Quick Conversation Starters About Good Manners

The spotlight shines on conversation hearts to start a conversation about good manners.

The spotlight shines on conversation hearts to start a conversation about good manners.

Mid-Week Focus this week is a sweet approach to teaching kids to have a heart for good manners!

Today’s Attentionology tool and trick is short and sweet, just like the satisfaction of eating a candy conversation heart.

If you have conversation heart candy leftover from Valentine’s Day or other message candy on hand, grab a handful and head to class to lead a lesson on good manners.


Catch students’ attention by announcing that it’s time to have a S-W-E-E-T conversation about a S-O-U-R subject:


Show Responsibility and Respect – Use quick conversation starters about good manners as part of your character education curriculum.

Tell the class that the good news is, “We can learn to have a heart for good manners and practice manners that show responsibility and respect for others.”

Advise students to get ready for some fun.

Circulate around the room and drop conversation hearts or other message candy on each student’s desk or table space. Tell them, “NO EATING YET! We’ll get to munch later.”

When everyone has a piece of message candy, call on volunteers to read their candy messages.

Turn Candy Messages into Good Manners Messages – As each student reads, repeat the words and add a quick phrase or sentence that connects with showing good manners.


Candy Message: Wicked Cool

Manners Message: It’s wicked cool to show good manners in school!

Candy Message: Shine Brite

Manners Message: Kids with good manners shine bright at home and school.

Use Message Candy to Reinforce No Bullying Policies – As you and the class listen to students read their candy messages aloud, take the opportunity to add manners messages that underscore the importance of not bullying others.


Candy Message: Best Day

Manners Message: Best days include no bullying days!

Candy Message: Live ‘n Love

Manners Message: We need to practice accepting others who are different from us.

Choose a time after you use candy conversation starters about good manners to reward student efforts with a sweet treat that they can eat!

Make a Bulletin Board that Features Conversation that Shows Good Manners – Follow these steps…

1.    Pick up on the concept of “having a heart” for good manners by creating a bulletin board that compares and contrasts conversation.

How rude is it to yell out, "Give me that!"

How rude is it to yell out, “Give me that!”

2.    Post dialog that shows rudeness or a lack of manners on 81/2 X 11 sheets of paper.

3.    Post dialog that shows good manners written inside large hearts on paper.

4.    Set up your bulletin board with a header inside a giant heart that reads:






5.    Distribute sheets of colored paper to the class. Use as many different colors as possible. Give each student two sheets that are the same color.

"Please makes all the difference! Who has a heart for showing good manners? We do!"

“Please makes all the difference! Who has a heart for showing good manners? We do!”

6.    Ask students to think of everyday expressions they use:

  • when they talk with adults
  • when they meet someone new
  • when they talk with other students

7.    Instruct the class to write an expression they think of on one sheet of colored paper, using language that shows rudeness or bad manners.

8.    Advise the kids to put quotation marks at the beginning and end of the expression.

9.    Next, ask students to draw a large heart on their other sheets of paper and rewrite the expression adding or changing the words to show good manners.

10. Remind kids to add quotation marks to the “good manners” expressions also.

11.  Cut out the “good manners” hearts and post them on the bulletin board.

12.  Take a photo of the bulletin board to upload for later screening and use as a teaching tool for character education. Extending the “life” of effective teaching resources saves time and money!

"Class, who remembers to say 'Excuse me' when you accidentally bump into someone?"

“Class, who remembers to say ‘Excuse me’ when you accidentally bump into someone? Good for you!”

Pay Quick Compliments – Once you’ve created your bulletin board with conversation hearts and starters about good manners, refer to it often.

When you hear a student talk in a way that reflects good manners, pay a quick compliment to him/her and suggest that his/her expression could be added to the bulletin board inside a heart.

Advocate Accepting Responsibility to Show Respect – Encouraging students in grades K – 5 to learn and practice good manners is an ongoing challenge, but one well worth the effort.

It takes constant modeling of good manners and continuous reminders to instill the importance of good manners in children, especially in cultures that spotlight “trash talk” in so many venues.

One way to gain support for good manners from kids…shine a spotlight on well-known people/heroes who in real or imaginary life accept the responsibility of showing respect for others.

Look for Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers here on Monday.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet


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Posted in Mid-Week Focus
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
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