Optimism is a mental attitude that reflects hope in a positive outcome. Everyone knows that if you approach an activity or task with a positive and fun attitude, it will be more enjoyable and you are more likely to get a positive result. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful – a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Showing gratitude can make us feel happier and more fulfilled. By understanding the benefits of optimism and gratitude, students will feel more confident to practise them and make their transition to secondary school smoother and more successful.

Year level



20 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies



Learning intention

Students will learn the meaning and benefits of optimism and gratitude and how to practise these skills throughout their transition.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • define ‘optimism’, and explain how an optimistic attitude can affect their lives

  • define ‘gratitude’, and identify some benefits of gratitude

  • practise gratitude.

Materials needed

  • Whiteboard and markers

  • Projector and speakers

  • Post-It notes

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • "Analyse and reflect on the influence of values and beliefs on the development of identities (AC9HP8P01)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

  • Critical and Creative Thinking:

  • Reflecting

  • Inquiring

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Examines and evaluates strategies to manage current and future challenges (PD4-1)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Evaluate strategies to manage personal, physical and social changes that occur as they grow older (VCHPEP124)

Show details

Activity 1

Class discussion: Optimism versus pessimism

10 minutes

  1. Draw a line on the board.

  2. Label one end ‘Optimism’ and the other end ‘Pessimism’.

  3. Ask students:

    • What is optimism?

    • What is pessimism?

    • Why can these things be represented on a continuum?

    • Is someone always pessimistic or always optimistic?

    • Can a person change depending on how they are feeling that day?

    • If someone seems pessimistic about something, what might they be saying?

    • If someone is feeling optimistic, what might they be saying?

    • If we are approaching something new, do we want to do so with a pessimistic or an optimistic approach? What impact can our approach have?

  4. Ask students to think about how they are feeling today. Are they feeling more optimistic or more pessimistic? Ask them to explain to someone nearby how they are feeling and why.

  5. Conclude the discussion with some practical examples of how optimism can help us to get through things. Challenge students to adopt an optimistic attitude. Emphasise that if they approach an activity with a positive and fun attitude, it will be more enjoyable and they will be more likely to get a positive result.

Activity 2

Gratitude wall post

10 minutes

Displaying gratitude is important, as it can enhance not only our own wellbeing but also the wellbeing of those around us.

  1. Students write things they are thankful for on sticky notes to create a gratitude wall.

  2. Using a variety of colours and markers, students finish the sentence: ‘I am grateful for…’ . Examples include:

    • my friends for making me laugh.

    • the new friends I have made.

    • my dad for dropping me off at school.

    • being able to come to school.

    • the opportunity to learn.

    • soccer on the weekend.

  3. Once all the students have had the opportunity to add to the wall, talk about some of the examples. Encourage students to take the time to thank the people they have mentioned.

  4. This wall can be added to regularly, to keep reminding students of the things they have achieved and to include new experiences.


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