Allow students to choose a job title from a list of "classic" occupations. Just a few suggestions to include in the list they can chose from are: nurse, fireman, teacher, plumber, writer, police officer, truck driver, athlete, carpenter, computer technician, hair dresser, librarian, principal, custodian, pilot, soldier, bricklayer, painter, veterinarian, zookeeper, lawyer, doctor, taxi driver, store manager, banker, electrician, lifeguard, etc.
Their paper should have the job title they selected, and below that, they should answer this question, "What does this person do?"
After they have written down one answer, have them write down two more answers to the same question.
For example, if someone has chosen nurse, then he or she might jot down:
1. A nurse helps sick people get better.
2. A nurse has to wear a uniform.
3. She has to work when other people are off from work.
Have the students tape them to the chalkboard and let them look at everyone else's work for a few minutes, with the goal being to "see what they can find that all papers have in common."
When students return to their seats, ask for common points they may have noticed, with the ultimate outcome being that the common occupational trait of responsibility is brought into the discussion. Then, when you ask questions such as, "What does being a carpenter have to do with being responsible?" - students will see that special responsibilities are attached to virtually everything we do. (We don't want our walls and roofs falling in on us!)
Finally, discuss those occupations that require especially responsible people, such as school crossing crossing guard, baby-sitter, lifeguard, etc.
Additional thoughts from the author:
Without question, one of the greatest moments of my school-days' life was when our principal, Mr. Chilton, said I could be a crossing guard before and after school. Some of my friends had already been crossing guards for weeks before I was asked to join them, and I was finally getting my chance to wear a bright orange vest, too! Looking back on it, I feel honored that our principal thought I would do a god job, and to this day, I've kept my Patrol Badge. It's really just a small pin, but it meant that Mr. Chilton had big faith in me, so I still keep it in my old 5th grade cigar box!