Students reflect on and discuss their personal definitions of the word “inspired.”


Students will be able to:

  1. Create a personal definition of “inspired”
  2. Define “inspired” in terms of self, others, and environment
  3. Create a class definition of inspired and class vision of inspiring behavior


Pen/paper, large post-its or poster paper, markers, and space for groups to brainstorm, materials to create a class vision of inspired (mural paper, paint, etc)


Time Activity Notes
5 mins

As an opening to class, give each student silent and independent time to answer the question”

  • “What is inspired? What does it mean to feel inspired and to inspire others?”
Little or no prompting is necessary before this activity so that students can bring their own ideas to the conversation without feeling like there is a “right” answer. Encourage students to respond authentically. You may want to play music during this time , or ask students for a suggestion for a song about inspired that you can pull up online.
2 mins
Inspired Vision

Explain to the class that, rather than telling them what inspired looks like in your class, you would like them to create their own class-wide definition.

They are going to work together in small groups to create an “inspired vision” for the classroom establishing what being inspired and inspiring means to them.

Each student already has their own definition, which they will use to work with a small group and create a list of things that they would like to see used in the whole-class vision of inspired.

Once the class has created small group definitions, you will take time to examine each group’s definition, take the best ideas from each group, and put them together in one final vision of inspired for the classroom.

This will be put up in the room and can be used to remind the class and others what inspired looks like in this class.

10 mins
Small Group Brainstorm

Give students time in a small group to discuss their individual definitions of inspired and brainstorm a list of things they can do to feel inspired and to inspire one another. Consider the following prompts:

  • What does inspiring oneself look like?
  • What does inspiring each other look like?
  • What are the characteristics of an inspirational classroom environment?
  • How can each of those be added to the class vision of inspired?

These brainstorms can be on large paper and posted on the wall in the room for logistics in the next lesson activity.

Things to consider in guiding student brainstorm (to the extent that you feel it’s appropriate):

  • Provide t-charts for brainstorming, with “inspired/inspiring” on one side and “not inspired/inspiring” on the other
  • Ask students to provide examples of actions that demonstrate inspired or inspiring
10 mins Every student should have a writing utensil for this phase of the lesson. Once groups are done brainstorming, make sure each brainstorm is posted on the wall or somewhere all students can see it and write on it.

Then, have each student (as an individual now, no longer in small groups) move around the room and read the ideas on the other groups’ papers.

Encourage students to make notes on the other groups’ papers when they agree strongly with another idea and would like to see it in the inspired vision (you may want to set expectations for no negative comments).

Students can also be encouraged to ask questions or add more information to other ideas in the room.

This activity should be done quietly and independently to give students time to read and process all of the other ideas.

You can establish a code for writing on other groups’ posters for ease: a star means “strongly agree”, a question mark means “I don’t understand”, etc.
10 mins
Group Consensus and Drafting

Lead the group in examining the notes written on the posters and identifying trends in the ideas and the most popular ideas.

When guiding the group to a consensus, aim to hear all student voices, avoid personal biases or their own definition of inspired, and honor the students’ vision of inspired.

Depending on the developmental and skill level of your students, you may want to step out of this phase of the lesson and allow the group to come to a consensus on the ideas in the inspired vision without you.
5 mins
Final Draft

The group should establish a means to create a final draft of the inspired vision, whether that is selecting a student to write it out, having you create the large poster or some other means of writing it.

5 mins

See the questions under “Criteria for Success/Formative Assessment” below. Have students answer these questions in a format that works for your class, whether that is on paper, in smalls groups, as a whole-class discussion, etc.

3 mins

Post the final vision of inspired visibly in the room and remind students that it will remain up so that they can hold themselves, each other, and you accountable for the ideas that they have created.

Criteria for Success/Formative Assessment

  1. What will our class be like if everyone follows the vision of inspired?
  2. Do you think your original definition of inspired is captured in the class vision? Why or why not?
  3. What is one specific way (please give a concrete example) that you can help our class live up to its vision of inspired?