Take Responsibility

6, 7, 8

This lesson invites the students to make meaning of the concept of responsibility through personal and shared discussion.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • describe responsibility from a personal perspective.
  • share descriptions with others to seek common ideas.
  • write a definition of responsibility through a group process.
  • responsibility statements written on the board:"Take responsibility!" "Be responsible!" "You're older now; you should be more responsible!" "If you don't take responsibility for yourself now, when will you?"
  • large sheet of paper and markers for each group of four students (paper may be 12" x 18")


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Tell the students to silently read the statements written on the board and raise their hands if they have heard any of these messages.("Take responsibility!" "Be responsible!" "You're older now, you should be more responsible!" "If you don't take responsibility for yourself now, when will you?") Ask the students what it means to be responsible.

  2. Ask students to quickly jot down three to five words that depict responsibility for them. Allow 2 minutes.

  3. Now, ask students to partner with one more student to share lists. Invite them to add words to their lists as a result of the conversation. Allow 3 minutes.

  4. Then have the partner groups join into groups of four students. Have these groups of four choose the best five words from their lists to represent the group's understanding of responsibility. Allow 4 minutes.

  5. Ask for a runner from each group to come to the board to record their five words. Allow 2 minutes.

  6. When all words have been recorded, ask one student to cross out repeated words, leaving the best set of descriptive words for responsibility. Allow 1 minute.

  7. Next, have each group off our use words from the board to create a sentence defintion of responsibility. When they have a final sentence, they write the group's definition on the large paper to be hung on the wall. Remind each group to put their names on the bottom of the sheet. Allow 6 minutes.

  8. Ask students to quietly read all of the defintions and ask any clarifying questions of another group about their defintion. Ask students to quietly compare defintions, noting similarities or differences. Thank the students for their thoughtfulness in creating these defintions and ask them, "What is working within a person to choose to take responsibility? What motivates a person to be responsible?"

Cross Curriculum 

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to www.generationon.org.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.9 Identify pro-social behavior in different cultures and traditions.