School is not made just for learning Common Core standard information; it is where children learn important social lessons. Responsibility is one of the earliest and most crucial lessons students learn in school, and it helps to shape how they live the rest of their lives. Since everyone learns a little bit differently and some classrooms are geared toward students with diverse needs, here are seven different and fun ways that teachers can teach students responsibility.
Practice what you teach.
Modeling responsibility in the classroom is important. Teachers should always model responsibility for their students. Showing up on time, having all of your materials prepared and being timely in grading and returning assignments shows students that responsibility is important and required for becoming a successful adult. When a teacher has a moment when they’re not quite as responsible as they could be, this should become a teachable moment for the entire class. In this instance, a teacher could ask their class, “What could I have done to be more responsible?” or, “What should I do next time to be more responsible?” Make it a learning opportunity. Remind students that nobody is perfect but that, when they are responsible, things will run smoother for them.
Define “responsibility” for students.
Before engaging in responsibility learning activities, students should be aware of the definition of “responsibility.” Teachers can write the word on the board and ask students what they think “responsibility” means, then give them the definition in a way that most students should be able to comprehend. Chances are, most students have heard their parents or guardians talk about responsibility at home. So, some students can give examples of how they are already being responsible at home and at school.
Assign classroom jobs.
Students of all grade levels should be assigned rotating and/or permanent classroom jobs from the first week of the school year. This helps to establish routine and encourages students to be more independent with their responsibilities. Students in lower grade levels could, for example, be assigned weekly classroom chores, including taking a wagon or cart with lunch boxes back from the cafeteria after lunch. Students in higher grade levels can be counted on to help with taking daily attendance or helping the teacher with passing out assignment sheets. Students of most grade levels should be encouraged to be responsible for any classroom items assigned to them, such as their desks and iPads or tablets. Each individual student should be responsible for returning their numbered tablets or iPads to their storage area and make sure that they get charged.
Personalized items encourage more responsibility.
Younger students especially benefit from having their own objects to take care of, and they do best with personalized items. For example, students could each have a personalized blanket for which they would be responsible. Younger students sometimes struggle with nap time or relaxation, so having a personalized item, such as a blanket, could increase their excitement about nap time and help them become more responsible for their items. The fact that something is personalized helps students more easily recognize their own item and allows them to feel like they can express themselves as individuals in a group setting.
Encourage students to volunteer.
Volunteering is not something all students are interested in doing. However, some students are interested in taking on additional responsibilities, especially as they get older and better acquainted with their school and classroom setting. Teachers can start by talking about volunteer experiences they have had and relay how much fun it was to help out of the goodness of their hearts. Teachers can even organize volunteer days with the school’s staff when students can do things to help out the school, such as doing volunteer clean-up in the lunchroom or on the playground.
Teach students about responsi-bill-ity.
As students get older, they will have to learn how to be responsible with money. A fun and effective way to do this with younger students is to bring in a dollar bill. Teachers can hold the bill up and ask questions, such as, “What do we need money for?” and, “Why is money important?” Teachers can then hold the bill over their eyes and remind them that when money is all they see, they are blind to everything else around them. Teachers should ask students how they can spend money without forgetting the more important things in life, like family and friends.
Make it musical!
Many students are auditory and/or kinesthetic learners, so students could be encouraged to put on a classroom musical with the theme being responsibility. Students would be responsible for their roles, writing the script, and playing instruments. Not only does this encourage individual responsibility, but it teaches students how to work together as a responsible team.
Responsibility lessons should not be boring; they need to be memorable and diverse. Teachers should look for the most creative tactics to teach their students responsibility while making sure that a lot of roles are part of a regular routine. Students should be engaged in interactive learning activities, in which they take individual responsibility and learn how to work together as a responsible group.
Has your class done any creative projects that teach responsibility? Share your ideas and creations with us at Creatubbles.