Search form

Lessons and activities for teaching 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:

Five lessons for teaching about respect

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)

Additional lesson ideas

  • 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


Copyright © 2016 Education World