This lesson helps students see that rules exist to keep themselves and others safe.
- Joshua Disobeys
- Three boxes labeled,
"Guess What Would
- Strips of white paper
- Scotch tape
- Joshua Disobeys, by Dennis Vollmer; ISBN 0933849125
- Free to Be...a Family, by Marlo Thomas; ISBN 0553345591
- Teaching Children to Care: Management in the Responsive Classroom, by Ruth Charney; ISBN
Background for Teachers
Students often complain about the many rules placed upon them by
parents, school and community officials. This lesson is to help them
see that rules exist to keep themselves and others safe.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Explain why families, school, and communities have rules.
Invitation to Learn
The teacher invites a student to challenge him/her to a game of
checkers. The rest of the class gathers to watch the game. The teacher
wins by not following the rules of the game. Afterwards, the teacher encourages and gathers responses about the experience, and uses them
to initiate a discussion about how rules benefit everyone.
Review vocabulary words: obey, disobey, consequences.
- Share book Joshua Disobeys with class.
- Review the rule that Joshua the whale disobeyed and what
the consequences of disobeying were.
- Discuss with the class how every animal is taught rules by
their parents. Model some examples such as the following:
- The mother hen teaches her baby chicks to hide under her
wings when there is danger because she can keep them safe.
- Tell the students to think of an animal and what its mother
would teach it. Tell them to display their thinking by finishing
the sentence listed as follows: The mother _______ teaches her
baby _______ because _______. When they have completed
their writing, tell them to illustrate it so that it will be ready to
be shared in a class book.
- Students are invited to share their pages with the class.
- Tell the students that rules are designed to keep us happy and
safe. Tell them that we have rules at home, at school, and in
the community. Have students help come up with one rule for
each area as a class.
- Show the students the boxes labeled, "What would happen
- Divide students into small groups and assign each one a specific
location to write down the rules for (school, home, community
etc.) Distribute the labeled boxes, and instruct them to write 10
rules on strips of paper that can be placed in the box.
- When completed, invite students in their small groups to take
turns picking a rule out of the box and collaborating with each
other as they guess what would happen if we didn't have that
rule. For example, if they chose the strip of paper with "No
running in the halls," they could guess that if we didn't have
that rule, students would always be getting run over in the halls
and would get hurt.
- When completed, have the small groups trade their boxes and
do the same activity with the different set of rules. Continue doing this until every group has been able to work with every
set of rules.
- Instruct the students to remain in their small groups and have
each person write their name on other strips of paper. Tell
them to use the strips of paper from the rule box and alternate a
rule with a name as they create a paper chain.
- When the small groups have completed their chain, guide them
as they connect all of the small chains together to form a big
one. Have two students stretch the chain across the room. Tell
them that when everyone follows the rules, the chain stays
intact, but when someone breaks a rule the chain is broken and
it affects everyone. (Cut the chain.)
- Tell the students that when rules are broken a consequence
follows, and a price needs to be paid to try and repair the
damage that has been done.
- Read the rule that was cut from the chain to the class, and ask
the students to come up with the solution to help repair the
damage of the rule being broken.
- Repair the link that was cut off with a Band-Aid to help
represent the repair.
- Continue this activity with other rules being cut from the chain.
- Invite a local law enforcement officer to your classroom to
discuss how rules keep us safe and the consequences for
- Invite a legislator or mayor to your classroom to discuss how
laws for our cities, our state, and our country are created.
- Introduce school or classroom rules.
- Students make brochures of laws or rules for the community,
the classroom, or their homes.
- Accommodations can be made for students by adjusting the
amount of writing required. This can be accomplished by
having them tell the teacher or another student what he/she
would like to have written.
- Have the students play a P.E. activity called Joshua Disobeys.
Divide half of the students to be whales and the other half to be
the parents. Tell them that the objective of the game is to keep
the whales from going into the shallow water and becoming
beached. Designate a location that represents the shallow
and the deep water. Tell the students that this is the area that
they are supposed to keep the whales from going to. Tell the
students that when a student representing a parent touches a
whale, they have to go back to the deep water before they can
"swim" again. Set the timer for five minutes. When the time is
up, count how many whales were beached. Play again to see if
the parents can keep fewer whales from becoming beached.
- Invite families to create and display a list of family rules. These
could be general rules or rules specific to a particular activity
such as cooking.
- Have each family member write their name on a strip of paper
and a family rule on another strip of paper. Use all of the strips
to create a paper chain. When the chain is complete hold it up
and admire it before ripping one of the rule strips and watching
the chain fall to the floor. Encourage families to discuss how
when one person breaks a rule it weakens the chain and causes
disruption for every member of the family.
- Distribute paper and art supplies and have the students finish
the sentence, "My (parent/teacher/community) taught me _____
__ because _______". When their sentences are complete, have
them illustrate their work. Invite the students to share their
work. Collect them to make another class book.
- Have students create a list of five rules they are expected to
obey at home, at school, or in the community. Then have them
write what would happen without that rule.
Collinston, E., (2000). A Survey of Elementary Students' Learning Style Preferences and
Academic Success. EBSCO. Retrieved January 20, 2007, from http://ebscohost.com
There are several different learning styles. Learning styles include
the ways that students learn, process, retain information, and behave.
Some of these include the following: visual, auditory, and tactile.
Catering to a variety of these ensures that all students will be able to
be successful learners. It is especially important for the low achieving
students who generally prefer to learn as one or more peers assist
them, and as they are provided many hands-on experiences.
Sheldon, K. L., ((1994). Including Affective and Social Education in the Integrated
Curriculum. EBSCO. Retrieved January 20, 2007, from http://web.ebscohost.com
Children's literature is a valuable resource for teachers to turn to
as they develop lesson plans to teach students about values. Social
skills and effective education can be accomplished through an