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Success and Failure

About the Lesson

Targeted Learner Outcomes

In todays society students are bombarded


with messages telling them that winning
is everything, from the classroom to the
athletic eld. Implicit in this message
is that there is only one winner in any
contest. In this lesson, students will explore
how they measure success and failure in
themselves and in others. Then they will
write an essay on this complex topic.

The student will:


think about how he or she denes
personal success,
describe feelings about a measure
of success,
learn the essential elements of an essay,
and
write an essay.

Open the lesson by asking students to think about what makes them feel
successful. When they make an attempt at somethingin class, in sports,
in band, or even in their relationships with family or friendshow do
they know theyve been successful? Have students volunteer some of these
measures of success.
Have students turn to the rst part of their lesson page, which lists
fourteen items. Have them think about how someone would know he or
she had been successful in each situation. Ask them to write a measure
of success for each item. When students are done writing, hold a class
discussion about the exercise, listing students responses on the board.
Now that theyve dened success, ask them to dene failure. Is failure
simply the opposite of success? For example, if fteen people run a race,
when one wins, have the others failed? If any students answer yes to this
question, ask for their reasoning and open it up for discussion. (Remind
students to be respectful in responding.)
Last, ask students to consider whether people need to experience failure
before they know how success feels. Allow students time to discuss
the phrase winning is everything before moving on to the next part
of the lesson.

Next, students will write down their feelings about the measures
of success they wrote in the rst part of the lesson. Which is most
meaningful to them? Once youve had them thinking about success
and failure, they may nd that their ideas have shifted a bit.

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Writing an Essay

From Time to Write, Copyright Good Year Books. This page may be reproduced for classroom use only by the actual purchaser of the book. www.goodyearbooks.com.

Last, after so much discussion and thought about measuring success and
failure, students will be ready to write an essay. They can write about one
of the scenarios in the rst part of the lesson and expand on it, or they
may choose another scenario. Here are a few additional choices:

Winning an election

Getting your name in the Guinness Book of World Records

Losing 25 pounds

Finishing a marathon

Baking the best cake at the county fair

Being voted the most popular girl or boy in school

Having a winning ticket for the Irish Sweepstakes

Celebrating a ftieth wedding anniversary

Purchasing a Hummer

If appropriate, students can publish their essays in a student newspaper


or class newsletter.

Success and Failure

Date __________________

How do you know youve been successful at something youve tried to do?
Think about the following events. What would have to happen before you
would know youd been successful at one of these endeavors?
1. In business? ______________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
2. Writing prose and poetry? ___________________________________
___________________________________________________________
3. Promoting peace around the world? ___________________________
___________________________________________________________
4. Engineering automobiles? ___________________________________
___________________________________________________________
5. Getting good grades in school? _______________________________
___________________________________________________________
6. Being very attractive? _______________________________________
___________________________________________________________
7. Playing the piano? _________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
8. Cooking? ________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
9. Being strong? _____________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

From Time to Write, Copyright Good Year Books. This page may be reproduced for classroom use only by the actual purchaser of the book. www.goodyearbooks.com.

Name _________________________________________

Success and Failure (continued)


Name _________________________________________

Date __________________

From Time to Write, Copyright Good Year Books. This page may be reproduced for classroom use only by the actual purchaser of the book. www.goodyearbooks.com.

10. Recording a song? ________________________________________


___________________________________________________________
11. Performing an act of heroism? _______________________________
___________________________________________________________
12. Being a good parent? ______________________________________
___________________________________________________________
13. Acting in a situation comedy? _______________________________
___________________________________________________________
14. Being a good citizen? ______________________________________
___________________________________________________________

Which of the measures in activity 1 is most meaningful to you?


___________________________________________________________
Why? ______________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
Which measure is least meaningful? ______________________________
Why? ______________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

Success and Failure (continued)

Date __________________

How do you dene success and failure for yourself? On the lines below,
jot down ideas that you can include in an essay about your denition of
success and failure. Organize the ideas into an outline.
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
Before you begin writing the essay, it is a good idea to review these basics:

The essay is written about one subject.


It is written from the writers point of view.
Arguments are supported with facts.
The most important points are made at the
beginning and at the end.

When you are ready, write your essay


on a separate sheet of paper. If you
are comfortable doing so, share your
essay with the class.

From Time to Write, Copyright Good Year Books. This page may be reproduced for classroom use only by the actual purchaser of the book. www.goodyearbooks.com.

Name _________________________________________