Optimism involves learning to think positively about the future, even when things go wrong. It’s about looking objectively at a situation and making a conscious decision to focus on the good. This lesson encourages students to illustrate their understanding of optimism, by reflecting on case studies and personal examples. It is important to build students resilience as optimistic people are happier and more engaged, succeed more often, and are better problem solvers.

Year Level



60 minutes


  • In class activity

SEL Competencies

  • Self-awareness
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision-making

Learning Intention

Students can recognise that optimistic people are happier, more engaged, succeed more often and are better problem solvers. Optimism skills can be learnt.

Key Outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will understand that::

  • optimistic attitudes need to involve realistic ideas
  • self-talk assists in developing optimism
  • negative thoughts can be overridden with positive thoughts.

Activity: Rolling 15 min

  1. Ask students to take some toilet paper from the roll. (Don’t specify how many pieces; let them take as many or as few pieces as they wish.)
  2. Once everyone has a piece/pieces of the toilet roll, ask them to think of a thought they have had today. Share these with the class (e.g. ‘I’m going to do well in my maths test today’, ‘I’m such a slow runner, I can’t finish this jog’, or ‘I’m going to try my best; it’s all I can do’) for each piece of paper they have in their hand (e.g. three pieces of paper = three thoughts to share).
  3. Explain to the class that, in this lesson, they will be exploring the thoughts that people have about themselves – or ‘self-talk’. Positive self-talk is the key to developing optimism.