Students will be able to identify what makes a good or bad citizen by sorting example cards and coming up with their own examples.

  • Book A Very Important Day
  • Chart Paper for Each group
  • Citizenship picture cards

The purpose of this activity is to give students an opportunity to gain an introductory understanding of citizenship and what it means to be a responsible citizen. ‘
  1. Read the book A Very Important Day.
  2. Ask students what they think a citizen is based on the book. Citizens can be described as members of a community or group. It is important to emphasize that we are all citizens of the United States, which is made up of a large group of people. However, we are also citizens of this classroom, which is made up of a small group of people.
  3. Break students up into groups of four or five. Have the group take out a piece of paper and make a T-chart. One column should be titled “Responsible Citizen” and the other column “Non-Responsible Citizen.” Have various pictures the students can sort onto the various sides of the T-chart. After they sort their pictures, have them add their own ideas
  4. Students should brainstorm and write down their ideas of what it means to be a responsible classroom member and a non-responsible classroom member. Students may need prompting. Ask questions such as, “Is it important to keep our classroom clean? Should we be helpful to one another or focus only on ourselves? Is communication important?”
  5. After giving students ten to fifteen minutes to brainstorm and fill out the chart, ask each group to share some of their ideas.
  6. Write students’ brainstormed ideas on a large piece of chart paper.
  7. Ask students, “Why is it important to be a responsible citizen?” Students will generate a list of answers to this question on the back of their T-chart. If students struggle to come up with ideas, the teacher can use probing questions to help guide their answers. Questions may include, “Is it important to help one another out? Why or why not?” “What will happen if we ruin all of our classroom materials?” “Why should we communicate with one another?” Students will present their ideas to the class. The teacher will write student ideas about why being a responsible citizen is important on another piece of chart paper. The students and teacher will identify if groups came up with the same ideas and answers.
  8. After the list has been generated, the class will make a collaborative effort to compose a class pledge of responsible citizens. Remind students that we say the “Pledge of Allegiance” each week because we are agreeing to be loyal members of the United States. Our class pledge will be an agreement to be responsible citizens of the classroom. The teacher will already have the opening of the pledge prepared. For example, it may start by saying, “We pledge to be responsible citizens of (insert teacher’s name) kindergarten grade class. We will be responsible by … Being a responsible citizen is important because…” Students will come up with words and ideas from their T-charts. Once the pledge is composed, it should be laminated and posted in the classroom. The pledge can be recited at the beginning of each week to remind students of the importance of the being a responsible citizen.

Other Social Studies Standards that this book could teach:
History, Heritage
4. Nations are represented by symbols and practices. Symbols and practices of the United States include the American flag, Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem.

Grade 4
History, Heritage
3. Various groups of people have lived in Ohio over time including prehistoric and historic American Indians, migrating settlers, and immigrants. Interactions among these groups have resulted in both cooperation and conflict.