Respect for authority must be learned at an early age. If respect for adults is not discussed with children, it will be much more difficult for behaviors to be changed once a child is older. Teach kids about respect for authority through activities that allow them to be creative and active. Creating role-playing situations where authority needs to be respected, and discussing stories and poems on the subject give students a chance to see the results of respect or disrespect.

Group Presentations

Write the words "respect" and "authority" on the board and ask students to define the words. Ask students to agree or disagree with responses and then divide the class into groups according to their answers. Instruct students to brainstorm reasons for their perspective. Allow students to create a poster to represent their ideas. Have the groups take turns presenting their perspective to the class.

Poetry Discussion

Read the poem "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" by Shel Silverstein. Discuss the setting and characters with the class and then discuss the conflict with authority. Ask students to provide other examples of respecting or disrespecting authority and the result. Instruct students to change the beginning of the poem and determine how it would end with the new beginning. Choose a few students to share their alterations with the class.

Pipe Cleaner Glasses

Give each student two 6-inch pipe cleaners and one 12-inch pipe cleaner. Demonstrate turning the pipe cleaners into glasses by twisting the ends of the long pipe cleaner together to create a circle. Twist the circle in the middle to create 2 connected circles for lenses. Attach a 6-inch pipe cleaner to each side and bend at the ends to fit around the student's ears. Ask the students if they have heard glasses called spectacles and tell them these are their "respectacles." Instruct students to put on their pipe cleaner glasses and read short stories about children respecting or disrespecting authority. Have students determine if the behavior is proper and, if not, what should have been done differently.

Role Playing

Prepare several role-playing situations. Include one with a child needing to ask a parent a question while the parent is speaking to another adult. Include another where an adult asks a child to do something. Choose two volunteers to act out each situation. After they are finished, allow the class to discuss what they saw and if respect for authority was shown. If not, ask the class to come up with better alternatives.

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