GRADE LEVELS: 9 - 12
CONTENT AREAS: Explore Your Path
STUDENT PATHS OUTCOME:
- 2-3: Students use strengths to achieve goals and employ strategies to improve upon weak areas.
IN THIS LESSON STUDENTS WILL:
- Reflect on routine decisions they make on a daily basis.
- Participate in a teacher-led large-group discussion about the kinds of decisions they control each day.
- Record Three Keys to Effective Decision Making.
- Identify one important decision they’ve made and examine it through the lenses of the Three Keys.
- Share decision-making and time-management experience with others in writing or video recording.
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ADDRESSED:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
ASCA STANDARDS ADDRESSED:
- C:A1.5 – Learn how to make decisions
No prior knowledge necessary
- Activity Handout, “Understanding How I Make Decisions”
- Projector or board to present “Three Keys to Effective Decision Making”
- Article from Student Paths, “At the Crossroads: Are You Ready for Decision Making and Time Management?”
This lesson on Decision Making has four parts. The Activity Handout guides students through most of the lesson.
- Students write and share about everyday decisions.
- Whole class reads and summarizes article.
- Instructor presents Three Keys to Effective Decisions.
- Students reflect on one big decision.
Write and Share Everyday Decisions (10 minutes)
Distribute the Activity Handout, “Understanding How I Make Decisions.” Instruct students to reflect and write on five decisions they usually make every day. No need to prompt them with specifics, but what to eat, with whom to talk, whether or not to participate in class and to do the assignment are decisions most students make every day.
After students have written five decisions and the reasons for making them, instruct students to find a partner and share these everyday decisions. Encourage casual sharing for a few minutes. Wrap up this section by having a few students summarize the kinds of decisions we all make every day.
Read about Decision Making and Time Management (10-15 minutes)
Distribute Student Paths and tell students to find the article, “At the Crossroads: Are You Ready for Decision Making and Time Management?”
Read this article aloud as a class. Have a different student volunteer to read each section, and pause for a minute to reflect as a group after each section. There are five main ideas for all students to garner from this article about decision making, especially in regard to time management.
- Pause for time to reflect on decisions.
- Evaluate all possibilities and consequences.
- Anticipate what will happen in the future.
- Heart, head, and gut are all parts of how we make decisions.
- Time-management skills require schedules and identifying obligations.
Present Three Keys to Effective Decisions (5 minutes)
The instructor will present these three keys to students so they may complete Part 2 of the Activity Handout.
1. KNOW AND STAND BY YOUR VALUES –
Establish, examine, recognize and act according to the values and principles you live by. QUICK TIP: If what you decide doesn’t “feel” right, you’ve probably gone against your own values.
2. KNOW AND USE OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION –
As #1 says, it’s important to make decisions according to your values. Other information, such as how your decision will impact others may also be important. Be thorough with this information, going through all the necessary who, what, where, when and how questions. It is also helpful to rank other decision-related information according to what’s most important, less important and least important.
3. BE STRATEGIC –
Put some thought into what you will actually do with the decision you make. Are there certain times/places, for example, when taking action would be a better idea than others? Who else should know about your decision, and why? Plan ways to maintain your values, improve yourself, and benefit society through your decision.
Reflect on a Big Decision (5 minutes)
After reviewing the Three Keys to Effective Decisions, instruct students to complete Part 3 of the Activity Handout. This task will be completed by each student and may be kept private. Conclude by reminding students that every second of every day is an opportunity to make a conscious decision. Both little decisions and big decisions create the character we become in life.
Extension Activity and Reflective Assessment (10-60 minutes):
Invite students to write on their own about big decisions that change their life and little decisions that allow them to manage time. Students may write this advice to younger students and record a video as well. Another option: Educators could record videos with a group of students willing to give high-quality advice to other students.
Submit essays and videos to Sharon Hodge, managing editor of Student Paths, at firstname.lastname@example.org for possible use in the publication or on mystudentpath.com.
Understanding How I Make Decisions
Part 1: Everyday Decisions
Take five minutes to write a complete response to this topic:
Write FIVE decisions you’ve made this week, with a quick explanation of why you made them.
You will be sharing some of these responses, so you may not want to write about sexual activity or substance use if you routinely encounter this kind of decision. Sensitive topics would be more appropriate for Part 3 of this activity that will be kept private.
Decision I Made Reasons I Made this Decision
Part 2: Three Keys to Effective Decision Making
In this space, record the Three Keys of Decision Making provided by your teacher.
Part 3: A Big Decision
In the introduction, you wrote about five decisions you make on an everyday basis. For this section, think bigger and write about one of the more important decisions you’ve made in your life. Get started by completing the sentence below.
One of the most important decisions I ever made was when I decided to …
In the questions below, examine this decision in light of the Three Keys to Effective Decision Making.
PERSONAL VALUES: To make the above decision, my personal values influenced me by …
OUTSIDE INFORMATION: To make the above decision, I did not think only of my personal values. I also thought about these pieces of information …
ACTION STRATEGY: After making the above decision, I took action by …