Teaching Guide

Teaching PBIS: Achievement and Excellence

Because you're an A+ teacher.


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These days there are ribbons, trophies, and awards for everything. And not to brag, but we have shelves full of them. So who better to turn to for resources on teaching achievement and excellence than the winner of the "Best Test Preparation Website for 2015" (thanks, ComputED Gazette)? No one, that's who.

In this teaching guide you will find

  • an assignment prompting students to research famous inventors and their paths to success.
  • scripted lesson plans on believing in dreams, and achieving peace, love, and harmony—things that sound cheesy, but we help you not sound cheesy.
  • discussion questions to get students thinking about their long-term goals and what they have to do to achieve them.

Here at Shmoop, we're still working on our biggest accomplishment yet: winning Survivor. Once we have the immunity idol, the million, and a handshake from Jeff Probst, we'll help you out with that, too.



Everyone has goals and dreams. Today's lesson asks students to think about their goals in a different way. Instead of merely acknowledging them ("I want to be an astronaut!"), we'll be taking a cold, hard look at what it takes to actually achieve these goals. Even goals in our personal lives take dedication and time to fully realize.

Before you get started, here's a video you can show to your class.

Key Skills and Learning Objectives

  • Identify the hard work and dedication behind each achievement.
  • Encourage students to create personal and professional goals.
  • Outline detailed plans for achieving their goals.


  • Yesterday: Chill. 
  • Today: Complete one step toward your goals from handout produced in class.


Materials Needed: Handout (included), access to board to demo mapping out our goals

Estimated Time to Complete: 50 minutes

[Distribute Day 1 Handout.]

Setting goals can help you realize what you want to achieve, so it's time to set some personal and professional goals for yourself. Fill in each of the columns in the handout with what you want to achieve in the set time frame. Don't sweat it—this is your life and these are your dreams, so there aren't exactly wrong answers. That said, try to think of goals you can accomplish by completing a series of steps. Things like "getting married" are nice and all, but there's a pretty big element of chance involved.

[As students are working, check in with some of them.]

Let's hear some of the goals out there. What do you hope to do before graduating? [Let students answer.] Each of these goals take hard work and dedication to achieve. Okay, okay, some take more than others. They all take work and intention, though. Now we're going to map out exactly what it would take to get there. Let's take a look at one of the example goals on the handout and figure out how we could achieve it. [Demonstrate this on the board.]

Goal: Adopt a dog from a shelter.

Step 1: Turn eighteen. Sorry, the powers-that-be require it.

Step 2: Get a house or condo big enough for a dog to live in. Yard space is a definite plus.

Step 3: Save up. Dogs are pricey. Paying for a bed, food, toys, grooming, vaccinations, and licenses adds up quickly. And that's not even taking their treats into account.

Step 4: Figure out your game plan. Who will walk the dog? When can you brush him or take him to the park?

Step 5: Find a local park and vet. Trust me, you don't want to leave this to the last minute.

Step 6: Research what breed you might want. Big or small? Short-haired or fluff-fest? Are you someone who walks your dog five times a day or do you prefer a cuddle buddy?

Step 7: Visit a local shelter and play with some of the dogs to pick one out.

Step 8: Begin the adoption process. Usually, you have to hand over proof of your address, ID, and some cold, hard cash. Some shelters even make you meet with a pet counselor to make sure you're up to the challenge of raising a furry kid.

Step 9: Puppy-proof your home. You definitely don't want to leave your favorite sneakers around unless you think they'd look better with some chew marks on them.

Step 10: Set up a vet appointment to get your pup screened and up-to-date on meds. Some shelters make sure you spay/neuter now, too, just in case.

Step 11: Sign up for training classes at your local pet store.

Step 12: Bring your new hairy friend home to stay.

Can anyone think of any other steps before we could adopt a dog? How long do you think this entire process would take? [Let students answer.] Now it's your turn. Choose one of your goals and list all the steps you can think of before you're able to check that off your list. Remember to think outside the box. You'll probably come across some barriers to your success, but with a bit of creative thinking, you just might find a workaround that helps you achieve your goal anyway.


[Ask the students to share their steps with one another, if time allows. They can add to each other's lists in case they've forgotten any steps along the way.] How long do you think the entire process would take to achieve your goal? [Let students answer. End with a discussion about how lengthy each of these steps might be.]


For your homework, you'll be tackling one of the items on your to-do list that we just made. Think of it this way: you're one step closer to achieving your goal. You can choose to work on the steps you mapped out in class or pick a different one. Choose carefully, though. After all, you can't suddenly check "turn eighteen" off your list tonight, can you?

Once you've selected the objective you're after from the handout, start working toward it. Say you want to join the football team. You'll need to be a fast runner with ripped abs to make that happen, so go for a run tonight and do some push-ups. Or how about getting that A in your math class? Do the extra problems in your math textbook for homework.

After you've done your first step, write a paragraph explaining what you did and why.


  1. How long does it take to achieve some of your life goals? Does that surprise you?
  2. Why do professional goals take so long to accomplish?
  3. What kinds of things can you do to make it easier for you to succeed in the future?
  4. Do you think each person should set goals or just see what happens along the way? Why?
  5. What is one time you achieved something? What did it feel like? Does that experience make you want to be successful more or less often?
  6. Some people say the most rewarding goals take the longest to achieve. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  7. Why is achievement important to an individual?
  8. What did you do for homework to achieve your goal? Do you think this was helpful? How do you feel now that you've completed one step already?
  9. If you could do anything in life (for a career, or at home), what would your goal be? How can you achieve that goal?
  10. What do you think all successful people have in common?