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Friendship and Good Sportsmanship Require Respect

Grade Levels: 4-6
Character Focus: Respect
Academic Content Area: English-Language Arts
Lesson Duration: Reading of selections and discussion takes about 45 minutes, depending on student maturity level. Each extended activity takes approximately 45 minutes.
Author Comments/Notes: This lesson plan is geared for after school programs during which there is a large amount of daily social interaction and athletic competition. The plan can also be helpful in the daytime program, to provide support for Physical Education and recess.
Book Title and Author: ​Inches and Miles, the Journey to Success by Coach John Wooden, Perfection Learning Corporation
Materials Needed: Inches and Miles, the Journey to Success, paper, pencil, crayons or markers, poster board with listing of actions that show respect.
Implementation Strategies Used:
  • Academic content-based discussion (e.g., literature-based)
  • Class meeting & class issues discussion

Lesson Summary

Students will read two excerpts from Inch and Miles, the Journey to Success (Friendship, and Team Spirit). The lesson objective is to determine how respect is important in friendship and good sportsmanship. Students will explore their own experiences with friendships and sportsmanship, and evaluate and express their observations and opinions to their peers.

To culminate the lesson, students will create an individual poster reflecting their most significant personal experience that relates to the lesson. The teacher will display the posters. Students will follow up with discussions that suggest applications of their new knowledge regarding relationships, friendship and good sportsmanship.

Academic-Character Objectives

  1. Students will evaluate literacy selections to determine statements that are character-driven describing or demonstrating respect, with emphasis on friendship and sportsmanship.
  2. Students will self-reflect on character-driven statements to connect emotionally to elements of respect.
  3. Students will use appropriate strategies when reading for different purposes (e.g., full comprehension, location of information, personal enjoyment) in their effort to locate character-driven points in the text.
  4.  Students will listen and speak using details, examples, anecdotes, or experiences to explain and clarify information.

Into (Motivation, anticipatory set, and setting the standard)

  1. Ask students for their descriptions of respect. Ask them to give specific examples of: respect for self, respect for others, compassion, self-discipline, and courtesy. Explain that sports coaches talk and write about respect because it is an important part of team play.
  2. Review character trait definitions: Integrity, Respect, Responsibility.
  3. Introduce students to Coach John Wooden’s book, Inches and Miles, the Journey to Success. To interest them, ask for volunteers to read one or two pre-selected excerpts from the book.
  4. Display a poster listing qualities of respect, ask students to keep these characteristics in mind as more excerpts are read to the class.

Through (Lesson continues)

       5.   Teacher reads pre-selected excerpts to the class. 
       6.   Discuss the story excerpts and the lessons about respect and friendship. Use as many questions and points as
              time permits.
  • Ask students if they noticed any descriptions on the poster that relates to what was read. Check off items on the poster as students recall related statements.
  • Focus on respect and friendship first, with questions regarding the students’ friendships. Do you think respect is an important part of friendship? Why or why not?
  • Give examples of things you must respect about the other person in order to have good friendships. Allow time for interaction, self-reflection and discussion.
  • How is respect part of sportsmanship? Team spirit? All sufficient time for all students to have some input and reflect on feelings and experiences. Have you ever played sports and not been respected? What happened? What are some examples of being respected while playing a sport?

Beyond (Application, Extensions, and Assessment)

  • Review the lessons learned from the readings before you conduct an extended activity or assessment. Review how respect is part of friendship and good sportsmanship. Check for evidence of student understanding of the concepts.
  • Poster: Students make their own posters that illustrate either friendship or sportsmanship, related to respect for others. (This may take more than one afternoon period.)
  • Teacher display all posters on walls of classroom. Place the word “Respect” in a prominent position in the display. Students share their posters with the class, explaining why they decided to include each item.
  • Ask students how they can use what they have learned as they play on a team or at recess with their friends.
  • Review posters with students during the days that follow. Use them to reflect on lessons learned and to facilitate discussions as social or sports conflicts arise during the school year.
  • Research: Have students do research on John Wooden and present what they’ve learned.


Written by Barbara Trigillo


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