Writing Assignments On Respect

If your students lack it or could stand to learn more about it, we offer five lessons to get them talking and thinking about respect. Included: Have a Respect Popcorn Party!

Can respect be taught? Of course it can! Parents do it all the time. Teachers do it, too. Try these five lessons to help you weave the theme of respect into your curriculum and classroom routine.

Rules Rap

Respect! Respect!
Respect is the key.
For we all can be successful
when we work as a team.
Following directions
is important for you
Really can be learning
when you know what to do.
Respect! Respect!
Respect is the key
For we all can be successful
when we work as a team.

Click here for additional stanzas of this rap created by two teachers -- or have your own students write additional lyrics. Brainstorm a list of respect-related words and let them go -- see what they can do!

Before introducing this week's new lessons, here are a few ideas to start your students thinking and talking about respect:

  • Have students work as a class or in small groups to brainstorm responses to the question, What does "respect" mean to me? Will they mention the "Golden Rule" -- treat others the way you would like to be treated -- as a simple definition of the word?
  • Have students make a list of synonyms for the word respect. For example, esteem, honor, regard, value, cherish, appreciate, admire, praise, compliment
  • Share books in which respect is a clear theme. You can find an excellent booklist at Children's Books That Illustrate the Six Pillars on the Character Counts Web site.

You will find additional activities at the bottom of this page, but first we want to leap right into our:

Click each of the five lesson headlines below for a complete teaching resource. (Appropriate grade levels for each lesson appear in parentheses.)

Everybody is unique: A lesson in respect for others
Teach respect for others' unique qualities. (Grades K-8)

Simon says "Who are you?"
Play a variation of Simon Says to highlight people's similarities and differences. (Grades K-5)

RESPECT popcorn party
Reinforce respect by celebrating examples of it in your classroom. Student work sheet included. (Grades K-8)

Positively respectful
Create a positive environment by teaching students to show respect and share compliments. (Grades K-8)

Property: Ownership, respect, and responsibility
Students learn to respect others' property by rating the severity of a variety of damaging acts. (Grades K-12)

  • Different people have different likes and dislikes. To emphasize that point, you might invite each student to share something he or she likes very much. That could be a food, an activity, a place or anything else. After students share, you might ask some of the students to identify things that other students like but they don't like as much. Conclude the discussion by emphasizing that people should treat one another respectfully in spite of their differences.
  • Have students look through magazines for pictures that show people respecting others' differences or pictures of different kinds of people working or playing together. Create a class "We Respect Differences" collage.
  • After talking about some of the things that respect means, you might start a class or small-group discussion about what respect does not mean. What kinds of things or actions could be considered disrespectful? Students might provide such responses as rudeness, malicious gossip, criticism, insults As a follow-up activity, ask students to offer synonyms for the word disrespect. For example, rudeness, dishonor, ridicule, scorn, disregard, ignore, disdain

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If you are using the video, ask questions 1-3 before viewing.

  • What does it feel like to be respected?

  • What does it feel like to be disrespected?

  • What role does respect play in your relationships with friends and family?

  • What are some respectful behaviors?

  • How important is respect in our lives? Why?

  • Do you consider yourself to be a respectful person? Why or why not? In what ways do you show respect to others?

  • One student in the video said that you don't have to like someone to respect him or her. Do you agree? Why or why not?

  • Describe one person you respect in your life. What does this person do to earn your respect?

  • Does a person have to earn respect, or do all people deserve it?

  • How do you show respect to others? Do you show respect to strangers differently than you do to friends?

  • Does it feel different to be disrespected by a stranger than to be disrespected by a friend? How?

  • What are the benefits of people treating each other with respect?

  • When was the last time you disrespected someone? What was the reason? How did you express this disrespect? What effect did your behavior have?

  • When was the last time someone disrespected you? What do you think was their reason for treating you in that way?

  • What are some reasons people show disrespect for others?

  • How do you feel when someone judges you without knowing you or giving you a chance?

  • How do you feel when someone you disagree with calls you a name?

  • In the video, several students talked about the role that "differences" play in how people respect or disrespect others. What role do you think differences play in our positive or negative attitudes toward other people?

  • Does respect play a role in harmonious race relations? Explain.

  • In the video, some of the students talked about the idea that, "It's one thing to respect a person, but another to respect that person's beliefs." What did they mean? Can you think of someone you know who has a different set of beliefs than you? How do you respond to different beliefs?

  • In the group discussion, Vanessa and Aidan talked about an incident with a water bottle in which Aidan accidentally cut Vanessa and didn't give her a real apology right away. Have you ever experienced something similar? What happened?

  • How do you feel when someone bumps into you in the hall and doesn't apologize? What does saying "I'm sorry" have to do with respect?

  • Agree or disagree: Courtesy and politeness are only for adults. Explain your answer.

  • One of the kids in the video said that if someone treats you with disrespect, you don't have to treat that person with respect. Do you agree? How should you respond to someone who is disrespectful of you?

  • How do you think respect affects your community, the world?

  • Does everyone deserve respect? Why or why not?

  • Think of the students from Georgia and their stream clean-up. Have you or your friends done something to help take care of the environment? What did you do? How did it make you feel?

  • What is the difference between respecting a person and respecting our planet?

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