Lesson 1

I Am a Person


Lesson Overview:

This lesson focuses on the child as an individual. In Part 1, the children will make their own timelines and discuss how they've grown and developed over time. In Part 2, they'll learn they have rights and will sing a song about them. In Part 3, they'll discuss personal values and participate in a reading of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Learning Objectives:

The children will:

  • Write or draw examples of personal change over time.
  • Recognize how to protect and exercise their rights.
  • Identify some values that contribute to good citizenship.
Content Standards Addressed:
Part 1: Our Lives
Reproducible: Timeline of My Life
Ask the children how old they are. Show a photo of a baby. Have they changed since they were babies? They'll do an activity that shows how they've changed.
Point to the timeline and explain it's a timeline, a special type of line that shows changes over time. Call attention to the vertical lines on the timeline. Explain they represent years. What activities are described on the example? When did the person learn to do each of these activities?
The line below will be a timeline of their own lives: the beginning will show when they were born; the end will show the age they are now. What can they do now that they couldn't do as babies? Ask how old they were when they learned that skill. They can write words or draw pictures below each of the appropriate lines. They can also glue or tape magazine pictures or clip art to the timeline.
Now ask them to think of a hobby or activity they like to do and add it to their own timeline in the appropriate spot, to make it different from everyone else's. Ask several children what they added. For example, they may have learned to play T-ball or swim, or taken dancing or drawing lessons.
As they review their timelines, the children will recognize how they've grown and developed. Ask them  to write or draw something they will know or be able to do next year. Invite some of the children to share their answers.
Part 2: Our Personal Rights 
Reproducible: My Bill of Rights
Review the children's timelines. Remind them they made theirs special by adding one activity in the past and one in the future. No one else's timeline is like theirs. Everyone's lives are different because of individual abilities, families and personalities. Each person, however, has the same rights. Rights are things all people, no matter who they are, can do or be. Discuss each of the rights listed on My Bill of Rights. Can the children give examples?
Our personal rights are very important and should be protected. A good way to guard them is to send "I messages." There are three rules:
  • Start with "I."
  • Be honest.
  • Be polite.
An "I message" usually takes the form of "I feel __________________ when ..."
Write the three rules and an example of an "I message" on a board or large sheet of paper to display as a reminder. For prekindergartners, draw a happy (or other emotion) face for the first blank and draw a picture in the second space (or use clip art or other photo).


What "I messages" could be used for the following situations?

  • Another child is playing roughly with the student's toys. (Possible answer: "I feel mad when I think you might break my toys.")
  • Someone bumps into them and forgets to say they're sorry. (Possible answer: "I feel sad when you're rude to me.")
  • Another child is being bossy. (Possible answer: "I feel angry because you won't let me decide for myself.")


MP3: The Rights Song

Make copies of the lyrics if desired. The children will enjoy singing, moving and/or marching to the music. After listening, discuss the song using the following questions:

  • "Rights are how we get along": How will knowing our rights help us get along better with others? (We know what we can and can't do or say to each other, so there will be less arguments and hard feelings.)
  • "I have rights even to be wrong!" Do people have the right to be wrong? (Yes and no. Everyone's entitled to make mistakes - that's how we learn - but no one has the right to do something that's illegal or harmful to someone else.)


Part 3: Our Values


Hold up a quarter and a piece of trash, such as a gum wrapper or bottle cap. Which item would they prefer?

Why did most, if not all, want the quarter? Answers will vary. The piece of trash is worthless; the quarter has value. People want valuable things because they're important and mean something. Discuss other items besides money that are important.

Probably most of the things that were mentioned were visible. Some worthwhile things can't be seen, but are still very important. These are called values.

Responsibility is an important value. Drop the piece of trash on the floor. Is that responsible? What would happen if everyone threw their trash on the floor? Ask a child to demonstrate what a responsible person would do with the trash.

Continue the discussion with other examples. What would a responsible person do if they:

  • Broke something? (Fix or pay for a new one.)
  • Took a carton of milk from the fridge? (Put it back.)
  • Bumped into another person accidentally? (Say "Excuse me.")

Remind them values help them get along with others. Honesty and trustworthiness are two values that go hand-in-hand. Ask how honest people behave. When people hold the value of honesty, they can be trusted and others can count on them.

The following story shows what can happen without honesty and trust.​​

Reproducible: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Make copies of the reproducible and ask the children to color and cut out the puppet figures. Glue or tape them to popsicle sticks. The children can hold up the puppets at appropriate times as you tell the story, or make copies of the story so they can pair up and read it together.

Once there was a shepherd boy whose job was to watch the sheep of his village. It was very boring to sit on the hill each day and do nothing! One day, he came up with an exciting idea! He shouted as loudly as he could, "Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is coming to eat the sheep!"

The village people heard the boy's cries and ran up the hill as fast as they could to help him drive off the wolf. When they arrived, they asked him, "Where is the wolf?" The boy laughed, "Ha, ha! There is no wolf! I was just pretending!"

The people in the town were very angry with the shepherd boy. They could tell he wasn't sorry at all for being dishonest!

The next day when the boy was bored, he cried out again, "Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is coming to eat the sheep!" The townspeople wondered if he might be trying to trick them again, but they were afraid for the sheep so they ran up the hill as fast as they could!

When they arrived, they asked, "Where is the wolf?" The shepherd boy laughed, "Ha, ha! I tricked you again! There is no wolf!"

The village people were even angrier this time. "You aren't hones​t! Don't say things that aren't true, or we won't be able to trust you!"

They could see the boy still wasn't sorry about the trouble he was causing; he thought it was fun and exciting! 

The next day, the shepherd boy noticed a real wolf prowling about nearby. He jumped up and started shouting as loudly as he could, "Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is coming to eat the sheep!"

The people in the town heard his cries for help, but they didn't stop what they were doing this time to run and help. They just shook their heads sadly and said, "We can't trust that shepherd boy. He's not honest. He's trying to fool us again!"

Meanwhile, the boy was frantically trying to drive off the wolf all by himself. But it was no use.
At the end of the day, the people watched as the shepherd boy slowly climbed down the hill alone. They asked, "Did you forget your sheep? Where are they?"
He sadly replied, "I shouted, 'Wolf!' Didn't you hear me? I needed your help to protect the sheep, but you never came!"
"We heard you," replied the townspeople, "but you fooled us twice this week and we couldn't trust what you said anymore. We knew you weren't an honest boy."
That day, the whole village learned how important it is to be honest ad trustworthy.


Discussion Questions:

  • Why did the boy pretend a wolf was prowling around the sheep? (He was bored and wanted to stir up some excitement.)
  • What could he have done instead? (Possible answers: read, sing songs, pick flowers, find figures in the clouds, etc.)
  • Why didn't the townspeople come to help him drive off the wolf? (He had fooled them twice and they didn't trust him anymore.)
  • Have you ever lost trust in someone? What happened? Did you ever learn to trust them again? Answers will vary. ​​