Good CITIZENSHIP lesson plans and debates: How to be a Good Citizen at school (Anti-Racism lesson plans)
Good Citizenship / Anti-Racism Lesson Plans Tuesday December 15, 2020: 2020 has been quite the year. How will your students stand up for themselves and for others in 2021? Here’s a New Year’s resolution activity to help them reflect on last year and set goals for next year.
Active citizenship isn’t about everyone agreeing, the sun shining and unicorns flying across rainbows.
It’s about helping your community – whether we’re talking about your class community, school community, local community or the country you live in.
It’s about doing your part – and that also includes speaking up to defend your community, but also speaking up to challenge what your community is doing when you don’t agree.
Here are 17 high interest classroom debates to get students to start to think about whether equal and fairness mean the same thing.
⭐ BUILD classroom community as students explore the difference between a citizen and a good citizen (or active citizen)
⭐ REMIND students how to communicate respectfully, even when they disagree.
⭐ EMPOWER students to reflect on their ideas and to think about how equal doesn’t always mean fair.
Anti-Racism Lesson Plans for Middle School, Elementary and High School
Recent events in the US have highlighted the need for conversations around racism, social justice, equity and equality around the world!
- Are teachers part of the problem with systemic racism in the classroom / education system? Agree or Disagree?
- If we say we don’t see colour and everyone is equal, just look at your pencil crayons. Do some colours get used more than others – even though colours are “equal”?
- Fairness does not mean treating everyone the same. Fairness means giving everyone what they need so that everyone has equal opportunity.
- When we say everyone gets treated “equally” so things are fair – that’s usually when we stop asking ourselves if things are actually fair by looking at the outcomes.
- Anti-racism lesson plans need to empower students to look at outcomes and not just inputs.
- Which groups of people in your community – school, city, our country – are invisible? Which groups are marginalized or demonized?
Anti-Racism lesson plans need to look at racial discrimination and prejudice, but this is just a stepping stone into larger conversations about social justice, diversity, and fairness. These are all essential concepts we need to grapple with in order to be good citizens… at school, in our community or in the world.
These high interest citizenship debates are a safe but powerful (and open-ended) way to teach students that
- We can have opinions.
- My opinions can be different from yours.
- Your opinions can be different from mine.
- And our opinions are both equally valid.
17 debate questions go through a series of “fun” questions to more “serious” questions to get students wondering about fairness and equality.
This is not just a conversation about race and anti-racism. This is a broader conversation about equality, equity, diversity and fairness.
✅ The NO PREP slideshow lesson teaches the concepts.
✅ You can also EDIT THE FILES to fit your classroom needs.
✅ THIS PRODUCT is CURRENTLY 50% OFF to make this lesson more accessible to teachers.
You might also be interested in
- this reading response article about assertive communication by Rosa Parks
- this reading response article about building bridges between police officers and disadvantaged youth
- this asking questions strategy, making connections strategy, and inferring strategy.
School Citizenship Lessons during the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic makes it painfully obvious that we are all interconnected global citizens.
The danger, of course is that when an issue affects some people more than others, it’s very easy for us to think it’s not my problem.
That’s why now is an especially important time for us to teach our students what it means to be good citizens and why it matters.
This is the time to explore issues of empathy, fairness and equality.
- Why do I need to stay at home or do physical distancing? I’m not going to get sick.
- It’s mostly older people who are in danger. It’s not my problem. (No offense.)
- It’s that country’s fault. Or, I don’t have to worry about it because my country is fine.
It’s also the time to remind students that while everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, we do have to respect that other people may have opinions different from ours. (And those opinions matter just as much to them as our opinions matter to us!)
Even though we’re not at school, we need to explore how to be a good citizen… at school, at home, and in all of the communities we belong to, especially the global community.
This package does not contain any information, examples, or language specifically about the Coronavirus pandemic.
And, that’s a good thing because that makes that makes this lesson package timeless. You can use this lesson today within the context of Covid-19 and having to figure out distance learning, or you can use it in the future when the next obstacle appears.
Good Citizenship Lesson Plans: How to be a good citizen at school
Good Citizenship lesson plans teach students how to be good, successful contributing members of society.
- What does it mean to be a citizen
- What does it mean to be a good citizen?
- How can we contribute to our school community, local community, country, or global community?
The start of the school year is a great time to ask our students how to be a good citizen at school.
The second best time to show students how to be good citizens… is right now.
We need to explain to students the concept of good citizenship. Being a student at school is more than just about being physically at school (as Covid-19 can attest to.) It’s about learning, growing, and adding to our class community.
Likewise, being a community member is more than just being physically in a community. It’s about benefiting from being in the community, but also taking an active part in that community and giving back.
Good Citizenship Lesson Plans for Middle School, Elementary grades and High School – Table of Contents
- Good Citizenship Definition: What is a good citizen?
- HOW do you teach students to be GOOD CITIZENS? (What is Citizenship BIG IDEA):
- A week of GOOD CITIZENSHIP lesson plans
- Who are these Good Citizenship Lesson Plans for?
- Distance Learning / Remote Learning / 1:1 Google Classroom lesson plan
- SAMPLE ONE WEEK GAME PLAN: (8 Good Citizenship LESSONS)
- Here’s what you get in the ZIPPED FILE
Good Citizenship Definition
Being a citizen, and being a good citizen are two very different ideas.
What is a good citizen?
If we look at the dictionary definition of citizen, we see that being a citizen means you’re literally part of that community.
Citizen: a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized… an inhabitant of a particular town or city.SOURCE: Google Search: Citizen Definition
So, being a citizen means you’re part of a community. You could be a citizen of a country, or province/state, city, town, school, or even classroom!
But, just because you’re a citizen of a place doesn’t automatically mean you’re a good citizen of that place.
Think about it: you can be a student, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good student, right?
Psst. I think this could be a great question for your classroom:
- What is a student? What’re the criteria for being a student? What is a student supposed to do? What’s their job?
- What is a good student? What makes a “good” student, good? Is it because they’re compliant and complaisant? Is it because they have memorized a lot of facts that they can regurgitate? Is it because they have a growth mindset and an “I can do this” positive attitude?
The bottom line is just because you’re a student, it doesn’t automatically make you a good student.
Likewise, just because you’re a citizen, it doesn’t automatically make you a good citizen.
School Citizenship activities need to help our students recognize the connection between
- being a good student (i.e. an active learner who contribute to the class community) and
- being a good citizen (i.e. an active community member who helps others and gives back to the community.)
Definition of a Good Citizen:
Good Citizen: someone who is part of a community and also gives back to the community.SOURCE: Educircles.org
So, the important part of being a citizen is that you figure out ways to participate in the community and give back to the community. And, that’s what turns you into a good citizen.
Another strategy to figure out what is a good citizen is to ask the opposite. What would a bad citizen look like? (Or, a citizen who made bad choices.)
- Brainstorm a list of things that bad citizens might do, then
- Look through your list and figure out the opposite – what would a good citizen do?
We belong to many different groups of people / communities
- Our family
- Our neighbourhood
- Our school
- Our city
- Our province / state
- Our country
- Our world
How we help our communities will vary based on our age and comfort level.
- Good citizenship at home might look like: sweep floor, wash dishes, feed pet, help parents, do chores
- Good citizenship at school might look like contributing to classroom conversations, helping others, standing up for friends or other people
- Good citizenship in our community might be looking out for each other. If you see something, say something. It might be voting and participating in conversations about choices our government makes. It might be speaking up about a problem, raising awareness, or using your power to make things right.
- Good citizenship for our world might look like walking more (instead of driving), choosing products with less packaging, buying at businesses that make ethical choices, becoming informed about issues…
HOW do you teach students to be good citizens? What is citizenship?
What makes a good citizen Lesson Plan Big Idea
It’s very easy to give your students a list of 5 ways to be good citizens!
- Help out in the community
- Don’t litter
- Support local business
But, if we give our students a list of ways to be good citizens, are we really teaching them how to be good citizens? Or simply teaching them to be good followers?
A key idea of 21st century compentencies / learning skills is that we need to prepare our students to be able to handle unknown problems by themselves:
Because being part of a community can be hard work:
- You have to be able to communicate effectively.
- You have to collaborate and work with others. (Psst: Teamwork and Collaboration are not the same thing…)
- You will disagree with other people at some time – how can you be assertive and try to come up with a solution where everyone is happy – while maintaining your boundaries?.
- You won’t get your way all the time – what strategies do you have to keep going and persevere? (By the way, we have Growth Mindset Posters PDF stuff as well.)
Global Citizenship Lesson Plans need to start at home
You know that phrase, think global, act local? As teachers, we can encourage this by teaching students HOW to be good citizens… in the classroom and in our school community.
A key part of teaching students to be good citizens is to help them get a handle on concepts of empathy, diversity, fairness, and contributing to the communities that we are a part of.
So we created a good citizen lesson plan / unit to help teachers introduce the CITIZENSHIP character trait (21st Century Competencies)
How to be an active participant:
- at school,
- in our local community, and
- our global community.
After this chapter, students will be able to explain that Citizenship is about:
- Being part of a community (i.e. literally a citizen of a country or community)
- Giving back to the community (i.e. being a good citizen / an ideal citizen)
- Being part of several communities: school, country, global citizen
Students will have the opportunity to:
- EXPERIENCE increasingly tough choices exploring fairness, empathy, critical thinking, and argument support
- WATCH a visual representation of global facts and inequity
- UNDERSTAND what “citizenship” is by using a vocabulary building graphic organizer (Frayer model) to brainstorm features of Citizenship, examples, and non-examples of being a citizen, and finally narrow down essential characteristics of the word.
The concept of citizenship for kids can be a little tricky.
There are 3 separate ideas that we explore in this lesson bundle:
What is a citizen, literally?
The dictionary / literal definition of citizen is about “being a citizen of a particular country” (as in having a passport, and having legal rights from the government.)
What is a good citizen? (an active citizen or an “ideal citizen”)?
We also explore the learning skills definition of a citizen, which is really about being a “good” citizen or an “ideal citizen” that is an active participant in society:
- Do you understand local and global perspectives and address environmental, social, and economic problems through engaged citizenship
- Do you take action to make a positive difference in the community and the world?
- Do you participate in physical and virtual communities in a socially responsible and sustainable manner?
What are different communities that you can belong to (and be a citizen of)
We explore being a citizen of a country, being a citizen of your local community / school community, as well as being a global citizen.
One week of GOOD CITIZENSHIP LESSON PLANS
In this school citizenship lesson package, we:
- introduce the concepts of empathy, fairness, and respecting different perspectives.
- allow students to explore citizenship and community involvement by working through 17 question debates to develop critical thinking and the ability to support arguments and consider other points of view from our own.
- provide discussion points of a YouTube video visually exploring global statistics – if the world were a village of 100..
- allow for deeper exploration of the concept of “Citizenship” by playing with the term using the Frayer Model of understanding and a Venn diagram.
We provide good citizenship worksheets / handouts:
- Two different versions of a graphic organizer to help students analyze choices in the “Food for Thought” activity debate and sample answer key (Teacher Example)
- Vocabulary Builder graphic organizer (to develop a deeper understanding of what citizenship means.)
- Venn Diagram handout for students to clarify the difference between “citizen” and good citizen / “ideal citizen”
- Student Self Evaluation of their “Citizenship” Learning Skill
- Chapter Review assessment and answer key.
We provide 3 different versions of the lesson slideshow (79 slides):
- A link to the Google Slideshow so you can show it to your students right away. (Get started in seconds!).
- A link to a version of the Google Slideshow that you can make a copy of the presentation. (This way you can edit / tweak the content to fix your exact classroom needs.
- A powerpoint file that you can download (PPT) and modify. (Edit the presentation to fit your needs, and use the presentation when the internet is down!)
WHO are these GOOD CITIZENSHIP LESSON PLANS for?
HOW COULD YOU USE THIS TO BUILD an ACTIVE COMMUNITY IN YOUR CLASSROOM or SCHOOL?
Teachers could use this package in their classrooms to introduce the concept of citizenship and participating both in the classroom, at school, and beyond.
Middle School Advisory / Homeroom teachers – Good Citizenship Activities
Do this package in the first month of class, to reflect on citizenship, and to practice a classroom culture of respectful communication. There are 17 debate questions for students to practice your classroom routines.
Teachers who have a social justice or a diversity / equity focus in the classroom will find the debate questions allow a high-interest, interactive way to introduce progressively difficult issues:
- clean water vs medicine…
- education vs war…
- racism vs sexism…
- Hunger – local vs global
English / Literacy / English Language Arts Teachers
This is an opportunity to link into oral communication / debate skills.
Students will be looking into defending their choices with support through oral debate using a written graphic organizer to help them prepare their ideas. This can become a precursor to persuasive paragraph and essay writing. From a Bloom’s Taxonomy perspective, students get a chance to:
- List ideas about their choice. (REMEMBER)
- Explain their ideas / concept (UNDERSTAND)
- Compare / contrast their ideas vs other points of view (ANALYZE)
- Justify an opinion by appraising key criteria of their ideas, and then weighing which criteria is more important to them (EVALUATE)
- Some students may be able to analyze the arguments of people on the other side of the debate, appraise which criteria is most important to them, and then develop a counter argument (CREATE)
Geography / Social Studies / Civics Teachers:
Possible ideas of what you could link to. (Sample Ontario Curriculum links are included):
- Roles and Responsibilities of Government and Citizens (Ontario Gr 5)
- Responding to Global Issues (Ontario Gr 6)
- Global Inequities – economic development & quality of life (Ontario Gr 8)
School leaders (Principals, Admin, Division Leaders) could use this Character Learning Skills lesson package in their schools to create a common language and exploration of growth mindset.
Good Citizenship Lesson Plans High School
Our goal as educators is to help students be successful in life. We do this by embedding 21st century global competency skills into our curriculum.
High school is an interesting phase. We become so focused on our subject-based specialities, and yet we need to look at basic skills that are common to all subjects and fields.
(And, if you’re new to teaching, chances are you’ll be teaching things that AREN’T your teachable subject, at some point in your career. Welcome to teaching!)
You can edit all of our materials to find your class and grade.
School Activities / Ideas about creating a culture of Good Citizenship, School Community, Diversity or Critical Thinking
The 17 mini debate questions provide an opportunity for students to develop critical thinking skills and communication skills.
You could use this package and then explore ways students could help make the world a better place – both locally and globally.
Some of the debate questions begin to look at equity education concepts of empathy and fairness.
Common Language, Common Learning Goals
This unit provides a systematic way for a grade, division, or school to explore learning skills / character development as a framework of delivering provincial / state curriculum.
The debate questions provides everyone with a common experience between classes so that students can support each other, even though they’re in different classes. This is an opportunity for classes and extra-curricular clubs to develop social justice projects and open ended deep learning projects.
Doing the same (Frayer model) vocabulary building graphic organizer provides a common tool / framework that students and teachers can build around in other areas (i.e. math concepts, grammar concepts, science concepts, etc).
Launch a school year of discussion
Ultimately, this chapter is meant to kick off a year / lifetime of discussion, as opposed to being a one-off activity.
If all classes start off with the same approach, then throughout the year, as teachers do different activities, you could still connect it back to concepts of perspective, and recognizing that it’s okay for other people to disagree with you – can you empathize with their perspective, even though you don’t agree?
Distance Learning / Remote Learning / 1:1 Google Classroom lesson plan
On July 10, 2020, this product was updated to a Distance Learning / Remote Learning / Google Classroom ready format (version 2.0).
If you bought this package earlier, you are already able to upgrade to the newer version. Just sign into your TpT account and go to the citizenship product page. You will have access to the Google Drive folders for this product.
What’s new in this version?
The main content of this remote learning lesson plan update is identical to the original version 1.0 but this product now contains additional files to make it easier for online use and distance learning.
- The files are all in Google Drive for 1-click easy copying of the lesson folder into your Google Drive
- The slideshow in Google Slides format includes 1 large file with all of the slides but now you also get 8 smaller slideshow files for each lesson. (i.e. for easy uploading to Google Classroom assignments by lesson): ( File 3 Lesson A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, C1, C2)
- 6 NEW lesson review handouts for lessons that didn’t previously have Good citizenship worksheets / handouts ( File 4 A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1)
- The vocabulary builder ( File 5b ) and the Venn Diagram ( File 5d ) are now converted into Google Slides format (so students can type responses directly in the graphic organizers.
Quick Start Guide OPTION 1: DISTANCE LEARNING / GOOGLE CLASSROOM
Create the following assignments in your Google Classroom
Good Citizenship Assignment #1:
- File 3a Lesson A1 slideshow (Student can view file)
- File 4a Review – Lesson A1 (Make a copy for each student)
Good Citizenship Assignment #2:
- File 3a Lesson A2 slideshow (Student can view file)
- File 5a Handout – option 1 (Make a copy for each student)
- File 4a Review – Lesson A2 (Make a copy for each student)
Good Citizenship Assignment #3:
- File 3a Lesson A3 slideshow (Student can view file)
- File 5a Handout – option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
- File 4a Review – Lesson A3 (Make a copy for each student)
Good Citizenship Assignment #4:
- File 3a Lesson A4 slideshow (Student can view file)
- File 5a Handout – option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
- File 4a Review – Lesson A4 (Make a copy for each student)
Good Citizenship Assignment #5:
- File 3a Lesson A5 slideshow (Student can view file)
- File 5a Handout – option 2 (Make a copy for each student)
- File 4a Review – Lesson A5 (Make a copy for each student)
Good Citizenship Assignment #6:
- Link to video:
- File 3b Lesson B1 slideshow (Student can view file)
- File 4b Review – Lesson B1 (Make a copy for each student)
Good Citizenship Assignment #7:
- File 3c Lesson C1 slideshow (Student can view file)
- File 5b Vocabulary Builder (Make a copy for each student)
- File 5d Venn Diagram – Google Classroom version
Good Citizenship Assignment #8:
- File 3c Lesson C2 slideshow (Student can view file)
- File 6 Student Self-Evaluation handout (Make a copy for each student)
- File 7a Chapter Review (Make a copy for each student)
Quick Start Guide OPTION 2: FACE to FACE Learning
- Teach using the Google Slideshow (FILE #3) – all of the slides are in this file
- Lesson Plan (File 2b) identifies which slides and handouts you need for each lesson.
SAMPLE ONE WEEK GAME PLAN
(8 GOOD CITIZENSHIP LESSONS)
This is based on a 50 minute teaching period with around 40-45 minutes of content per lesson.
(Let’s be honest. It takes your students a few minutes to wander into class, and you’ll probably need a few minutes at the end of class to go over homework or administrivia stuff for your class.)
Depending on your teaching style and the chattiness of your class, you may find that you can get through all 8 lessons in 5 days… or it stretches out to two full weeks (10 days).
TEACHER TIP: If you’re short on time, pick and choose which debate questions to do.
PART 1. EXPERIENCE
DAY / LESSON 1 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought – SLIDES 1-16 – 50 min
- Introduction – What is a citizen (slide 1-2) – 5 minutes
- Activity Food for Thought – Round 1 (slide 3 – 16) – 45 minutes
- Introduction (slide 3 – 7)
- Debate Question 1: Chips vs Chocolate (slide 8)
- How to play (slide 9-13)
- Debate Question 2: Early vs Night (slide 14)
- Debate Question 3: Microwave vs Oven (slide 15)
- Debate Question 4: Fork vs Spoon (slide 16)
DAY / LESSON 2 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) – SLIDES 17-30 – 50 min
- Activity Food for Thought – Round 2 (slide 17-22) – 25 minutes
- Review how we play (slide 18) – 5 min
- Debate Question 5: Only child vs Siblings (slide 19-20) – 5 min
- Debate Question 6: Left Hand vs Right Hand and videos (slide 21-23) – 15 min
- Activity Food for Thought – Round 3 – 25 minutes
- Intro + Handout (slide 24-28) – 5 min
Note there are 2 versions of the handout. Choose one, or both versions as an extension.
- Debate Question 7: Sight vs Hearing (slide 29) – 10 min
- Debate Question 8: Dog vs cat (slide 30) – 10 min
- Intro + Handout (slide 24-28) – 5 min
DAY / LESSON 3 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) – SLIDES 31-36 – 45 min
- Activity Food for Thought – Round 3 continued – 45 minutes
- Review what we did last time (slide 31) – 5 min
- Debate Question 9: Vacation vs $500 (slide 32) – 10 min
- Debate Question 10: Social Media vs YouTube (slide 33) – 10 min
- Debate Question 11: 5 instruments vs 5 languages (slide 34) – 10 min
- Debate Question 12: Uniform vs No Uniform (slide 35-36) – 10 min
DAY / LESSON 4 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) – SLIDES 37-45 – 50 min
- Activity Food for Thought – Round 4 – 50 minutes
- Introduction of heavy stuff (slide 37) – 2 min
- Minds on – 2 quotes (slide 38 – 42) – 15 min
- What is empathy
- What is fair?
- Review what we did (slide 43) – 3 min
- Good citizenship Worksheets Handouts / Respect
- Debate Question 13: Clean water vs Medicine (slide 44) – 15 min
- Debate Question 14: Food vs Shelter (slide 45) – 15 min
DAY / LESSON 5 – Part 1 Activity Food for Thought (Cont) SLIDES 46-49 – 50 min
- Activity Food for Thought – Round 4 continued – 50 minutes
- Review respect and note taking (slide 46) – 5 min
- Debate Question 15: Racism vs Sexism (slide 47) – 15 min
- Debate Question 16: Education vs War (slide 48) – 15 min
- Debate Question 17: Helping your students vs helping a country (slide 49) – 15 min
PART 2. WATCH
DAY / LESSON 6 – Part 2 Video – SLIDES 50-56 – 45 min
- Part 2 Video – 45 minutes
- Introduction – Minds On (slide 50-53) – 20 minutes
- Watch video (World as a 100 people) (slide 54-56) – 25 minutes
PART 3. UNDERSTAND
DAY / LESSON 7 – Part 3 Vocabulary Builder – SLIDES 57-74 – 40 min
- Introduce Part 3 – Understand (Vocabulary Builder) – Slide 57
- Graphic Organizer set up – Slide 58-59
- Minds on – Slides 60-61
- Filling out the graphic organizer – Slides 62-65
- Revising graphic organizer – Slides 66-70
- Other Communities – Slide 71
- Summary – Slides 72-74
DAY / LESSON 8 – Self Evaluation / Review – SLIDES 75-79 – 40 min
- Student Self Evaluation – slide 75 – 78 – 10 min
- Chapter Review Test – Slide 79 – 30 min
Here’s what you get in the What Makes a Good Citizen Lesson Plan ZIPPED FILE
Exploring the Six Cs – Chapter 2 – CITIZENSHIP (Learning Skills) WEEK
This lesson plan is available in PDF format for printing. Pretty.
- 79 Slides!
- Customizable Google Slides files so you can change the slideshow to fit your classroom needs.
Good citizenship worksheets HANDOUT: 21 Graphic Organizers to Analyze choices (PDF)
- a simple version breaking down ideas for two different perspectives
- a more complex version identifying and weighing key characteristics / criteria per perspective
Answer Key provided
HANDOUT: “Citizenship“ Vocabulary Builder (PDF)
Adapted from questions and answers in Carol Dweck’s book on Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. What is your mindset when it comes to:
- Frayer Model graphic organizer for “CITIZENSHIP
- Venn diagram comparing “dictionary definition” and “learning skills” definition of “citizenship”
- Answer Key provided
HANDOUT: Citizenship Learning Skills Self Assessment (PDF)
Student Self Evaluation of their “Citizenship” Learning Skill at the end of the week.
You can use the same handout at 3 different times in the term to get diagnostic, formative, and summative information to help with Learning Skills comments for the Report Card.
HANDOUT: Chapter Review Assessment (PDF)
7 short answer questions to see what students remember from the week’s worth of lessons.
Answer Key is provided.