Character Counts Digital Classroom

Fairness in the Classroom

Fair does not always mean equal and that can be a difficult concept for children. Defining fairness in the classroom, or in any environment, will help students develop a stronger understanding and treat others in a fair way.

Fairness in the Classroom
Grade Level: K-5


Character Skills
  • Fairness
SEL Skills
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills
Academic Skills
  • Effective Problem-Solving


  • Play by the rules.
  • Take turns and share.
  • Be open-minded. Listen to others.
  • Don’t take advantage of others.
Social Awareness

Assess the feelings of others and be sensitive to the feelings and needs of others.

Relationship Skills

Interpersonal and social skills to guide appropriate behavior and create positive relationships and meaningful connections . 

Effective Problem-Solving

Employ critical and creative thinking skills to solve problems and make rational, ethical, and effective decisions that produce the best possible result.   

Share This Activity
  • Paper
  • Writing utensils
  • Ask students: “What does fairness mean?”
  • Watch “Build Character Build Success: FAIRNESS” video 
  • Split students into groups to discuss fairness. They will create a three column chart on their paper and label the columns “looks like,” “sounds like,” and “feels like.” In their groups, they will add at least three things to describe fairness – what it looks like if someone is being fair, what it sounds like if someone is being fair, and what it feels like to be treated fairly. 
  • When all groups are finished, ask students to share their charts with the whole class.
Student Reflection
  • What were some common themes on the charts.
  • What does fair actually mean?
  • How can you determine if something is fair or not?
  • What might be unfair in our classroom? 
  • How could we make our classroom more fair?
  • How would making our classroom more fair impact all of us?
Student Reflection
  • Write about a time when things were unfair for you. What would have made it fair for you? Would that have been fair to everyone else involved?
  • Reflect on how you have treated your classmates this week. How have you showed fairness to a peer? When was a time you could have been more fair?
  • Write about how you will be more fair at school next week.
Family Connection

Encourage families to create a compact of how they will treat one another fairly at home. In order to create the compact, discuss the following:

  • What does fairness mean in our house?
  • What does fairness look like?
  • How will we act if things are unfair?
  • How will we resolve unfair situations? 

Once you decide how your family will treat each other fairly at home, write down the plan. Ask everyone in the family to sign the compact of fairness.

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