5 Tips for Teaching About Citizenship

Understanding what it means to be a citizen and practice good citizenship is easy with these 5 tips for teaching about citizenship. Teaching citizenship to our youngest kiddos is not only essential but can also help you build a close-knit classroom community. When your students understand what it means to be a citizen, and a good one at that, they can use that learning in the real world. I am excited to share with you these 5 tips for teaching about citizenship you and your students will love!

Use these fun and interactive activities and books to help teach your students about citizenship this year.

1. Use a Book to Introduce Your Students to Citizenship

Using a book to introduce the concept of citizenship to your young students can really help them understand what a citizen is and how to be a good citizen. We use a few read-alouds, along with some mini readers to introduce this topic in my classroom. 

Read Alouds

Reading these books to your students is a great way to introduce the concept of citizenship to your students.

These books give great examples of characters who show good citizenship and those who don't. Your students will love discussing the positives and negatives of the characters in the stories. I like to use books at the beginning of my citizenship unit as a way to get my students thinking about and discussing what it means to be a good citizen. 

Citizenship Emergent Readers

In addition to using a read-aloud, I also love providing students with their own readers on the topic of citizenship.  The students really love having their own book that they can read again and again. We will read this citizenship mini book multiple times as a class. Students can also add it to their book box to read during independent reading time.

Use this emergent reader book when teaching about citizenship this year.

The emergent reader is a great way to provide new concepts and vocabulary to students while also reinforcing important reading skills too!

Throughout our citizenship unit, students will receive an emergent reader for each topic we cover. These emergent reader topics include good citizenship, rules and laws, and leaders.  

2. Complete a Class Anchor Chart

An anchor chart is a great way to get your students thinking about the differences between good and poor citizenship. 

Using a visual reference with interactive components helps students retain their learning and gives them the opportunity to discuss their thoughts as a class. 

An anchor chart can also be helpful when breaking down citizenship into more specific areas like home, school, and community. You can even use relevant locations students are exposed to every day like the cafeteria, classroom, playground, movie theater, or even the grocery store. 

Creating a class anchor chart will help your students visualize and discuss good and poor citizenship in the real world.

When your students have the opportunity to use a situation they are familiar with, they will be able to make connections more easily. Not to mention, these real-life connections help make this topic more meaningful to students as well! 

An anchor chart is also a great place to document new vocabulary and concepts. After the lesson, it's a good idea to display the anchor chart so that students can reference it as they work independently.

3. Partner Activity and Citizenship Worksheets

My students always love any opportunity to work in small groups or with a partner. When we are learning about citizenship, partnering is the perfect time for some hands-on sorting activities!

For our partner activity, I print out cards with examples of good citizens and citizens who need work. Each student gets a small stack of random cards including examples of good and not-so-good citizens. 

Partner activities like these help students have important and meaningful discussions as you are teaching about citizenship.

Students take turns flipping over one of their cards and discuss with their partners whether the person or people on the card are showing good citizenship or if they need improvement.  They put the card under the correct category as they discuss the actions on the card. If they flip over a "needs work card", I ask students to discuss what the person or people could do differently to be good citizens. This is a great opportunity to encourage some brainstorming among your kiddos!

This sorting activity can also be done as a whole class if that fits the needs of your class better. Once completed in class I like to move the sorting activity to our center rotation. This gives the students opportunities to review these concepts individually too! 

Use worksheets like these as you are teaching about citizenship for extra fun practice your students can do independently.

During our citizenship unit, we also do some independent sorting worksheets. These cut and paste activities are always a favorite! The students love trying to find all the examples of good citizenship. I love being able to do a quick check for understanding to make sure they are on the right track.  

4. Complete Chaos Game

Okay, don't panic yet. This is actually a really fun learning opportunity for students. Everyone knows that rules are important for games, but what happens when you try to play without knowing the rules? Complete chaos! 

I use an activity I like to call Rules And Laws to introduce my students to the importance of having rules and laws in our everyday lives. I begin by giving my students a game to play like Heads Up Seven Up, King and Queen, or Four Corners but... I don't give them any rules. 

A game like Complete Chaos will help your students understand the importance of rules and how they relate to good citizenship.

Once the game gets going it pretty quickly turns to complete chaos with everyone trying to make up their own rules and some kids just completely doing their own thing. Before things get too heated, I stop everyone, explain the rules of the game, and let them start the game again. 

After a few rounds, it's time for a class discussion. We discuss why it wasn't as fun to play the game without rules, and why rules are important for having fun. Then, we can relate those ideas to the reasons why we need to have rules in our community, at school, and even at home. It's such a great Ah-ha moment for my kiddos!

After our class activity, students read and discuss the Rules and Laws booklet. My students love thinking of new rules or laws they could create at home, school, or in our community and why we need them. I also ask my students to write one of the rules or laws on a paper and illustrate it. These make awesome kid created artwork to hang around the room to show off our knowledge of citizenship.

5. Discuss Leaders

Leaders are people we look to as examples of how to be good citizens. Being a leader takes more than just a job title. Using the booklet Leaders In Our Lives, I like to make a chart of the different leaders in our own lives. We discuss and name the different leaders we know in our school, community, or nation.

Students love learning about different types of leaders in this citizenship unit.

Next, it's time for students to think about how they would be a good leader. Students get to share ideas on how they can be a leader at home, at school and in the community.  I am always amazed at the wonderful ideas they share.  I like to finish our discussion by challenging them to find a way they can be a leader. Once we talk about ways they can be a good leader, I see a huge difference in the attitudes of my class leaders. 

Citizenship at its Best

Learning about citizenship can be fun and exciting for your students. It's also a great way to build your classroom community by bringing awareness to your students about what it means to be a good citizen in the classroom. 

Use these fun activities in your classroom as you are teaching about citizenship.

These 5 ideas are only the tip of the iceberg though. There are so many other activities and projects you can do with your class to help introduce and teach citizenship in meaningful ways. 

Be sure to grab my Good Citizenship Social Studies Unit for even more fun and engaging printable activities to introduce and teach citizenship to your students. You'll find all of the activities mentioned here and more, including a fun mobile craft that your students will love creating!

I love starting my citizenship unit at the beginning of the year to help build a foundation of kindness and responsibility throughout the entire school year. If you're looking for new ways to help build classroom community with your students, be sure to check out the full unit!

Grab this bundle to help make teaching about citizenship easy and fun for you and your students.

Save These 5 Tips for Teaching About Citizenship

Save yourself time by pinning this page to your favorite Pinterest teacher board so you can come back for tips for teaching about citizenship anytime. I know you and your students will love these amazing activities as much as my students and I do!

Teaching about citizenship can be fun and easy with thoughtfully planned lessons and activities like these. Teach your students the importance of being good citizens in and out of school. Help them understand how to identify good citizens in the world around them. Be sure to grab the Citizenship bundle to get started with these engaging activities in your classroom today. #thechocolateteacher #teachingaboutcitizenship #citizenshipactivitiesforkids

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