In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about rights and responsibilities. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Rights and Responsibilities topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching about Rights and Responsibilities
Bill of Students’ Rights
Together as a class, draft a Bill of Students’ Rights. You may want to review and discuss the differences between rights and responsibilities before drafting a set of rights. Many schools and states list students’ rights, and you may wish to bring in examples. Write the Bill of Students’ Rights together and post them in your classroom. Discuss the responsibilities each student has to uphold and protect their rights. Then draft a set of rules or class laws that protect students’ rights. For example, a right might be to express opinions and a class law might be to always be quiet and respectful when someone expresses his or her opinions. Write the rules or laws together and post them in your classroom.
Ask students to keep track of every responsible action they take during the course of one day. Save enough time at the end of the day for students to come together and make a class chart listing all the ways they exhibited responsibility. Examples might include, “held the door for the class”, “took turns on the swings”, “cleaned table after lunch”, “listened quietly during read aloud”, or “voted on snack.” If possible, have students make and decorate awards or badges that proclaim “I am a responsible member of my school community.”
If possible, organize a class or school-wide event where community members can clean up or make improvements to the school. Invite students and their families to come and help the common good of the school. You can divide students into groups to manage different events and activities, such as a fund-raising bake sale, painting walls, picking up trash, planting trees or flowers, or getting donations for sports equipment the entire class or school can enjoy. Remind students that as community members they are responsible for maintaining their community and working for the common good.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching about Rights and Responsibilities
Empower your child to be an active citizen by thinking of ways to improve their communities. They may wish to petition for a stop sign or crosswalk at a busy intersection or add or revive a park or public space. Help your child find an issue that he or she cares deeply about and find ways to address the issue. Bring your child to community meetings or set up an appointment to talk to a community leader so your child’s voice is heard. Have your child research and learn about their community leaders so they can be better informed about who makes decisions that affect their lives. Being an active community member will allow your child to take more responsibilities and develop a sense of community pride.
Age of Responsibility
Celebrate how responsibilities change and grow as your child matures. Make a chart of responsibilities your child has taken on over the years. Examples might include: being responsible for washing hands at age 3, being responsible for tying shoes at age 4, being responsible for setting the table at age 5, being responsible for washing own hair at age 6, being responsible for an allowance at age 7. Be sure to list future responsibilities a child may look forward to, like caring for a pet, practicing an instrument, mowing the lawn, babysitting, driving, or graduating from school.