Lesson Plan: I Can Be A Success!

Grade Level: 6-12

Time Frame: 1 to 2 Class Periods

Subjects: Health, Language Arts, Making Predictions

Student Learning Objectives:

Students will become aware of the uniqueness and value of themselves.

Students will compare and contrast an optimist and a pessimist.

Students will use decision making skills to identify strengths, limitations and skills.

Students will determine a plan on how to improve a limitation.

Students will read an essay and use content to relate to their own experiences.

RI State Health Standards

4- Students will analyze the influence of culture, media, technology and other factors on health.

6- Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting and decision-making to enhance health.

RI Reading Standards

E1c- reads and comprehends materials to develop an understanding of work that makes connections to related topics

RI Writing Standards

E2F- produces a reflective essay that analyzes a condition or situation


  • Copy of the “My Experience” essay
  • paper
  • writing utensil

Introduction/Life connection: Class discussion

How important is attitude when trying to succeed? Can you have fun at a sport or a game even if you’re not very good at it? Is there more or different pressure on boys when it comes to playing sports?

Describe/compare and contrast an optimist and a pessimist and the attitude of each.

Initiate student discussion by asking if they know anyone who is an optimist?  A pessimist?

Ask students to respond orally  to these questions:

  1. If you’re not good at something, but you enjoy it, do you continue with it or do you quit?
  2. What do you tell yourself it you’re not good at something?
  3. How competitive are you?

Read the essay

“My Experience”

I believe being the quarterback is the most exciting position on the football field, while playing offensive lineman is probably the harshest position to hold in a game. I’ve always been short in stature compared to my classmates. This didn’t matter so much in elementary school, but high school is a different story. Small kids plus athletics equal tough times. My size is always preventing me from moving the pigskin over the goal line.

My cousin Zack taught me everything I know about football. He is the best player I know—always in the game, always running the ball. Because of Zack’s coaching, my game is improving, but I’m still the worst player on the field. If I’m chosen for your team… better make me the water boy!

I don’t snap the ball well enough to be an offensive lineman. I don’t catch well enough to be a wide receiver, and I don’t hit well enough to be a corner back. Will this be the season I pull all my skills together to be a good offensive lineman? Probably not.

I am constantly asked why I keep trying to play a game suited for ruggedly built guys. My reply, “I like it!” Playing football makes me feel strong, even tough most of the players are at least 6 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than me. My enthusiasm is so contagious that the guys let me play.

There are two components to this dilemma. The first is I’m usually the smallest guy on the field. It may not appear difficult to be a runt. But sometimes I feel like a first grader in the center of a high school riot.

The second piece is I am not even close to being the next Tom Brady, but maybe if a bit of good fortune comes my way I can be the next Tom Brady.

If you look at the degree of stress I endure because of these issues, it isn’t close to the burdens endured by people who are plagued by debilitating illness, racism, or abuse, but it can be frustrating.

There are pressures we face everyday in our world.

Steps. After students read the essay, ask them to write an essay in response to these questions:

  1. Do you think you have an accurate picture of your strengths and limitations?
  2. List five skills you have.
  3. What’s one thing you’d like to do but aren’t very good at? List three steps you could take that would bring you closer to being better at it.
  4. Describe what an optimist is. Are you an optimist? If not, how could you become an optimist?