Lesson Plan Guide: 7 Life Skills Every High School Graduate Should Know


Students identify life skills that will help them succeed after high school
Students create a bulletin board with life skills vocabulary


ASCA: Students will understand the relationship of academics to the world of work and to life at home and in the community.

ASCA: Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others.

CCSS: Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.


  • Notebook paper and pencil to write a list
  • Clock or timer
  • Markers, cards/colored paper and tape to post on life skill words on wall
  • Space on wall for students to post life skill posters
  • Student Paths article, “Top 7 things you should know before leaving high school”


Introduce Life Skills (5 minutes):

Ask: What are examples of life skills that will be important after high school graduation?

General skills are decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, friendship making

Skill to Maintain Healthy Habits: Physical, Cognitive, Social, Emotional, Financial, Spiritual

Specific Skills: ride a bike, surf, yoga, factor and simplify expressions, lead a group, give a presentation with technology, balance account books, listen to others, self-discipline

Ask: What is the difference between Common Core Academic Skills taught and tested in School and Non-Cognitive Life Skills learned through life experiences and specialized training?

The goal of this lesson is for each student to identify life skill strengths and weaknesses. Before the end of class, each student will create a small poster to hang on the wall and teach other students about life skills.

2. List all Life Skills for a graduate (5 minutes)

On a piece of notebook paper, each student will write a list of all the skills that will help them succeed in life after graduation. Examples are using GPS on smartphones and paying a bill with an online checking account.

After students write a list of at least 20 skills, circle the 5 most important skills to master before graduating high school.

3. Discuss Life Skills (10 minutes)

Arrange students into groups of 3 for a brief discussion. Instruct students that each student will have 1-minute to do all talking, the other students will only listen for the first minute.

State the important skill to learn
Explain why this is an important skill in life.

The second minute is time for other students to ask a key question or provide insight.
Take turns so that each student has time to share one life skill. If time permits, students may share more, but focus on one life skill at a time, the reasons why it is important in life and how it is useful, so that students fully understand the specific life skill.

To end the discussion and transition to reading the article, ask for a volunteer to write the top 3 list from each group on a whiteboard or paper for reference after the reading.

4. Read (5 minutes)

Read aloud the article, “Top 7 things you should know before leaving high school.” Teacher reads the first paragraph and then asks for student volunteers to read the remaining article aloud. If time permits, pause to discuss points that catch the attention of students.

5. Discuss (5 minutes)

What was different about this list from your list?

This list from Student Paths was focused on the audience of high school students who need life skills that make living away from parents easier to manage.

Doing Laundry, Keeping a Calendar, and Taking Care of Self When Sick are often a surprise for some students to learn. Allow time for students to share ideas about what will be expected in life after high school.

What is going to be the most difficult challenge after graduation?

6. Make a Sign that Teaches the Class a Life Skill (5 minutes)

Before students exit class, each student will write a life skill on a card and post it on the wall to remind other students of learning life skills in and out of school.



Top 7 things you should know before leaving high school