Youngsters interview adults whom they consider good citizens. They share their interviews with the others and reflect on what it means to be a good citizen.
1. Discuss the meaning of good citizenship (e.g., working for the common good, volunteering one’s services to others, protecting the environment, obeying laws and rules, etc.). When they're familiar with this concept, ask each youngster to think of an adult he/she knows who is a good citizen. This person may model good citizenship in his/her personal or professional life.
2. Tell them to interview that person and write down some points this person thinks are important to being a good citizen.
3. Have them practice interviewing each other to familiarize them with the concept. Ask for student volunteers to be interviewed. Give the volunteer an imaginary adult role (e.g., police officer, teacher, judge, volunteer at a homeless shelter, etc.). Suggest that the youngsters ask such questions as:
4. After they've conducted their actual interviews with adults, ask them to share what they learned with the rest of the group. Re-cap your discussion on good citizenship and add any insights revealed by the interviews.
See 100 Ways to Enhance Values and Morality in Schools and Youth Settings by Howard Kirschenbaum (Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA), 1995.
This lesson is from the Good Ideas book, available for purchase from the CHARACTER COUNTS! online store: http://www.charactercounts.org/materials
Standard 29. Understands the importance of political leadership, public service, and a knowledgeable citizenry in American constitutional democracy.
Level III, Benchmark 7. Understands why knowing about public affairs and the values and principles of American constitutional democracy and communicating that knowledge to others is an important form of participation. Understands the argument that constitutional democracy requires the participation of an attentive, knowledgeable, and competent citizenry.