Next up for 4th grade’s responsibility unit (part one was choices and consequences) was helping them understand what responsibilities are theirs versus their teachers’ versus their parents’. Our teachers had noticed students saying things like “My mom forgot to put my homework in my backpack!” and “You didn’t remind me!” It was time to review with them what they were in charge of taking care of!
This lesson’s hook was nothing fancy; just a quick story about my own son. I explained that, because he’s three, he often wants to do things a bit too tricky for his age. Like pour his own milk from the gallon jug. To remedy this, we taught him about “Elliott jobs” and “Mommy/Daddy jobs.” This worked really well until one day when, after being asked to pick up his blocks he said, “No thanks, that’s a mommy/daddy job.” Say what?! My students giggled over this tale (which I paired with a picture of him pulled up on my phone). It let me launch into the truth: that they’ve been a bit confused lately also about what they’re supposed to be responsible for in their own lives.
Then we did a carousel activity with about five different important tasks placed around the room on chart paper. Groups rotated around to write down all the different jobs involved and who was in charge of them.
Depending on the classroom, I had to do some assisting to make sure all the important “jobs” got covered. With two of my rooms, this meant giving them the jobs pre-written on cards and doing a sort (and then doing the sort whole group at the end for an anchor chart for the classroom). In another room, I gave them a “list” partway through the carousel activity with jobs to make sure they included.
Why did I include parent and teacher jobs and not just student jobs? 1) I don’t want these lessons to feel like lectures on being responsible and hard working (…even if they kind of are…) and including the jobs of others seems to take the pressure off the students and prevent push back and 2) I want the kiddos to see how much their teachers and parents are already doing for them!
At the end, students completed an exit ticket. They shared which job they relied too much on their parents or teachers for:
The next two lessons in this unit were on goal setting which I wrote about last year, and the last was on using self-talk to ignore distractions, which I’ve also posted about before. Mentioning it because I didn’t want to leave you hanging! If this cohort of kiddos hadn’t already gotten the lesson last year, I would have also included the problem solving and taking responsibility lesson using Julia Cook’s But It’s Not My Fault.
Pin for later: