Find out what’s important
This activity asks students to narrow down their personal ideas on important values to find their top priority. Through this lesson, the facilitator will ask students to “discard” values that are least important to them.
See Facilitator Tips for helpful notes. The reflection of this activity should not be skipped.
Lesson Step by Step
1.Ask students to choose their 5 most important values from the list, the handout, or from their own experience. If students want to identify values that are not found on the list, that is great! The list is there as a resource. You want students to identify the core values that they feel are the most important to them.
2. Students should write one value on each notecard.
3. Once everyone is confident of their top five, ask students to hold their “cards” in their
4. hand like playing cards. Say: You should be holding your five most important values…
5. Pause for effect. Ask students to now discard one of their cards. This should be the trait that is least important to them of the five.
6. Pause again. You will ask students to discard ANOTHER card. Ask students to get rid of one more of their values that is least important out of the four left.
7. Next, you will ask students to narrow down their cards to three. Their top three values.
8. Keep going. Have students keep two cards that are their definite top two most important core values.
9. Now. The final step. Have students choose one of their two remaining cards as their most important value.
10. Whew! Congratulate the students for doing that difficult mental exercise.
As with many of the activities in this section, changing the theme of the activity to meet other goals can be effective. Instead of values, use your school virtues, leadership characteristics, or another theme that the group is working on.
Facilitator Tips and Notes
1. For maximum effect, the facilitator should add in an element of drama to this process. Pausing, pacing, and tone can create an atmosphere of intrigue that can lead to a more engaging environment.
2. You may find students protesting that it’s too hard to keep narrowing these down! That’s ok! Keep it lighthearted and use student struggle as part of the reflective discussion at the end of the activity
Reflection & Wrap Up
1. Reflecting on student’s process is where the impact of this activity lies. Invite students into a discussion using these prompts (in this order, more or less).
- What was your last remaining card? (List these on the board as students share)
- Share how you chose your top value out of so many options. Explain why your choice is most important to you.
- Share which values were the first ones that you got rid of. Explain why you discarded those first.
- How easy/difficult was it for you to select and rank these qualities in this way? Why?
- Which two cards where the hardest to choose between? Why?
- Notice what the class/group chose as their collective top values.
- What does this say about our group?
- Does it point out our strong areas? Weak areas?
2. Students can take their “final” card—the one with their most important value—and decorate and embellish the word. Put these up in the class, or tape them on binders, as a reminder of the individual values that each student brings to the community.