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Citizenship: Citizenship

Citizenship

Have students participate in a range of citizenship and decision-making activities (e.g., circle time, class meetings, school councils, acting as playground helpers, taking part in paired reading, taking responsibility in getting homework and class assignments completed on time, etc.).

Visit with the students at the beginning of the year about what makes a good citizen. Inform them that the teacher will be choosing a Good Citizen of the Day each day based on observations by the teacher showing evidence of sharing, helpfulness, accomplishments, improvements, and doing his/her best. The Good Citizen of the Day will then receive a special certificate giving that student special rights and responsibilities for the next day (e.g., line leader, only student to be able to spend time in a special place in the classroom, room monitor, or whatever the classroom teacher deems special).

Good Citizen of the Day certificate

Have students create/discuss individually, in small groups, or as an entire class a timeline to identify the changes that will take place in their rights and responsibilities between now and when they reach the age of 18. Hopefully, they discover that both rights and responsibilities increase with age.

Have the students create a class citizenship tree where each leaf states a characteristic that makes a person a good citizen.

Have students develop questions that new immigrants would have to know for a citizenship test to become citizens of the United States.

Have students take a sample citizenship test given by government to immigrants. Sample questions can be found at the site listed below.

Have students create a “citizenship box” of one of the traits of a good citizen.

Have students create a class bulletin board entitled “Citizenship City.” Each student will design a house to place on the bulletin board. Each house will be decorated with the student’s name on it. On the bottom of each house, each student will write his/her own “Citizenship Pledge” explaining a way that he/she plans to fulfill community responsibility (e.g., leading a recycling campaign, donating goods to a homeless shelter, etc.).

Have students design a quarter they think would be representative of North Dakota or of themselves as a good citizen. Share with the class.

Think, Pair, Share Activity on the traits of good citizenship. (This technique may be used for any topic.)

Have each student think individually about what traits make a good citizen. Working in pairs, have students share their ideas and thoughts with each other. This enables the teacher to observe what the students’ knowledge is when thinking about the traits needed to be a good citizen. Examples of these traits may include honesty, compassion, respect, courage, perseverance, etc. The students may come up with additional words that define good citizenship traits.

Have each student think of and write down examples from their own lives where they have recognized some or all of these characteristics in themselves.

Students may then share their thoughts or examples from their own experiences with a partner on one or all of the traits by writing down their ideas on the board and/or poster paper for the entire class to see and to discuss. Other ideas for this activity:

  • Create a list of ground rules needed for an orderly discussion, and tell why they are needed?
  • Create a list of things that make school a good place to be. Then, list what actions each student/class could do to make school a better place for everyone. Create a classroom “Bill of Rights”that would be used as the main discipline plan for the school year (e.g., each person in the class has the right to be treated in a way that he/she would want to be treated). Discipline plans that enhance good citizenship skills and involve the students in a responsible, problem-solving role are included under Discipline Plans and Class Meetings.