Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Trash It

Christine Davis
Bay District Schools


Students learn to throw away their mean thoughts instead of saying them to the person with whom they are upset.


The student knows various ways of communicating care and consideration of others (e.g., sharing and saying `please` and `thank you`).

The student knows various ways in which to resolve conflict using positive behavior.


- A small garbage can with a lid (Can be purchased a dollar store)
- A copy of the poem -Throw It Away- (See Teacher Preparation)
- A stack of 2- x 4- pieces of paper
- A list of the I-Care rules. The I-Care rues are found in the Peace Work curriculum published by the Peace Education Foundation, Inc. P.O.Box 191153, Miami Beach, Fl 33119
- Pencils


1. Get a 10- trash can and tape or paste a copy of the following poem on it. WHEN YOU ARE UPSET, AND HAVE A THOUGHT UNKIND, JUST WRITE IT DOWN, LEAVING IT BEHIND. (Poem by Christy Davis)
2. Cut up some paper into 2-x4- pieces.
3. Make sure that the students have been taught and are familiar with the I-Care Rules. They are as follows:
1. We listen to each other.
2. Hands are for helping not hurting.
3. We use I-Care language.
4. We care about each other's feelings.
5. We are responsible for what we say and do.


1. Ask students what they do with leftover food or an empty drink bottle. (We throw it away).

2. Discuss what you do with trash (throw it away). During the discussion be sure to bring up the fact that we do not go back and pick up the trash from the trash can and reuse it (leftover banana peels - YUCK!).

3. Ask the students if the statement -You're Ugly!- is something that you would want to keep or throw away. Why? Continue to brainstorm a list of words (thoughts) that you would throw away and a list of words (thoughts) that you would keep. Make a list on the board of -To Keep- and -To Trash-.

4. Discuss the -To Keep- list. Explain or lead students to realize that this list follows the I-Care rules. (See Teacher Preparation for a complete list of rules.)

5. Discuss the -To Trash- list. Explain or lead students to realize that this list breaks the I-Care rules. This list should be thrown away or trashed.

6. Show the students the trash can. Read the poem to the students. Talk about the poem and ask what it would mean to write down your words and throw them away. Stress the importance of once a word or thought is thrown away, you forget about it. It is thrown out of our lives forever.

7. Model to the students how to write down a thought and throw it in the trash can. For example, tell the students that Ms. Davis made you mad by not letting you borrow a book. You want to call her a -big hog.- Show the kids that you can write this thought down on paper instead of calling Ms. Davis it. Then toss it in the trash can.

8. Discuss with the students when it will be a good time to write down and throw out the words (individual work time, before school, NOT when the teacher is teaching).

9. Conclude with the thought that, like the trash the garbage man takes to the dump, the thoughts in the trash can are carted off. We will no longer need them and can forget about them.

10. Read the following story to the class. -Pretend that you are playing blocks with your friend. He is hogging all the blocks you want and won't share with you. When you ask him to share, he tells you that he doesn't want to play with you anymore and calls you bossy.-

11. Pass out a piece of paper to children. Tell them that instead of saying anything mean back to the friend, they need to write their thought or the words down on the piece of paper, including their names (this time only) and throw them away in the trash can.


1. The teacher will formatively assess students during classroom discussion, providing praise and corrective feedback as necessary.
2. Teacher will formatively assess students' written response to the story for the students' understanding of the I-Care rules.
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