Freshmen 1st Day Lesson: Make Your Lives Extraordinary!

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How should a teacher greet a group of freshman students on the 1st day of their high school careers?

To break the ice, try starting the class off with a video clip from the Dead Poet’s Society.

After watching the clip, have each student write a “Bucket List” for high school and life. The target number for items is 40, with at least half being for the high school career. (For homework the students will type out the list and leave one copy in their binder.)

Remind the students that the purpose of the list is to help “Make your lives extraordinary.”

After allowing the students time to write out some of their list, talk to the students about setting a short-term goal between the start of the school year. If possible, share some ideas on how to set a SMART goal – specific, measured, attainable, realistic, and timed.

Some examples:

Run a 6:30 mile (Cross-Country)

  1. Eat healthy
  2. Stretch at night
  3. Get 9 hours of sleep each night
  4. Do 25 extra push-ups each night.

Read a 900 page book before Thanksgiving

  1. Read 15 pages each during the week
  2. Read 40 pages each day during the weekend.

Once the students have selected a goal with the detailed, specific steps required to achieve the goal, the students will create a visual assignment is to create a goal with a visual. The students will present the goal and keep it in their US History binder, with their “bucket list,” to remind them to take the necessary steps to reach the goal.

Below is a transcript of the speech:

MR. KEATING: They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts, full of hormones just like you. Invincible just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see, gentlemen, those boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen. Do you hear it?

Carpe. Hear it? Carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary. (from Dead Poet’s Society)

Speech from:

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