Responsibility Lesson Plan

Character Ed / SEL Lesson Plan for grades K-4

What is Responsibility Lesson Plan Character Ed / SEL for kids

What is responsibility?


Using a prepared PowerPoint / Google Slides Presentation, students will understand the following:

  • What responsibility means
  • Examples of being responsible, acting with responsibility, having responsibilities
  • Why responsibility is important
  • How being responsible feels better than being irresponsible in the long run

Grade Level

K - 4

Character / SEL Topics

  • Self Awareness, Self Management
  • Positive relationships
  • Decision Making
  • Traits: Responsibility, Empathy, Caring

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Responsibility Lesson Plan Resources


Responsibility- Being responsible, or acting with responsibility, means you do the things you are supposed to do and you accept the consequences of your actions.


Download the Responsibility Presentation. These talking point are included in the speakers notes of the presentation. This Lesson Plan is also available as a printable PDF.

Follow the presentation with the following talking points:

Ways we Talk about Responsibility

There are different ways we use the word responsibility, including Be responsible, Take responsibility, It’s your responsibility, Act responsibly. What are some other ways students hear the word “Responsible” used?

All of these ways of talking about responsibility are related to doing the things we are supposed to do,or doing the things we are responsible for.

What is Responsibility

Explain what a responsibility is- it’s something you are expected to do.

  • When you do the thing you are expected to do, you are being responsible, and a positive result occurs.
  • When you do not do the thing you are supposed to do, you are not being responsible, or being irresponsible, and there is a negative consequence for having neglected your responsibility.
Being responsible has two components- 1) the act of doing the thing you are responsible for, and 2) accepting the good or negative outcome of your actions.

What are some examples of Responsibilities?

Responsibilities can be tasks, or jobs, that you are supposed to do. It’s a responsibility because there is a result or outcome you are working toward. If you don’t do the task, there is a negative result.

Responsibilities can have to do with how we act / behave around others. We are expected to act a certain way (be responsible in how we act) because if we don’t there may be a negative outcome.

Discuss some tasks and behavior expectations and the positive or negative consequences of being responsible or irresponsible. For example:

  1. Do your homework-
    • If you do it, you learn and it helps prepare you for life. It may also keep your parents and teachers happy and you may get praise.
    • If you don’t do it, it hurts your ability to learn and grow. Parents and teachers may be disappointed. There may be consequences like losing privileges until your work is done.
  2. Don’t hurt yourself of others
    • It’s your responsibility think about how you are working in the classroom or playing outside. Acting responsibly helps keep you and others safe from harm.

Responsibility Scenarios

Walk through the examples of being responsible. Compare what a responsible action is and its positive outcome (on the left) with the irresponsible action and its negative consequence (on the right.)

  • Being responsible is about choosing the right action, but it’s also about taking responsibility for the results (good or bad). How does it feel when you choose the responsible action? How does it feel when you face the consequences of the irresponsible action?
  • When it’s hard to do the responsible thing, how can thinking about the possible negative outcome (and how bad it will feel later) help you to choose the right action?

Why is responsibility important- Actions

Being responsible is about linking actions with their consequences. One way to understand why responsibility is important is to consider what would happen if people were not responsible. For example:

  1. Playing or working with others- What could happen if someone plays too rough with others, doesn’t do their share of a group project, leaves sharp objects on the playground…
  2. Taking care of their body- What could happen if someone eats lots of junk food or they ride their bike down a big hill where they can’t see cars coming?
  3. Taking care of things and spaces: What could happen if people don’t pick up their trash, or don’t take care of their houses, or leave their toys lying around in the rain?
Sometimes if one person doesn’t do something it isn’t a big deal. But what if everybody did it?
- Being responsible is a group effort- we each need to be responsible to others the way we’d like them to be responsible for our sake.

Why is responsibility important- Self esteem / Self Respect

Being responsible feels better than being irresponsible, in the long run. Sometimes it’s hard to do the right, or responsible, thing in the moment. It can be tempting to do what you want to do instead of what you need to do. But long term, actions have consequences. Being responsible gets you the result you want. Irresponsible decisions lead to negative consequences that are no fun. When it’s hard to do the responsible thing, think about how it will feel later when you have to pay for the consequences of your actions. When you’re a kid, it may not seem like that big of a deal. As you get older, the choices and the consequences become more significant.

Summary- What is Responsibility

Restate what responsibility is and discuss why it is important for a society.

  • Trust- When you are consistently responsible, people can trust you to play/work nicely and to do the things you say you are going to do. Eventually this leads to better relationships and more freedom.
  • Consequences- Actions have consequences and ultimately you get to enjoy the good and deal with the bad ones.
  • Cooperation- In any society people need to be responsible for so they we can live safely and peacefully together.

Extend the lesson

Try the What is Responsibility Worksheet to reinforce lessons from this presentation.