Polka Dots

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


September was Responsibility Month. In 5th grade we discussed "Keys to Success" again this year. Here is a new poster from my new school. More information about this lesson can be found in a previous post. We talked about what goes into being a successful student and the need to be responsible.

In 4th grade, we read Shel Silverstein's poem, Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out. We discussed how Sarah's responsibility of taking the garbage out literally started piling up on her. To demonstrate how our own responsibilities begin to pile up if we don't take care of them, I brought a bag of "clean" trash (crumpled up paper, paper towel tubes, empty water bottles, etc). We talked about one of the responsibilities the students' have: taking tests. We went through the different steps needed to do well on a test, such as paying attention in class, completing classwork and homework, reading the textbook or reading book, completing a study guide, studying several days in advance of the test, getting a good night's sleep, and eating a healthy breakfast. After we listed all of the steps, we went through them again, but this time, I asked the students what would happen if they did not do that step and threw a piece of trash on the pile. Soon, the pile so high it began to topple over and we talked about how hard it would be take on the responsibility of doing well on a test when you haven't been paying attention, haven't been completing the work, haven't been reading, and haven't been studying. That responsibility would seem too large and the "pile" would be too tall to tackle. After our discussion, each student wrote a promise to themselves to be responsible this year.


  1. I love this lesson and used it today, with my own twist. What is the picture you have of the trash cans? Was that something each of the kids worked on?

  2. I cannot read what is on the garbage can. Could you post what it says or a closer picture?


  3. I am wondering the same thing about what is written on the trash cans. What a great use of a fun poem!

  4. Hi There,

    What is on the garbage cans, I am interested in doing this with a class! Thanks