Students work toward identifying a specific goal related to their interests/passions and create an action plan for achieving that goal using chalk circles.


Students will be able to:

  1. Articulate goals
  2. Clarify their level of interest in those goals
  3. Create a chalk circle mural of class-wide goals and interests


Chalk and Pavement (or a similar mode of creating a large mural with paper and markers, if pavement is unavailable) with large circles drawn on and labeled with different topics such as art, music, math, sports, etc.; internet if students want to research their stated goal/passion


Time Activity Notes
2 mins
  • Open with a quote, a short writing prompt, or another method to get students thinking about their passions and goals.
  • It is best if you can collect these from the students a day or week in advance and use the student chosen quotes for different activities – including this one.
Suggestions: a question like, “If you could be or do anything, what would that be?”, an appropriate quote, or a short video.
8 mins
Big Circles
  • Have students identify the big circle that aligns most closely to their interests and goals.
  • Students should physically move to stand in the big circles (that you have already drawn).
  • After students have moved to their chosen circle, give students 3 minutes of time to discuss their individual interests within that circle.
  • This can be done as a small group discussion or in writing (but students should not write in these circles yet… that’s the next step.).
  • After 3 minutes of discussion and brainstorming within the small group, bring the whole group together for a 2-3 minute share out and class discussion of interests within each group.
Suggestions for topics in the “big circles”: art, music, poetry, dance, math, sports, community, teaching, engineering, culture, politics, business, environment, etc.

During the discussion, you can push students to note similarities and complementary interests and passions, trends across the room, or push students to articulate more specific interests within their “big circle” topic.

5 mins
Small Circles
  • Small Circles: Give each student or group of students chalk (or markers) and instruct them to create smaller circles branching off of the large circle.
  • Inside these smaller circles, students should write the more specific goals that they have identified related to their interests and passions within the group.
  • There can be 2 or 3 circles branching off of the bigger circle, or as many as is needed to capture all of the trends within the group.
  • Students may need time to clarify their smaller circle categories and guidance from the teacher about how to organize.
  • This can take place in the previous discussion or as they are creating the smaller circles.
For example: If 5 students initially moved to the “politics” big circle, and 2 students talked about wanting to pursue an elected office, one student talked about wanting to work for a nonprofit serving their political interest, and one student talked about wanting to cover politics for a newspaper, they could create three smaller circles: “elected office”, “nonprofits”, and “journalism”.
5 mins
Individual Circles
  • After creating the smaller circles, it is likely that some students may still be sharing a circle.
  • The idea here is to get each student to create a very specific individual circle that articulates the passions and goals that are uniquely their own.
  • Encourage all students to draw a third branch of circles off of the smaller circles they are currently in and create an individual circle with a very specific goal or passion for themselves.
  • Give students plenty of time to do this and to write as much as they can or want to inside that final circle.
Example: If a student moved first to the environment big circle, then shared a small circle with 2 other students named “recycling”, they might create their own individual circle that says, “Create a community organization to help local neighborhoods increase their recycling”.
5-10 mins
Share Out

Share out: In order to give students ownership over their articulated goals, give each student 30 seconds to share out what they’ve written in their individual circle.

The timing here will depend on the size of your class.
15 mins
Action Plan

Give students time to create an individual action plan to achieve their stated goal.

Suggested guiding questions:

  • How long will this goal take me to accomplish?
  • What experiences will I need to be able to achieve this goal? (college, training, job experience, etc)
  • What help will I need to accomplish this goal?
  • What can I do in the next few years to work towards this goal?
  • What can I do this year to work towards this goal?
  • What can I do now or over the next few months to work towards this goal?
  • What are three specific steps I can take to ensure I can achieve this goal?
Students may need guiding questions, resources to research their goal (internet access) or time to talk through their goal with a partner. Respond to your class’s individual needs for this section of the lesson.
10 mins

Have students complete a reflection to gauge the effectiveness of the lesson at instilling a sense of passion in students. (See Formative Assessment below)

Criteria for Success/Formative Assessment

Students can submit their action plan for assessment and/or credit for this activity.

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you feel like your goal is attainable? Why or why not?
  • What might get in the way of you achieving your goal? How can you overcome these challenges?
  • What will be the outcome of you achieving your goal for you and for others?