Good citizenship Lesson - Character Counts (2023)

Character Education Lessons: Citizenship

Good citizenship Lesson - Character Counts (1)

Character Domain:Citizenship

Students demonstrate good citizenship by fulfilling their civic and social responsibilities and contribute to the well-being of the communities in which they are a member (including their home, school, neighborhood, country, and the greater world).

Key Beliefs:

I will be a better student if I act on the following beliefs:

  • I must contribute to my community and fulfill my responsibilities.
  • Obeying the law is one way I contribute to society.
  • I am a member of many communities (class, school, neighborhood, and country), and doing my share requires my positive contributions.
  • I need to maintain an open mind, a willingness to re–examine my own positions, and the objectiveness to consider the arguments and beliefs of others.
  • Everyone must do his or her part to help the environment.
(Video) Character Counts - Citizenship


  • Explain and illustrate the roles students fulfill in the different communities to which they belong.
  • Write a speech describing the essential balance of rights and responsibilities in our democracy.
  • Study how the preservation of our rights depends on our exercise of responsibility in a democracy.
  • Design a project that improves the classroom and then moves on to improve the school and community.
  • Examine the effects of following or not following the law.
  • Analyze and determine what situations call for civil disobedience.
  • Identify some individuals or organizations that are making a positive difference in your community. Work in groups to interview these people and then give class reports on how they got started, why they do what they do, and how they have accomplished everything they have done.
  • Exercise responsible environmental behavior.
  • Examine the effects of protecting (or not protecting) the environment.
  • Study the interaction between people and their environment to determine how this may create conflict. Provide specific examples of what can happen for the good of all when people work together.
  • Evaluate needs in the school or community and plan a service project to meet those needs. Then, implement the plan and document its activities.
  • Brainstorm ways to improve your school, and develop a comprehensive plan for carrying out these changes.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about a problem in the community that needs to be addressed, and present a plan for rectifying the problem.
  • In ancient Greece, people felt that it was important that they try to leave Athens better than they found it. Apply this principle to your own community.

Quotation Posters:

(Video) SEL I Social Studies Skills: Learning for Kids: Good Citizenship I Being a Good Citizen


  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mohandas Gandhi
  • “What do I owe to my times, to my country, to my neighbors, to my friends? Such are the questions that a virtuous man ought often to ask himself.” – Johann Kaspar Lavater
  • “Public virtue is a kind of ghost town into which anyone can move and declare himself sheriff.” – Saul Bellow
  • “Like the body that is made up of different limbs and organs, all moral creatures must depend on each other to exist.” – Hindu proverb
  • “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  • “Provision for others is the fundamental responsibility of human life.” – Woodrow Wilson,
  • “We can really respect a man only if he doesn’t always look out for himself.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • “Cheat the earth and the earth will cheat you.” – Chinese proverb
  • “If my neighbor is happy, my own work will go easier, too.” – Macedonian proverb

View our character quotations library.


Ridiculous Rules

Learning Objective: To realize that part of good citizenship is obeying all rules and laws, even the ones that may be considered ridiculous

(Video) Good Citizenship & Social Skills for Kids | Being a Good Citizen | Kids Academy

Materials: One sheet of colored paper per student (use multiple colors)


  • Distribute paper to students and instruct them to write down a rule or law they consider ridiculous (for example, “This pillow tag is not to be removed under penalty of law”). Laws or rules from school, home, or community may be used.
  • After each person has written a ridiculous rule, instruct students to make a paper airplane out of the paper they wrote on.
  • With the group in a circle, have each person sail their airplane, then pick up a landed airplane and sail it.
  • Repeat one more time; then have the students choose a plane of a color different than their original, and take it to their seats.
  • Ask students to open up the plane they have and read the rule written on the paper.
  • Develop the thought that we do not have the option of only following the rules we think make sense. If, by chance, everyone agrees that all the laws written down are ‘dumb,’ challenge students to imagine why such laws or rules were created.
Process and Reflection:
  • Why do you think the person or people made the rule?
  • The rule was written because it makes no sense. In reflecting upon the various rules that were shared, would you agree or disagree with this statement?
  • Do we have ridiculous rules in our class or school? If you think that is the case, how would you support your answer?
  • How can you contrast the necessity to obey just laws with the practice of civil disobedience, in which someone disagrees with the fundamental morality of a law and disobeys it as a form of protest, in order to bring attention to the law and hopefully change it?

Sneak a Peek and Build

Learning Objective: To help in understanding what it means to share and be a contributor to a solution

Materials: Building blocks or something similar (Lego’s, Popsicle Sticks, etc.)

Prior to the activity, build a small sculpture or design with some of the building material and hide it from the class.


  • Divide the class into small teams of four to six students each. Give each team enough building items to duplicate what you have already created.
  • Place the original sculpture in a place that is hidden but that is at an equal distance from all the groups. Ask one member from each team to come at the same time to look at the sculpture for five seconds in order to try to memorize it as much as possible before returning to his or her team.
  • After they run back to their teams, they have 30 seconds to instruct their teams on how to build the structure so that it looks like the one that has been hidden. After 30 seconds, ask each team to send up another member of their group who gets a chance to sneak a peek before returning to their team. Continue in this manner until one of the teams successfully duplicates the original sculpture.

Process and Reflection:

  • What did each person in your group do to help?
  • Why is it important to be a contributor to solving a problem than one who only sits back to complain?
  • What are some important parts of sharing with others?
  • Is sharing and doing your part important in your daily life? How?
  • Describe what makes a successful team experience for you as a student.

Making a Difference

Tito and his friends were always sitting in the park complaining about things: the park was littered with trash; their parents never gave them enough money; the planet was getting more and more polluted and the weather more extreme; also, the music the radio stations played was always bad. Life seemed pretty hopeless to Tito and his friends.

But one day Tito decided he’d heard enough. “What are we doing?” he said. “In all the time we’ve spent complaining, we could have been doing something productive. We could have worked jobs and made all the money we needed. We could have cleaned up this park or volunteered to help get the government to take action against climate change. We could’ve learned instruments and made our own music!”

Tito took a deep breath, spun on his heel, and started walking away. “Where are you going?” “To do… something!” Tito said.

Process and Reflection:

  • How is this a story about citizenship?
  • What do you think Tito did after he left the park?
  • Why do you think the park is always littered with trash? What effect would it have on the community if the friends decided to keep it clean?
  • How would you respond to someone who said there was no point in picking up the trash in the park because people would just litter again? Why is it important to be a good citizen even if you are not sure that it will make a difference?


Leadership on a Bus by Michael Josephson

Mr. Martin told his English class that leadership was “influencing meaningful change either through your own conduct or by motivating others to act,” and he assigned an essay requiring students to write about a personal experience with leadership.

The students groaned, insisting they couldn’t think of anything, so Mr. Martin read an essay submitted last semester:

This year I started taking a bus to work after school. People pretty much keep to themselves. A few months ago, an old guy got on the bus and said loudly to the driver, ‘Good morning!’ Most people looked up, annoyed, and the bus driver just grunted. The next day the man did it again. He got another grunt. On the third day, the driver responded with a semi–cheerful ‘Good morning!’ “Then the guy said: ‘My name is Benny,’ and asked the driver, ‘What’s yours?’ That was the first time any of us heard the driver’s name.

Good Morning

Soon, Benny offered his cheerful ‘Good morning!’ to the whole bus. Within a few days, his ‘Good morning!’ was returned by a whole bunch of ‘Good mornings’ and the entire bus got friendlier. People started introducing themselves and talking. A man next to me mentioned that the place where he worked was looking for people. He gave me the number and I got a better job.

Things really changed on the bus because of Benny, so I think he was a leader. But about a month ago, Benny stopped getting on the bus. Everyone noticed and lots of people said he may have died. No one knew what to do and soon the bus got awful quiet again.

So last week, I started to act like Benny and say, ‘Good morning!’ to everyone and they cheered up again. I suppose I’m the leader now. I learned you don’t have to have big titles or lots of power to be a leader. Benny didn’t just change the bus, he changed me and lots of others by showing us that just being cheerful can change attitudes and that changing attitudes can change lives. I hope Benny comes back to see what he started.

Someone in the class asked, “Mr. Martin, whatever, happened to Benny?” Mr. Martin laughed. “Well, he’s okay. Benny used to be a teacher here. After he retired, he just keeps riding different buses teaching leadership.”

One cynical student said: “Wait a minute, is this all true?” Mr. Martin smiled and said, “Do you mean the story or the lesson?”

Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen

The most important thing we can do for our children is to help them acquire values and skills that they can rely on throughout their lives. In doing so, they will have the best chance to lead good lives as individuals and as citizens of their communities and of America. The U.S. Department of Education has prepared a resource guide with teaching points and activities for elementary, middle, and high school students.

(Video) Brainpop Jr. How to be a good citizen.


(Video) Character and Citizenship: Kid President Pep Talk: June 8


What is citizenship Character Counts? ›

Character Domain: Citizenship

Students demonstrate good citizenship by fulfilling their civic and social responsibilities and contribute to the well-being of the communities in which they are a member (including their home, school, neighborhood, country, and the greater world).

What are 5 characteristics of a good citizen? ›

Identify characteristics of good citizenship including truthfulness, justice, equality, respect for oneself and others, responsibility in daily life, and participation in government by educating oneself about the issues, respectfully holding public officials to their word, and voting.

What are 3 important characteristics of good citizenship? ›

What Makes a Good Citizen?
  • Voting in Elections: 91%
  • Pay all the taxes you owe: 92%
  • Always follow the law: 96%
  • Serve jury duty if called: 89%
  • Respect the opinions off those who disagree: 92%
  • Participate in the U.S. Census every decade: 88%
  • Volunteer to help others: 90%
  • Know the Pledge of Allegiance: 75%
12 Jul 2019

What are the 4 types of citizenship? ›

Usually, citizenship based on circumstances of birth is automatic, but an application may be required.
  • Citizenship by family (jus sanguinis). ...
  • Citizenship by birth (jus soli). ...
  • Citizenship by marriage (jus matrimonii). ...
  • Naturalization. ...
  • Citizenship by investment or Economic Citizenship. ...
  • Excluded categories.

What are the 6 traits of good character? ›

The Six Pillars of Character are: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

What are the 7 traits of a good citizen? ›

Characteristics of a good citizen
  • Trustworthiness and honesty.
  • Courtesy.
  • Respect for the rights of others.
  • Responsibility.
  • Accountability.
  • Self-reliance.
  • Respect for the law.
  • Patriotism.

What are the 5 themes of being a good citizen? ›

5 Themes of Citizenship
  • honesty.
  • compassion.
  • respect.
  • responsibility.
  • courage.
10 Nov 2022

What are 4 of the good citizen values? ›

Integrity. Respect. Responsibility. Understanding, Tolerance and Inclusion.

What is the character of ideal citizen? ›

A person can be a good citizen by respecting others, respecting the law, and participating in their community.

What are 8 qualities of a good citizen? ›

8 most essential Qualities of a good Citizen
  • Sound Health:
  • Intelligence and Education:
  • Self control and Self confidence:
  • Public Spirit:
  • Self-sacrifice:
  • Honest exercise of Franchise:
  • Sincere performance of Duties:
  • Right ordering of Loyalties:

What are the 4 responsibilities of citizens? ›

Mandatory Duties of U.S. Citizens
  • Obeying the law. Every U.S. citizen must obey federal, state and local laws, and pay the penalties that can be incurred when a law is broken.
  • Paying taxes. ...
  • Serving on a jury when summoned. ...
  • Registering with the Selective Service.

What are 3 examples of good citizenship? ›

  • 1) Be an active volunteer in the community.
  • 2) Be honest and trustworthy to everyone.
  • 3) Be a leader by following rules and laws.
  • 4) Be respectful of other's rights.
  • 5) Be compassionate.
  • 6) Be accountable and take responsibility for your actions.

What are the 3 elements of citizenship? ›

T. H. Marshall (1950) defined citizenship as 'full membership of a community'. According to him, citizenship is constituted by three elements: civil, political and social (which are resumed in the following scheme).

What are the 7 citizenship skills? ›

Terms in this set (7)
  • Cooperation. "We the people"; not the individuals work together as a group.
  • Strength. Provide for common defense.
  • Balance. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity.
  • Self-improvement. Promote to general welfare, seek knowledge and skills.
  • Respect. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Fairness.

What are the 5 steps to citizenship? ›

What to do:
  1. Complete the questionnaire on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony.
  2. Report for your naturalization ceremony and check in with USCIS. ...
  3. Turn in your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).
  4. Take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen.
11 Aug 2022

What are character values? ›

The Six Pillars of Character are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

What defines your character? ›

Your character is your personality, especially how reliable and honest you are. If someone is of good character, they are reliable and honest. If they are of bad character, they are unreliable and dishonest.

Why are the 6 pillars of character important? ›

The Six Pillars of Character support pupils learning of the widely accepted core ethical values, helping them understand the importance in everything they do and how they treat each other.

What are the 4 characteristics of a global citizen? ›

Global citizens are willing to help and cooperate with others. Global citizens have their own ideas and express them, but they are open to changing them if they are proved wrong. Global citizens are curious and want to learn more about the world. Global citizens look after the environment and don't waste things.

How can I be a good 50 word essay? ›

A good citizen must live in peace and harmony with his neighbours and fellow citizens. He must respect the institutions of his country. A good citizen must always respect the laws of the state and should have no patience with criminals and anti-social elements. He must be vigilant against the enemies of the country.

What is the main theme of what is a good citizen? ›

Honesty is the basic theme of good citizenship. A person must be honest with others, and with himself or herself, in order to be a good citizen. Compassion is the emotion of caring for people and for other living things.

What are the 5 common themes that citizenship is based on? ›

They address the themes of honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility and courage.

What is the most important good citizenship values? ›

  • Care and Compassion.
  • Doing Your Best.
  • Fair Go.
  • Freedom.
  • Honesty and Trustworthiness.
  • Integrity.
  • Respect.
  • Responsibility.

What are the skills of a citizen? ›

Civic skills include personal communication skills, knowledge of political systems, and the ability to critically think about civic and political life (Comber 2003). The idea of citizens participating in the public sphere is rooted in the beliefs of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

What is our common duty? ›

The common duty of care is a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe1 in using the premises for the purposes2 for which he is.

What is our duty? ›

List of Fundamental Duties. Abide by the Constitution and respect national flag & National Anthem. Follow ideals of the freedom struggle. Protect sovereignty & integrity of India. Defend the country and render national services when called upon.

Why is citizenship important? ›

Being a recognised citizen of a country has many legal benefits, which may include – depending on the country – the rights to vote, to hold public office, to social security, to health services, to public education, to permanent residency, to own land, or to engage in employment, amongst others.

What are the 3 types of citizens? ›

From here Westheimer describes three "types" of citizens: the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the social justice-oriented citizen.

What are the 2 types of citizenship? ›

There are two main systems used to determine citizenship as of the time of birth: jus soli, whereby citizenship is acquired by birth within the territory of the state, regardless of parental citizenship; and jus sanguinis, whereby a person, wherever born, is a citizen of the state if, at the time of his or her birth, ...

What are the 2 concepts of citizenship? ›

2.1 Universalist vs differentialist conceptions of citizenship. The universalist or unitary model defines citizenship primarily as a legal status through which an identical set of civil, political and social rights are accorded to all members of the polity.

What are the two basic characteristics of citizenship? ›

HONESTY is the most important characteristic of good citizenship. COMPASSION is the emotion that you feel when you genuinely care for other people and living things. RESPECT for self and others is an important citizenship trait.

What are 3 examples of active citizenship actions? ›

Active citizenship can refer to a broad range of activities, including petitioning; protesting; campaigning; voting; and volunteering for charities.

What are the 5 requirements for citizenship? ›

Be able to read, write, and speak basic English; Demonstrate good moral character; Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government; Demonstrate a loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and.

What is citizenship example? ›

In some countries, citizenship can mean a citizen has the right to vote, the right to hold government offices, and the right to collect unemployment insurance payments, to name a few examples. Living in a country does not mean that a person is necessarily a citizen of that country.

What are the 7 steps to becoming a citizen? ›

  1. Requirements for Naturalization. ...
  2. Download Application and Collect Documents Needed. ...
  3. Submit the Form. ...
  4. Schedule an appointment for fingerprints. ...
  5. Complete the interview. ...
  6. Receive a decision. ...
  7. Taking the Oath of Allegiance.

What are 2 types of citizenship? ›

There are two ways to become a United States (U.S.) citizen – by birth or through naturalization.

What are the 2 sources of citizenship? ›

The first sentence of § 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contemplates two sources of citizenship and two only: birth and naturalization.

What are the 4 duties of citizenship? ›

Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws. Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others. Participate in your local community. Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.

What defines good citizenship? ›

Good citizenship is sometimes viewed as requiring both intellectual skills (such as critical thinking) and participatory skills (such as deliberating civilly, monitoring the government, building coalitions, managing conflict peacefully and fairly, and petitioning, speaking or testifying before public bodies).

What is citizenship very short answer? ›

citizenship, relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Citizenship implies the status of freedom with accompanying responsibilities.

How can a student be a good citizen? ›

being respectful of other people and their property. being respectful of school property. following school rules. displaying good character (responsibility, honesty, good listening, kindness)


1. Citizenship: Being a Good Citizen
(Brianna Bankson)
2. Character Counts - Citizenship.wmv
3. Citizenship - Character Counts
(Lindsey Walker)
4. What is a Good Citizen?
(Kayleigh Galus)
5. Character Counts: CITIZENSHIP
6. Citizens Unite! A Helpful Guide to Being a Better Citizen
(IU Center on Representative Government)
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