Christine McCaffery Penn Beach School
Characteristics of a Good Citizen
Time Frame, two forty-five minute lessons
Students will understand that good citizens have both rights and responsibilities in the community.
Students will understand that citizens want and need laws so that order can be established in their
Students will understand that they are a part of different communities, such as home, school, town,
state, country, etc.
Colony 1600’s-Time Period- Present Day Town
The House of Burgesses Politeia/Regime mayor
Colonists who were men that Politeuma/Ruling Class A law abiding
owned land and were over member of the town
seventeen years old. who is elected by the
people of that town.
Colonists followed the laws Paideia/What makes a society what Citizens of the town
established by the House of it is follow the laws of
Burgesses and the Virginia their community.
London Company. The They work together to
House of Burgesses keep their town safe,
established order in a colony clean, and a pleasant
that was failing because it place to live. The
had no rules. Colonists citizens make sure
learned rules were essential their elected officials
and beneficial to a place. are honest and
honorable. They have
best interest at heart.
Loyalty Virtue/ The highest moral excellence Loyalty and Respect
Citizen, law, rule, tolerance, opinion, state, country, community, colony, mayor, House of Burgesses
(c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C. 1
A citizen is a person who by birth or by choice is a member of a state or nation which gives him certain
rights and which claims his loyalty. Citizens are part of more than one community at a time. A community refers
to all the people that make up a certain place, such as a school, home, or town. In order for a person to be a part
of a certain community, one must abide by the laws for that particular community. Then a person is considered a
citizen of that community. There are many characteristics a person must possess in order to be deemed a good
citizen. A good citizen must follow rules and laws. He must also be respectful to other members in his
community as well as to his government or ruling body. He must practice tolerance. Tolerance refers to having
the willingness to be patient toward people whose opinions or lifestyle may be different from one’s own. Good
citizens are also kind, helpful, and cooperative. They play an active role in making sure their community can
Citizens of the United States of America have laws they must follow. These laws were established many
years age so that the United States could be a stable and powerful nation. However, when the United States was a
developing country, laws were not yet established. In the early sixteen hundreds, the colony of Jamestown was
failing. Some of the reasons why the colony was failing were because there was no control over how much land
one could own and there was no limit on the price of tobacco. As a result, the colonists turned to the officials of
the Virginia Company in London and asked for help. The Virginia Company appointed a Governor, who then
picked six members of the colony to be his council. Then members of the colony chose fifteen other people to be
a part of this new Government. Together these men made up the first legislature in the English colonies. It was
called the House of Burgesses. The members of the House of Burgesses were actually elected by members of the
colony. Not anyone could be a member. A member had to be a white man who was over the age of seventeen
and he had to own land.
This new government, the House of Burgesses, could make laws, however they had to report to the
directors of the Virginia Company. The Virginia Company had the final say. One of the first issues they dealt
with was setting a price for the sale of tobacco. They also put an end to company monopoly on land ownership.
Although the House of Burgesses only met once in its first year, because of a breakout of malaria, it
remained the standard form of government for the colony. Through the years leading up to the Revolutionary
War, many famous leaders were a part of the House of Burgesses. Some of these men, included Patrick Henry,
George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.
The House of Burgesses is significant to our country because it showed the American people why laws are
necessary. It also showed why members of a community should have a say in what those laws are, as well as a
say in who the leading officials of a place should be.
I. To prepare students for today’s lesson on citizenship, students were previously given an activity to
be completed at home. They were to complete the citizenship homework activity sheet by
interviewing an adult. They were to ask the adult what makes a good citizen and what laws are.
(See attached) For the first ten minutes of class, review and discuss the answers the students
(c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C. 2
After the brief discussion from previous night’s homework, students will receive a checklist titled, Are
you a good citizen? They will be given certain situations and they will have to color either a happy or a
sad face to indicate how they will handle the situation. (see attached) Review responses orally.
B. Using the LCD Projector, and the website, www.Jamestown2007.org, orally read and discuss the
history of Jamestown. Include the problems the colonists had in the beginning because there were
no laws and why they needed the House of Burgesses. Then teacher will define the House of
Burgesses and explain how it helped the colony. (Refer to information printed off website,
www.socialstudieskids.com/articles/ushistory/houseofburgesses.htm) Students will then play the
interactive game, Exploring Jamestown on the website. However, the teacher will run the game
using suggestions from the students about where to go and what to chose. Once game is
completed, class will briefly discuss some of the similarities and differences between the colony of
Jamestown and their town of Pennsville. Students will then receive a chart that will be used to
compare and contrast Jamestown to Pennsville. They will complete the chart with teacher support.
(see attached activity sheet)
C. Review what students think so far is meant by citizenship. Discuss what makes one a citizen and
how one can be a good citizen. Remind students that people belong to more than one place, such
as a town, state, school, home, etc. They need to be a good citizen in each of their communities.
Students will receive current magazine and newspaper articles that were previously gathered by
teacher. These articles model examples of people being good citizens in their communities. Read
and discuss the articles together and students will have explain how the people in the articles are
showing good citizenship.
Students will then receive a pattern of a gift and construction paper. They will trace the gift onto
the construction paper and write the following sentence, “I can be a good citizen by …” They will
then decorate their gifts and share them with the class. Teacher will then display the gifts on a
class bulletin board under the Class Citizenship Tree the teacher made previously.
Students will then be assigned homework. They will have to complete an activity sheet on the
vocabulary words from the lesson. They will also have to find an example of good citizenship at
home. They can find it in a magazine, newspaper, on television or a movie, or they can use
examples from their families or friends. They will write a few sentences explaining how the
person showed good citizenship and draw a picture of that person being a good citizen.
Homework will be reviewed during the next class lesson.
The rest of the lesson will be completed on another day during a forty-five minute
block of time.
The lesson will begin with a review of the key vocabulary words at the board. Students will then
share their examples of citizenship they found at home. For the remaining part of the lesson, the
students will be assessed to determine what they have learned about citizenship.
(c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C. 3
The homework is as stated above. The students will complete an activity sheet on the vocabulary
words from the lesson (see attached). They will also have to find examples of citizenship at home.
They can use resources such as magazines, newspapers, television, movies, etc. They will have to
write a few sentences and draw a picture that shows that person being a good citizen.
During the second day of the lesson, the students will break into small groups of three and four.
They will be given an index card that has a situation previously created by the teacher that deals
with being a citizen and tolerance. It will involve making decisions about citizenship. The
students will have to put on skit and act out the situation to show good citizenship. They will have
about twenty minutes to practice and then they will present their skit to the class. Their
presentations will be scored using a rubric (See the attached copy of the citizenship cards and
Students’ homework assignments will also be collected and reviewed for a grade.
Students will receive a teacher created letter. The letter is intended to be created by a child
who is having difficulty with something that involves citizenship and tolerance at school.
This child is asking for advice on how to handle the situation. (see attached activity sheet)
The student will have to write a response to the child’s letter.
The students will design citizenship posters that can be displayed at school. The posters
will show students being good school citizens.
Students will have to come up with a way they will show good citizenship in the future.
They will fill out a contract promising to demonstrate that behavior in the upcoming days,
weeks, etc. They will sign their contract and keep one copy and hand in one copy to their
teacher. Students will be rewarded when they follow their contract.
Thorndike Barnhart Beginning Dictionary, 1974, Scott Foresman and Company, Glenview, Illinois
(c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C. 4
Use the information you have learned about Jamestown and Pennsville to complete the
following table on citizenship. Your table should show how Jamestown and Pennsville
are alike and how they are different.
Who is the leader?
Who can be a leader?
What makes the place
How did the people
have to act to be a good
(c) Copyright American Institute for History Education, L.L.C. 5
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