Hands for Citizenship

How do you teach citizenship to elementary school students? 

At Kent Primary School, teachers used the book You are Enough by Margaret O’Hair as a springboard for conversations about being a part of our community, and how students can support one another. Classroom activities included role-played scenarios to highlight what being a good citizen looked like, creation of class rules charts, poetry and more. 

Student Hand Artwork

Art Teacher Sarah Bell asked students and fellow teachers to use art to answer the question: How can you be a good citizen at school? 

 Students shared their ideas and drawings on multi-colored paper hands now displayed throughout the hallways and main lobby of the building. 

“I chose to create this activity with the hands because I thought it would be a great opportunity to share our students’ perspectives about what citizenship means to them,” said Bell. “Also, the hand can clearly be recognized as a symbol representing an individual.” 

Third-grade student Michelle Collado summed up her ideas on citizenship with phrases written on each finger of her hand-shaped cutout: Being kind; Helping others; Compassion; Clean Environment; and Kind. 

“I can be a good citizen in school by being nice and helping other kids,” second-grade student Gimena Lencina Baez wrote on her hand. 

“I can be a good citizen in school by helping people,” wrote second-grade student Mikolai Boho. 

Bell said the project was a great way to teach students on how to behave toward classmates and other students in the building. 

“When students feel respected by their peers and welcome among them, it helps them be more excited about coming to school and learning,” said Bell.