Character education lessons, activities, and resources

Pillar: Responsibility

Purpose: Students will discuss the importance of accountability as a behavior or responsibility.


  1. Students will perform a play about taking accountability.
  2. Students will practice identifying examples of accountability within the play.

“The Blame Game” Play Overview: Students (or teacher) read aloud and perform a play about accountability then discuss it.


  • Copies of play (for students to read)
  • Paper
  • Pencils or pens


Define accountability. Explain that responsible people are accountable for their actions – they accept responsibility for what they’ve done rather than blaming others for mistakes.

When you are confident students understand the terms, write these questions on the board: Why did Andrew try to blame Chloe for something that he did? What happened to Andrew? Who showed accountability? Who did not show accountability?

Instruct the students to copy these questions on a piece of paper and keep them in mind as they read the play. Explain that they are going to read a play about being accountable.

Assign character roles to students. Either have students read “The Finger of Blame” play aloud and act it out or read the play aloud and have the students act out depending on the reading level of your students.

“The Finger of Blame”

Cast of Characters

Andrew: A third grade boy

Mark: Andrew’s friend

Jack: Andrew’s friend

Tanya: Andrew’s older sister

Mom: Andrew’s mom


Scene One: Kitchen of Andrew’s home. There is a birthday cake on the counter.

Enter Mom and Tanya

Tanya: Wow, Mom! The cake is so beautiful! I’m going to have a great birthday party tomorrow.

Enter Andrew, Jack and Mark. They are running and bumping into each other. Andrew is holding a baseball bat. Mark has a glove.

Andrew: Hi, Mom. What do we have to drink?

Mom: Slow down. I told you that there is no rough-housing allowed inside.

Mark: Wow, cake!

Tanya: Don’t even think about it! That’s for my party.

Jack: Good, ‘cause I wouldn’t want to come anyway.

Andrew and Mark laugh.

Tanya: (whining) Mom!

Mom: OK, settle down. Andrew, there are plenty of cold sodas in the refrigerator. You boys can help yourselves and then go back outside. Tanya, let’s go put up the decorations in the living room.

Tanya: OK, but don’t you guys touch anything.

Tanya and Mom leave the kitchen.

Mark: That icing really does look good. She wouldn’t miss just a little bit down here at the edge. (He sticks his finger in the icing and takes a taste.­)

Andrew: Come on. Don’t do that. I’ll get in trouble.

Jack: They won’t even notice. I want to try some. (He reaches out his hand to take a taste. Andrew tries to stop him and the cake topples to the floor.)

Mark: Oh, man!

Andrew: My mom is going to kill me!

Jack: What are we going to do? (A dog barks outside the kitchen door.)

Andrew: We can go back outside to play ball and one of us can “accidentally” let my dog Chloe in.

Mark: OK, let’s go!


Scene Two: The backyard.

Enter Andrew, Jack and Mark.

Jack: Maybe Chloe will eat all the evidence

Mark: What a waste. That was a really good cake. What’s the matter, Andrew?

Andrew: I was just thinking that Tanya’s really excited about her birthday. I don’t think my mom has time to bake another cake. This will ruin it for them.

Jack: Yeah, but if your mom finds out that we knocked the cake over, you’ll get grounded for a month. And she’ll probably call my mom.

Mark: Let’s not worry about it. Tanya can have a special cake next year. Let’s play ball.

Andrew: I don’t feel like playing right now.

Mom: (from off stage) Oh, no! Chloe, what have you done?

Jack: Uh, maybe we better be going.

Mark: See you later

Mark and Jack run off. Andrew waits for a moment, listening.

Tanya: (off stage) Oh, Mom, look at my cake! Chloe, you bad, bad dog!

Andrew exits.


Scene Three: Andrew’s kitchen. What’s left of the cake is on the floor.

Andrew enters from stage right. Mom and Tanya enter from stage left.

Mom: Be careful, Andrew. There’s cake all over. Chloe got into the kitchen somehow and must have knocked it down. Your dad took her to the vet.

Andrew: The vet? Why?

Tanya: It was a chocolate cake, Andy. Chocolate is very bad for dogs. She ate a lot of it and might get sick.

Mom: I can’t believe Chloe would do such a thing. She’s usually so good.

Andrew: (softly) She didn’t do it.

Mom: What?

Andrew: She didn’t knock it over, Mom. I did. I was goofing around with Jack.

Tanya: You did this?

Andrew: I tried to blame it on Chloe. Now she’s sick and Tanya’s party is ruined. I’m sorry, Mom. What can I do?

Mom: I’m glad you told me the truth and you’re being accountable for your actions. I’m sure Chloe will be alright. Her tummy might feel a little upset for a day or two. I think I can get another cake at the bakery. But for you to take responsibility for your mistake, I think you should pay for the new cake with your allowance.

Andrew: I will. And I think I’ll have to buy something else.

Tanya: What’s that?

Andrew: A dog treat for Chloe.


Give students time to write answers to the questions you wrote on the board. Then invite them to share their thoughts and opinions.

Need more lessons like this?  Check out Good Ideas from our online store.

Adapted from Spotlight on Character: Plays That Show CHARACTER COUNTS! Grades 2-3 by Q.L. Pearce (Torrance, CA: Frank Schaffer Publications, 1999