by Bruce Lansky
I've been subliminally seeing respect posters at schools I visit,
but it didn't quite dawn on me that respect was an important school
theme until I received a T-shirt as a gift after performing at
a Boston-area school. All the T-shirt said was "Chelsea Respect."
(Chelsea, I vaguely recall, was the name of the school.)
So here I am running around Libbs Lake near my home in Minnetonka,
Minnesota, wearing a T-shirt preaching respect. Now I get it.
Respect is a big deal in schools-probably because so many parents
don't teach their kids what it means to be respectful.
Now that I finally get it, how about a respect poem you can write
with your students to drive the concept home? Ideally, it should
be easy to write, so the message, rather than the writing technique,
makes a big impression. So how about a simple list of what it
means to be respectful?
Remember that list poems seem to work best when they are written
with a parallel structure (each line follows the same pattern).
How I Show
Respect I show respect for my parents by thanking them when they
I show respect for my teachers by not yakking with my friends
when they are teaching.
I show respect for my friends by not making fun of them.
I show respect for myself by doing the best job I can at school.
It's the kind of thing I've seen on school posters. So if respect
is big in your school, why not use words written by your students
rather than words written by some poster company?
For variations, you can have a poem that lists lots of different
ways a kid can show respect at school.
How I Show Respect at School
I show respect for the bus driver by...
I show respect for my teacher by…
I show respect for the cafeteria monitor by...
I show respect for my fellow students by...
I show respect for the janitor by...
If you feel really creative, you can always play Aretha Franklin's
great song, "Respect," and then see if your class can rewrite
it with school-related lyrics.
But I'll save that idea for another lesson.
you are interested in inviting Bruce Lansky to your school, click