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In this activity, a teacher writes out 10 different events on the chalkboard and then has children list them on their own paper in terms of personal importance. The goal of this exercise is to help children understand how different people can have different priorities according to their own unique perspectives and/or experiences.

Once they’ve listed them in order, have them write a short brief on their paper about why they named their best/worst, or why in general they put things in that order. Also ask: Was it difficult or easy to rank these things? In what ways? After they’ve finished, have children volunteer to read their list in group time while giving a brief explanation about why they ranked the top two or bottom two where they did. This group discussion is the most important part of the activity, because it allows children to see how others might think of things differently.

List of worst things:

Pick 10 of these bad occurrences to write on the chalkboard, and have kids write them in terms of personal importance, with 1 being the most upsetting thing and 10 being the least upsetting thing. Tell them to go on their gut instinct and try not to over think it, and also that there are no right or wrong answers.

  • Your cat dies
  • Your mom is in the hospital
  • Your dad is in the hospital
  • Your parents tell you you’re moving to a new house in another city
  • You spend all day sick and throwing up
  • Your grandma dies
  • Falling down and scraping a knee
  • A classmate calls you ugly and stupid
  • Getting an “F” on your report card
  • Your favorite TV show gets canceled


List of good things:

On another day, do the same exercise, only this time with positive experiences, 1 being the best thing they imagine and 10 being the least positive thing:

  • You make a new friend today
  • You get to go to Chucky Cheese
  • A stranger gives you a compliment and tells you how beautiful you are
  • You get to go camping
  • You and your friends go swimming
  • You receive an award from school
  • It’s your birthday party
  • A baby brother/sister is born
  • You get straight A’s on your report card
  • You get to spend a special day alone with mom or dad


Feel free to substitute these items for your own if you’d like, but try to keep a mixture of things that offer both variety along with a few similarities so that kids get the most from this activity.






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