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Overview For Teachers

INITIATIVE: The ability to be productive and show ambition; go above and beyond the minimum job requirements; voluntarily start projects; attempt non -routine jobs and tasks; establish credibility; to be able to work independently; complete assigned tasks efficiently, effectively and timely; the ability to work towards goals.

PURPOSE: Upon completion of this module, the student will understand the importance of taking initiative in the classroom as well as the workplace. In addition, the objectives listed below should be met.


 Demonstrate the ability to take initiative

 Identify situations in which to take initiative

 Realize the importance of working independently towards a goal without waiting for someone to tell you or remind you


This module focuses on teaching students the importance of being a self-starter, going above and beyond the minimum requirements and doing something without being asked because it is the right thing to do . Students will come to realize how important all these factors are in being successful at school and at work. In addition, students will have an opportunity to gain an understanding of the importance of taking initiative by participating in various activities designed to stimulate thought and discussion.


What does initiative look like in the classroom or in school in general? A great way to answer this and get things going is through engagement with the students. Ask your students these questions:

1. What does taking initiative look like in class?

2. How does your productivity affect other students? Example: Homework, group projects, sports, etc.

3. What does taking initiative look like within your learning?


Employers have ranked the ability to take initiative as one of the most significant employability skills needed in the workplace.


Adding Productivity to Your Life
Time Allocation: 20  minutes
Materials/Resources: 24 Ways to Be Uncommonly Productive Today Worksheet, paper, pens/ pencils , highlighters, computers (optional)


 Ask students the following question:

      o Give me an example of how you have been or plan to be productive today?

 When a few students have shared their answers, ask these follow -up questions :

     o Is being productive important? Why or why not?



 Inform students that as they continue to get older and move into different phases of their life, they are going to get busier and busier. From high school to college to a career to having a family – you soon start running out of time to do everything you need to each day.

 One way to combat this problem is by becoming more productive with the time that you do have . There are ways that this can be done and tips on how to increase your productivity .

 Give each student a copy of the 24 Ways to be Uncommonly Productive Today Worksheet. Read each way out loud , or call on students to read. Discuss any with the class that they need clarification.


 Give each student a piece of paper and pen/ pencil and have them write down their schedule for the week , including every little thing they have to do , and the deadline for each item.

     o Chores, homework, work, sports team practices/ games, presentations, projects, family time, etc.

 Once students have their schedule written down, have them refer back to the list of ways to increase productivity from the worksheet. They will then choose all the ones that could apply to their personal schedule. Have them highlight any items on their schedule that could benefit by implementing one or more of the 24 suggested tips. After they highlight the item on their schedule, have them write the number of the useful tip out to the side of that item.

     o Tell students they need to incorporate 5 -7 ways , at a minimum, to increase productivity into their weekly schedule.

 When finished, have students find a partner and pair share their schedule and which ways from the article they chose to increase productivity throughout the week. Have partners offer feedback and suggestions if they see any other ways that their partner can increase productivity.


 Technology Use: You could create a Kahoot ( which is an interactive game that students can log into from their computers or smart phones and it will give you instant feedback.

 Non-Technology: “Take and Pass” – Students will get in groups and will have one piece of paper per group. The n pose the question, “How does being more productive affect your life?” One student will start and will write their response on the piece of paper. When they finish, they will pass it to the person on their right and they will then write down their response. Students will continue to write down their responses and pass the piece of paper until time is up. When time is up, students will debrief and will then share their responses with the class.

ETHICAL SCENARIO--Optional (if not using, skip  to "review and closing")

The Ethical Choice Scenarios have been developed to provide teachers with the ability to make the material applicable to real-life and relevant to the students. Within this guide, directions and prompts for the teacher will be in BLUE for ease of facilitation.




You’ve been trying to be friends with the “popular” group at school ever since first grade. You’ve copied their clothes , listened to the same music, and even took the same elective c lasses throughout middle school and now this year . Even though you are a freshman, you’re in a photography club, have won some local contests, and you were lucky enough to earn the spot as the yearbook photographer. This means you get to take all the pictures for the year book as well as approve pictures that are submitted by others. This news got out to your classmates and all of a sudden , everyone wants to be your friend, including the popular group . You know the only reason people are showing you this attention is so you will approve all the pictures they submit to the yearbook , but you can’t help but be excited about the popular group talking to you, eating lunch with you , and inviting you to parties.


You just sat down in the cafeteria to e at lunch and immediately the popular kids sit down next to you. They start gossiping with you and asking you for advice on all sorts of things and next thing you know, lunch is over. Everyone at your table starts heading to class and you notice they leave all their trash and leftover food on the table rather than throwing it away. One of the rules in the cafeteria is you have to clean up after yourself and throw your own trash away but the popular group always talks about how they are “above” the rules and it’s not their job to clean up the cafeteria, it’s the custodian’s. You stand at the table, listening to the popular kids yelling at you to hurry up, and you aren’t sure what to do. Do you leave your trash on the table too, just like the popular kids so you can fit in, or do you take the initiative to not only clean up your trash, but their trash too and possibly lose all the attention you’ve gained from the popular group?

ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: (display them to the class if necessary)

1. How many of you have already been faced with this scenario in real life?

2. What are the possible options for you in this situation?

3. What are possible positive or negative consequences for you, depending on your decision?


NOTE 1 : To help facilitate discussion, share any personal experiences you may have encountered with this same sort of issue.

NOTE 2 : Another option to foster further critical thinking is to then ask students , “ Whose actions do you control in this situation?”

NOTE 3 : Another option to foster further critical thinking is to then ask students , “ W hat values do you think are in tension here, why is it an ethical dilemma?”



 Have students answer the following question on a piece of paper or respond to you verbally as they leave the classroom:

     o How will the need for being productive change throughout all your stages of life?

CORRELATION TO OBSERVATION TOOL: The Frequency Observation Tool (FOT) has a category where students will be observed and rated on their ability to take initiative. This lesson will help them understand the importance of taking initiative and how to recognize situations in which to do so.


-Visual: Visual learners will benefit from having a printed copy of the worksheet as well as having their weekly schedule written down.

-Auditory: Auditory learners will benefit from the group discussions and pair share.

-Kinesthetic: To benefit kinesthetic learner s, you could allow them to move around the room as they read and think. They will also benefit from the writing activities.

-ESL: ESL students would benefit from working with a partner on this assignment in case they have questions or need clarification.

-At-risk: At -risk students will benefit from the constant engagement in this lesson that will encourage them to stay on task.

-Advanced: Advanced learners could benefit from helping other students write down their schedules, or by assisting ESL or At -risk students who may need additional help .

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