Life Skills

Learning Goal:

    • Students will ...



The Power of a Positive Attitude


Most of the following lesson material on this page was taken from Soft Skills to Pay the Bills provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

It is not always easy, but you always get to choose your attitude. Having a positive impact will benefit your personal and professional life. Talk about the questions below with someone close and we'll share together.

    • What is a positive attitude? If I have a positive attitude, what actions might I display? What does a positive attitude “look” like to others?

    • What is a negative attitude? If I have a negative attitude, what actions might I display? What does a negative attitude “look” like to others?

Knowing your strengths will build your confidence and a belief in your abilities. Believing in yourself helps promote a positive attitude.

Break into groups of three to four. Each group member will take turns rolling the dice three times. Add your responses to the prompt on the collaborative page. Use this online dice roller, collaborative page, and statements below to complete this activity.

    • Roll a 1: I am thankful for…

    • Roll a 2: Other people compliment me on my ability to…

    • Roll a 3: Something I would like other people to know about me is…

    • Roll a 4: I feel really good about myself when….

    • Roll a 5: I am proud of my ability to…

    • Roll a 6: Something nice I recently did for someone else was…

Why was Roll #6 included? How might a positive attitude help on the job?

Use a Google Doc to reflect on the following section. We will discuss it together as a group.


Do you think our attitude (whether positive or negative) is something we are born with or that we have power to control within ourselves? Think about a time when your attitude (either positive or negative) impacted you and those around you. When is it most challenging for you to keep a positive mental attitude? What do you do to help keep yourself positive during difficult times?

Finally, we'll watch this video about being an average of the five people you spend the most time with (filter video 1:10-1:12 Part 1, Part 2).

Fail Forward

The following lesson was taken from Soft Skills to Pay the Bills provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Some of the most successful people are ones that failed many times. Failure is an inescapable part of life. In many situations, your ability to fail and try again will determine your success. We'll explore some famous examples of people that persevered through failure.

Break into teams of two. Use a Google Doc and your investigative skills to identify the people described below.

1. …a famous person who was defeated seven times while running for political office? 2. …a cartoonist who was told by the editor of the Kansas City newspaper, “It’s easy to see from these sketches that you have no talent.”

3. …an author whose first children’s book was rejected by 23 different publishers?

4. …a famous singer who was fired after his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry?

6. …a famous author who lived on welfare for years in an apartment infested with mice?

7. …a famous athlete who was cut from the varsity basketball team his sophomore year in high school?

8. …an inventor who was thrown out of school in the early grades because his teachers thought he couldn’t learn?

9. …a famous Harvard University drop out?

10. …an inventor of a fried chicken recipe that was rejected by more than 1000 restaurant owners?

Together, we'll look at the videos on this page that demonstrate success through failure. Here is another example of perseverance after setbacks we will look at together.

Failing forward and having a determination to succeed are closely related to having 'grit'. We'll watch this video that looks at one person's research into grit.

Use a Google Doc to reflect on the following section. We will discuss it together as a group.

Think of a time when you experienced a personal failure. What was the failure? How did this failure help you to become a better person, make better decisions, or succeed in a way you hadn’t imagined? Do you believe that failure is important? Why or why not?

Professionalism in Today's Workforce

The following lesson was taken from Soft Skills to Pay the Bills provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Our country has an aging workforce. In MN alone, by the year 2020 there will be more people age 65+ then there will be K-12 students. The workforce you enter will also have generational diversity (baby boomers (and older), Gen X-ers, Gen Y-ers, and Millennials). Each generation has different perspectives (education, upbringing, social norms, etc.) and values. These differences can be seen as a challenge, but in reality, a diverse workforce provides various viewpoints that help strengthen organizations. It's important to learn how to get along with people from different age groups and backgrounds.

  • What do you think the older generation thinks of the younger generation?

  • What does your generation think of the older generations?

  • Do you think these ideas are always true? Sometimes true? Never true?

  • Why do you think each group may have these ideas about the other group?

Rosie the Riveter

What does the word 'stereotype' mean? How are stereotypes formed?

Team up with another person. Use a Google Doc to answer the questions from this Cultural Divide activity. We'll talk about them together as a group.

Create a mind map with strategies one can use on the job to ensure that everybody works well together (not just different generations) and proactive steps one might take to ensure stereotyping does not occur on the job. Add your map to this collaborative page.

The Challenge - Professionalism & Stereotype Comic - 10 pts

Think about a time when someone made a biased judgment about you or acted unfairly toward you because of your age, skin color, clothes you were wearing, gender, the way you speak, where you live, how much money your family has, or some other reason. Why do you think those assumptions were made about you? How did that experience make you feel? How do you think you should have been treated in that situation? Create a comic that reflects and demonstrates a response to the statement and questions above. Show me your finished comic when you are finished for credit.

Teamwork – A Core Component of Professionalism

teamwork football

The following lesson was taken from Soft Skills to Pay the Bills provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

How do your actions as an individual affect the actions and work of other team members? Use this link to rate yourself and reflect on the results. We'll discuss your thoughts together as a group.