Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Citizenship for All

Tashika Hiers
Orange County Schools


Do you know your rights? This lesson will help students demonstrate their knowledge of the rights, responsibilities, and privileges as United States citizens. Students will show examples by completing a graphic organizer and writing persuasive essays.


The student knows that a citizen is a legally recognized member of the United States who has certain rights and privileges and certain responsibilities (for example, privileges such as the right to vote and hold public office and responsibilities such as respecting the law, voting, paying taxes, servinv on juries).

The student knows examples of the extension of the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship.


-Sample copies of your school's Student Code of Conduct
-Copies of “Citizenship for All” graphic organizer
-Notebook paper


1. Obtain copies of the school's Student Code of Conduct for each student.
2. Obtain a copy of a graphic organizer. One is provided in the Associated File. Make copies for each student.
3. Write essay question on board, overhead, or chart paper at the beginning of class. (The students will start thinking about this question long before you give the assignment.)
4. As an additional source, a copy of the U.S. Bill of Rights should be obtained. You may want to check the Weblink section for help. This will help validate student responses.


1. Ask the question, “What is a citizen?” Generate a discussion on the definition of citizen. The whole class should come to a general conclusion on the definition. Make sure to write this definition on the chalkboard for reference. Then ask questions, such as "What are rights?" "What are responsibilities?" "What are privileges?" (List these three definitions on the board.) "What would you do if you didn’t have any rights, privileges, or responsibilities?" "If you are from another country, what kind of rights, privileges, or responsibilities did/or didn’t you have?"

2. Explain to students that they also have rights as citizens. Hand out copies of your school's Student Code of Conduct to each student. Give them five minutes for review. Use the samples to point out the rights of students. Have them underline their rights using their pencil. Also, discuss examples of responsibilities and privileges of the students. For example, fifth graders have the responsibility of being a good role model for lower grades, or fifth graders have the privilege of becoming a member of the school news team.

3. Pass out copies of the graphic organizer provided in the Associated File. Have the students take a few minutes to list examples of their rights, privileges, and responsibilities as citizens of the United States. Make sure students refer back to the definitions on the board. (During this time, you should draw the organizer for class responses on an overhead, chalkboard or chart tablet and observe students’ graphic organizers.) Have the students share their responses with the class as you record answers and give feedback on the examples.

4. Encourage students to think about the questions, “ How would you feel if you didn’t have any rights, privileges, and responsibilities as a citizen of the United States?" "Why should you have rights, privileges and responsibilities as a citizen?” Tell students their main purpose is to persuade the reader that they have rights, privileges, and responsibilities as a U. S citizen. Make sure they list examples!


Student will be formatively assessed on graphic organizer through teacher observation. Essays will be scored using the “Citizenship Essay” rubric (one is provided in the Associated File). The essays should show examples of the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of U.S. citizens.


Having the student draw an example of a right, privilege, and responsibility of U.S. citizens may extend this lesson. The teacher should then have students to share pictures and/or create a “citizenship” bulletin board. Another great idea is to have students use their essay question to obtain feedback from other sources, such as parents (or guardians), other teachers, community members, etc. Have student ask the sources their essay question and record their responses. Later have students share responses in a whole class discussion. In addition, obtain a copy of the U.S. Bill of Rights. This is a good document for students to use as reference. A suggested Weblink is provided.

Web Links

Web supplement for Citizenship for All
U.S. Bill of Rights

Attached Files

A graphic organizer and the Citizenship Essay Rubric.     File Extension: pdf

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