Teaching students social emotional skills is so important in every classroom and at every age. Today I’m going to teach you why respect is important in the classroom and how we can teach respect to our young students.
What is respect and why is respect important in the classroom?
When I teach my students respect, I always start with the definition. I want my students to really understand the word when they hear it being used. I tell my students that respect means treating others kindly like sharing and speaking kindly with others even if are frustrated. Respect is important because when we show others respect, we are showing them that we care and that they are a valued member of our community. We want to show to respect to everyone- our friends and even people we don’t know! I think that a lot of times lessons on respects talk about respecting the adults in their lives, but I want my students to show respect to everyone.
This is a great opportunity to talk about manners and how using manners can show respect to others. Examples of manners would be saying please, thank you and sorry, greeting others in the morning, and holding the door for others. We talk about how it makes you feel when someone says or does these things to you – it makes you feel good! It makes you feel good to make someone else feel good!
Respecting the classroom
I also teach my students how we can show respect to our classroom and our school. Respect isn’t just for people. I teach my students that we respect the school and classroom when we clean up after ourselves and others. We then list examples like picking up trash, pushing in chairs, putting materials back where they belong. After this list, we talk about how these actions help others too, not just the classroom. When we push in our chairs, people can walk around the room more easily and not bump into chairs and get hurt. When we put materials back where they belong then people can find them when they are looking for them.
Being a good friend
Another important aspect about why respect is important in the classroom is teaching students to be a good friend. At this young age, children can use all the lessons they can get on how to be a good friend. We talk about sharing, taking turns, helping others, saying, “sorry,” and listening to others. This is also a great connection to cooperation or a preview of cooperation to talk about how to compromise on play ideas with others. It’s also a great connection to any work on kindness you have done in the past. Kindness and respect are very similar to young children and both connect to learning how to be a good friend.
Fill a Bucket
A fantastic resource for teaching about respect is the read aloud How to Fill a Bucket. There are other connected read alouds too. (You can see them in my Amazon Store). Have You Filled A Bucket Today? really helps children understand the concept of how what we do affects others. Children don’t always understand that their actions have consequences for others. When we show respect and kindness, then we fill other people’s buckets, and our own buckets too! When we are disrespectful and unkind, we dip other people’s buckets. This book is a great example for why respect is important in the classroom.
I always like starting the year with this read aloud so that we can use that language in the classroom. We talk about bucket filling or bucket dipping a lot. When they give me a compliment, I always say, “Oh that filled my bucket!” I encourage them to use that language with each other too. We have little cards available in the classroom so that students can share with each other when they did something to fill their bucket.
Howard B Wigglebottom
I have definitely mentioned Howard B. Wigglebottom once or twice before, and I am not an affiliate or am getting paid for this. I just love Howard B. Wigglebottom that much! Howard B. Wigglebottom has great books for different social emotional skills, including showing respect and manners. But the thing I love most about Howard B. Wigglebottom is the animated videos! They have turned the stories into videos and you can watch for free on their website! The kids absolutely love them! Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters is a great connection to a unit on respect! And the book Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns We Can All Get Along is great for teaching about how to respect your friends!
Teaching students why respect is important in the classroom helps them to understand its importance. Students need to know why we show respect and how we show respect. Respect means treating others kindly to show others that we care and that they are a valued member of our community. How do you teach your students respect? Let me know in the comments!
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