the garbage bags. Without a word to his mother, he began to go through the toys in his room. He carefully selected toy after toy to place in the bag. He wanted to give his toys to children who didn’t have any. Why? Because Whit’s teacher told him “G is for Generous.” He wanted to become more generous and began right away. Whit’s teacher never knew. She never saw the difference, but his mom did.


Tomika heard her teacher say, “Keep your lips from speaking lies.” She went home and told her mom, her dad and her brother. Her teacher never knew. She never saw the difference, but Tomika’s family did and so will her future children, grandchildren and maybe even her future students – all because Tomika’s teacher took the time to teach her about integrity.


Does teaching Integrity Time make a difference? Absolutely. It makes a difference in your individual students and in the world they will, in turn, influence. Keep it up. YOU are changing the world!


Tell us your stories. We want to hear from you. We want to hear your own creative ideas or positive reinforcement strategies. Email us at www.integritytime.com.


By Sara Berry 

Creator of the Integrity Time program 

Get Active

Physical activity helps the body and brain stay in shape. If you exercise, take your routine to the next level and challenge yourself. If you do not exercise on a regular basis, begin TODAY. Don’t make the exercise complicated. Just pick something convenient to get you started like walking in your neighborhood before or after work, walking stairs for fifteen minutes, getting some free weights and exercising your arms, asking a friend to be your running buddy for accountability, or purchasing a home exercise video. Whatever comes to mind, just do it! When you jumpstart now with a simple exercise, you will notice how much better you feel which will spur you on to greater things later.


by Allyson Willis

Praise Pass

Choose a particular character quality in which you see your students needing to improve, such as kindness, honesty, determination or being positive and then teach or review with them the definition of that quality and how to display it to ensure they all understand.  Award students a “Praise Pass” when you see them using the quality appropriately and when they are caught doing the right thing. Next, assist that student in catching someone else exhibiting the quality as well. They then get to “Pass the Praise” onto that person by recognizing him or her. You can make certificates the students can take home and show their families which can state something like: “Today I used the character quality of KINDNESS at school.  My teacher is so proud of me.  I helped my classroom be a better place because I chose to be kind.”


by Allyson Willis

Thanking Obedience

Sometimes the obedient child seems to fall through the cracks because we take them for granted. Certainly, we are exceedingly thankful for them, but we might forget to recognize them because we as educators seem to spend a great amount of our time correcting negative behavior.


Try writing a thank you note to students when you see them exhibiting appropriate behaviors. This can be a simple pre-made strip of paper with a sentence template. Acknowledge to them the specific behavior and explain what a positive affect their actions had on their performance or on the classroom as a whole. You should see two things happen: 1) the students who are obedient will recognize their behavior as important, and, therefore, will continue and 2) other students will desire the same praise and will likely imitate the other student’s behavior. And of course, give them a thank you note as well and just watch what happens.

by Allyson Willis

Spot It and Shout It

When you spot a student exhibiting a character trait that your classroom has been learning through Integrity Time, have some type of system where you and the class can appropriately give a “shout out” to that student. This may be as simple as verbally recognizing the behavior or allowing the student a special privilege in the classroom. It may also be a chant your class comes up with in which they can all participate. Immediate reinforcement not only increases this behavior in that particular student, it encourages those around them to begin using it as well.


by Allyson Willis

Name It

Name It is a great intentional activity to help students begin to notice good things about each other. Sometimes children forget the privilege it is to receive an education and sometimes teachers forget it is a privilege to influence a child.


Name It allows teachers and students to name a quality they see in each other and verbalize how they feel about it. For example, “Sue, I noticed how you are so determined when you are practicing reading! That is why you have been scoring so well on your tests. You stick with it until you get it right!” “Mrs. Smith, I saw you give some of your own money to the student who forgot his lunch. That shows you are caring and generous.”


Make sure you and your student are looking each other in the eyes when you name the quality you see in the other person. For children, you will have to teach and coach them in knowing how to name the qualities, but after they get going, there is no stopping them!


by Allyson Willis

Tell Your Story to Students

Everyone loves a good story, especially children. Tell your own stories of integrity and your students will have greater respect for you and will feel better connected to you. When did you begin to value integrity? Did you see your father return the extra change he mistakenly received? Did you notice your mother never lied? Did a particular teacher help you understand the importance of doing quality work? What was her name? How did she impress this upon you?


Telling the negative stories is effective as well. Make sure you do not include real names, but tell the stories of how you decided to choose integrity by learning from the mistakes of others. A wise person will watch and learn without having to learn the hard way.


by Sara Berry, Founder & CEO, Integrity Time, LLC

Be a Catalyst for Positive Change

You can be a catalyst for positive change with a difficult student – one small step at a time. Difficult children are difficult for a reason which usually stems from their environment. Every child has value and part of why you probably were inspired to teach in the first place was to love and meet the needs of all the children who are brought into your path.


When you have a student with a difficult trait, they often times either do not have the skill to do something different or do not have the self-control. Pick the opposite behavior of that trait and teach them what that trait looks like. Then write that trait on a piece of paper and tape it to their desk. Every time the difficult student exhibits that opposite, positive trait, praise them or recognize them in some way so they will begin to see their new trait in action. Pretty soon, the new behavior will become a habit and you can move on to the next trait.


by Allyson Willis

Word Power

Words have the power either to build up or tear down those around us. I am certain we will never see the full impact our positive words have on others. However, I’m sure each of us can think back to positive things our teachers said to us which made a difference and in doing so, we can realize the lifelong effect of words. Stop and think for a moment about what really motivates a child to change their negative behavior or to continue with appropriate behavior. Usually “fussing” does not change their behavior. What typically causes them to rise to the occasion are words of affirmation. You can often times even see it on their face. They come to life when someone gives them something better for which to aspire. Speak positive words to affect change in your students today!

by Allyson Willis


Picking One

As teachers, we strive for perfection and often want to tackle everything at one time, but here’s a new strategy to consider. Pick one behavior at a time on which to work with students who may challenge your patience with their behavior.

  1. Make a list of the specific behaviors you would like to see your students change. PICK ONE, yes, just one at a time!
  2. Talk with your students about this behavior and teach them what you want them to do instead of what they are currently doing.
  3. Make a small chart for their desk with the word “GOAL” written on the chart. Then make squares for the number of times you want them to exhibit the behavior for the day. For example, if your students constantly shout out the answer to a question, tell them you want them to raise their hand until you call on them to answer. For this behavior, perhaps their chart should contain three to five squares.
  4. Every time, for this example, they raise their hand to be called on, give them a star on their chart.
  5. When they earn a certain number of stars (which you determine), give the students a reward or special privilege.
  6. When they become great at their new skill, move on to the next behavior.

Ignoring the other negative behaviors might be hard, but take comfort those bad behaviors will soon pop up on your list to to be the next skill on which to work your students.

by Allyson Willis

Be willing to say “I’m Sorry”

All teachers can have a bad day sometimes. Teachers can sometimes grow impatient, angry, worried or frustrated which can negatively affect the example we give our students. If you blow it, say you are sorry. By nature, students are forgiving. An honest conversation could open up an avenue of change. Of course, teachers should always expect the students to treat them as an authority figure, but if an apology is in order, don’t hesitate. This humility will teach the students to admit their own mistakes.

Be sure to ask for their forgiveness. We miss the true relationship-building opportunity when we simply say “I’m sorry” and forget to follow up with “Will you forgive me?” An admission of mistake is not as effective of a relationship builder if it is not followed with the action of forgiveness. What a great life lesson for everyone to learn!

My Time

In order to be strong for others, we must take time to renew our strength. It is easy to think we have so much to do we could not possibly stop long enough to take care of ourselves. Even if it is just 15-30 minutes, build in time each day or week to take care of yourself.

This may include:

  • reading a magazine or a chapter of a book you keep meaning to pick up
  • fixing yourself a cup of hot tea and just sitting down for a few minutes
  • taking a walk around the block or at a local park
  • drinking more water each day
  • spending time with a friend who is positive
  • going to bed earlier so you feel rested for the next day

You might even write yourself a note to remind you that you need to take time for yourself. When you do, you begin to be stronger on the inside and more equipped to deal with the things that life brings your way! If you are not good at taking time for yourself, ask a friend to help hold you accountable and give your more creative ideas!

The Thankful Game

Morning routine provides a great opportunity to teach students good life lessons. Try something new in your morning routine such as playing The Thankful Game. You can play with all the students or one at a time. The only rule is that something you are thankful for cannot be repeated by anyone. You simply name things you are thankful for such as “parents, dry place to live in, summer camp, food for dinner, bike to ride, toothbrush, job, health, laughter, school supplies, etc.”.

It is amazing what kind of conversations begin to develop just from spending time together talking about things for which to be thankful. It also helps to promote a lifestyle where children begin to realize how blessed they really are for what they have when sometimes what we tend to focus on is what we do not have.

Accept Feedback from Parents

I have oftentimes received my best ideas and tips from the parents of the students with whom I work. I find it is not always easy to receive feedback from others, but when I decide to be open, the ideas can revolutionize your teaching environment. Parents have a window into the intricate life of their child and their child’s peers.

Learn to value their perspective and your insight into how best to educate their children will increase.

Consider creating some type of system where parents can offer feedback to you whether that be an anonymous suggestion box, e-mail response, written idea form, etc. Be creative in the way you ask for feedback. For example, one teacher sent the list of Integrity Time traits to the parents. She requested they write her a letter when they saw their child exhibiting one of the traits at home. At the end of the year, the teacher displayed the parents’ letter in her room. This was a wonderful way to teach parents a positive enforcement technqiue.

Remember, the more open and welcoming you are to parents, the more likely they are to be open with you and the results can bring great excitement on both sides as you see how much they care and might be more willing to help.

by Allyson Willis

Redirecting Behavior

It is easy in the classroom to focus on the negative even when we do not mean to do this. “Don’t touch those; Don’t say that; Stop running; Quit talking…..” And the list goes on and on. Turn your language around to tell your students what you DO want them to do. “Put your hands in your lap; Ask in a nice tone of voice; Walk; Do your work quietly.”

We tend to want to correct rather than direct. Students want to know what they are supposed to DO, and they are looking to your leadership. As soon as they follow your direction, be sure to follow up with a positive affirmation.


Whether at school or at home it is very effective to “catch them being good”. Praise the children when their behavior reflects Integrity. Never underestimate the value of an encouraging word!

Use the Integrity Tunes CD at home or school during clean-up time or while driving down the road to reinforce the values you want your children to grasp. Remember that driving in the car creates an automatic togetherness. Take advantage of this time.

Families, use meal time to stimulate conversation about Integrity issues at home. Our Dinner Time Discussion Sheets will help you in this area.