Being a good citizen means helping others. Good citizens help others at home, at school, in the neighborhood, and in their communities.
To guide children to find the meaning of "community" and work together to find and carry out a community volunteer project.
Write the lyrics of the chorus to "The Lion and the Mouse" on chart paper:
Moo cow moo
Neigh horse neigh
Little friends can be
A big help some day.
Neigh horse neigh
Moo cow moo
Treat others as you’d have
Others treat you.
- Play "The Lion and the Mouse" for the class. Have students sing along with the chorus. Then discuss the song:
- In the beginning, do you think the lion believed the words of the song: "Little friends can be a big help some day"? Why? (No, because the lion is the king of the jungle and a mouse is too small to help.)
- Did the lion change his mind? Why? (Yes. The little mouse freed him from the net.)
- What does "treat others as you'd have others treat you" mean to you? (Be good to others; help others. Don't be mean to others because you don't like when others are mean to you.)
- Put a dot in the center of the chart paper. Tell the students this dot represents each one of them. Write "student" next to the dot. Then put a circle around the dot. Write "our class" inside the circle. Draw a larger circle. Ask the students what this might represent—the floor the classroom is on; the school building. Continue to draw larger circles and have the students talk about what each circle might stand for—the schoolyard, the neighborhood, the community, the town, the State, etc.
- Talk about ways the students in the class could help others in their community, just like the mouse helped his neighbor, the lion. Community service ideas may include:
- Keep the schoolyard clean so that the community looks good and is safer.
- Recycle cans and plastic bottles to help the environment.
- Collect canned food items and donate them to a local food bank.
- Create "welcome" cards for families who move into the community.
- Plant a flower garden. Then, pick bouquets to take to hospitals or senior citizens' homes.
- Plan a performance for a senior citizen home in the community.
For older students: Get families involved. Have the students make posters announcing special community service projects. Then, have them and their families participate.
- Work with the school and parents’ group to set up a "clean the park" weekend and invite the community to join in the effort.
- Conduct a penny drive. Over a period of a month or longer, ask everyone to save pennies at home and at school. Then, on the final day of the drive, have everyone place their pennies in large jars in the classroom. Have the students count the pennies and donate the money to a local shelter.
- Have a bake sale and decide on the best way to use the funds for a school or community project.
(The community service ideas above are adapted from: Take Action [PDF], Masters of Disaster, K–2, In the Aftermath, Reach Out to Others, Lesson Plan 11/Connections from The American National Red Cross.)
Related Family Article: Being a Good Citizen
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