AFT - American Federation of Teachers

Shortcut Navigation:
Email ShareThis


 All Grades

  • Encourage your students to enter the Valentine's Day Card contest.
  • Ask your students to recommend a book, poem, lyric, movie, painting, etc. that they feel illustrates responsibility and explain why they recommended it.
  • Have students keep a journal to reflect on what they think responsibility is, what they learned about responsibility in their class and whether their original thinking changed and in what way.
  • Profile those who give back. After learning about responsibility, have students work in small groups or independently to nominate someone that they believe is responsible and share their story with the class.
  • Partner different classes where older students can mentor younger students. Older students will have an opportunity to model the values and behaviors they’ve learned and younger students will have an opportunity to experience the values firsthand.

Early Elementary School

  • Introduce students to the concept of working within your community by learning about public servants (firefighters, police officers, school crossing guard, etc.). Invite public servants to come and talk to their class or school about what they do. Afterwards, have the students send thank-you notes.
  • Introduce students to key historical figures or "“heroes" who worked to improve the lives of those living in poverty or who didn’t have the same opportunities as others (Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Abraham Lincoln). Have students think about heroes they know and why they are a hero.
    Ask students: What makes a person a hero? Can anybody be a hero? What kinds of things do they do to support their family, friends or classmates?

Late Elementary to Middle School

  • Have students look for unsung or lesser-known heroes (historical and contemporary) who helped better lives of others. Students will share their hero and why they selected him/her.

Middle to High School

  • Have students read the folktale The Silent Couple and/or the poem Where There’s a Will, There's Velleity and discuss the moral of the writings. How is responsibility reflected in them?
  • Introduce students to key events and activists who have fought to improve living conditions across the country. Events/activists could include: March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, the role of labor unions.

High School

  • Have students read the lyrics or listen to He Ain't Heavy…He's My Brother and contrast that with the excerpt My Brother's Keeper . Are we responsible for our own actions? Are we responsible for the welfare of each other?
  • Read the excerpt from Abraham Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress . How is responsibility reflected in the passage?
  • Ask students: Is poverty preventable? Have students answer the question and develop a plan for eliminating and preventing poverty. Students will need to provide research and data to help support their plans.
  • Using a free online secure e-mail system, such as, partner your classroom with students from another part of the world. Students will learn about the city/country they are partnered with and learn and complete a project about the differences and similarities between themselves and their partnered classmates.