Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

School Success: Puzzle Pieces

For any class that thrives off of group work, this is the lesson for you! My students love coming up with ideas as a group and being given the opportunity to present them to the class, not to mention their love for any lesson with a lot of classroom discussion. If you end up with extra time at the end, feel free to do some art therapy and let the students color their puzzle pieces or to cut the pieces out and use them on a bulletin board!

Lesson Title: School Success – Puzzle Pieces

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • A:A1.5 Identify attitudes and behaviors that lead to successful learning
  • A:A3.5 Share knowledge
  • A:B2.6 Understand the relationship between classroom performance and success in school

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to define success
  • Students will be able to identify behaviors that make a person successful
  • Students will understand the relationship between success as an elementary school student and as an adult


  • Puzzle piece handout (1 per small group of students)


Begin the lesson by asking students to describe what a successful person looks like. Sketch their ideas on the white board or ask another student to sketch for you. Students may describe someone in a suit with a briefcase, someone with glasses, someone with a lot of money, etc. Ask students what kind of behavior successful people have and sketch those ideas around this person.

Explore the accuracy of the ideas students had. For example, glasses don’t make someone smart or successful, dressing professionally is a behavior of a successful person, but doesn’t make the person successful, and so on. Emphasize that many of these ideas don’t define success, but instead may be qualities of some successful people. Transition to exploring what success actually is, looks like, and what behaviors accompany success.

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to be successful? (definition: accomplishing a goal or aim)
  • Do you consider yourself to be “successful” right now? Why or why not?
  • How does a person become successful?
  • What do you need to do in elementary school to become successful?
  • What does that look like?
  • Who are some people in your life who help you to become successful?
  • How can elementary school success lead to success as an adult?
  • What kind of goals do you have or will you have that you would like to gain success in?

Break students up into several groups to brainstorm the following question:

“what do you think the top 10 pieces of becoming successful are?”

Ask students to write each piece of success that they came up with into a puzzle piece. Allow students to present their ideas and to share their ideas with the class. Compare and contrast ideas.

Potential ideas/examples:

  • Eating healthy
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Studying
  • Find a role model
  • Do your best and to work hard (perseverance, self-discipline)
  • Completing homework
  • Asking for help when needed
  • Paying attention to the teacher when he/she is talking
  • Break big jobs/tasks into small pieces
  • Follow instructions
  • Taking notes so you don’t have to try to remember everything (this is impossible)
  • Participating in class
  • Making to-do lists
  • Thinking positive
  • Staying organized
  • Make goals

Discuss how getting enough sleep, eating healthy, being organized, etc. can help you to be successful. Ask students what this might look like. Provide an opportunity for students to share their tips and tricks for these pieces of success. Lastly, explore/summarize with students how success as an elementary schooler can lead to success in middle school, high school, college, and in their career and home life.


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