Overview: What key behaviors are tied to success in the content area you teach? Help your students explore what those behaviors and attitudes look, feel and sounds like. You could have a future scientist or artist on your hands and they don’t even know it!

To access the video recording of the webinar detailing this lesson, please click here.

Materials Needed:

  • The “Defining Your Skills” Table and Content Area Skills (provided) 

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Students will learn transferable concepts that are applicable across grade levels and content areas. 
  • Students will develop habits and attitudes that sustain effort and accomplishment both in and out of the classroom setting. 

Learning Objectives: 

By the end of the activity, students will be able to… 

  • Utilize the shared language to build a culture of learning. 
  • Define “key terms” to connect content areas with academic success, cultural understanding, interpersonal communication, decision-making, specific attitudes and transferable skills. 


  1. Preparation: Choose 5 “key terms” from the list below or come up with own based on learning goals or content area.
  2. Give each student a copy of the “Defining Your Skills” handout to complete. This can be done in a Google form or other similar program if virtual delivery is necessary.)
  3. Have students share their work on the desired educational platform/tool (if necessary for virtual delivery).
  4. Have students compare and contrast their work. 
  5. Extension: Have students keep a daily or weekly journal to track the progress and development of their “new skills/traits”.


  1. What did you observe about other students’ explanations of the “key terms”? 
  2. What similarities or commonalities did you observe? 
  3. What did you learn about yourself? 
  4. What did you learn about others? 
  5. How can the “key terms” help us to succeed in school and in life? 
  6. How can the “key terms” help us to better understand and communicate with others? 
  7. How can the “key terms” help us better understand our own and others’ cultural values? 

“Key Terms” across content areas: 

  • Art: Creativity, artistry, curiosity, imagination, innovation, personal expression 
  • Business: Economic/financial literacy, entrepreneurialism, motivation, 
  • College & Career: Critical thinking, career-ready, prepared, learning, understanding 
  • English Language Arts: Research skills/practices, investigating, questioning, critiquing 
  • General: Perseverance, self-direction, planning, self-discipline, adaptability, initiative 
  • General: Imagination, curiosity, self-awareness, strength, enjoyment, adaptability 
  • Health/Wellness: Physical health, mental health, nutrition, dedicated, active 
  • Higher Order Thinking: Critical thinking, problem-solving, reasoning, analysis, interpretation, synthesizing information
  • Leadership: Leadership, teamwork, collaboration, cooperation 
  • Mathematics: Reasoning, modeling, perseverance, precision, abstract 
  • Science: Scientific literacy/reasoning, hypothesizing, observing, classifying, predicting, inferring, evaluating
  • Social Emotional Learning: Self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, responsible decision-making, relationship skills
  • Social Studies: Civics, ethical, social justice, citizenship 
  • Speech/Debate: Oral/written communication, public speaking, presenting, listening, fluency 
  • World History/Culture: Global awareness, multicultural literacy, humanitarianism, community, culture, cooperation, collaboration
  • World Language: Fluency, interpersonal, intercultural, communicative, comprehensible 

This lesson is adapted from an idea at Solution Tree

For more lesson plan ideas, please visit the AFS-USA Teacher’s Toolbox

For questions, comments or suggestions, please email us at [email protected].

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