This week, our discussion focuses on having a growth mindset about challenges. Students discuss how they feel about challenges and how failure and mistakes are good. The discussion is a way to apply the affirmation to each of the five core competencies of social and emotional learning.

We provide the idea-starters with the intent that teachers can develop creative variations to adapt to age-appropriate use for their students.

SEL Discussion Resource: I LOVE CHALLENGES


  • Write or say the affirmation together: I love challenges
  • How strongly do you agree with the statement? 1= I disagree, 2= I somewhat agree, 3= I totally agree.
    • (Engagement activity: Hold up one finger if you don’t like challenges. Hold up two fingers if you sometimes like challenges. Hold up three fingers if you love challenges. Find another person who is holding up the same number of fingers and pair in groups of 2-3.)
    • Group discussion: Share why you like or dislike challenges. Then identify several ways that mindset affects the outcome of a challenge.
  • What do you say to yourself when things are difficult or don’t work out how you’d like them to?


  • Discuss or Journal:
    • Name a big challenge that you faced recently.
    • How did you get through that challenge?
    • What helped you to manage any negative emotions?

Responsible decision-making

Think/Pair/Share: (In groups of 2–3)

  • Come up with one example of a challenge someone your age might experience.
  • List the specific things about that challenge that might feel too difficult.
  • List the smaller steps someone could take to accomplish the challenge if it feels too big.
  • Identify what emotions they might need to process in order to conquer the challenge.
  • Describe how it feels to succeed at a challenge.

Social awareness

  • Why do you think some people love challenges?
  • Explain why failure is good.
  • List some things someone might say if they have a fixed mindset and avoid challenges. Then give an example of how they can confront it with a growth mindset statement and learn to love challenges.

Relationship skills

  • Brainstorm a list of positive statements that help you accept challenges and encourage friends. Examples:
    • Mistakes help me/you improve.
    • I/you can learn from my/your mistakes.
    • Let’s try this another way.
    • I/you can’t do it YET.
  • Practice with a friend. What can you say to someone who is putting in a lot of effort, coming up with new strategies, working hard, etc. toward their challenge?


Next week’s SEL focus: I BELIEVE IN MY DREAMS

To find the full-size posters to use in your classroom (or the magnet or postcard size) visit our store.

Suggestion for virtual learning:

  • Purchase a pack of 30 postcards for the teacher to hold the appropriate one up to the screen during discussion.
  • Purchase a pack of 30 small hand-off notes for each student to have at home with them. This allows for an interactive and hands-on experience.