Sunday, August 14, 2011

Citizenship Starts Early

At the start of each new school year my students are introduced to a lesson in Citizenship.  This lesson will lay the groundwork as we work together to establish rules in our classroom. 

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Here are some definitions which help students understand this often-confusing term.  The highlighted definition will be the focus of instruction this year.

"Citizenship" as defined by  
 noun:  1. the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.
            2. the character of an individual viewed as a member by society; behavior in terms of the duties, obligations and functions of a citizen.

Students will be introduced (via a Smartboard Notebook lesson) to the following 5 categories that help define citizenship; Respect, Fairness, Caring, Responsibility,  and Honesty (categories based on information provided by the Scott Foresman Social Studies, 'Regions' text.)

While there are numerous resources available to teach character education/citizenship in our classrooms (see below),  my GOAL this year is to take that lesson further than the classroom and expand it to our community in an effort to show what a difference good citizenship makes.  In this instance, there is no better way to learn than by doing!  It has been my experience that children love to help and be a part of something bigger.  (See my post about The Generation Changing the World for an example.)

I'm looking for your suggestions, ideas and resources about how to incorporate Respect, Fairness, Caring, Responsibility, and Honesty with my pupils in relation to the general public.  What do you think would be an activity that would be beneficial to both?  Please share via the Answer Garden at the bottom of this post or in the comment section!  Thank you!

Good Character:  A great resource for guiding questions and activities on all of the above areas and more.  It is broken into categories such as K-3; 4-8; K-5 (offers some pages in Spanish).

Respect Song via Youtube: (see below)

The Six Pillars of Character:  A youtube video, mostly text and music, sharing ideas about Citizenship (geared for older children).

Inspirational Quotes:  These quotes for Character Education by Leah Davies, M.Ed., can be used in a variety of ways.

Children's Book List:  compiled by Lane Public Library for the Hamilton Schools,  and categorized by age: K-6; Middle School; High School then further broken into categories (respect; responsibility, etc.)

Characters of Character Online Games: Play games with Warm-Hearted Walrus, Manners Monkey & other friends to learn about Character Education. Although the characters look young they have lots of big concepts to share. Read this review!

Citizen Power: An interactive website that provides information about basic citizenship.  Although this is a UK site there are other features that are appropriate for children everywhere.

I look forward to learning new ways and ideas on expanding Citizenship beyond the classroom walls.

How can I involve my students to help in their community?... at


  1. Nancy, you have created another great post with a boatload of resources. I am excited about this idea for my students too. Respect, fairness, caring, responsibility, honesty--all important characteristics of being a citizen. As our students become more a part of the global community, it's going to be even more important to have them practice these values. Thanks again for sharing valuable resources with your readers!


  2. i watched this at school today for our character ed word of the week our class doesnt laugh they just sing along and dance but i have to say it is funny


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