As a classroom teacher, you are responsible for preparing your students. You need to prepare them for the next school year, giving them a strong educational foundation. You should also prepare them to be responsible and act responsibly in the classroom. Here are strategies for teaching responsibility in the classroom.
Teaching Responsibility in the Classroom
Teaching responsibility in the classroom is important. By teaching your students to be responsible in the classroom, you’re also teaching them to be responsible at home and in their communities. This is a life skill that they will need to practice throughout their lives.
What is Responsibility?
- Teach the Meaning – Before your students can learn how to be responsible, they need to understand what responsibility is. To teach your students this important skill, lead a discussion on the meaning of responsibility. Discuss the meaning of it, as well as what responsibility might look like and sound like in real life.
- Discuss Student Responsibilities – Since you’ve discussed what responsibility might mean, your students should start making connections to responsibilities they already have. Start talking with students about what kind of responsibilities they already have at home and at school.
- Don’t Play the “Blame Game” – Kids should understand that each person has responsibilities and that they need to take responsibility for their actions. It can be easy to blame others when you forget something or do something wrong, but part of being responsible is taking responsibility for yourself. You can help teach children this concept by reading the story, But It’s Not My Fault by Julia Cook. In this story, the main character continues to blame others for everything that goes wrong with his day. He has to learn that he needs to accept responsibility rather than playing the blame game. Your students will enjoy the humor in the book as they learn more about being responsible.
Taking on Responsibilities
- Brainstorm Ways to be Responsible – Since students have a solid understanding of what responsibility means, as well as ways that they’re already responsible, it’s time to take on new responsibilities. Gather students together to brainstorm ways that they can be responsible. This should include responsibilities for the home, the classroom, and their community.
- Be a Responsible “Super Kid” – Making connections is a great way to help kids remember what they’ve learned. One way to do this is to do a fun activity or craft such as this Responsible “Super Kid” tie. Kids will love personalizing their ties and will feel proud when they wear them.
- Role-Play Different Scenarios – Another way for kids to learn responsibility is to have them act out different scenarios. By role-playing, you’re giving kids a chance to see what responsibility looks like in action. You can help guide students during these role-play scenarios, helping them understand the true meaning of responsibility in all types of situations.
- Rewards System – Good work deserves rewards. When your students actively practice responsibility, you should acknowledge them. When you notice a child being responsible, point out how wonderful of a job they’re doing. Catch them being responsible and reward them with a hold punch in a card (free resources below). If you have a classroom rewards system, you can make “being responsible” a way for them to earn their reward.
- Create Classroom Jobs – Responsibilities for adults include going to work and having a job. This can be true for your students as well! Create classroom jobs that students are responsible for throughout the week. Each child can be assigned a job, whether it’s sharpening pencils at the end of the day or turning off the lights when everyone leaves the classroom.
- Use Responsibility Cards – If you want to make things interesting, you can offer kids extra responsibilities. Have cards ready with different responsibilities on them. Encourage kids to pick and complete one every day or week.
- What is a goal? – Since your students know what responsibility means, they can now work on setting goals. Discuss with students what the word “goal” means so that they understand a goal is something you work towards.
- Different Types of Goals – There are many different kinds of goals. One goal a student might have is to get a 100% on a spelling test. Another might be to run a 5k in an hour. These could be anything, from getting their homework done on time to completing their chores without being asked. Brainstorm school-related goals (academic or social-emotional) together to help focus their efforts in class.
- Follow a Goal Setting Plan – Once students know what a responsibility goal is and you’ve created a list together, it’s time for them to come up with their own goal. Encourage them to reflect, set a goal, make a plan, and then practice.
- Create a Bucket List – A fun way to set goals for the future is to make a bucket list of goals. They can get creative here and record their dream adventures and goals for their life.
- 3 Stars & a Wish – Another way to record goals is to use the 3 stars and a wish strategy. Kids will share a few things they are good at and do well (stars) and something they want to work on and get better at (a wish). This simple technique is ideal for our younger students who are just starting out with goal setting. It also works well when you want kids to reflect on an activity they did or make a new goal each season or term. Grab the FREE templates to use below!
FREE Stars & a Wish Goal Setting Templates
Teach children to set goals and record them to make a plan using the 3 stars and a wish technique. Click the image below to download the FREE Stars & a Wish templates to get those goals on paper.
FREE Responsibility Punch Cards
Encourage and “catch” kids in the act of being responsible, while giving them a hole punch on their card. You could then reward them after their whole card is punched. Click the image below to grab your own ‘Caught Being Responsible’ punch cards!
The Responsibility SEL Curriculum includes 5 lessons and many activities that teach children about responsibility, goal setting, conflict resolution, and anti-bullying.
mind+heart Social Emotional Learning Curriculum
The mind + heart Social Emotional Learning Curriculum includes 8 units with 5+ detailed, character education, research-based LESSONS filled with TONS of hands-on and mindful ACTIVITIES that encourage children to express themselves and build important emotional and social skills. Click HERE for more details on the program.
Read more about Encouraging Responsibility in Children