New Priorities

Responsible Decision-Making

Family Resources on New Priorities

Lesson Topic

Students learn how to prioritize and think critically in each situation.

Essential Question

How do I decide what my priorities are?

Loading the player...

New Priorities – Dwayne Hamilton

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students analyzed the effectively developing priorities in their lives. In class students defined and discussed priorities and how priorities are developed. In groups students used scenarios to discuss and assess how best to develop priorities based on their individual needs and situations.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features a youth named Dwayne who frequently skipped school and when he attended school he was often in trouble. Because of several mentors who helped motivate him, Dwayne changed his priorities, focusing on doing well in school and becoming involved in school activities.

Conversation notes:
Many adolescents make poor choices for a variety of reasons. Popular culture often incorrectly communicates the idea that adolescents are motivated by fear and punishment, when what really motivates adolescents is having mentoring relationships with adults. In Dwayne’s case it took the work of several mentors outside his immediate family; primarily an older cousin and a teacher to help Dwayne reassess his priorities.

Points of Light Foundation shares how one student’s work helps others set priorities:

Preston Ni writes about talking with a difficult adolescent at Psychology Today:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

What was the scenario your small group considered in class? What actions did your group decide this person should take? Why do you think this was the best choice of priority (or priorities) for this person?

List several of the priorities you have currently. Discuss each of these priorities with several adult mentors. What feedback did you receive? Are these the right priorities for you at this point in your life? Why or why not?

Think about some of your friends. What do you think are their priorities? Do you think that they for the most part have complementary priorities with yours? Do you think that you and your friends help support each other in developing helpful priorities? Why or why not?

School to Home Resources on New Priorities

Lesson Plan

Thinking about your future

Loading the player...

In the video, Dwayne says, “I saw my future”. What did he mean? Why does he think school is important for him? Why does thinking about your future help you determine what your priorities are?

The influence of others

Loading the player...

Dwayne’s teacher, Ms. Glenn, tells about her concerns. What concerns did she have for Dwayne? Who else did she talk to? How do the people who are important to you influence your priorities?


Loading the player...

What does Dwayne mean when he says, “I don’t need anyone to push me anymore”? Do you think it is this hard for him to be this self-motivated? What types of things are you able to do without being “pushed”? What are some things you need to be “pushed” to do?

Taking responsibility

Loading the player...

Dwayne’s uncle, Everett Hamilton says, “he likes to kind of dodge issues and not take responsibility for things”. After coming home from a difficult day at school, what did Mr. Hamilton ask Dwayne to do? What did Dwayne find out about himself? What can you learn about yourself from this? Why did this exercise influence Dwayne’s decision about what was important to Dwayne?

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.