The Seven
Essential
Virtues

Empathy
Conscience
Self-Control
Respect
Kindness
Tolerance
Fairness


Educator Award for Self-Esteem

Building Moral Intelligence

35 Activities Your Students Can Do To Learn Respect
by Michele Borba, Ed.D.
Author of Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing


There are many ways people show respect to others, and the more aware that students are of what those actions look and sound like, the more likely they are to incorporate those behaviors in their daily lives. Here are 35 activities students can do to learn the meaning and value of respect. There’s one (and a few more) for each day of the month.

  1. Every day this week give a sincere compliment to someone. Create a weekly planner that will help you track your behavior. Each day you must write who you gave the compliment to and describe their reaction.

  2. Look up the definition of respect. Write it down. Now describe ways you have acted respectfully or disrespectfully this week.

  3. Make a list of people you think are respectful and why you added them to your list.

  4. Think of someone who is respectful and talk about why they would be a good friend.

  5. Discuss why acting respectful is important.

  6. Work alone or with a partner to create a song, a rap, or a chant about respect. Your words should tell why respect is important and how it could make the world a better place. Write the rap on a piece of paper and be ready to respect it to the group if called upon.

  7. What are three ways you can show your teacher respect?

  8. What are three ways you can show your parents respect?

  9. Make a list of things people say who are respectful. Here are a few: “please.” “Thank you.” “I appreciate that.” “May I hold the door?” “Pardon me.” “I’m sorry I offended you.”

  10. Make a list of things people do who are respectful. Here are a few: hold the door open for someone who needs help, listen without interrupting, don’t talk back, whine, or sass, throw away trash.

  11. Watch a half hour TV show. Who was respectful or disrespectful, and why?

  12. Interview someone and ask what’s one way to show respect to another person. Write it.

  13. List five ways we could show greater respect for our environment.

  14. What would you do if an adult was disrespectful to you? Suppose the grown-up yelled at you for something you didn’t do. What do you say? What do you do? Describe your answer in 50 words.

  15. Design a bumper sticker about respect. Include on the bumper sticker: the word Respect, a motor or slogan for why you should use it and at least three words that describe it.

  16. Describe a respectful way to answer the phone.

  17. Suppose you’re invited to your friend’s home for a family dinner. What are some ways you could show respect and courtesy when your first arrive? At their table? When you leave? Write at least 50 words.

  18. Cut a long strip of butcher paper 3 x 36” (or use adding machine tape). Roll each of the ends around a pencil and tape the ends to the pencil. Use crayons, colored pencils or ink pens to draw a scene of what respect looks and sounds like in action. Roll up your movie and be ready to share your story.

  19. Make a campaign poster about respect. Make sure you include the word “Respect” and two reasons why someone would want to vote for having respect at your school. You could use construction paper, felt pens, crayons, magazine cut-outs and templates.

  20. Look up the word “respect” in a dictionary. Find at least 10 different words that mean almost the same thing as “respectful.” These words are called synonyms. Write each synonym on a paper strip. Link your paper strips together to make a chain and staple the ends of each link.

  21. Use glue to write on bright-colored paper a few statements that respectful people would say to put a smile on someone else’s face. Now carefully sprinkle the letters with glitter. You’ve made Sparkle Statements!

  22. Design a mobile using paper, string, and a clothes hanger. The mobile must show at least four different ways you can show respect to yourself, other people, and property.

  23. Read about John Muir. How did he show respect to the environment?

  24. List at least five synonyms for the word respect.

  25. Draw a picture of your head and cut it out. Or make your silhouette by standing in front of an overhead projector. Have a friend trace the silhouette that appears on a piece of paper taped on the wall. Cut out your silhouette. What kinds of things would a respectful character do? Write or draw at least 8 characteristics of respectful people inside the silhouette. Circle ones that you do.

  26. Make a banner about respect. You could make it from cardboard, burlap, material, wallpaper or construction paper. Decorate your banner with pictures and word cutouts that show respect. Include at least 10 ways to show respect to other people.

  27. Cut out a newspaper or magazine article about a person who showed respect. What did they do to demonstrate respect?

  28. Write a commercial about respect. Try to sell respect so others will want to start using it. For instance, say something positive that might happen in the world if more people showed respect to one another.

  29. Write a word for each letter in the word respect that means almost the same thing.

  30. List five antonyms for the word respect.

  31. Make a collage for respect on a piece of poster board. Draw pictures or paste magazine pictures that show different ways you can show respect to tohers.

  32. Find at least five pictures of people showing respect to others. Make a collage.

  33. Write a paragraph describing how the world would be different if more people showed respect toward one another.

  34. Create a recipe for respect. What ingredients do you need?

  35. Design a campaign button that would help someone understand what respect means.




Dr. Michele Borba is an internationally-recognized educational psychologist who has presented workshops to well over a million parents and teachers. She is an honorary board member for Parents and frequent guest on TV and NPR talk shows including Today, The Early Show, The View and Fox & Friends. Author of 20 books, this article is adapted from Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing, selected by Publishers’ Weekly list of “among the most noteworthy of 2001.” Her latest book is 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know: Getting Back to Basics and Raising Happy Kids. To find out more about her work check out: http://www.moralintelligence.com.

© 2006 by Michele Borba www.moralintelligence.com. Permission to reprint if left intact.



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