37 activities on respecting elementary school students


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In today’s online world, respect seems to be falling apart, especially on social media platforms. Therefore, it is more important than ever to teach children respect in all facets of life. The activities below are helpful for developing respectful expectations in the classroom, creating a positive classroom climate, and fostering classroom dialogue about the importance of respect. Elementary students will benefit from practicing respectful language and actions through these 37 wonderful activities.

1. What is respect? Activity

This learning activity is about defining respect. Students will explore what they know about respect based on their prior knowledge. They will also discuss the different causes and effects of respectful and disrespectful situations to deepen their understanding of the definition. It’s a fantastic lesson to add to a character education unit.

Read more: Talking Tree Books

2. Organize a respectful debate

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Arranging debates is a great opportunity for children to learn how to disagree with each other in a respectful way. In this lesson, children first identify the rules of respectful conversation, then they will apply the rules to a debating topic such as “which is the best season?”.

Learn more: Think, Grow, Laugh

3. Playing Card Hierarchy Lesson

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This activity is a great way for students to visualize the impact of popularity on how we treat others. The impactful part of this activity is the discussion that emerges after the demonstration about the impact of popularity on mutual respect.

Read more: Number of characters

4. Sometimes you’re a caterpillar

This social-emotional learning activity uses animated video to teach children the difference between people. This video encourages children to think about how they see themselves and to respect the opinions of others.

Read more: Chesca Leigh

5. $1 or 100 cents? Activity

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Students will brainstorm the similarities and differences between a dollar bill and 100 cents. Once students have dealt with the similarities and differences, they will then discuss how the two are different at the start, but then the same at the end. Then they will extend the activity to how we respect each other.

Read more: Number of characters

6. Activity of the RESPECT artistic group

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This art extension activity divides the class into groups to focus on each of the letters of RESPECT. They should then think of as many examples of respect beginning with that letter as possible and create a collage to display and present to the class.

Read more: Overcoming obstacles

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This list of reverence books is perfect for reading aloud each day during a revered unit. Each book focuses on a different element of respect, such as respect for learning and respect for property.

Learn more: Teach, Create, Motivate

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These cards can be used throughout the school year or for a single respect unit. Students can give “you’re taken” slips to their peers whenever they see a student engaging in a respectful act. This encourages respectful engagement within the class.

Learn more: Teach, Create, Motivate

9. Sing the song “It’s All About Respect”

This song is great, especially for elementary school students. The song teaches respect techniques and helps children remember how and when to be respectful. This classroom activity is a great way to start and/or end each day.

Read more: Narwhals and waterfalls

10. Feeling Temperature Activity

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This social-emotional learning activity is a great way to teach children how our actions relate to our emotions and the emotions of others. This character building activity helps students visualize empathy and encourages mutual respect among peers.

Learn more: Operation Respect

11. Torn Heart Activity

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The Torn Heart activity is another SEL activity that helps develop an awareness of respect. This lesson asks students to listen to a story and identify the put-downs. As the denigrations are identified, they will see what happens to the heart.

Learn more: Share my lesson

12. Walking in someone else’s shoes activity

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This lesson encourages students to see multiple perspectives in a story. Students will remember Little Red Riding Hood and then hear the story from the wolf’s perspective. After hearing the wolf’s perspective, they will have a class discussion about putting themselves in someone else’s shoes before passing judgment.

Learn more: Operation Respect

13. Exploring Stereotypes Lesson

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As we know, stereotypes can lead to negative self-perception as well as disrespectful behavior among different populations. This lesson for elementary school students asks children to think about what they “know” about teenagers. Then they explore these stereotypes and reflect on the disrespectful nature of stereotypes.

Find out more: Morning Side Center

14. Clouds of Equality Lesson

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This is another lesson that helps children see how inequality and disrespectful treatment of others who are different from us can be hurtful. Students will read Martin’s Big Words and participate in a lesson that demonstrates the negative impacts of inequality.

Read more: One World One Heart Beats

15. What can we learn from a box of crayons?

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This coloring activity uses the book The talking pencil box teach students the concepts of diversity and acceptance. Students will then complete their own coloring activity that celebrates differences. It’s a great lesson in emotional literacy.

Read more: One World One Heart Beats

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This lesson aims to help children think about their own identity and how they fit into a culturally diverse world. This mini-unit has three lessons focused on identifying different religions, reflecting on different perspectives, and learning about freedom of belief.

Learn more: Learning for Justice

17. Diversity makes us smile Lesson

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This lesson focuses on developing a positive vocabulary to describe the different people and cultures around us. Additionally, this lesson offers hands-on, mindful activities that encourage students to think about why they smile and how they can make others smile.

Learn more: Accepting our differences

18. Help others bloom the lesson

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This art lesson helps children think about how they can make others feel included and happy by using respectful language. Students will use movement, hands-on activities, and art to reflect on how they can help others “thrive”. This is a great lesson for teaching empathy.

Learn more: Accepting our differences

19. Respect “I will” statements.

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This crafty respect activity helps students think about actions they can take to be respectful to themselves, each other, and their families. Students will create an “I Will” mobile with several “I Will” statements.

Read more: Meaningful Mom

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The heart paper chain activity is the perfect illustration to help children visualize the power of kindness and respect and how kindness and respect can be spread. Students will create their own hearts to add to the chain. Then the channel can be displayed in the classroom or even the whole school.

Read more: Art with Ms. Nguyen

21. Conversation Starters

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Conversation starters are a classic way to teach kids about respect and how to have respectful conversations. Conversation starters help kids get started before continuing the conversation on their own.

Learn more: Dr. Robyn

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Word rings are another classic elementary school activity. In this activity, students will create a word ring for the RESPECT trait that includes quotes, definitions, synonyms, and visualizations. Children will love creating the different pages of the ring.

Read more: Meaningful Mom

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