Mental Health

Long shot: never too small to dream big

Author(s): Chris Paul


Social Justice focus: Overcoming obstacles

Synopsis: N.B.A player Chris Paul tells his story of making his high school basketball team despite being one of the shortest players trying out. He demonstrates the value of determination, hard work, and the refusal to accept limitations.

Lesson Plan: Tyler Moreira

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Lesson Plan (Abbreviated Template)

Consecutive and Concurrent Programs

Unit/Topic: Creative Writing

Grade: 4


Lesson: What is the focus of this lesson in relation to the unit?

The focus of this lesson is to reassure students that they are capable to achieve their dreams and remind students of the various support systems they have. In this lesson, students will be guided through goal setting strategies to help achieve them.

Curriculum Areas: What are possible connections to other curricular areas?

Cross-curricular connections to health and physical education – healthy living strand in the Physical Education curriculum document in the ways it allows students to reflect on their support systems in life and their emotions as individuals.

Curriculum Expectations: What Overall and Specific Expectations will be addressed?


Listen in order to understand and respond appropriately in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes;

Overall Expectations:

generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience;


Developing Ideas

generate ideas about a potential topic using a variety of strategies and resources (e.g., brainstorm; formulate and ask questions to identify personal experiences, prior knowledge, and information needs)


3.5 use parts of speech appropriately to communicate their meaning clearly, with a focus on the use of: common and proper nouns; verbs in the simple present, past, and future tenses; adjectives and adverbs; subject/verb agreement; prepositions; and conjunctions (e.g., since, through, until)

Physical Education

Overall: identify the physical, interpersonal, and emotional aspects of healthy human beings.


  • identify the characteristics of healthy relationships (e.g., showing consideration of others’ feelings by avoiding negative communication);
  • identify the challenges (e.g., conflicting opinions) and responsibilities in their relationships with family and friends.

Learning Goal(s): What are students expected to know, do and understand? We are learning to…

  • We are learning to explore and discover our SPARKS (Goals, interests, dreams, passions) in our lives
  • Set a plan in place to help us achieve our goals (Goals, Plan and shift (GPS) to achieve these goals)
  • Reflect and identify our support that is available from our peers, family and school and their importance to our mental health

Success Criteria: How will students know they have met the learning goal? I can….

  • Identify/brainstorm ideas which make me happy in life and identify my dreams for the future
  • Set short- and long-term goals, develop a plan and adapt to potential bumps in the road to achieve my goal
  • I can write about my dreams and tell my story through writing or digital display (Ipad, Chromebook etc.)

MODIFICATIONS / ACCOMMODATIONS How will I meet the needs of my students? Have I addressed any IEPs?

Pair up students for the first two minutes of ACTION into THINK/PAIR/SHARE for 2 minutes with the intended goal of having students share ideas and spark interest in finding out something which they love. With this activity, it allows for those students whom are more-timid or need motivation to bring out their ideas to get that push and share their ideas

  • Allow students to use iPads, Chromebook, writing utensils etc. to map out their dreams and goal setting however they feel comfortable.

Minds-on: How will I connect to prior and future learning? How will I engage students and set the context for learning?

Minutes: 15 minutes

Task: What will I be doing? What will students be doing?

Teacher leads the discussion:

Talk about your own personal story – Your SPARK /INTEREST and how you respond to it and how your interests relate to your dreams. For example, my interest/spark is coaching soccer – it is something I do every day, and I love working with kids. This led me to my dream, of becoming a lifelong learner and educator both in the classrooms and on the field. So, I chose the dream of becoming a teacher. My SPARK – coaching/soccer. My DREAM – teaching kids and seeing them develop knowing I was a part of the process.

Read Aloud of the book –

  • Have students identify the SPARKS/GPS that are mentioned in the books
  • Students will have prior knowledge of SPARKS – What are some things that you like to do that are: fun, interesting, and make you feel good about you? (Put sparks on a chart paper or white board.)
  • GPS – Goal (what is wanted), Path (strategies), Shift (adjusting to road blocks)
  • Getting the reader to ask; “what did I learn about myself after reading this book?” (This allows for personal connection and deeper meaning of the message)
  • What was the main message/idea the author was trying to get across/make me understand? (This allows for deeper understanding)
  • How is this text changing the way I think? (Personal reflection on their decision making and mindset and how one can change that to become or remain positive)
  • Can I relate to this story? If so, how? (Personal connection)

Assessment: What is the Nature and Purpose of assessment?

  • Nature of assessment – Formative- Assessment for Learning – students are taught the basics of SPARKS/GPS MODEL

Action: How will I introduce new learning / reinforce prior learning / practice learning / scaffold learning?

Minutes: 40 minutes

Task: What will I be doing? What will students be doing?

Have students close their eyes and think about their dreams. What or who do they want to be when they grow up? Think about the steps it takes to reach these dreams: athletes practicing skills, professionals attending school, etc. What can they do right now to start working on their dreams?

Pass out blank paper and have each student draw a picture showing them achieving their dream.

Talk about the following: Critical Literacy

  1. GOAL SETTING – DRAW A WEB ON THE BOARD – IDENTIFYING YOUR SPARKS AND GOALS. Have students write down their goals on the paper and allow them time to map out their goals. IDENTIFY THEIR SPARKS AND GOALS
  2. Ask students what steps would they pursue to make these dreams come true? PATH
  3. If there were roadblocks, how could they shift gears and do something different? SHIFT
  4. Who could help them with this goal and be a goal champion? (Touch upon family, friends, teachers, principals, coaches etc.) SUPPORT
  5. TALK ABOUT SMART GOALS (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time)

NEXT: Ask students to identify how this relates to their personal lives and the importance of healthy relationships – peers, teachers, friends, family etc.

Ask the students: Why are these important? Why is it important to speak nicely and motivate our friends? Why shouldn’t we talk bad and say mean things towards them?



Assessment: What is the Nature and Purpose of assessment?

Assessment – as learning – observing the students create a map of goals in which they wish to achieve and create a pathway in doing so.

Consolidation: How will I reflect on the learning goal? How will I have students reflect on the learning goal?

Minutes: 5

Task: What will I be doing? What will students be doing?

At the end of the lesson I will have a group discussion about the important of goal setting and have students share one thing they learned (voluntarily).

EXIT TICKET – Students write down their goal and one support system in which they have to help them achieve that goal. Students hand in the paper and teachers keep those papers in a safe spot to return to the students at a later point.

Assessment: What is the Nature and Purpose of assessment?

Assessment as learning

MATERIALS: What resources and materials do I need? Where can I find them? In a perfect world what other resources might I need?

  • Picture book
  • Research on SPARKS/GPS
  • Pens/Papers
  • Digital Devices for students with IEP’s or differentiated learning

REFLECTION: Questions to determine the success of your lesson:

  • Were my students successful in meeting the learning goals and success criteria? How do I know?
  • Did my instructional decisions meet the needs of all students? If not, what are my next steps?
  • What worked well and why?
  • What will I do differently in the future when teaching this lesson? For the subsequent lesson?
  • What are the next steps for my professional learning?


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Social Justice Picture Books Copyright © 2019 by Ruth McQuirter, editor and Gurbinder Kaur, contributing editor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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