How many people REALLY have a life list / bucket list?
Each person should have a life list that they refer to regularly. A high school psychology class is a great opportunity to expose students to a valuable life lesson: identify your most important goals, then work very hard to reach them.
As individuals, we are rarely given advice on goal setting. This is a simple 50 minute lesson that can have a lifetime impact on some of your students. I teach two senior electives, during the first week of school, I use this activity with one of the classes. (It is never too early to teach the skills of goal setting.)
Step 1: Watch The Dead Poet’s Society: Carpe Diem Speech (5:29): This is a great clip to start the year off with – it is the students’ first day at an elite prep school – course expectations, syllabi, etc. Imagine if you had a student who had 5 teachers who went over rules and regulations. If you were the one teacher who had an engaging, exciting lesson, you might make an incredible first impression that could make a huge difference in student achievement and participation in your class – the one the really counts.
Here are the words to the impressive speech:
MR. KEATING: They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts, full of hormones just like you. Invincible just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see, gentlemen, those boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen. Do you hear it?

Carpe. Hear it? Carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
Step 2: After watching this clip, have the students create a “Life List.” People sometimes refer to this as a bucket list. The students will create a list of things they hope to accomplish, places they hope to visit, people they hope to meet, and things they hope to do. Each list should be realistic. These are the MOST IMPORTANT things in a student’s life. They should view it daily, add to it, check off the things completed. This is not an assignment it is their life.
For high school students this activity might take an entire class period. Adapt the time to the age an maturity level of the student.
Step 3: After 20 – 30 minutes (depending on the attention span of the students), have th students share their list. This will be a great starting point for class discussion and you will receive some incredible responses.
Step 4: Make it a permanent part of your curriculum. Make each student keep a copy of his / her bucket list in a binder / folder. Offer extra credit to any student who completes an item on the bucket list. Perhaps you could designate Fridays or one day a month for students to share any items they have accomplished.
It is important to emphasize this is NOT simply a graded assignment, but something you would like them to share with you in many years when your current students will be attending open house and parent conferences.
Below is the worksheet I hand out to the students for this activity. Feel free to use this or revise it in anyway.
After watching this clip, you are going to create a “Life List.” People sometimes refer to this as a bucket list. Create a list of things you hope to accomplish, places you hope to visit, people you hope to meet, and thinks you hope to do. Your list should be realistic. These are the MOST IMPORTANT things for you. You should view it daily, add to it, check off the things you have done. This is not an assignment it is your life. Good Luck!