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My Graduation

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TOPIC: Goals and High Expectations

CONCEPT: Research demonstrates that a commitment to learning and personal goals for attaining an education are protective factors that offset risks for children, making them less likely to engage in self-defeating and dangerous behaviors such as drug use. Research also indicates that successful students have high expectations for themselves; they expect to graduate from high school and college.

OBJECTIVE: Students practice setting goals and high expectations for themselves by planning their graduation from high school.

GRADE LEVEL: 3rd - 5th

Method: Individual and classroom activity
Time Frame: 25 minutes plus "Post Test" and "Discussion"
Material: "My Graduation!" and "My Wish for You" - one of each per student (see links below) - the latter rolled and tied with ribbon - like a "diploma" - Optional: real cap, gown, ring, etc.


ACTIVITY: Print out worksheets for My Graduation and My Wish for You. Discuss how proud families are of their graduates and how it feels to accomplish a goal. Using the "My Graduation!" handout, instruct students to draw themselves in a cap and gown, wearing a graduation ring and holding a diploma. Ask them to list people they would invite to the graduation ceremony. [Note: If some students do not have several people to invite, ask them to invite you and explain it would make you very proud to be invited. Do not promise to attend.] Invite students to share their drawings. Facilitate the "Post-Test" and "Discussion." End the lesson by asking students to walk to the front of the class, shake your hand and accept "My Wish for You" "diplomas" (tied with ribbon.)

POST-TEST: After students share their drawings, ask the class:

  • How did it feel to plan for your graduation?

  • How do you think your parents and family will feel when you graduate?

  • Why is it important to set goals... to decide what we want to do?

  • Why is it important to plan... to write or draw the things we will do?

  • Why is it important to share our hopes, dreams and plans with others?

DISCUSSION: After the "Post-Test," discuss the fact that what we do today can affect what happens to us in the future, such as working hard in school affects the goal of graduation. Discuss what students can do to be sure they do well in school now. Emphasize it is smart to know when to ask for help; asking questions is one important way we learn. Discuss how students can ask for help from teachers and counselors.

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