Materials and Preparation

Curriculum Provided Materials:

  • For Teacher Use:
    • One copy of “Student-Friendly Objectives”
    • The word “Self-Esteem” written on a piece of paper
    • One copy of “Definition of Self-Esteem” (if needed, use the modified “Definition of Self-Esteem” with less language)
    • One copy of “ME” worksheet
  • For Student Use:
    • One copy of “Definition of Self-Esteem” per student (if needed, use the modified “Definition of Self-Esteem” with less language)
    • One copy of “ME” worksheet
    • One Exit Ticket

Teacher Materials:

  • One small mirror 
  • One empty binder 
  • One poster board for each student and staff person
  • Photograph of each student and staff person

Preparation Notes:

  • Before the first day of class, send “Letter Home/Unit Vocabulary and Definitions” home with each student
  • Print and display “Student-Friendly Objectives”
  • Write the word “Self-Esteem” on a piece of paper
  • Print one copy of “Definition of Self-Esteem” for each student and teacher (use modified version, if needed)
  • Attach small mirror to the inside of binder
  • Make a sign that reads “The Most Important Person in the World” and attach it to the front of binder
  • Obtain a photograph of each student and staff person and attach each one to the center of a poster board
  • Print one Exit Ticket for each student

Supplemental Materials:

  • “I Am Important” poster
  • Self-Esteem sentence starters
  • Self-Esteem affirmations
  • Self-Esteem worksheet
  • Adjective word list

Note: You will need the poster board and photograph for Lessons 2 – 6. Ask guardians to send in photos, or take them yourself before class. Glue each student’s photograph to the center of their individual poster board, leaving enough space (four to five inches) on the outside edges. You will fill this space with words as the class progresses through each lesson in the unit. You will also need to create a poster for each teachers and paraeducators who are helping facilitate this unit. It is essential that teachers participate in this activity because they will need to model instructions using their own posters at various points. You will also need teacher’s posters for a role-play at the end of the unit.

Lesson Information

Lesson Self-Esteem Unit I  Matter
Lesson Number and Type 1 – Visual/ Auditory Approximate Length 45 Minutes


Standard(s) N/A
Objective(s) Students will be able to define self-esteem.
Student Friendly Objective(s) I know I am important.

I can define self-esteem.

Transition Goals  N/A
Evidence/Assessments ME Worksheet

Exit Ticket

Lesson Vocabulary Word(s) Self-Esteem: feeling good about yourself

Important: having value

Teacher Notes

Review (10 minutes) Begin by reviewing the Rules in Wholes Selves from Setting the Tone: Lesson 4 “Rules and Expectations”.

Read each rule aloud. Invite students to read each rule (with a teacher’s help if needed) to the class.

After reviewing the rules and expectations, ask each student whether a particular behavior is okay in class. Modify how you ask this question to meet the communication style of the student. An either/or choice will work for many students; ask “Is hitting okay [present one hand, palm up] or not okay [present the other hand] in class?” etc.

Introduction  (15 minutes) Say: Today we are going to learn about a very important person.

Hold up closed binder, with the sign reading “The Most Important Person in the World” facing out.

Say: In fact, inside this book is a picture of one of the most important people in the world. Who do you think the picture is of?”

Allow students to raise their hands and make a guess about whose picture is inside. Spend some time building suspense.

Next, pass around the book and have students open it and see their own face. Instruct them not to say aloud who they see.

After, ask: “Who did you see? Who is the important person in the book?”

Explain that each of us, in our own lives, is the most important person. Point to each student and tell them that they are an important person. Explain that the next unit is going to be all about feeling good about ourselves, that it will be all about self-esteem.

Present a card that says “self-esteem”. Have students practice saying “self-esteem”.

Say: “Self-esteem is feeling good about myself.” and have students repeat, aloud, the definition.

Activity  (20 minutes) 1. Pass out copies of “Definition of Self-Esteem” (use the modified version if necessary) and go through each line with the students.

2. Next, explain that you are going to do an activity that will get them feeling good about themselves. Pass one “ME” worksheet to each student. Model how to complete the worksheet. For those who can’t read and write, have a teacher ask each question aloud and scribe answers. You will be making copies of each student’s “ME” worksheet for an activity in Lesson 2, so make sure each student writes as legibly as possible. If they can not, the teacher can write their answers underneath so that the words are readable.

3. Once complete, go around the circle and have each student read their worksheet aloud. After saying “check me out” give each person a rousing round of applause. The teacher should go first to model how the experience will go.

Conclusion and Exit Ticket  (5 minutes) Congratulate students on doing a fantastic job learning about self-esteem! To wrap-up, explain that you are going to give each-other some shout-outs. Have each person give the person to their left a compliment. This should be easy because each student has already shared something they are good at and something they love doing. Use this information to create a good compliment. The teacher should go first and model how to use the new information about a peer to create a meaningful compliment.

To check for understanding, you may want to ask students a few closing questions:

What is self-esteem?

Can you tell me something you’re good at?

What do you love to do?

These are wonderful questions to ask after class or at any time throughout the week between classes.

Pass out the Exit Tickets for students to complete.  

Suggested Supplemental Activity(ies) ME Worksheet as a Song

  • Materials: “ME” worksheet
  • Activity: Model completing worksheet, pass out copies to each student, have students participate in “Check Me Out!” song

Instead of doing the activity as a read-aloud, students may enjoy doing it as a call-back style song. After completing the “ME” worksheet, the teacher explains that he/she is going to read aloud each line and the group is going to respond with a loud, sing-song, “YEAH?”. At the end, after “Check me out!”, the group applauds.

Here is how it looks:

Student: “My name is _____________________________________.”

Group callback: “Yeah?”

Student: “I really like _____________________________________.”

Group callback: “Yeah?”

Student: “I am good at ______________________________________.”

Group callback: “Yeah?”

Student: “So check me out!”

Group applauds.

I Am Important Poster

  • Materials: “I Am Important” worksheet (use modified version, if needed), markers, pictures 
  • Activity: Students create and share their “I Am Important” poster.

Self-Esteem Sentence Starters

  • Materials: Sentence strips
  • Activity: Review the definition of “self-esteem”. Show and read each sentence strip to students; have them orally complete each sentence starter.
  • This is a wonderful activity to bring out between class sessions as a way to get a positive conversation rolling.

Self-Esteem Affirmations

  • Materials: “Affirmations” worksheet or “Affirmations” worksheet – modified version
  • Activity: Go through the worksheet and practice saying affirmations aloud. You may want to practice saying them to a teacher, to the whole class, or even into a mirror. You can use the back of the paper to write out how the affirmation made you feel. The modified version has less language.
  • Another way to use this worksheet is to cut out the affirmations into small strips, laminate them, and place them in a basket. Students can then pull an affirmation out of the basket and practice reading at aloud. After completing this, let students know that what they’ve just done is called an “affirmation”.

Self-Esteem Worksheet

  • Materials: “Self-Esteem” worksheet
  • Activity: Work through the worksheet as a group or allow students to tackle it individually, in pairs, or small groups
  • This material could also work as an assessment.

Adjective Word List

  • Take the “Adjective Word List” and cut out / laminate each adjective.
  • Spread them out on a table, face up.
  • Ask students to take a look at all of the words on the table and choose two that apply to them. Model how to do this.
  • Go around the circle and say “I am ________ and ________.” and cheer for each other.
  • For an added twist, ask each student to explain why they chose each adjective.
  • You can also have people pick adjectives for each other and offer them as compliments.

Student Friendly Objectives


Definition of Self-Esteem


ME Worksheet

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Exit Ticket

I Am Important Poster


Self-Esteem Sentence Starters


Self-Esteem Affirmations


Self-Esteem Worksheet


Adjective Word List