Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Law of the Land

Tara Dykes


Students learn about the differences and similarities between the rules and responsibilities at home and at school. They effectively communicate ideas discussed in class, orally and in writing to display on a poster of class rules/responsibilities.


The student knows similarities and differences between rules and responsibilities at home and at school.


-Teacher selected books about different rules and regulations
-Story paper for each student
-Poster board/markers
-Digital or Poloroid camera (for extension activity if desired)
-Copy of [Swimmy] by Leo Lionni
Lionni, Leo. [Swimmy]. New York: Pantheon Books. 1987.


1. Locate various books on good citizenship, responsibilities, rules, and laws.
2. Locate a copy of [Swimmy] (see bibliographical information listed in the procedures section).
3. List some rules that you might want in your class. If the students do not come up with these on their own, prompt them to include these.
4. Have a chart tablet ready to record student responses.
5. Have enough story paper for each child with a place for illustrations for younger groups.
6.Obtain poster board and markers.
7. Consider having a bulletin board ready to display the class rules after they have been transferred to the poster board.
8. Have a camera with plenty of film ready if you plan on using the extension activity.


1. Read aloud a book about rules and
responsibilities (teacher selected.)

2. Ask the class, "What are some of the rules/responsibilities you have at home?"

3. Then ask, "What are some rules/responsibilities you think you should have at school this year?"

4. As a class, compare and contrast the similarities and differences between some of the home rules/responsibilities and the class rules/responsibilities.

5. Have the students work in small groups of 3 or 4 to come up with their own possible class rules. They should record their ideas on story paper as illustrations and in simple writing.

6. Each group will share their ideas for the class.

7. From the ideas shared by each group, have each group create a Venn diagram showing on one side -home responsibilities/rules-, on the other side "school responsibilities/rules". In the overlapping part of the Venn diagram, show which rules/responsibilities apply to home and school. Use these ideas to create a class Venn diagram as well.

8. As a class, with teacher prompting and suggestions, highlight the class rules which should apply to the class this year. These might include such duties as sharpening pencils each day, cleaning the board, or rules such as raising your hand to ask a question, using good manners, talking one at a time, using inside voices, lining up quietly, being a good listener, etc…

9. On poster board, make a nice chart to display in class, the student-generated class rules and responsibilities.

10. Conclude by reading [Swimmy] by Leo Leonni. Explain that when we work together as a group, we can accomplish more like the little fish Swimmy.


Formative assessment will be used. Check for student comprehension by listening to the students' responses to make sure they understand that there are rules and responsibilities at home as well as school. The students will also demonstrate knowledge of the differences and similarities between the rules and responsibilities at home and the rules and responsibilities at school (demonstrated through Venn diagrams). Ongoing feedback should be given to the students by the teacher to ensure an understanding of the concept being taught. The teacher should also suggest ideas for rules when a group or individual is not generating acceptable classroom rules. This lesson will not be graded but used to establish the classroom rules for the beginning of the year. The list can be added to or amended during the school year as needed.


This lesson could be extended over the next 2 weeks or more to include photographs of the children as they are engaging in classroom responsibilities. These could be placed on a bulletin board beside the class generated rule poster as evidence of the rules/responsibilities.

Make a large fish from tag board, have the students each make a small fish and cut it out. Let each student glue his small fish inside the large Swimmy fish. Talk about the book [Swimmy] and how the fish schooled together to keep from getting eaten by the big fish. Tell them that if we work together as a group we can get much more done than when we work alone.

ESOL strategies will include:
1. Books with many visuals of children at school following rules.
2. Pictures taken in the extension activity of students engaged in various classroom responsibilities and following rules placed around the room.

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