Overcoming Obstacles

Lesson 10: Being Responsible

Standards Addressed

  • Students will learn to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Students will demonstrate dependability, productivity, and initiative.
  • Students will participate in conversations with different partners about focused grade-level topics and texts in small and large groups.


  • Students will understand that being responsible builds others’ trust in them.

  • Students will understand that there are consequences when they are not responsible.

  • Students will understand that responsibilities are age-appropriate.

  • Students will explore strategies that can help them be more responsible.


  • Large poster to create a “Responsibilities and Consequences Poster” prior to class (“I Do”)

  • “Responsibilities of Students” activity sheet for each student (“We Do”)

  • Small, square sheets of paper for each student with a color of the rainbow written on the back; each student should get two to three depending on the size of the class (“You Do”)

  • Large poster that has an outline of a rainbow on it (“Closure”)

Starter (3 minutes)

Say to students, “Today, we are going to talk about being responsible. Have you ever forgotten something, like a library book or your homework, and you said, ‘My mom forgot to put it in my backpack’?” Allow students to respond. Then, say, “Well, that was not really your mom’s job. It was really your job, and we call our jobs our responsibilities. Part of growing up is learning about responsibilities and becoming responsible. Everyone has responsibilities, and it is important to do them. People who don’t take care of their responsibilities can run into big problems.”

Teacher Presented Knowledge / I Do (15 minutes)

Display the “Responsibilities and Consequences Poster,” which features examples of responsible actions and consequences, where students can see it. Then, tell students, “Today, I am going to look at some pictures of big problems, think about what responsibility I should have done to prevent them, and show you how I match the problem to the responsibility. Notice how I am going to be careful not to blame someone else for the problem.” Think out loud and draw lines connecting pictures of consequences for not completing various responsibilities to their matching responsibilities.

Guided Student Practice / We Do (15 minutes)

After completing the “Responsibilities and Consequences Poster” activity, pass out the “Responsibilities of Students” activity sheet to each student. Say, “Each of you now has a paper with some pictures of responsibilities of students. Take a look at them. Then, turn to the person sitting next to you and talk about what would happen if you chose to not be responsible for each task.” Circulate around the classroom. After a few minutes of discussion, ask students to share what they learned from their partners.

Student Independent Practice / You Do (20 minutes)

Tell students, “As a class, we are going to work on a project, and each one of you is going to be responsible for part of it. If someone is not responsible and does not do their job, the project cannot be completed. Can I trust each one of you to be responsible?” The students should give a verbal response.

Next, tell students, “We are going to make a class rainbow. Each one of you will get a piece of the rainbow with a specific color named on the back of each piece. You are responsible for coloring your pieces with the same color of crayon or marker as the color written on the back. If someone does not complete their piece or does not color in the correct color, the rainbow cannot be completed.”

Pass out the pieces of the rainbow to each student. (If you have a large class, several students will be responsible for the same color pieces of the rainbow.) Assist students as they color their pieces of the rainbow.

Closure (15 minutes)

Once students color their rainbow pieces, assemble the class rainbow with students on the large poster with the outline of a rainbow. Compliment each student for being responsible and say to them, “I knew I could count on you!”

Student Assessment

  1. How do you feel when you know you have done your best to be responsible?
  2. How are the responsibilities you have today different than the ones you had last year?
  3. If you do your job but need to be reminded over and over again to do it, is that being responsible?
  4. If you forget to be responsible and a big problem happens, to whom should you turn for help?

Extensions for Lesson 10: Being Responsible

Art Extension

Have students create a “How I Act Responsibly and What Is Expected of Me” chart or poster featuring drawings of the following areas of responsibility:

  • Myself (eating healthy foods, getting exercise, etc.)
  • My Home (cleaning my room, doing chores, etc.)
  • My School (keeping my desk clean, raising my hand, etc.)
  • My Community (picking up litter, walking on the sidewalk, etc.)

Drama Extension

Have students act out responsible behaviors and irresponsible behaviors.

ELA Extension

Have students write about their personal responsibilities and what would happen if they neglected their responsibilities.

Literature Extension

Read Aesop’s fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” (See “The Ant and the Grasshopper: An Aesop Fable” educator resource for the text.) Ask students to share their reactions to the story. Prompt a discussion by asking questions such as, “Have you ever been like the ant or the grasshopper? How did you feel?”

Literature Extension

Read Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Seuss, to students. Discuss the book. Use the following questions to spark discussions:

  • Why did Horton choose to stay with the egg?
  • How did Horton show responsibility?
  • What did Horton mean when he said, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful 100 percent”?
  • Was Mayzie responsible when she left her egg?
  • What would you have done if you were Horton?
  • How can we be responsible like Horton is?

Social Studies Extension

Host a “Class Career Day” in which students dress up as a person in the career field they want to be in when they grow up. Students will have to brainstorm the responsibilities of their future career and share with their peers. You can also invite various community members to participate and speak about their job responsibilities.

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